Some folks say size matters, but Lynn Schoonover of Riverside, California, will prove that theory to be misleading. His '61 Austin Mini Cooper pickup, Dinkee, might be small in stature, but that's all. This British-built lightweight packs a powerful, heavyweight knockout punch. Remember the story about the little train that could? Well, Dinkee is the little truck that did.
In 1959, designer Sir Alec Issigonis produced these little micro mini cars, pickups, and vans, and they were laughed at when first introduced to the automotive culture. These tiny, affordable vehicles were originally fitted with an 850cc 34hp engine. It wasn't until 1961, when the first Mini Cooper hit the streets, that the engine was improved to 997 cc, producing a massive 55 hp.
Recently, the Mini Cooper craze has exploded with Chrysler/BMW introducing its all-new Mini in 2001, adding a new chapter in the book of the Mini story. The new Mini is currently available in three models. The standard Mini One comes with a 1.6L 90hp Chrysler engine, the Cooper is powered by a 115hp version of the same engine, and the Cooper S adds a supercharger.
Dinkee's foundation is a T-bucket frame that was shortened by 5 inches. A dropped straight-axle leaf spring front suspension was de-arched by Leaf Spring Supply in Fontana, California, to achieve the low stance up front. California Roadsters in Orange, California, performed all of the suspension mods, both front and rear. A Ford 9-inch rearend was stuffed with 4.10 gears and a posi-unit that was set up by Terry Stoker. The four-link/Panhard bar rear suspension system is controlled by a pair of Alden coilover shocks. Stainless brake lines direct fluid to the Ford drum brakes on all four corners, which are responsible for stopping this little beast. A set of American Racing Torq-Thrust II polished aluminum wheels - 15x5-inch in front and 15x8.5-inch in the rear - are consumed by Mickey Thompson Pro-Street P135/50R15 tires up front and 29x10R15 M/T meats in the rear.