All rally cars with history have had a hard life. EBL was no exception.
Guy Smith spent 5 years of his life into making this car part number right during the restoration. The dashes and wiring are all original, and were the major headache to sort out, the wiring loom is probably the most special item on a works mini. The car is restored to the specification of its last works event, the 1966 RAC rally, consequently 30 years of further mini development has to be ignored. The engine is 1293s, with +20 thou forged pistons. EN40B nitride & crossdrilled crankshaft on std, std. Steel/lightened flywheel.
Carburettors are twin H4 1.5 inch SU on standard manifold. The steering wheel is also original. The dash panel contains Paired Heuer Stop watch and 8 day clock, plus a Halda Twinmaster tripmeter (Click below to view). The small panel, lower left contains 8 fuses. (Later cars had 16, but this was an early group 1 car so had fewer) Drivers panel contains 0-10,000 rev counter and ammeter (later addition). Respected works Mini experts Chris Spennewyn, Robert Young and Dave Halfpenny were all heavily involved with the car’s restoration.
As the restoration neared completion in 1988 the Pirelli Marathon was in the planning. Paddy Hopkirk drove EBL 56C for the 5 day event down to Cortina. He was consistently setting fastest times, and was leading until the Thursday. He then broke a CV joint on the lower slopes of the Stelvio pass into Italy, and although the car was mended within the hour, it was enough penalty points to push him to 64th place. Paddy was still in the event, but with only two more special stages to go (uphill), he was second behind Makinen's Healey 3000 67 ARX on the two final mountain climbs, his final place being 13th overall, 1st class.
The current owner purchased the car in 2001. It has been shown at various shows and prestigious events including the 2003 Cartier Style et Luxe at the Goodwood Festival of Speed. For 2009 the car also has an entry on the Festival of Speed rally stage where it is hoped Hopkirk will drive.
“The attention to detail of this restoration is typical of the truly dedicated work of those who build up cars to works specifications, even down to items such as the original seat belts with Paddy Hopkirk’s name engraved on the buckles. Today the car has been restored to original specification. It’s a fine example of a rebuilt works car with a continuous record of ownership and certainly containing a very fair proportion of original works parts”- Works Mini Cars by Peter Browning