SUB-TONNES OF FUN

THE POWER-TO-WEIGHT RATIO MAKES A COMEBACK

BY HRIS THOMPSON

PERFORMANCE TREASURE HUNT

BY HRIS THOMPSON

IF YOU'RE ANYTHING like us, you were delighted to discover that the new Suzuki Swift Sport weighs a mere 970kg, placing it back under the tonne its ancestors would be proud. The importance of the power-toweight ratio, and its affect on fun factor, seems to have been lost in this time of performance SUVs. We want to see it come back.

A humble Suzuki that can put a smile on your face equal to what you'd gain from some rear-drivers is incredibly pleasant. The little Swift Sport just so happens to remind us of a car which followed a similar concept to extract maximum fun: the original Mini Cooper S. By chance, two examples that caught our eye on TradeUniqueCars.com.au were selling for $24K and $30K, right in Swift Sport territory.

Though much lighter and less powerful than the Swift (and most other cars) the Morris Mini Cooper was able to tackle the muscle of its era, proving itself in various Mini vs Mustang races which proved its cornering prowess (find them on YouTube, you can thank us later).

Finding one in good condition is a challenge, but the benefit of choosing a Mini over a Swift is that it'll appreciate, rather than depreciate. If you can't find a tidy example, there are plenty of people who know how to restore one for a fee, and will likely be able to up the engine's power and add some modern conveniences. For the right price, that is. While neither will win the traffic-light GP, both present a very involved approach to driving. Who says only fast cars can be fun?

04 tempters we found on tradeuniquecars.com.au

2008 ELFIN MS8

5.7L V8, 245kW/465Nm, 26,000km, Mandurah, WA

Oddball Aussie sports car runs on LS-power, and is rarer than hen's teeth.

$69,000

2005 ASTON MARTIN DB9

6.0L V12, 335kW/570Nm, 19,600km, Ginginup, WA

Low kays and a one-owner car makes asking price fair. Silky V12 won't disappoint.

$97,500

2006 SALEEN S281 S/C

4.6L V8, 298kW/420Nm, 150,000km, Sydney, NSW

Supercharged and tuned Mustang from the mind of Steve Saleen.

$59,500

1984 TOYOTA SUPRA

2.8L I6, 127kW/230Nm, 237,781km, Brisbane, QLD

RZ-gen Supras looking too pricey? Take a step even further back.

$9500