Home » Watch This Classic Mini Accidentally Pull Terrifying ‘Italian Job’ Stunts On An Ohio Freeway

Watch This Classic Mini Accidentally Pull Terrifying ‘Italian Job’ Stunts On An Ohio Freeway

Spinnymini Top

Everything about this video feels a little too bonkers to be real, but so far we’ve no strong evidence it’s been faked, though I suppose it’s always possible, here in our era of New Math and silicon chips and fax machines. But, for the moment, let’s take it as a genuine dashcam video, recording a scene that took place  a bit over a month ago, on the four-lane blacktop of I-75 around Dayton, Ohio, where an unusual little car (for the middle of America, that is) — an original, Issigonis-designed Mini — somehow pirouetted across three lanes of highway, spinning around multiple times like a drunk dreidel until control was finally wrested back. Incredibly, no cars made contact, and, aside from what is likely an absolutely obliterated pair of underpants, no one seems to have been hurt at all. Holy crap.

Here’s the video, complete with a soundtrack from what I think must be Joe Rogan playing in the background, and some surprisingly low-energy in-car reaction shots after the action, in case you needed that element to fully appreciate the experience:

Did I already say holy crap? Because holy crap. What happened here?

Minispin Howhappen

Is there something going on with how the wheels are turned there, as the Mini merges? It looks like the wheels are pointed to the right, which, as you seasoned highway-mergers know, is the wrong way to turn to merge to the left. It’s tricky to tell, but there’s not much else to go on. Wrong steering input, and an overcorrection?

The car itself is actually one that is known for good, nimble handling, and as a FWD, front-engined car, oversteer is not something I usually associate with the car, though it sort of looks like some extreme version of that may have happened here, as the Mini was merging onto the highway?

Truth is, I’m not clear at all why this happened. The road looks pretty dry, I don’t see any obvious ice, but I suppose it’s possible there was a patch of something slick on the end of that on-ramp? Or the owner had just finished buttering those tires?

The Mini looks to be a pretty late original Mini, if I had to guess a mid-to-late ’90s Mini Cooper, based on the big fender flares and slightly larger (but still quite small) wheels. Something like one of these, sans stripes and the extra lights:


They’re fantastic little cars, with long and rich racing and rallying pedigree, but that doesn’t mean they can’t end up spinning out of control like in that video. Amazingly, the little Mini manages to spin both clockwise and counterclockwise as it whips across the road.

I’m happy no one was hurt, and, I suppose perversely, happy it was all captured on a dashcam, because it is a remarkable, almost balletic, event to witness. If anyone has decent, or, hell, indecent theories about what could have caused this, I’m all ears. Or, I guess, eyes.


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73 Responses

  1. That was an amazing display of not losing control. Well, losing, then regaining control, actually. It was an amazing display of not losing composure, that’s for sure.

    Watching the video, those are exactly the stereotypes of people I would expect to be listening to a podcast like that. The beard, the cutoff sleeves, the sunglasses, the tattoos, the beard…

    1. Moderators, please mod the parent post out of existence. Or at least the second paragraph, please.

      The top paragraph is fine, but the second is one is an incredibly stupid attempt at humor. I’m not a fan of stereotyping anyone for any reason and let my guard down while looking for a quick and easy joke.

      And on second listen, I noticed that the content of the podcast seemed merely cautionary about dealing with Chinese IP thefts and wasn’t anything outrageous, inflammatory or extreme.

  2. I’m sorry to say I have never done any kind of thread on any of my builds. This Mini was a project done in conjunction with Minitec out of Royston, GA. The body is stock but everything else is custom. It is a cross between a tube frame design and a full cage. The drivetrain is from An 03 Acura CL Type S. 3.2l V-6 J-series engine and a 6 speed manual transmission with a LSD. Around 300hp weighting in at 1650 lbs. 0-60 mph in as quick as 3.9 sec. The car handles awesome…usually. I am the only driver of it with the acception of BJ Hudson of Minitec, Al Unser, Jr and Brian Johnson from AC/DC.

  3. That was something to see! I’m sure most of us have a story about our car going into a weird spin and by the grace of God it wound up going in the right direction without hitting anything.

  4. Small cars get a little wacky with the least amount of input. A puddle mixed with a bump in the road will easily turn my Abarth from a fun little go-kart into a pants-crappingly terrifying carnival ride faster than Torch can identify an obscure tail light. I can only imagine a VTEC swapped rear engine Mini on a wet road. That would be the second most fun you can have while wearing pants.

  5. so, are we missing the real tagline for this video?

    “Juggalo witnesses insanity”?!??

    given the giant tattoo on the arm of the guy who caught it on film…

  6. I performed the exact same maneuver, in the same circumstances (merging onto a 4 lane) with the same result (damp trousers, no other damage), in my Mk1 MR2. I’m assuming (because it was cold) I hit black ice. You haven’t truly lived until you have faced oncoming traffic, not once but twice.

  7. Ok, I’m just an old, analog, gearhead so if someone can tell where and how to develop a build thread, I will. I have tons of pictures of not only this build but several other unique builds.

  8. The Mini isn’t my only J-series swap. I also have one in a Miata, an Element and trying to finish one in a Porsche 914. Needless to say, I love these engines.

  9. I can’t believe someone got that recorded. That is my Mini and see it is real. My father and I were getting back on the highway after having breakfast. Yes, it had been drizzling. I was accelerating to merge on the highway and we hit a slick spot just as the VTEC kicked in. In an instant, the car snapped. There was no catching it, it happened too quickly. When I finally regained control, we just continued on.
    The car is stock outside but it is a mid-engine rear wheel drive now. Around 300hp.
    The tires are not ten years old as someone suggested. With a car that small and that powerful, you have to be aware of age and condition of both the tires and the brakes.
    I’m glad it was caught on video, no one really believed it happened.

    1. Now it makes total sense. Short-wheelbase MR car on wet roads with that kind of power:weight? One mistake and you’re going for a ride. Especially if it had been a while before it rained before the drizzling. By the time you notice it coming around, it’s too late to do anything but put both feet in and hope.

    2. Two things. First I’m so jealous of your MINI. And second, I’ve been there when I hit a patch or frost on the highway between Anacortes and Burlington Washington in my buick. The police officer in the lane next to me was more than a little freaked out when he saw that I was looking out my windsield square at him through his driver’s side window. Once I got it stopped he pulled in behind me to make sure I was ok, and we had a nervous laugh before we went our seperate ways.

      Glad nobody got hurt and no damage to your ride.

    3. I’ve had that happen in a 40hp Mini 1000, in my case it was an ice patch at night on an otherwise dry road. When you hit ice or oil in something with that short of a wheelbase it can snap around on you in an instant. Well held!

    4. How dare you come in here with such a claim and not link us to a build thread.

      That car sounds mental, good work on keeping it under control in general, glad to see it not get pancaked during that incident.

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