Think back to what you were doing in 2013. Do you even remember? I was living on the other side of the country, and I didn’t own any of the cars I own now. Back then Nik Blackhurst and Richard Brunning were just getting started on a ridiculous little project car in a small shop in Shropshire, England. They turned the project into a little YouTube sensation in the process. And guess what, it’s still not done.
I’ve known about Bad Obsession Motorsport and the ST185 Toyota Celica GT-four drivetrain they planned to swap into a vintage Mini body shell, dubbed Project Binky, for years. I’ve been subscribed to the YouTube channel for years, but have always felt that there was no good diving-in point for the multi-year project with incredibly obsessive fabrication and attention to detail.
A week ago, after several weeks quarantined at home, I bit the bullet and jumped into the first episode with both feet. Shit, I wish I hadn’t waited this long. Everything about this show is amazing if you’re even remotely handy with a wrench. Starting with two running but sloppy jalopies, the pair meticulously disassemble, repair, fit, fix, and re-fit everything to this car.
Compared to these guys, I’ve half-assed every project I’ve ever taken on. It’s astonishing how meticulously cars can be built. I can turn a wrench pretty well, and I can install parts with the best of them, but fabrication has never been one of my strong suits. Just one episode of Project Binky and I was forced to sit down and wonder if I’ve wasted my entire automotive existence. Why bother painting if you can’t be van Gogh? It’s a true existential crisis. Maybe I didn’t need to add another one of those to my brain right now, but it works.
This show is seven years of progress on a single car project. Crucially a car project the protagonists thought they’d be driving in six months. But goddamn if it’s anything but entertaining as shit. The dry Brit wit mixes quite well with everything I already know about engineers. The show has all of the stuff I need out of a car program with none of the manufactured drama and ridiculous timelines.
If you haven’t watched this show yet, go ahead and click play, but be prepared to lose the next week of your life to CAD templates, cutting, welding, planishing, captive-nutting, etch priming, tea drinking, make-the-noise-ing, and getting the funk out. The first four episodes are fast paced and intense. After that the project slows down as serious attention is paid to the details.
The car finally went in for paint in the autumn of 2020, so the whole process hasn’t yet found its end, but it’ll give me something to look forward to. The future is a little bleak right now, so it’s nice to have another positive thing to await eagerly.