SketchUp Model for Mini VTec Front Subframe

A year ago I started the process of putting a VTec into my classic round-nose Mini.
It’s been quite a process.
One of the things I found lacking was the amount of digital assistance or plans for subframes. It would seem lots of people just go for a pre-made frame – which is all well and good if you get access to them. However, being from New Zealand, we’d have to pay double to get one shipped here.
So our only option is really to build our own.

I’ve spent ages looking through other’s builds and chatted with a few different people who have made their own. All of them used the original subframe towers and built off it. At this point I’d like to thank Dutchy for his build journal (, which is quite a good guide for identifying a) what to do and b) what to look out for.
One of his photos outlines a bunch of measurements which were instrumental in being able to complete my subframe build. It took a while to convert all the inches to mm though! However, photos can only show so much detail from one angle, and are not terribly easy to build from in a 3D space.
So, I wanted to give back in some way, for those who are looking to build their own subframe, and want something digital to work from.

Now that I’ve essentially got a frame that is fitted into the Mini, and the Engine also fits in the frame, I took a bunch of measurements from my frame, and spent the last few days creating a 3D model of the subframe in SketchUp. This is as close a model as I’ve been able to make to reflect my frame measurements, as well as, being as close as possible to the shape and dimensions from the original subframe.

Download from SketchUp

While I’m not going to absolutely guarantee that EVERY measurement is 100% accurate, I have tried to be as close to the actual sizes and dimensions as I can. I’m certainly no SketchUp guru, so there may be some better ways to create some of the nuances of the shaped metal subframe towers. For this, I just used a box with some shape modification.

At the very least it should provide any builder a starting point to take initial measurements from. And from that you’ll be able to make small adjustments as you build the subframe so that it fits in your Mini.
I’m still in the process of finishing off the subframe, so there may still be some changes to come. But for now, this is pretty much the final dimensions for you to use.
Let me know any feedback you have.

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