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REPRINTED WITH PERMISSION OF MC2 MAGAZINE June/July 2009 Issue · www.mc2magazine.com

Seven Enterprises has been putting passion into every custom engine they've built since 1974. In fact, you could say that they are...

by Peter D. DuPre

hink about it. Your are restoring your classic, building it for racing, or just trying to get the most out of the engine for street use. Who would you rather do the work? Would you choose a local machine shop that says they are familiar with Mini engines, or would you spend a few bucks extra and ship your engine to the people who have over 35 years of expertise in the field? When you think about it, it's really a no-brainer. You send the engine to Seven Enterprises, they are experts who have the experience and parts to assure that your rebuilt engine is actually better than the one that originally came our of Longbridge. Furthermore, the company does a lot more than build-up Mini engines: they also supply parts, accessories and tech support for all Mini variants, including the Austin and Morris Mini, Mini Cooper, Mini Cooper S, Mini Moke, Riley Elf, Wolseley Hornet, 1275 GT Clubman. Although they have been California-based since 2002, the company got started in Newport News, Virginia back in 1974 when Michael Abramson and George Sykes (now

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deceased) put together a small retail store and mail order warehouse that was run out of a garage. Sometime shortly thereafter, partner Mike Kearney joined the business and a new direction for the company started to evolve. Kearney had both a Mini racing background and previously owned a repair shop. In fact, he founded Fortech Racing back in 1970, which has become extremely well known in classic Mini racing over the years. The facility in Newport News didn't really lend itself to the direction in which Seven Enterprises was heading, so in 2002 they packed up lock, stock and barrel and moved the entire operation to their current 6,000 sq. ft facility in Auburn. Here they were able to properly warehouse parts and accessories, set up a complete engine machine shop, install two service bays, add a lift and store up to five Minis, so multiple projects could be in progress at the same time. Seven's long-time support of Mini racing and the fact the company has sponsored the championship-wining Fortech Mini for some 20 years, has fully cemented the

company's reputation as a performance and racing parts organization. However, Kearney is quick to point out that the company actually offers much more than race parts. "It's true that we have an unrivaled depth of performance and racing parts," says Kearney, "but we also are a full-service Mini supplier. We don't just keep the fast moving shiny parts, but stock those hard-to-find restoration parts for Mk1 Minis and Mokes, too, with the largest classic Mini inventory in North America." Building a Better Engine While the company does an excellent job as a supplier of all things Mini, it is in their machine shop that their reputation is fast becoming paramount, thanks to the skills of machinist/engine builder Steve Maxwell. Combined with Mike Kearney, they have been building championshipwinning Mini engines for over 35 years. All told, the pair has won four SCCA National Championships with the Fortech Mini: they are the only staffers at Seven who build customer engines and they pay the same attention to detail on stock rebuilds as they do full-race powerplants. They also sell meticulously rebuilt engines as complete units. The process starts with a carefully selected core from a late model Mini or MG Metro engine in the UK that is shipped to California from their agent in the UK. This engine is then disassembled, parts sorted and cleaned, and the block is then machined on a Sunnen CK-10. The main bores are checked for micro accuracy, the block is surfaced and then the engine is reassembled. Every engine they rebuild is fully balanced: crankshaft, connector rods, and pistons, plus the complete assembly is put on a StewartWarner balancing machine. The transmission unit is also carefully gone through to meet Seven standards and the entire unit is then put on a test stand to be fully tested and proper run-in before it is shipped to the consumer. Of course, quality doesn't come cheap. Overhauled units can range from $5,335 to $6,600, depending upon engine type, but for this money the purchaser gets quality and reliability. While rebuilt engines can be costly, the company strives to always offer their customers the best possible on all parts. They review prices with every shipment they receive from the UK and if an exchange rate has dropped, that saving is passed along to the customer. They also offer courtesy discounts to members of legitimate clubs. Another thing to understand about these guys is that for them, Minis aren't just a business. Apart from the Fortech racing team they sponsor, the staff of Seven Enterprises is a group of enthusiasts who drive their cars on an almost daily basis. Michael Abramson has a `60s Cooper S being built as a vintage racer. Kearney drives a 1967 to work every day and also owns a 1964 1071cc Cooper S, plus a restored 1968 Mk2 Cooper S, 1962 Mini Traveller, 1967 Moke project, and of course the Fortech Mini. Sales manager Jack Holdaway has owned over 30 Minis and currently drives 1969 Mk2, plus has a number of Mini project cars. His daily driver is one of the Mini variants - a 1966 Vanden Plas bodied 1100. Mini owners who still need a reason to do business with Seven Enterprises need to understand the company's philosophy. According to Mike Abramson, it is quality. "Our golden rule is that we want to deliver quality of information, products and service at all times," says Abramson. "We try to thoroughly and accurately describe the products we list on our website. We stock quality brands and we are conscientious in responding to customer feedback about anything we have sold."

Seven Enterprises 12215 Locksley Lane, Unit Seven Auburn, CA 95602 800.992.7007 (USA Lower 48 only) 530.886-0771

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