Displacement: 1,275 cc
Horsepower: 75 bhp @ 6,000 rpm
Engine Torque: 79 ft lb @ 3,000 rpm
Top Speed: 98 mph
0 - 60 mph: 10.1 seconds
click on image to enlarge
Possibly the most iconic car of the sixties, the Mini was the brainchild of a brilliant, Greek-born, British national, named Alec Issogonis. He had fled Greece with his mother in 1922, ahead of the Turkish invasion and settled in England, where he studied engineering, before going into the automotive industry.
In 1956, just as Britain was starting to get back on its feet, after the War, it was hit again with fuel rationing. This time, it was due to the Suez crisis. This led to a major slump in the sales of large cars and a strong demand for smaller, more economical transportation. This heralded the rise of the microcar, and in particular, the German 'Bubble' cars, the rather peculiar looking, tiny vehicles, often built by the former warplane manufacturers like Messerschmitt and Heinkel. Leonard Lord, the then head of the British Motor Corporation, purportedly, so loathed these 'overgrown motorcycles', that he vowed to build a 'proper miniature car' instead. He determined that this new car should fit in a box measuring 10' x 4' x 4' and that three fifths of its length should be devoted to passenger accommodation. Armed with this very specific brief, he approached Issogonis, who in turn, with a fittingly minute team, came up with the first prototype in October of 1957. It was a miracle of space efficiency, with not one iota wasted. In fact, the current world record stands at 27 people fitted inside one!!
To maximize the interior space, amongst other ingenious features, Issogonis opted for sliding windows in the doors, thereby allowing more elbow room where a regular wind-up window would normally go. This left room for a large storage pocket to run the entire width of the bottom of the door. In uniquely British style, he was said to have based the dimensions for the pocket, on its ability to hold a bottle of Gordon's Gin!
The first production version was demonstrated in April 1959. It was marketed under BMC's two main brand names, both as the Morris Mini Minor and the Austin Se7en (a name that harkened back to Austin's most popular prewar model). They were, of course, a tremendous success, ultimately selling 5,387,862 examples!
Issogonis's long-time friend, the Formula One racecar builder, John Cooper, thought that there was tremendous rally-winning potential in the Mini and so, after negotiating with BMC management, the two men collaborated to create the Mini Cooper. They started by increasing the displacement of the original engine from 848cc to 997cc. They then added twin carburettors, a close ratio gearbox and front disc brakes. The car was launched to great acclaim, in 1961. Such was the demand, that an even more potent version was developed. Dubbed the 'S', it featured a 1,071cc engine with a toughened crankshaft and larger, servo-assisted brakes. This was further uprated in 1964 to 1,275cc and these became the most successful Minis ever produced. In addition to numerous other prestigious victories around the world, the Mini Cooper S won the Monte Carlo Rally in 1964, 65 & 67 (the Cooper S also finished 1st, 2nd & 3rd in the 1966 Rally, but they were unjustly (and ludicrously) disqualified for using a non-standard headlight switch.
Consequently, the 1,275cc Cooper S is the most sought after variant of all the Minis produced. Offered here is one such example. A factory left hand drive version, delivered new to California in late 1965. Finished in its original colour scheme of Almond Green with an Old English White roof, the body and undercarriage are entirely rust free and in excellent condition. Likewise, the interior trim is all correct, as per the Heritage Certificate. Mechanically, its original, matching numbers engine, runs beautifully and its legendary handling is as keen now, as it was fifty years ago.
With only 6,489 built, factoring for attrition, a genuine 1,275cc Austin Cooper S, in any condition, is a rare find. So, an all matching numbers example, complete with Heritage Certificate, in superb shape throughout is virtually unheard of, making this a very special opportunity indeed.