The BMC Mini hardly needs an introduction. Alec Issigonis’ masterpiece is a marvel of clever packaging, thoughtful engineering and functional style. From its introduction in 1959 through the end of production in 2000, the Mini was a major commercial success. In spite of its compact dimensions and fuel sipping, economic nature, the Mini was a truly classless automobile that was loved by everyone from working-class British families to the likes of George Harrison, Steve McQueen and Princess Margaret. A brilliant design, the original mini incorporated a transverse front engine driving the front wheels, an integrated transaxle that shared engine oil, and ingenious rubber cone suspension that replaced traditional springs in the name of space and weight savings. While the rubber cones did provide progressive springing, the ride was quite firm but well controlled imparting the Mini with kart-like handling– a fact that was not lost on any self-respecting petrol head in the 60s. In 1964, the Mini received an upgraded suspension that Issigonis and Alex Moulton had originally intended for the car. Called “hydrolastic”, the sophisticated system utilized compact units at each corner that contained a rubber spring, with an interconnected fluid system acting as the damper. The system was highly effective and improved the Mini’s ride quality without effecting the razor sharp handling.
Issigonis was fervently opposed to his baby participating in motorsport. This was a car that was all about efficient packaging and economy, and he didn’t particularly like the idea of his cars being thrashed around a racing circuit or through a muddy forest rally stage. But Surrey-born John Newton Cooper had a much different idea. Together with his father Charles and his friend Eric Brandon, John Cooper had built the legendary Cooper Car Company which had won multiple Grand Prix world championships, countless sports car races and created the rear engine revolution in motorsport. As they faced ever increasing competition in open wheel racing, Cooper saw massive potential in the Mini and through a series of thoughtful and careful upgrades, turned the Mini into one of the greatest performance cars of all times. To this day, the Mini Cooper (as it became known) is remembered for winning the grueling Monte Carlo Rally, and for taking the fight to the massive 7-Liter Ford Galaxies and six-cylinder Jags in the British Touring Car Championship. There is a reason why this is one of the all-time greats.
This absolutely delightful 1966 Austin Mini Cooper S 1275 has been fully restored to correct original specification and is a fabulous example of the original giant-killer. Finished in it's original classic color scheme of Almond Green with contrasting Old English White roof, this genuine Cooper S retains all of the correct go-fast bits that make the Mini Cooper so special. Along with the Cooper-tuned hydrolastic suspension, it also features widened steel wheels shod with 10-inch radial tires, disc brakes, twin fuel tanks, and a finned alloy sump. The suspension has been fully rebuilt with many brand new components and it works brilliantly. Providing the motivation is its original numbers matching 1275 cc A-Series engine that breathes through twin SU carburetors. This engine is strong and tight, as is the integrated gearbox, delivering a massively entertaining drive.
Our Mini’s miraculously roomy cabin has been restored with correct black upholstery and trim and presents extremely well. To the average passerby, there is very little about this Mini that hints at its tremendous ability, particularly in this understated color scheme, but a keen enthusiast will surely spot the subtle flared wheel arches and fat steel wheels along with that telltale “S” on the boot lid. There are few cars better suited to classic rallies and events, and this genuine matching numbers Cooper S is a serious contender in most any regional show or driving event.