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Lot 127: Austin Mini Cooper

Classic, Collectors, Sports and Prestige Cars, Barons (16 July 2012)

Designated by Leonard Lord as project ADO15 (Austin Drawing Office project number 15) the Mini actually came about because of a fuel shortage caused by the 1956 Suez Crisis. Petrol was once again rationed in the UK, sales of large cars slumped, and the market for German bubble cars boomed. Lord, the somewhat dictatorial head of BMC, reportedly detested these cars so much that he vowed to rid the streets of them and design a 'proper miniature car'. He laid down some basic design requirements: the car should be contained within a box that measured 10 4 4 ft (3 1.2 1.2 m); and the passenger accommodation should occupy 6 ft (1.8 m) of the 10 ft (3 m) length; and the engine, for reasons of cost, should be an existing BMC unit. Alec Issigonis, who had been working for Alvis, had been enticed back to BMC in 1955 and, with his skills in designing small cars, was a natural for the task. The team that designed the Mini was remarkably small: as well as Issigonis, there was Jack Daniels (who had worked with him on the Morris Minor), Chris Kingham (who had been with him at Alvis), two engineering students and four draughtsmen. Together, by October 1957, they had designed and built the original prototype. The ADO15 used a conventional BMC A-Series, four-cylinder engine but it departed from tradition by having it mounting it transversely. the four-speed transmission was lubricated by the engine-oil-in the sump. This layout allowed front-wheel drive and despite meeting the stringent dimensional constraints of Leonard Lord, passenger room was impressive. The radiator was mounted at the left side of the car so that the engine-mounted fan could be retained, but with reversed pitch so that it blew air into the natural low pressure area under the front wing. John Cooper owner of the Cooper Car Company, designer and builder of Formula One and rally cars, and a friend of Issigonis, saw the potential of the Mini for competition. Issigonis was initially reluctant to see the Mini in the role of a performance car, but after John Cooper appealed to BMC management, the two men collaborated to create the Mini Cooper, a nimble, economical and inexpensive car. The Austin Mini Cooper and Morris Mini Cooper debuted in 1961. The rest is history. This 1969 example of a 998cc Cooper, has benefited from a full restoration in the late 1990,s and is complete with a photographic record. The history file contains MoT certificates from 1982. This is a numbers matching Cooper, which was originally supplied new in Southampton. The car was MoT tested in March 2012 and passed with no advisories. Finished in Island blue with snowberry white roof and black vinyl interior, the car is fitted with a rare, Weathershield fabric sunroof.

Lot Details
Auction Classic, Collectors, Sports and Prestige Cars
Barons, Sandown Park Exhibition Complex-Esher Hall
Lot Number127
Outcome NOT SOLD
Hammer Price-
Hammer Price (inc premium)-
Condition rating
Registration numberRCR 220G
Chassis numberCA25B01255429A
Engine number9FDXEH2958
Engine capacity (cc)
Engine - cylinders
Number of doors2