Lot 062: Mini Cooper S 970
The original Mini Cooper was launched in 1961 when Alec Issigonis' friend John Cooper, owner of the Cooper Car Company and designer and builder of Formula One and rally cars, saw the potential of the Mini for competition work. Initially 1,000 cars were commissioned to meet the homologation rules of Group 2 rallying, all fitted with a race-tuned 997cc engine producing 55bhp with twin SU carburettors, a close-ratio gearbox and front disc brakes all uncommon at the time in a small car.
A more powerful Cooper S was developed in tandem and released in 1963. This featured a 1071cc engine with various modifications including a nitrided steel crankshaft and strengthened bottom end to allow further tuning, plus servo-assisted disc brakes. However, Cooper also produced another version of the S specifically for circuit racing and rallying in the under 1,000cc class. This had a 970cc engine and was only produced for two years during which time just 963 were made.
This particular example is one of those 963 cars. As its accompanying Heritage Certificate confirms, it was built in August 1964 and despatched to dealers Stewart & Arden of Acton, although it was not registered until March of the following year. An accomplished rally driver, the current vendor, Dennis Cardell, acquired the car in March 1969 and immediately set about preparing it for the 1969 International Welsh Rally as this was the last year of international homologation in the up to 1,000cc class.
With co-driver Randal Morgan beside him, Dennis attacked the rally with vigour, setting the fastest times in his class on all the stages, though sadly a road penalty meant that he was denied first place and had to settle for second in class. After the rally the 970cc engine and gearbox were removed and put into storage and the car was converted to 1275cc specification, competing in several more rallies until it was retired in 1971.
The car then remained in storage for many years until, in 2005, Dennis decided to have it fully restored to original specification. The restoration took five years to complete with virtually every single part of the car repaired or renewed as necessary. This included a full rebuild of the original 970cc engine (which was bored out to 999cc and balanced) plus a rebuild of the original gearbox. Brakes, suspension, steering, electrics and interior were also renewed and the bodywork restored and resprayed in its original Almond Green with an Old English White roof. Brake lines and fuel lines were placed inside the car for safety and the petrol pump moved up into the boot, these being the only deviations from standard.
The car was finally returned to the road in 2011 and has only covered some 250 miles since. With an MOT until November and taxed until June next year, this matching numbers car remains in excellent condition and is sure to be of interest to any Mini collector. Brightwells has photocopies of the old V5, MoT and tax disc - the original versions are with DVLA, until they return them to the vendor.
Classic & Vintage Cars & Motorcycles|
Brightwells Auctioneers and Valuers, Easters Court, Leominster, Herefordshire, HR6 0DE
|Hammer Price (inc premium)||-|
|Registration number||DYW 392C|
|Engine capacity (cc)||970|
|Engine - cylinders|
|Number of doors||2|