One of the most recognisable cars ever made, the original Mini was an instant success when its production started in 1959. Its front-wheel drive and transverse engine layout influenced a generation of car makers and became one of the best-selling cars in Europe.
With all four wheels “pushed out” to the far corners, interior space was maximised and a wide stance achieved. This gave good balance and nimble handling. The transverse engine planted weight over the front tyres, providing excellent traction and grip. It therefore comes as no surprise that there was soon an appetite for more sporting models. The renowned racing car builder John Cooper crafted these to meet homologation rules for Group 2 rallying.
In 1963, Mini launched the ultimate ‘Pocket Rocket’, the Mini Cooper S. The model was hugely successful in competition, with a 1071 Cooper S winning the Monte Carlo Rally in 1964, driven by the legendary Paddy Hopkirk. Mini followed this up with further wins in 1965 and 1967. In 1966, first, second, and third-placed Minis were all disqualified after the finish, following a controversial decision declaring that the cars headlights were against the rules.
The new model “S” underwent a number of changes, most important being that it featured a productionised version of the well proven Formula Junior engine supplied by Morris Engine which had a capacity of 1071cc. Large servo-assisted disc brakes were also added. 4,030 original Cooper S models were produced and sold until the model was updated in August 1964. The 1071’s successor was the more recognisable 1275, a version built in much greater numbers, with 14,313 cars produced.
The Cooper S we are offering for sale is a highly original example with matching numbers. It was dispatched on 29th October 1963 and retains its original Wiltshire registration number, 755 CWV. The car was supplied new via S.A. Fuller Ltd in Bath. It is believed that the car has covered approximately 75,000 miles from new, whilst having just three previous owners.
The first owner was Sir John Norman Valette Duncan OBE, who passed away in 1975.
The second owner, who worked for the BBC, kept the car for 36 years. During the final 14 years of his ownership, the car was in storage.
The third owner, a mini collector, purchased the car in 2011 from a shed in London. He had the car repainted and recommissioned.
The present owner acquired 755 CWV in 2016 following a three-year search to find a genuine and original Mk 1 Cooper S which he could use to participate in historic rallies. He commissioned Peter Banham Motorsport to prepare the car for the 2018 Coppa Milano San Remo Rally, which the car completed without fault. More recently the car has benefited from thorough servicing by ourselves to ensure the car is ‘on the button’ and running well. The car remains in thoroughly good order with no signs of damage or abuse from competitive use. It also benefits from re-trimmed reclining front seats, a rev counter and a Motolita steering wheel, as a tip of the hat to the works’ Mk 1 Cooper S.
Interestingly, a heritage certificate accompanies the car, confirming the car was originally specified as having Tartan red paint with a black roof, red and gold trim and a fresh air heater, other than the black roof, this is how the car presented today.
This is a very genuine and well sorted example of the sought after 1071 Cooper S Mk.1 and even by today’s standards, this 1960’s icon offers thrilling performance and handling.