Lot 234 - 1968 Austin Mini Cooper
|Odometer reading||614 miles|
|Estimate||£10,000 - £15,000|
|Result||Sold - £13,500|
Designed by Alex Issigonis in 1959, a new concept in car design was born. With a monocoque shell, transversely mounted engine and front wheel drive, the new 'Mini', as it was commonly known, soon became popular across a broad spectrum of the population. The potential for competition use was soon realised by John Cooper and, although Alex Issigonis was less keen, BMC were finally persuaded and worked together with John Cooper culminating in the birth of the Austin Mini Cooper and the Morris Mini Cooper in 1961. Victories in the 1964, 1965 and 1967 Monte Carlo Rallies set the Mini on the road to fame but probably the greatest publicity was gained from their (somewhat unfair) disqualification for lighting irregularities in the 1966 event after coming in 1st, 2nd and 3rd.
This 1968 Mk II Cooper has been considerably well cared for throughout the last decade; starting with a previous owner who raced historic Minis and bought UAB847F to prepare and compete in historic rallies. The works undertaken at that stage involved a full restoration of the shell including A panel wings, front end panels, complete floor and sills. To the interior upgrades included laminated heated 'works' rally front windscreen, GP2 arches, fibreglass bonnet, works dash, 100mph speedo, internal battery cut off, a full roll cage with welded, strengthened plates and new carpets. Further to this extensive list the owner added new or refurbished suspension, fully adjustable front/rear camber and tracking, up-rated shocks and refurbished sub frame, front Cooper S 7 ½ discs with rear minifins, quick steering rack, S-type track rod ends and a rear mounted Lucas lamp.
After this significant and no expense spared build, the former owner had a change of heart and, before he went about changing the car to a 1275cc engine rally monster, decided to part with the car which then ended up in the hands of yet another enthusiast who decided to keep this as an original 998cc engined Cooper and create a road going car that would still be competitive in the Historic Race/Rally scene. Upon purchase, he set about rebuilding the 998 cc engine with the engineering work carried out by Thurstones which included a resleeve back to standard bore, checking and polishing the crank, balancing crank assembly, end to end balance pistons and rods, cutting new valve seats and fitting new guides, dummy building engine to measure deck height before then machining head for desired competition ratio.
The engine build was carried out by the owner and specified to provide a little more power but, more importantly, a reliable small bore engine capable of keeping up with modern traffic while still being smooth and driveable at low revs. The cylinder head was ported to Stage 2/3 with new valves/springs and a lightweight flywheel, Megadyne 266 cam, new pistons, bearings, clutch, oil pump and water pump installed with twin Su's fully stripped, sonic cleaned, then rebuilt. A new exhaust system from the manifold back, double core radiator, new starter motor and alternator were completed while a full quick shift gearbox rebuild by Essex transmissions and a central oil pick up were also fitted at that point.
After completion and a new MoT certificate, the services of Peter Baldwin at Wilshire's Garages were called upon to set up the car. Whilst the engine was not built with 'power' at the forefront of the build, the car showed 67 bhp at the wheels, and Peter suggested that a re-run after some more miles would show 1 or 2 more. Immediately after that came a geometry set up at Regency Autos in Cambridge, where it was found that the front end had been losing a further 1 or 2 hp through the tyres resulting in a perfectly 'planted' car that can be driven either in a spirited manner when the roads allow or if necessary, at a crawl in slow traffic. And with the full roll cage able to be fitted in a matter of moments, you could even try your hand at historic race or rallying.
Offered with a valid MoT test certificate, Heritage certificate and an impressive history file, this well restored and hugely enjoyable Mini is certainly one to have and, with prices for early Coopers on the rise, also one to hold.
Previous lotLot 233 - 1969 Volkswagen Beetle 1300
Interested parties should satisfy themselves as to the description and condition of each lot prior to the sale. Buyers are advised to inspect the car in person or use a professional to carry out this service.