Lot 201 - 1965 Morris Mini Cooper ‘S’ Mk. I (1275cc)
|Odometer reading||76,990 km|
|Estimate||£34,000 - £40,000|
The notion that the Mini might have a future as anything other than basic transport was an anathema, the idea of a high-performance version was laughable. One man though, saw it quite differently. Racing car manufacturer John Cooper already knew quite a bit about tuning BMC's A-Series engine, he was running the company's Formula Junior effort at the time and a test drive in a prototype Mini convinced him of the car's competition potential. The Mini Cooper soon established its credentials as a rally and race winner and the stage was set for even faster versions. The first of these, the 1071cc Mini Cooper 'S' of 1963, took engine development a stage further and provided the basis for the 971 'S' and 1275 'S' of 1964.
Over the years of success, there were more than twenty assembly/manufacturing plants for Minis established around the world. In the early years of the Mini, the majority of Minis that came to life outside of the UK were assembled from CKD (Completely Knocked Down) kits. Everything the assembly plant needed was shipped as a kit from England and assembled into the final product. Sometimes some local changes were made; e.g., the few South African 1071 Cooper Ss had a solid colored interior instead of the more familiar brocade. These changes could have been only a matter of changes for marketing reasons but usually they were driven by 'local content' laws; meaning simply that Minis could be assembled in a country as long as a certain percentage of the total content of the car was produced in that country.
This lefthand drive Morris Mini Cooper 1275 S benefits from a recent ground-up restoration to near concours quality in the correct early type, (lighter shade RD9), tartan red with black roof. The car was exported on 3rd July, 1965 in kit form and is an original lefthand drive car assembled in Portugal. It was registered to its first owner on 10th November 1965 and remained in Portugal until 2016.
Discovered as an abandoned project, the previous owner started a restoration in spring 2013 with every component being refurbished, renewed or replaced. All the bodyshell details were revised and rectified, using new panels where required. Front and rear subframes were sandblasted and repainted and, for reliability, 'dry' suspension was used. The engine was completely dismantled, inspected and rebuilt using new parts only when the originals were not suitable to re-use. The first step was to make the revision of the AEG312 'S' short block. Therefore, after verifying the good status of the crankshaft, pistons and con rods, it was fitted with new parts such as pistons rings, bearings, seals, oil and water pumps. A duplex vernier timing gear and chain set was fitted along with a new camshaft kit. The original AEG163 head was beyond repair so a replacement Stage 3 head was sourced from Minisport. The gearbox received the same attention as the engine benefitting from a total strip and inspection before rebuild using new baulk rings.
A complete and new wiring loom was installed along with all new electronic components throughout the car for safety and reliability. The entire interior was retrimmed in the correct Newton Commercial, (UK), red and gold brocade with new seat covers, door cards, carpet, headlining and boot board. The car is fitted with very rare original 3.5" Cooper S wheels, (including spare), all running on Dunlop tyres and has an MoT test certificate valid until March 2018 with no advisories. We are informed by Mini specialists that it would be very easy to convert to righthand drive if desired; at an approximate cost of £800.
The accompanying history file contains a UK V5 registration, a Heritage dating certificate and a photobook of the restoration. Very difficult to fault, this is a unique opportunity to purchase a very rare original lefthand drive car in such outstanding condition that, for most, would simply be impossible to achieve. With UK righthand drive examples in this condition commanding well over £50,000, frankly, this looks like incredible value especially given the rarity and wow factor.