2018 Shannons Sydney Winter Classic Auction
1964 Austin Mini Cooper 998 Saloon
|In-line 4-cylinder, 998cc
|Empire Red with black roof
|Red & Grey
This lot is no longer available
If Alec Issigonis’ revolutionary Mini introduced the world to a new genre of small cars in 1959, John Cooper created what was arguably the grandfather of today’s hot hatches. With its front-wheel drive layout, the Mini was endowed with handling that put it ahead of many established sports cars and was soon tearing up the racetrack as drivers put these abilities to good use, earning a Giant Killer reputation along the way. With so much potential for tuning, a high performance derivative was inevitable and it was Cooper’s garage that supplied the necessary ingredients to properly exploit the inherent abilities of the Mini’s chassis. Blessed with more power from the 997cc engine and better braking thanks to tiny but effective discs up front, the Mini Cooper embarked on a stellar motor sport career culminating in outright victories in the Monte Carlo Rally in 1964, 1965 and 1967. The engine capacity was altered to 998cc in 1964, the shorter stroke unit proving much sweeter than the original 997, while running changes mirrored the new Cooper S introduced the same year, including the switch to Hydrolastic suspension and a diaphragm clutch in September 1964, along with optional reclining front seats and twin fuel tanks from November 1965. In 998cc form, the A-series motor had a bore and stroke of 64.59mm x 76.20 mm, was rated at 55 horsepower at 5800rpm and used twin SU HS2 carburettors, allowing for a top speed of 90mph. Although exact production figures are difficult to determine, there were 4,546 Austin Coopers built in 1964 (no breakdown between 997 and 998 versions is available), plus a further 4,683 badged as Morris (including CKD kits exported to countries like Australia) and surviving examples are now highly desirable collector’s cars.