1969 Morris Mini Saloon 'Cooper S MKII' Replica
|Wheels||Performance cast alloy|
The Mini is so much more than just a car - it has become a cult object, a phenomenon and a piece of Twentieth Century industrial design revered around the world. Designed by Sir Alec Issigonis, the Mini was perhaps the first truly successful small car and the marvellous packaging endowed it with truly amazing load-carrying abilities. However, the Mini had other talents, not least of which was excellent handling and roadholding, two factors exploited by John Cooper, legendary builder of racing cars and the man who helped Sir Jack Brabham win his first World Championship. Cooper took a standard Mini and installed a more powerful Formula Junior engine along with front disc brakes and created a high performance variant - naturally enough called the Mini Cooper - in 1961 that was easily recognisable thanks to the distinctive two-tone paintwork. Early Mini Coopers ran 997 or 998 A-Series engines but the ultimate variant was the 'S' using the 1275cc version of the motor with 76bhp on tap. Australian production of the Cooper S began in September 1965 and no more than 5,000 were built by April 1969 using Completely Knocked Down (CKD) kits - the local variety differed from its English cousin in having twin fuel tanks for better range, a laminated windscreen, revised floorpan to cope with our rougher roads and three-point seatbelts. The Mini Cooper dominated tarmac racing and rallying both at home and abroad and regularly upstaged the local Fords and Holdens here in Australia. The Cooper S has long been recognised as a classic in its own right and today genuine cars are becoming increasingly hard to find, as reflected in the steady rise in prices over recent years.