1962 Morris Mini Cooper 997 Saloon
|Engine||In-line 4-cylinder, 997cc|
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. Thanks to 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. Fed by twin SU HS2 carburettors and rated at 52 horsepower, the long-stroke 997cc engine fed power to the front wheels through a four-speed gearbox with remote gear shift and synchro on 2nd, 3rd and 4th gears. Lockheed hydraulic brakes providing superb stopping power, with 7-inch discs up front and 7-inch drums at the rear, while independent suspension all round incorporated rubber cones and hydraulic shock absorbers. Australian production of the 997 Cooper commenced in September 1962 and a total 4,167 were assembled from CKD kits between November 1962 and December 1964, before the Cooper S appeared. Originally priced at 950 pounds, these early Coopers with their sliding windows and single tanks are becoming increasingly hard to find, particularly in good, original condition and have a period charm all of their own.