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Classic Mini Cooper & Cooper S: Buying guide and review (1961-1971)

Classic Mini Cooper & Cooper S: Buying guide and review (1961-1971) Classic and Performance Car
Classic Mini Cooper Classic Mini Cooper Classic Mini Cooper S rally car Classic Mini Cooper S rally car Classic Mini Cooper S rally car
In the anthology of bad decisions, Dick Rowe must take the gold prize; he’s the bloke who told Brian Epstein that Decca wouldn’t sign the Beatles because ‘guitar groups are on the way out’. But the gong could so easily have gone to Alec Issigonis, who took a lot of persuading that drafting in John Cooper to build a hot Mini would be a good idea. To Issigonis, the idea of a souped-up Mini flew in the face of the car’s raison d’etre – economy above all else. 
Thankfully the famously stubborn Issigonis was prepared to listen, and one of the all-time great partnerships was born, that of BMC and John Cooper. The latter was well versed on the black magic involved to successfully tune the fairly weak A-series engine. There were of course many problems, with camshafts, crankshafts and timing gear chewed up regularly. In the end, it was these issues that eventually the lead to Cooper ditching the standard 848cc engine. While the block was retained, the stroke was increased resulting in a 997cc capacity. 
With the increased displacement came some carefully balanced upgrades. A spikier camshaft, bigger inlet valves, twin SU carbs, a three-branch exhaust manifold helped the breathing, while domed pistons raise the compression ratio. Performance was significantly increased, while reliability didn’t suffer too much. 
The Mini-Cooper was an instant hit, but development didn’t stop there. From 1963 that original 997cc became obsolete, swapped out with an updated 998cc from the Riley Elf - with a few Cooper tweaks. 
While the standard Cooper evolved and improved though, it turned out that there was a significant demand for something with a bit more performance. This was satisfied in the form of the Mini Cooper S, the car we’re looking at in this guide
Which one to buy?
Highly coveted today, there were three major variations of the S over it’s lifespan. Rarest today are the 970cc versions which followed on from the initial 1071cc cars. The best remembered, and by far the most common are the 1275cc cars, utilised between 1964 and 1971.
Due to the serious desirability and collectability of genuine Cooper models, combined with serious values, there are many counterfeit Coopers around so it pays to do your homework. With almost 120,000 Coopers of all flavours produced, it can be difficult to spot a well-produced fake. 
Your best chance to avoid being stung is to research any potential purchase thoroughly. Know exactly what you are looking at, and contact the Mini Cooper Register for extra help. It’s also worth investing in a copy of John Parnell’s originality guide; it’s essential reading if you’re not to be duped. 
Performance and specs
Engine 1071cc, four-cylinder
Power 70bhp @ 6200rpm
Torque 62lb ft @ 4500rpm
Top speed 90mph
0-60mph 13.5sec
Fuel consumption 29.4mpg
Gearbox Four-speed manual
Dimensions and weight
Wheelbase 2038mm
Length 3054mm
Width 1397mm
Height 1346mm
Kerb weight 686kg
Common problems
• Early on, it’s fair to say that most Coopers would have been driven hard, and many are still enjoyed enthusiastically to this day. While they are built to take a certain amount of punishment, the engines do develop a number of issues. 
• A smokey, oil-burning A-series is not uncommon and is something that will affect most at some point. The main culprit is worn piston rings and bores. If the top end of the engine sounds overly noisy, then the rocker gear needs attention. 
• Overheating is also a potential problem, although this affects standard Cooper models more than the more substantially-cooled S. 
• Most rough running can be traced to badly adjusted carburettors. When they are worn out or incorrectly balanced it can make a cooper feel rather unpleasant to drive. Sorting is a cheap and relatively easy process, as there’s still plenty of mechanics skilled in the art of setting up these carbs. 
• Cylinder heads do have a habit of cracking between the valve seats. As the Cooper came with larger valves, cracks can form if and when the engine gets too warm. These cracks might not be evident, however a badly misfiring engine could be a warning sound.
• The Mini’s gearbox has always been known as fragile, even in standard form, and the Cooper is no different. Sharing its lubricant with the engine means that it needs special attention. 
• Going without a synchro on first gear until 1968, all models featured a four-speed transmission. Some may have been converted to five-speed today, while earlier cars might have also been retrofitted with a later all synchromesh ‘box. 
• If the shit doesn’t feel quite right, it’s likely that the nylon bush has become perished, but this is a cheap and easy fix. 
• Driveshaft rubber couplings also have a limited lifespan, especially if they are contaminated with engine oil (most have some form of leak). Post-1966 S models used Hardy-Spicer needle-roller couplings which are much stronger, but all other cars need regular coupling replacement, at £150 a time. 
• It depends what age of car you’re look at as to which suspension set-up you get should be seeing. Early cars got the standard rubber cones and telescopic dampers, but post-September 1964 Coopers got the more advanced Hydrolastic set-up. The company reverted to the classic set-up as of 1969. 
• Many Hydrolastic cars have been converted to the more simple set-up but it’s a difficult job to put it back to standard, so ensure you are happy with what you’re buying. 
• Standard rack-and-pinion steering should feel direct and responsive, as one of the car’s defining characteristics. Sloppiness of an inconsistent feeling is a sign that a new rack is needed. Thankfully, this is a relatively cheap and easy job to carry out, with spares availability extremely good. 
• With such tiny wheels, it’s no surprise that the Cooper’s brakes are equally diminutive. If the car is driven hard, they struggle to cope, so worn and scored discs are quite normal. With virtually everything being available to rebuild any Cooper braking system (standard calipers are obsolete), there’s no excuse for poorly anchors and in this case safety should come before originality. 
• Standard Minis featured drums all round, while the Cooper had seven-inch discs at the front; S discs were half-an-inch greater in diameter. Upgrades to S specification are common, and usually seen as acceptable – but even this may not be enough to rein in a very hard-driven car.
• Rust is a serious issue for every Mini ever built, and the Cooper is just as prone. Virtually every panel is susceptible to the tin worm, and it can seriously affect the value - so do be thorough with your checks. 
• The floorpan and bulkhead should be first on your checklist, followed by the front wings, and all outer panels – paying special attention to the seams. Rear wings rust through, and the rain gutters can also cause issues. 
• It’s likely that the sills will have been replaced on more than one occasion, so check them for any corrosion or dodgy patches. Doors and bootlids tend to rust just as badly as the rest, so again - check every panel! 
• Out of everything, the A-posts are generally considered to be the most difficult area for repairs, so take a good poke around this area. 
• Interior trim was varied and extensive, and incorrect parts are common. The various Coopers featured all sorts of different trim and instrumentation combinations.
Model history
Mk1, Oct 1961-Jan 1964: Chassis nos. prefixed C-A2S7 (Austin) or K-A2S4 (Morris), engines prefixed 9F, 55bhp, 54lb ft from 997cc. 24,860 made. 
Mk1, Jan 1964-Oct 1967: Chassis nos. as above, engines prefixed 9FA, 55bhp, 57lb ft from 998cc. 64,224 made. 
Mk2, Oct 1967-Nov 1969: Chassis nos. prefixed C-A2S8 (Austin) or K-A2S6 (Morris), engines prefixed 9FA, 55bhp, 57lb ft from 998cc. 16,396 made. 
1071S, Mar 1963-Aug 1964: Chassis nos. prefixed C-A2S7 (Austin) or K-A2S4 (Morris), engines prefixed 9FSAH, 70bhp, 62lb ft from 1071cc. 4031 made. 
970S, Mar 1964-Jan 1965: Chassis nos. as 1071S, engine prefixed 9FSAX, 65bhp, 55lb ft from 970cc. Just 963 made. 
1275S, Mar 1964-Jul 1971: Chassis nos. as 1071S until introduction of Mk2 Mini in Oct 1967. From then, prefixes are C-A388 (Austin) and K-A2S6 (Morris); from arrival of Mk3 bodyshell in March 1970, cars carry B-20-D prefix. 1275S engines have 9FSAY prefix, 76bhp, 79lb ft from 1275cc. 14,313 made, with another 6329 Mk2s and 19,511 Mk3s built.
Owners clubs, forums and websites
• www.britishminiclub.co.uk
• www.miniownersclub.co.uk
• www.minicooper.org
• www.theminiforum.co.uk
• Minispares.com
• www.moss-europe.co.uk
• www.minisport.com
Summary and prices
All Coopers are great to drive and unlikely to depreciate, but the pick is the Mk1 1275S, built between April 1964 and September 1967. With a perfect blend of performance, relative availability and charming looks thanks to the Mk1 bodyshell, this is the Cooper that has it all.
As long as you buy a good one, you’re pretty much guaranteed to see your Cooper go up in value. But as soon as you slide behind the wheel, all thoughts of seeing the car as an investment will go out the window. 
This really is a car that redefines the joy of driving – and that’s in standard form. Thanks to its iconic status there’s no shortage of specialists willing to sell you bits to make the Cooper even better to drive, and you won’t need to spend a fortune either.
For many years the focus has been on the Cooper S, but the standard Cooper is now also significantly sought after, resulting in increased values for these cheaper cars. But you can still get a decent Cooper for little more than £12000; the S typically carries a 25% premium. 
The cheapest Cooper S is the 1071, followed by 970cc editions; the 1275 is the one everyone wants and a really superb one of those can fetch as much as £35,000 today. Restoration projects start at £3500, or £10,000 for an S – but check the car is genuine before buying!
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Last updated: 13th Jun 2016
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Mini Cooper cars for sale

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Mini Cooper
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  • Mini Cooper S

    €15,000(£12,987) €15,000(£12,987)

    JUST 37.960 KMS SINCE NEW Brand Mini Type Cooper Color Black Interior Black Year of build 1999 Price € 15.000,- 1994 MINI COOPER S A classic british icon A lovely car that is a pleasure to drive Extremely low amount of kilometers The last of the “real” Mini Coopers Over the Years. The concept was always unique – and to this day the MINI remains unique in all its features, qualities, and characteristics: It was fifty-six years ago, to be precise on the 26th of August 1959, that British Motor Corporation (BMC) proudly revealed the result of their development activities in creating a new, revolutionary compact car. The performance versions, the Mini Cooper and Cooper “S,” were successful as rally cars, winning the Monte Carlo Rally in 1964, 1965 and 1967. In 1966, the first-placed Mini was disqualified after the finish, under a controversial decision that the car’s headlights were against the rules. On introduction in August 1959 the Mini was marketed under the Austin and Morris names, as the Austin Seven and Morris Mini-Minor. By 1989 Rover had assumed responsibility for Mini production and was producing sporty looking versions named the Flame Red, Racing Green & Checkmate (black) ru

    • Year: 1999
    For sale
    The Houtkamp Collection


    1999 CLASSIC MINI 1275 In Traditional Colours of Red with White Cap and Stripes. Extensive Spec. includes ; Height Adjust Poly Bushed Suspension, Large Bore Stainless Exhaust, Gaz Shocks, Twin Tanks, Extensively Modified Sound System Built into Boot, Alloy Wheels, Fully Detailed Engine Bay Etc. Etc. A real eye catcher and in superb order throughout. Priced to sell. RHD - £9,995 PLEASE NOTE THAT WE ARE CURRENTLY HAVING ISSUES WITH OUR 'CONTACT PAGE'. PLEASE CONTACT US ON 01636 812700 OR VIA sales@sherwoodrestorations.co.uk

    • Year: 1999
    For sale
  • Mini Cooper S JCW

    £11,995 £11,995

    Black JCW Cloth Piano Black Veneers Multi Function Steering Wheel Cruise Control Radio CD Boost Bluetooth Telephone Chilli Pack Full Factory JCW (Engine, Suspension, Brakes, Body Styling & Wheels) Rear Parking Distance Control 17″ Alloy Wheels Full Mini Service History + 1 Specialist

    • Year: 2010
    • Mileage: 15900 mi
    For sale
  • Mini Cooper Sport 500 Previously cherished by the author Lee Child

    £24,950 £24,950

    A fabulous low mileage Mini Cooper Sport 500. On 4th October 2000 after a 41 year and 5,387,862 cars Mini production finally came to an end. To celebrate this fantastic little car the last 500 cars to roll off the line were given the full sport pack and were numbered to mark their place in the final run. This fantastic example, number 378/500 is finished in British Racing Green and has covered just 4,700 miles. The car has been fastidiously maintained and has a comprehensive history, every receipt relating to the car has been kept. Family owned until 2013 and kept by collectors since.

    For sale
  • Mini Cooper S Cabriolet Avenue Chilli Pack

    £10,995 £10,995

    Satellite Grey Hide with Black Piping Piano Black Trim Seat Heaters Multi Function Steering Wheel Cruise Control Radio BOOST CD with USB Bluetooth Telephone Sports Steering Wheel Wind Deflector Arm Rest Extended Interior Light Package Chrome Line Interior Chrome Line Exterior Foglights Heated Wing Mirror/ Washer Jets Headlight Wash Chilli Pack Rear Parking Distance Control 17″ Silver/Black Alloy Wheels Full BMW Service History

    • Year: 2011
    • Mileage: 49200 mi
    For sale
  • Mini Works Cooper GP


    Mini John Cooper Works GP 1.6 Supercharged 6 Speed Manual registered October 2013 finished in Thunder Grey with Black Leather and Alcantara interior, 17 inch Diamond Cut Alloys, Automatic Climate Control, Heated Black Leather and Suedecloth Sports Seats with Red Contrast Stitching, Bluetooth, USB and AUX IN, Electric Windows and Door Mirrors, Red Seatbelts, Full Mini Service History at Williams Manchester on 26/11/14 at 9,221; 19/12/15 at 24,176; 15/01/16 at 25,120; 15/12/16 at 35,392. Finance available on request - subject to status and terms. Ask about our Company Directors packages. Fully Valeted; UK Wide Delivery Available; Part Exchange Welcome.

    • Year: 2013
    For sale
  • Mini Cooper 1.6 JCW Look


    NEW PRICE REDUCTION Black & Red Hide Radio CD with Ipod Connection Cruise Control Navigation John Cooper Works Exterior (Side Skirts, Front & Rear Bumper) Electric Wing Mirrors Air Conditioning Clifford Concept 5 Alarm Rear Privacy Glass White Roof White Wing Mirror Caps 17″ White Alloy Wheels.

    • Year: 2003
    • Mileage: 109500 mi
    For sale
  • Mini Works Cooper


    Mini Cooper S 1.6 John Cooper Works Convertible 6 Speed Manual registered August 2008 finished in Eclipse Grey with Black Stripe Detail and Silver 17 inch Cross Spoke Challenge Light Alloys with New Continental Tyres All-Round, Mini TLC XL Pack so no Servicing Costs for the Next Three Years or 30,000 Miles, Black Part-Leather Front Sports Seats, Sports Button, Bluetooth, USB, Mini Boost CD, CHILI Pack, Carbon Fibre Leather and Alcantara Steering Wheel, Carbon Fibre JCW Gearstick, Carbon Fibre Handbrake Lever, Bi-Xenon Headlamps with Washers, Auto Climate Control, Electric Heated Door Mirrors, Electric Windows, Run Flat Indicator, JCW Bonnet Stripes, Thatcham 1 Alarm, JCW Floor Mats, Rear Parking Distance Control, Driving Stability Control, Dynamic Traction Control, Full Service History at 16,038 on 15/06/11; 36,681 on 03/07/13; 42,736 on 17/06/14; Chandlers BMW 61,207 on 16/07/15. Finance available on request - subject to status and terms. Ask about our Company Directors packages. Fully Valeted; UK Wide Delivery Available; Part Exchange Welcome. Follow us on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

    • Year: 2009
    For sale
  • Mini Works Cooper

    £9,995 £9,995

    Bluetooth, Xenon Headlamps, iPod Connectivity, Half Leather, Adjustable Steering Column, Parking Sensors, Multi-function Steering Wheel, Service pack, Full main dealer service history Wow... Not only is this car supplied with a FULL MINI MAIN DEALER SERVICE HISTORY, it also has a MINI service pack until 28/06/2018/80,000 miles. Also benefitting from recently having had 4 new Pirelli P Zero tyres fitted. Comes with 2 Keys, 12 Month MOT, Complimentary warranty and is Fully HPI clear. Specification includes; Bluetooth, USB, Xenon headlights, Chili pack, Multifunction steering wheel, Automatic lights and wipers, Parking sensors, Heated sports seats and much much more. We are based in Chesterfield less than 1 mile from M1 Junction 29a. Part exchange welcome. Viewing by appointment only. See what our customers say about us by clicking here (if the review link doesn't work, copy and paste the following web address into your browser and search) ...... http://www.autotrader.co.uk/services/car-dealers/uk/east-midlands/derbyshire/chesterfield/approved-used-cars-kent-ltd-chesterfield-dpp-10001273/reviews/true If you have any questions or would like to speak to us about this car please call, text or email anytime, any day.

    • Mileage: 57000 mi
    • Engine size: 1598
    For sale
  • Mini Cooper S BVA 184ch


    Features : 1st Main, Mirabeau, book a day Comment : Red hot chili pack, panoramic sunroof, automatic transmission, piano black finish, parking sensors, stereo Harman Kardon system, heated seats, alloy 17, bi-xenon, automatic air conditioning, bluetooth, gis, audio interface iPod, mp3, multifunction steering wheel .

    • Year: 2009
    • Mileage: 20199 mi
    For sale
  • Mini Cooper S Cabriolet JCW BVA


    Features : 1st Main, Mirabeau, Manufacturer Warranty Comment : John Cooper Works Pack black piano, parking sensors front and rear wheels 18 , GPS, automatic air conditioning, automatic transmission , xenon headlights black , harman kardon stereo system audio interface Iphone , Ipod, bluetooth, cruise control, pack hot spice .

    • Year: 2009
    • Mileage: 4972 mi
    For sale
  • Mini Cooper

    £13,695 £13,695

    *SIMILAR QUALITY CARS ALWAYS REQUIRED* SOLD Thinking of selling? Our proven commission sale or SOR (Sale or Return) program is a great way to utilise and access our professional services and facilities while still maximising the return from your vehicle with minimal hassle, stress and time, If you’d like to take advantage of this then please get in touch for further information. Alternatively If you’d like to move your vehicle on quickly and efficiently with minimal delay then we can make an offer on an outright purchase basis with payment and collection arranged soon after. A final Mini Classic Cooper Sport 2000 with one owner and 15,953 miles MODEL HISTORY Due to the immense popularity of the Sports Pack, an option on 1997-2000 Minis, Rover decided to release a final standalone model with it fitted as standard. The Classic Cooper Sport was born, and became the flagship of the Mini range. Just 2091 RHD Classic Cooper Sports were made from the last batch of production each with the unique SAXXNP chassis number. Today these are highly sought after and rare cars with just 587 known to the register EQUIPMENT Platinum Silver roof, door mirrors, and bonnet stripes, chrome brightwork, opening rear quarter windows, twin coachlines and decals, Mini winged bonnet and boot badges, derivative and GB boot badges, large body coloured wheelarch extensions, halogen headlamps, front driving and fog lights, heated rear window, cream faced instrument gauges including tachometer, water temperature, oil temperature, battery condition, analogue clock, alloy fascia, alloy gearknob, alloy door furniture, driver’s airbag, side intrusion beams, perimetric anti-theft alarm with passive engine immobiliser and remote activation, internal bonnet release. EXTERIOR This historically important Mini was made at the end of the line and is finished in British Racing Green, (Code WNS) with a contrasting Platinum Silver roof, (Code MNX). The paintwork boasts a beautiful glossy shine with a silky smooth and uniform finish which warrants the low miles covered. The purposeful Sport Pack, unmarked decals and bright chrome work complement the polished paint to create an outstanding appearance. The front bumper has a tiny mark along with the bonnet which does not detract from the show winning credentials. Factory stickers to the front and side glass remain and the correct Quadoptic halogen lights, driving lamps and front fogs are fitted. At the rear the proud GB, Sport chrome badges and dealer supplied number plate are present. Stunning. INTERIOR Lavishly trimmed, the full leather interior in Black and Nickle Silver, (Code WNP), is in incredible order thanks to the one careful custodian and low miles. Natural light veins to all seating is unavoidable but no wear to the silver inserts and silver coated steering wheel can be detected. The pristine carpets have been protected by genuine Mini Cooper velour mats and the door cards are perfect. The cream faced instruments set within the unmarked alloy facia function correctly along with all other controls. The correct CD player with the Mini logo remains fitted. Devine. ENGINE & TRANSMISSION The time proven Rover Group A-Series engine used in this final production car utilises the 1275cc unit mated to Multi-Point fuel Injection to lower emissions and increase performance to a refined yet punchy 62bhp. The delightful and unobtrusive rasp from the factory standard exhaust is a hoot! The engine bay is spotless and factory standard to allow exhibiting. The four speed gearbox is smooth, precise and a pleasure to use. WHEELS, TYRES & BRAKES Cooper Sport 13in alloy wheels with the correct green Mini centre logo caps remain in fantastic order and are still shod in matching Dunlop SP2000 175/50 R13 tyres. Although ample tread remains and original fitment is desired by collectors, due to age, a change is recommended. The servo assisted brakes incorporating front discs and rear drums bring the car to a prompt and assured halt. HISTORY FILE Registered new on 1st September 2000 by Rover Main Dealers, Mann Egerton of Norwich, this Mini Classic Cooper Sport 2000 has been owned from new by Mrs Dunham. The original new vehicle invoice confirms the model and the optional extras of pearlescent paint and a single CD player. The service portfolio handbook has the correct vehicle label sticker and 15 stamped entries with accompanying invoices to warrant the 15,953 miles covered. All handbooks contained within a pristine Mini black leather A5 wallet are present and a spare set of keys and remote remain in a clear bag. This example represents the pinnacle of the late Rover Mini incarnations, a firm must have for any classic Mini fan and collector. MOT August 2017, HPI Clear. To see a video of this car please click on the link below: https://youtu.be/r4CUB59hE_I To see a complete set of photographs of this car please click on the link below: https://flic.kr/s/aHskF4YZwN 'Like us' or 'Follow us' for exciting new cars coming soon at KGF Classic Cars: https://www.facebook.com/KGFClassiccars https://twitter.com/#!/KGFClassicCars

    • Year: 2000
    • Mileage: 15953 mi
    • Engine size: 1.3
    For sale
  • MINI Cooper

    £26,995 £26,995

    Variant name:Cooper D ,Variant: Cooper D Cloth Cosmos Black, Floor mats. velour, Inlay colour Carbon Black, Multi-function controls for s'wheel, Alarm system (Thatcham 1), Passenger airbag deactivation. front

    • Year: 2016
    • Mileage: 9593 mi
    • Engine size: 1.6
    For sale
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