Last post on Dec 24, 1999 at 9:24 PM
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#4 of 13 From Another British Car NUT
Dec 20, 1999 (5:05 am)
Nigel Shiftright:If I can find one in good shape with the 1275 engine, I'd buy it! For sheer fun, it is the tops but I would not want to drive it across country. I was in England the other day (business) and amazed at the number on the road. Did you hear about the gathering of Mini fans in the UK earlier this year-huge number turned out. The UK magazine Classic and Sports Car voted it the car of this century. The MG 1100/Austin 1100 was roomier and just as much fun but not as fast and also with that confounded engine and transmission using the same lubrication system you were lucky to get 50,000 miles out of a set of bearings. Also on my list is an A-H 100-4 and an MGB and of course a Morgan +4. The former are selling in the UK for upwards of 20,000 pounds sterling- as much as a Morgan !
Dec 21, 1999 (3:23 am)
And an MGB is a helluva lot more practical than a Morgan, too in the UK, so I'm not surprised. I mean, gee, a heater, roll up windows, nice ride and a strong smooth engine...that's 4 things a Morgan doesn't have to offer.
But a Mini, there's really no substitute, and it's quite cosy in the cockpit. True, they are a bit fragile, but then not many people have them as primary vehicles.
#6 of 13 There once was a man from Boston...
Dec 22, 1999 (9:37 pm)
Who drove a little Austin.....
How about the Mini Cooper wagons? I saw one last summer at a British Car meet. How rare were these?
Dec 23, 1999 (3:16 am)
Isell - Erm, I don't think there was a Mini Cooper Wagon. Two variants of "estates" (British name for station wagon) were produced by the Cowley (Morris) and Longbridge (Austin) assembly plants, but neither had the Cooper tweeks. At a car show in the U.K. I did see a coach built Mini hatchback, of all things, that apparently was done up by BMC for the Minister of Transport in the 60s. Wish they had brought that out...
Richard from Winter Springs, were we are sadly reflecting on the cost of replacement trim panels for Magnus -- $185 USD for a vinyl dash rail, ack.
PS Isell - I love your stories on the Disgruntled Buyers topic - great thread, that!
#8 of 13 Well, what was it?
Dec 23, 1999 (3:59 am)
There were a line of Mini Coopers. One was a "wagon" or at least I thought it was. It might even have had wood paneling on it.
No, I'm not confusing it with a Morris Minor wagon. They had a couple of those there too.
Maybe it was a custom job or something?
Dec 23, 1999 (7:40 pm)
There was an Austin Mini 850 Wagon, but it was not a Cooper, is what I'm seeing from the dusty leather-bound tomes I have consulted.
Dec 23, 1999 (11:26 pm)
I guess I thought all Minis were Coopers. Thanks for going into the attic!
Dec 24, 1999 (12:56 am)
No, a "Cooper" is a Mini built to a certain specification, which I am not yet certain of in all the details, except that it was first available in 1961. The books just say "A Cooper was a Mini built to "sports car specifications", whatever that means. You can have an Austin Mini-Cooper or a Morris Mini-Cooper, and I'm not certain what, if any differences there are between Austin Mini-Coopers and Morris Mini-Coopers.
But (phew!), none appears to have come out in a Cooper spec as a wagon.
Dec 24, 1999 (3:26 am)
Nigel and Isell -
Well done, you are correct -- First Mini Cooper was introduced in 1961. By association with John Cooper, (Formula 1 World Champion car constructor 1959/60) BMC added a 997 cc engine, twin SU carbs, teeny front disk brakes and a few other miscellaneous bits and bobs to a Mini de Luxe and they started selling like hotcakes.
This was redesigned in 1963 with the introduction of the 998cc Cooper of 50 HP or so.
The ultimate Cooper model was the 'S' specification. The largest engine that could be produced on the boring machines was 1275cc (this on a block originally set to 850cc). This car contained many 'race/rally' ready features and was designed to do one thing - win races. The engine had a stronger crankshaft, huge sodium filled valves, special extractor manifold, larger brakes, twin petrol tanks, etc etc. This spec produced 76 HP in standard form, enough to propel the little brick to 99 MPH and a 0-60 of 10.5s. It was faster from 30-70 MPH in top gear than a 911. This car won the Monte Carlo rally in 64, 65, and 67 in what could be called 'stock' form.
About 100,000 Coopers were built from 1961-69, with approximately 50,000 of the S spec.
We actually found Magnus (1275 S) after we met Mr. Cooper at his Honda dealership in Ferring, W. Sussex in 1993. We had our Accord serviced there, and, after we indicated our interest in Mini's, he put us in touch with Geoff, who had restored Magnus.
Mind you I have only had Magnus up to about 80 MPH when we had him in England. I could never quite screw up the courage to go much faster, but it was always fun to surprise the daylights out of the company car drivers when smoking them on the Motorway with 'just' a little Mini...I kind of slowed down when I started seeing daylight through the panel gaps around the doors (!) from the vibration...
These days we just drive him for fun. My three year old gets a blast out of taking a drive on Sundays, especially when we overtake the slugs in the SUVs (ooops, is that politically correct?)
PS Best Mini Book I have (and we have them all, just about) is 'Original Mini Cooper' by John Parnell, pub circa 1993.
PPS Long live Mr. Bridger!
#13 of 13 Once upon a time...
Dec 24, 1999 (9:24 pm)
A crowd of us guys were sitting in fromt of the local Taco Bell. This was a hangout at the time for the guys with hot cars. The parking lot usually had some pretty nifty wheels sitting around all polished up.
This guy who was kind of a wannabee, dorky type had what he thought was a pretty hot V.W. bug. He had spent tons of money on a big bore kit, special exhaust etc. for a VW, it was actully pretty fast out of the hole.
Well, one night some stranger with a green Mini Cooper " S" model showed up. At the time, few of us had seen one, and the guy with the VW was quick to challenge him to a race. he had to prod the guy several times, insult the Mini etc before the guy took the bait.
Well, much to the amusement of all of us, the Cooper made the VW look like a Cushman Motor Scooter!
Never saw the guy again but all of us were left with a healthy respect for the stranger with that wierd looking telephone booth on wheels!