History of Model
In 1956, the Suez Crisis caused the folks at Austin to invite Alec Issigonis (later Sir Alec) to design a new car to combat what they saw as looming fuel rationing. When he had finished, the engine was the only part of the car that was not completely new.
The compact four-seater famously mounted the enlarged A30 engine transversely, driving the front wheels through a four-speed box located in the sump. Independent all-round hydrolastic suspension used ingenious rubber blocks in compression.
The first prototypes ran in October 1957 and the car was launched in August 1959 with several thousand being pre-built for dealer stock. While the Morris version was called the Mini Minor, the Austin was known as the Se7en, but the name never caught on and soon they were all known as Minis.
The top speed of the first 33-hp models was 70 mph, and the Mini's excellent handling soon attracted tuning specialists. With BMC's agreement, race builder John Cooper produced the first Mini Cooper in 1961. The engine was 997 cc tuned to produce 65 hp, and with twin SU carbs, top speed rose to 85 mph. The Mini began its rally career in 1962. In 1963 the Cooper S with 1,071 cc was quickly followed by the 1,275 cc, which delivered 75 hp and 100 mph. From 1964 to 1967, the Mini was almost unbeatable and would have won the Monte Carlo Rally three times in a row, save for a last-minute rules change. Production of the Mini Cooper continued to 1967 and 44,859 were made. BMC built the Mini Cooper S until 1971, by which time 191,242 had been made.
The first classic car we used wass a 1964 Mk 1 Austin Mini Cooper S 1275cc. We hired the car from HERO who have a range of rally prepared classic cars you can hire through their Arrive and Drive scheme.
This particular Cooper S was added to the Arrive and Drive fleet in 2009 and was fully restored, rally prepared and ready to go. An utter delight to drive, she goes like a bomb and would shame a go-kart on the twisty stuff and then gets mobbed by adoring public whenever you stop! Unfortunately the mini is no longer on the fleet and we miss our mini days.
• 1964 Mini Cooper S
• finished in red
• black interior
• twin fuel tanks