More vintage cars are getting the restomod touch these days, and the classic Mini Cooper is no exception. But not every vintage Mini has to cost you a small fortune. The later Rover ones, for example, are still reasonably priced. However, some early Minis are bargains, too. And that includes some of the spicier models, like the 1967 Austin Mini Cooper S listed on Bring a Trailer.
John Cooper turned the Austin Mini from a road car into a racing monster with the Mini Cooper S
Although it’s now part of the car’s name, the original Mini wasn’t a ‘Cooper.’ Technically, it was either Morris Mini or an Austin Seven, depending on which version you bought. Or, as a catch-all term, a BMC Mini, as BMC owned both brands. But it wasn’t long after the original car’s 1959 launch that the ‘Cooper’ name arrived.
While the modern Mini Cooper hatchback is still a compact car, the classic Mini is minuscule by comparison. And its compact dimensions, combined with a low curb weight and small wheels at the body’s extreme edges, made it extremely agile. The ‘handles like a go-kart’ saying genuinely applies to an Austin Mini, Hagerty says. Plus, its front-wheel-drive/front-engine layout delivered excellent traction. But that agility wasn’t enough to overcome its power deficit in the 1960 WRC season. At least, not until John Cooper got involved.
John Cooper was a British racer, team owner, and manufacturer who won both the 1959 and 1960 F1 Constructors Championships. It’s safe to say he knew a thing or two about building race cars. And he saw some untapped potential in the Austin Mini. It just needed a few key upgrades.
Those upgrades arrived in 1961 with the first Austin Mini Cooper. Cooper enlarged the Mini’s original 848cc four-cylinder engine to 975cc and fitted it with twin SU carbs, Petrolicious reports. So, instead of 37 hp, the car had 55 hp. He also upgraded the hatchback’s suspension, installed front disc brakes, and gave the four-speed manual new gear ratios.
But something even hotter was on the horizon. In 1963, Cooper and BMC released the Austin Mini Cooper S. This version had bigger brakes and an even bigger 1071cc four-cylinder with beefed-up internals. That was enough to let the Mini win the 1964, 1965, and 1967 Monte Carlo Rallies. And to expand the Mini Cooper S’s racing prospects, BMC released a 76-hp 1275cc model in 1967, MotorTrend explains.
There’s a classic Mini Cooper S on Bring a Trailer
The 1967 Austin Mini Cooper S Mk I currently listed on Bring a Trailer is one of those 1275cc models. And being a 1967 model, it also has twin fuel tanks and the Mini’s trademark fluid-filled Hydrolastic suspension. Plus, it has an oil cooler, Moto Lita steering wheel, fender flares, sliding side windows, and a heater.
This 1967 Austin Mini Cooper S also has a few choice modifications. The front seats have shoulder belts, for one, and the car now has a Super Pro tachometer. A previous owner refinished the car and rebuilt the engine. And during the engine rebuild, they also installed a performance camshaft. In addition, the seller says a previous owner replaced part of the driver’s floor and the battery box.
While this Mk 1 Mini Cooper S has a few cosmetic imperfections and underbody corrosion, it’s in good condition overall. It also comes with a certificate of authenticity and extensive service records. And speaking of service, the seller recently adjusted the valves, serviced the brakes, and tuned up the ignition. They also replaced the tires, fan belt, and radiator hoses.
Original Coopers have their quirks, but this S is a vintage hot hatch bargain
As of this writing, this 1967 Austin Mini Cooper S is listed on BaT for $16,000 with three days left in the auction. Given that it’s an authentic classic Mini Cooper S, that’s a below-average price. A fair-to-good condition example usually costs about $20K-$30K, Hagerty reports.
Although classic Minis aren’t without their share of problems, this 1967 car’s service history suggests breakdowns shouldn’t be an issue. But even so, maintaining a vintage Mini Cooper, S or otherwise, is fairly cheap, Hagerty says. There are plenty of parts available from BMW and other suppliers. And in the featured car’s case, someone already performed a restoration, which should save future owners some cash.
In short, this Austin Mini has the makings of an affordable classic that’s still fun to drive. And not just on paved city roads, but impromptu forest rally stages, too, Road & Track notes. So, if you want to get your Monte Carlo Rally on, consider putting in a bid.
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