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Garage Update! 1962 Morris Mini Cooper

It’s been a while since I’ve done an update on our Mini Cooper, so I thought I’d put a quick post together. Admittedly, not much has been done to it, since I’ve had a bit of an issue getting some machine work done. Rather than delve into that whole fiasco, I did a video about what’s going on with the Mini, which you can watch below. Hopefully, in the next week or so, we will be able to get back to work on this project! We are getting really anxious to get it done and ready to drive before the nice spring weather is gone. Be sure to watch the video below and let us know what you think of our projects in the comments.


  1. Avatar photo Nevadahalfrack Member

    Thanks for the video, Joshua. We know you two usually have a plate full but now we know it’s more like we’d find at a Basque dinner house!
    You bring up an interesting note with your Mini. What’s the history in using a 997 vs a 998?
    Is the 998 the same motor I had in my ‘61 Midget but driving the wheels differently?
    It sounds like the 997 flowed air better, possibly a performance engine-am I never in the same engine compartment with that thinking?
    That you both oversee BF and find time to build on your mechanical dream machines simultaneously speaks tomes for your ability to manage time-a very admirable ability and tough challenge for some of us, yours truly first and foremost!
    The more I read in BF, the more I realize how much there is to learn and many of your readers are good educators as well-but you two and your staff are incredible in your own right.
    Reading your forums daily has been a good filing of the hole left by the guy that caused a few of us to get in trouble during “study hall” when we would get caught reading his stories-the amazing Peter Egan. Thank you for that.

    Like 3
    • Avatar photo bobhess Member

      Your ’61 Midget had the same 948 engine introduced with the Bugeyes and carried through ’63 when the 1098 was introduced with the ’64s.

      Like 2
      • Avatar photo Nevadahalfrack Member

        Thank you, bobhess. I’d forgotten that! Now that you’ve mentioned that I remember the big excitement when the 1275cc came out and guys were talking about using the Mini S head on the 1275 Midget block—which ticked off the MGB owners with stock motors!
        Selective memory in my case leading to that lapse..

        Like 2
      • Avatar photo Howard A ( since 2014) Member

        Years ago, I watched them race at Road America. I tried to trade my MGB for a Cooper “S” once,,no deal. Always impressive watching them lift the inside rear wheel on hard cornering.

        Like 5
  2. Avatar photo Howard A ( since 2014) Member

    Well, shiver me timbers, in the almost 9 years I’ve been here, this is the 1st time I think I’ve ever actually “met” you. Needless to say, I’m mighty impressed. Reminds me of a young(er) me, except my projects always involved rusty beaters, where I had more projects than time, AND try and work in family and trucking. The obvious British flair is right up my alley, and we’ve all been right where you are, and yes, it can be overwhelming. I’ve found, rather than jump around from project to project, it’s best to prioritize and finish one completely, if possible. Nothing worse than having everything out of whack.
    I never liked the anonymous nature of the computer, and this site is like a bunch of buds, rapping about what they love, just no faces. We all have a story, or should. This may be a good time to introduce yourself. Here’s a recent picture of me, you can print and throw darts at, if you wish, this was taken at the “controls” of a diesel electric train engine, in Leadville, Co. I expected the Millennium Falcon for controls, but it was actually quite simple, and yes, the engineer looked EXACTLY like Charley Pratt. Keep us posted, as you know darn well, this is what most of us love, and refreshing to see you breaking your knuckles instead of us. You have the luxury of a wealth of knowledge with your readers, me, not so much. Peace all.

    Like 10
    • Avatar photo Nevadahalfrack Member

      Don’t sell yourself short, Howard. You’ve more than many about trucking and trucks plus you have a good knowledge base of car stuff some of us know little about. There’s always those that will think they’re all that and a bag of chips but you’ve corrected some of them-and fessed up when you learned something.
      FWIW, most folks here have never engineered a train-HO Gauge notwithstanding!

      Like 4
      • Avatar photo Bill

        Totally agree. As one who knows little about things automotive I am constantly amazed by the knowledge of the comments given here.

        Like 4
  3. Avatar photo bobhess Member

    Have raced against the Cooper S cars and they are fast. The 1275s in SCCA today are still in the upper F Production and GTL classes of the small bore cars.

    Like 2
  4. Avatar photo mini mike

    I’ve got a 63 997 which is line to be refurbished/ restored. Can you take some engine compartment pix and also interior shots for me for reference?

    Like 1
    • Avatar photo Joshua Mortensen Staff

      Yeah, I can do that. I’m planning on getting a little more comprehensive with the project once I have the cylinder head back. Our car retains all of its original mechanical bits, right down to the 997 specific brakes, so if you need any part numbers just let me know. Info is pretty hard to get on what’s correct and what interchanges, so I’m happy to help if it gets another one of these special little cars back on the road.

      Like 4
  5. Avatar photo Paul B

    This car is very cool. Good luck with the continuing build.
    I remember when these cars were new. They were great in autocross, lots of fun to watch.

    Like 3
  6. Avatar photo Pete McCarthy

    D& S valves in UK have rimflow ( best ) and std , 997 is a odd pony but not anthing that a good machine shop cant handle ( not so easy to find ) Try David at APT in Ca ,or Ive a good Porcha machine shop her in NJ . We race both mini’s and Lotus 7 in vintage events . I piety you with the SP 250 ( Dart in UK ) as Ive wasted months of time sorting old cutomers ( 3 x engine rebuild ) only in end to fine 180 thermostat was to high temp for Daimler block . If you have any ? about mini or 7 just call Pete

    Like 1
    • Avatar photo Jesse Mortensen Staff

      I think the engine in the SP250 is the best part of the car.

      Like 2
    • Avatar photo bobhess Member

      Jack at 7 Enterprises and Mini Mania are two good sources for engine parts. I get the British competition valve springs from Jack for our 1275 engines. One thing I’d highly recommend is getting heavy duty rocker arm shafts from Harland Sharp as the older thin wall shafts tend to break at either end. This applies to all the BMC engines.

      Like 1
  7. Avatar photo Maggy

    Now I know where my Matcbox car went after I lost it when I was a kid. Neat little vintage cars.I cruise one for sure.

    Like 1
  8. Avatar photo StephenT

    Hello Joshua and Jesse, it was great watching the video. Steve Tidwell here I’m the guy the won the auction of the Lotus Elan last year. It was interesting to see its old barnmates, the Mini and the Lotus 7. I have been working on the Elan but at a slower rate than I had hoped. I have rebuilt the brake calipers and replaced the rotors and master cylinder. Rebuilt the Webers and the fuel pump. I have also replaced the rubber donuts on the rear half shafts. The engine is running pretty well now although currently the cams are out as I’m in the middle of adjusting the valves. The car has yet to move under its own power. But I am hoping that will happen within the next week or so. I have replaced the clutch master and slave cylinders but I have no idea what condition the clutch is. My goal is to get the car drivable then I can evaluate the other areas. I’ll keep you updated as progress is made.

    Like 3
    • Avatar photo Jesse Mortensen Staff

      That’s great! Thanks for the update!

      Like 1
  9. Avatar photo Jimbosidecar

    Cool video. Looks like you need to make an addition to your shop. Your Mini Cooper brings back memories of my very first car purchase. I was 15 and a sophomore in High School when I found a 1965 Mini Cooper in a junk yard. Surprisingly for New Hampshire is was rust free. But it has a rod sticking through the front of the crankcase. I paid $25.00 for it in 1969. I was walking it home, like you would walk a dog when a cop pulled up behind me. He asked ,e what I was doing. I proudly told hi I just bought my very forst car and I’m taking it home. I informed me that what I was doing was illegal (no plates) and called a tow truck. My $25.00 investment quickly became a $50.00 investment with the cost of the tow. Working on everything that I had the knowledge and skill to work on, like airing up the tires, and cleaning it inside and out is about all I could manage until I found a guy in Manchester NH that must have had 5 or 6 Mini Coopers in his basement. He sold me a bare crankcase for $75.00 but I never made use of it. A friend had a racing kart that I wanted so I ended up trading my car for a kart. During the time I had the Mini Cooper I did find another car that needed a bit less work. A 1956 Austin Healey 100.4. And then to make sure I got to school and work on time every day I had to buy a 1962 VW Bug for $100 while I worked on the Healey. Still have the British car (and Bike) disease to this day. Not so make cars anymore, but around 35 old bikes.

    Like 3

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