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Nasty Cute: 1965 Austin Mini Cooper S

If you fancy yourself someone for whom The Italian Job is the movie of all movies, then what the heck are you doing not driving an original Austin Mini? The chance is right in front of you, via an auction here on ebay that has just shy of three days left to go. The car is, to be exact, a Mini Cooper S, from 1965, and it’s for sale in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. The price is just short of $15 grand, but the reserve is not met at that number.

The engine in this car is the 1.3-liter four-cylinder with a listed mileage of 30,200. There’s some mention of heritage including early conversion to a hill-climb and SCCA racer, and then a return to street specs followed years later by restoration to its original condition. It now waits with just a few mods, including wheels and steering wheel. In case you’re wondering about its heritage as a true 60s classic, as opposed to a more modern manufacture (they made these until 2000), look at those external door hinges and that spartan interior.

This one’s for Susie Q. Who was that? My mom’s 1960s Austin Mini, the car of my childhood. I’ve loved them ever since, but you rarely see them in the market. Too many rusted away ages ago. Even in England, their homeland, these cars are rare, and often if you find a good one, it’s been imported, usually from New Zealand. So what’s the story on this car? The pictures are mostly left to tell the tale. The ad does say the car sits on its original chassis, though there’s no mention of prior rust repair. If you were going to nitpick, you’d maybe look at the door seam and hood seams, which don’t seem perfectly even. On the other hand, that’s not necessarily a sign of a hit or rust repair, more like what came from mass production. But it is odd that a set of complete studio shots like this car is advertised with doesn’t include a look underneath. I’ve seen these where the rubber suspension mounts are attached to basically nothing, the rot is so bad. Hard to believe that a car this nice up top would be hiding anything, but it would be nice to see it for one’s self. Fortunately, there’s a book of  paperwork to back up the heritage.

Those of you whose life is tied up in the various varieties of Mini—you do remember the Innocenti Mini?—can tell us what the prose in this ad does not, but I’m keeping my eye on this one. Susie Q rusted away after having its floor replaced, twice. But as her spiritual successor, this car speaks to me. I just don’t know what the number is on it that would make me happy. What’s your value for this runabout?


  1. Andy Frobig

    Well, it’s academic because if I had 15 grand, I’d probably buy three or four motorcycles, but I would love this. I’ve always thought the Mini (the real one) was very cool, and I’m 5’4 so driving this would make me look and feel like a grownup!

    Like 11
    • tvrpaul

      Love it that you said the real one. I am sure the newer Mini crowed has no clue as to what the story is of the Mini Cooper S that you see on the new cars, and as to size of his as compared to the new ones, forget about it

      Like 1
      • bobhess bobhess Member

        I’m part of the Mini crowd that has a pretty good knowledge of the Mini history, particularly the mechanical side as the Spridgets had the same engine line. We’ve got several still running in SCCA including rear drive conversions that were implemented a few years ago. Amazing what they can do in a fast corner on a race track. We’re on our second “new” Mini, one of which, unfortunately, is a 2011 turbo that’s made up out of a Renault engine. If you run across a N18 associated with a Mini keep running.

        Like 2
      • Pat Barringer

        Not sure but in 65 it should have a 997 or 998 motor the 1275 didnt come out until later

        Like 2
  2. Chris Cornetto


    Like 4
  3. Joe Mec Member

    There is no feeling like driving an original Mini very fast. I had to drive home once in the rain and had time constraints. I was doing 80! It feels so much faster because you are closer to the ground! It’s like driving a roller skate!!!!
    This one looks like a nice example. I’m glad it has a 1275 motor!!

    Like 15
  4. Bud Sumner

    Cooper s came with 2 gas tanks

    Like 3
    • Michael Cooke

      Sorry Bud the early one’s only had one tank,the r/hand tank was optional on the early car’s.but they did become standard fitment after a while…. have a look on the MK1forum.net there’s absolutely tons of information.

      Like 1
    • carguy49

      That’s what I thought

      Like 1
      • Timothy Vose


        Like 0
  5. Jonathan Green

    “You were only supposed to blow the bloody doors off!”

    Had to be said.

    Like 2
  6. Bullethead


    Like 0
  7. Rob Jay

    They’re a blast to drive, like a go cart. This one looks exceptional, would love to have it.

    Like 3
    • Steve

      I ordered one just like this one in may 66, pick up in Oxford, drive around UK, and ship home to Chicago. Got to dealer, they said BMC went on strike, no car! Bought an MGB $2350 shipped to chicago.

      Like 0
  8. rancher

    I had a 67 RHD Mini 998cc panel van that was a blast!

    Like 0
  9. Michael Cooke

    Not on the early one’s they were an option.

    Like 0
  10. Jimbosidecar

    My very first car was a 1965 Mini Cooper S. Paid $25.00 for it when I was 15. I was “walking” it home when I got stopped by a cop. Said I shouldn’t have an unregistered car on public roads. I mentioned the obvious that I wasn’t driving it home. He ended up calling a tow truck and my $25 investment doubled to $50 because of the tow. I’d love to have another original Cooper S

    Like 1
  11. Derek

    Minis’re braw! The only one I ever had that was less-than-braw was an 850 automatic.

    Like 0
  12. Frank Barrett Member

    Had a tired early 850 in ’66-68. For every hour I drove it, I spent an hour working on it, but I’d do it all over again. So much fun, so many stories! If the underside checks out, this is a no-brainer. Seats need work, but you’d probably want to replace them with something better. It’s at $18,700 now (Monday PM) with a day to go.

    Like 2
  13. Dan

    Bidding is up to $18700. Any serious seller would include pictures of the underside. And any quality restoration would address any fitment issues and do a better job upholstering the shotgun seat. But the documentation appears generous; I would have to see all of it in person if it really reflects the car’s mileage. For the current bidding price I might be tempted to take this home.

    Like 0
  14. Andrew Hyatt Masset III

    Lived in London back in the late 60’s. My upstairs neighbor had a Mini and drove me to a R&R concert in Bath in hers..it was a great ride and had 4 of us in it..Harrods has one sitting in the ground floor display in London right now…

    Like 0
  15. robj Member

    Always wanted once since a nearby neighbor had one and I would ride my Schwinn Stingray there to drool. Never did get a “real one”. but a neighbor had an ’05 “S” model, [love that supercharger whine]. It threw a belt due to a bad tensioner and had sat for more than a year. Offered him $500 and a few thousands later it’s been a solid runner. Dynoed 25 over stock and I love me my Borla exhaust. Not as small as the original but not nearly as big, [or heavy] as later models. Most fun I’ve ever had with my pants on. That being said, would still love an original!

    Like 1

    My best friend had an ‘06(I think) Cooper S and I had an ‘07 Civic Si. We went for a drive in rural Missouri and swapped cars, man that Mini was fun to drive! Made beautiful noises as well. Few years later I was at a car show in Fenton, MO and someone had their og Mini Cooper S entered. When I looked in the engine compartment I saw a turbocharged Honda K- series with the 6 speed and limited slid. Placard said it made 350whp. Can you even imagine? I still have the pictures somewhere on my hard drive. It was bright metallic orange and had modern, 17” mini lites and modern Recaro-style seats in it. I’d love to go for a drive in something like that, but I might be too nervous!

    Like 1

      Limited SLIP! Not slid, stupid spellcheck.

      Like 0
  17. Aussie Dave Aussie Dave Member

    I hate Mini’s, lol
    Many moons ago, a mate and I went from Brisbane to Lismore, via the back way, off the main hwy.
    I had my Holden HQ Kingswood (202ci, straight six, triple Weber’s, basically GTR XU1 specks). Sitting in 80mph (told you it was long ago, pre kmh). A Mini passed me like I was standing still. At 110mph, I couldn’t catch it, hence why I hate them.
    Google Holden HQ Kingswood, and Torona GTR XU1 to find out what I’m talking about.

    Like 2
  18. Robert Atkinson, Jr.

    I smile thinking of “The Italian Job” (the 1969 original, with Michael Caine, not the 2003 remake with Mark “Markey Mark” Wahlberg). Jay Leno did a very funny parody of the opening scene with the Italian thief driving a Maserati Mira on his show, “Jay Leno’s Garage”.

    Like 0

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