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1275 CC: 1970 Mini Cooper S


Among cars not often seen as barn finds in the states is the original Mini Cooper S, like this one locked away in a garage in Miami and available here on eBay. The seller claims to have owned it for several years, and in that time, the motor has been removed and disassembled. These Mark II S-model Minis are highly collectible and I’m not surprised to see the active bidding already underway. 


The pictures aren’t the best, but from what I can see, this appears to be a fairly solid car. There’s one spot on the roofline that looked like rust but the seller has de-bunked as a can of paint that spilled. Though I don’t see any obvious corrosion, cars locked away in steamy garages in southern Florida often don’t fare well. The good news is that aside from the engine being apart, the rest of the car looks to be intact.


In the classic British tradition, this Mini is right-hand drive. The wood dash appears to be in good shape as do the bucket seats and three-spoke steering wheel. When project cars sit, they tend to get worse with age or start having parts go missing, either out of absentmindedness or because the owner begins selling the good bits off to fund other projects. Fortunately, it appears this Mini Cooper S has avoided both scenarios, though it’s hard to know if moisture and mildew have settled into the interior.


The engine is apart and comes with both new and used components, but the desirable S-specific heads are not present. New bearings and forged pistons are included in the sale, so this Cooper S could have some nice upgrades already purchased and paid for by the current owner. While this listing is still woefully short on the details, bidding is approaching $3K with over six days left and the reserve unmet. What do you think it’s worth?



  1. rogerowen

    1970? Sliding windows, hooked door handles and round back lights from much earlier model.

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    • Peter Pentz

      It’s a bit of a mixed up kid this one. The head is a “toss it back on Ebay” item -best replaced with a Mini Sport head with the hardened seats for modern gas. The body is a Mk1, probably 65, and judging by the side repeater indicators, a Canadian spec car, but what is odd is the RHD. It could easily be turned around as an English spec car.
      Mk 2 trunk lid with the Mk2 badge, Hydraulastic, so post 65, but smaller rear 1/4 windows so definitely Mk1 body.
      Good straight body, looks relatively rust free.
      Funny thing is the Gbox is a 4 syncro – circa Mk 2.
      There is lots of good stuff there – the twin tanks, servo, correct block and rods, and I think crank too.
      Looks like it was rebuilt using bits out of a Mk2, but started life as a 65 or 66 Mk1.
      It’s a worthwhile buy at around $7500 but an overpay at anything more.

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  2. Charles

    This looks like a decent little car. I would hate to buy something in pieces and have to try to figure out how to put the puzzle back together. For someone experienced with Mini’s this would probably not be an issue.

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  3. Dolphin Member

    The only Mini Cooper S I have driven was a lot of fun and performed light years better than a regular Mini. John Cooper really transformed the car, which might have been the thing that got tuners thinking of doing the same with other cars.

    This car could be a good buy for a fun car with good upside $ potential if you know Minis and can stand buying one that’s RHD, and with a disassembled drivetrain that’s missing the correct S cylinder head despite the auction subtitle saying “original 1275 S engine”.

    And only if you can sort out the possibility that this car is not as advertised as rogerowen suggests above. There are a number of complex websites that might be able to do that out but I can’t make my way through them this early in the morning.
    Google: austin mini cooper vin decoder

    They are very small cars, tho, and don’t meet my minimum size requirement for a car that I would want to drive on public roads, so I would not be a buyer. But for track days with a Mini or British car club it would be great fun, and maybe a giant killer.

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  4. JW

    I always wanted one of these cars but being foreign mechanical ignorant kept me away. Cool find for someone.

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  5. Nick G

    Used Coopers often have bad crankshafts, as the uninitiated tend to think the engines will take higher revs than they are safely capable of. I have purchased several over the years with split or cracked cranks. If the block is apart, have the crank magnafluxed before calculating it’s true worth. A replacement Cooper ‘S’ crank in decent condition is a rare beast, so this may involve a new engine. An equivalent of the Cooper S engine is a pricey outlay.

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  6. jim s

    for use as a autocross or hillclimb car. i too think they are to small for the highway. i hope it gets saved and returned to stock. but this one may end up with a motor swap, maybe something out of a motocycle. see how long those rubber donuts hold up to a Hayabusa motor. nice find.

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  7. Howard A Member

    I drag raced a “Cooper S” with my MGB years ago, and he dusted me something fierce. THAT was a fast little car. Exciting cars to watch as they lift the inside rear wheel on turns. I know someone that had a newer Mini, and, from he claims, was a mere shred of what these cars were. I’d think a policeman in a Fiat 600 would have a hard time chasing one of these. Very cool car. http://www.sportscardigest.com/wp-content/uploads/DSC_6282.jpg

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  8. Nick G

    The rear tail lights (Mk1) and the Cooper S emblems (Mk2) are not the same vintage. The dash is de-laminating and those rocker type switches are Mk3 and up. As Roger noted, the door handles are Mk1 also. The couplings/CV joints of these are not universal fit. There are several sizes CV joints, and splines, so not all parts between the wheel and transmission are interchangeable. This appears to be a hodgepodge of parts from a variety of models.

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  9. Simon Madgewick

    Defiantly a mk1 mini, given the rear lights – also has riley elf/ wolseley hornet side & bulkhead chrome trim & unoriginal seats, rookie or elf/ hornet type wooden dash- but all common mods from years ago.
    Mk1 & mk 2 minis had external door hinges & sliding windows, differant rear lights between mk1 mk 2 minis with these being the earlier mk 1 type, the mk 2’s were of a squarer design without back up/ reversing lights when in mk 3 mini form the back up/reversing lights were incorporated in the tail lights, while having internal door hinges & wind up windows.
    Still a very early desirable car that will only go up in value.

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  10. gunningbar

    Good comments here above… lots of issues follow a Mini project… this has lots of headache potential

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  11. Matt Member

    The wood on the dash is not original and the round instrument is from a Mk 1. The Mk2 had an oval instrument

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  12. gary

    Go on someone take a chance on the British mini and at the end if the day you will be chuffed to bits that you did . The BRITISH were good at small sports cars and it’s a cheap exiting little car that given the love will pay back handsomely .and yeah I am British and in Britain

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  13. john

    hi all, run away the vin number is off a Austin American , all we have here is a mix up of parts on a mk1 shell, john..

    first number on the vin should start ot make it a cooper..
    C = Austin Cooper or Austin Cooper S
    K = Morris Cooper or Cooper S

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  14. Bill

    The shell is LIKELY Mk 1, the side repeaters are NOT Canadian, we didn’t get those until the 70’s and they did NOT look like that at all. It has Cooper chrome around the door windows. The interior is not correct, it’s a way newer style, with aftermarket seats up front. the dash is a Rokee, which was generally a dealer option. Elf/Hornet dash’s are different… Switches and steering column are indeed 70’s or later. There are 1970 Coopers with sliding windows because of the way British cars are registered. but this is a “bitsa” The MK 1 rear tail lights were a common conversion at one time, just like putting the more modern Mk 2 tail lights on a MK 1…hard to base it on that. The Mini is the Mr. Potato head of cars. Only the VIN will give you a clue… and those are screwed on… end of the day: It’s still a Mini! it’s a good starting place for someone, and with the external hinges and sliding windows it will always be a classic.

    Like 0

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