Under Wraps: 1967 Austin Mini Cooper S


Lifting that garage door had to be an exciting event, and the rush only intensified as the tarp was pulled back to reveal a low mileage 1967 Austin Mini Cooper S. It was parked nearly 32 years ago and over the years has slowly disappeared under junk. Sadly, the roof of the garage had a leak, which dripped right onto the car. After clearing all the junk away from it and pulling it out, it is now being offered by Silverstone Auctions at the upcoming NEC Classic Motor Show in Birmingham, England. Thanks goes to Callum C. for the tip!


The Mini Cooper was the brain child of John Cooper, who saw the potential the Austin Mini had. He approached the Mini’s designer, Sir Alec Issigonis about building a Mini for competition, but had little success. Cooper then took his idea to BMC’s management and soon he and Issigonis were working on what would be known simply as the Mini Cooper. If the performance and handling improvements of the Cooper weren’t enough, then there was also the Cooper S, which added even more power, better brakes, and improved durability. This S looks to be in great shape, but is going to need work before it will be attending any historic rallies or races.


Besides needing work where the water collected in the sills and floors, it also needs some mechanical refreshing. The seller claims the motor runs, but the clutch is currently inoperable. At the very least it will need a new clutch, but while someone is in there, they might as well go through the engine and transmission to make sure everything is in working order. We would also recommend servicing the brakes, as they were seized up when the car was found.


The Mini is a true automotive icon and the Cooper S is the most desirable of these icons. There was about 19k built in the first generation, so finding one with so few miles in original condition is a rare occurrence. This one is also being offered without a reserve so it may even go cheap. Any of our UK readers planning on attending?


  1. scottski

    Most Wanted.

    • Rob

      Along with probably just a ‘wee’ tad more than a few across the pond as well, ha

  2. Graham Line

    Same color as my ’59 (save the white top), and only 2.5 times the brakes and horsepower.

  3. Ricardo Nobre

    Actually the similar (in computer pictures) 59 color is clipper blue (Morris only). This car is Island blue.

  4. paul

    I had a Mini Minor 950 cc about the same year.

  5. Jim-Bob

    Some men dream of Ferraris, others of Lamborghinis or Rolls Royces. Me? I dream of owning an original Mini like this one day. There’s just something about it that makes it my Holy Grail car. Perhaps it’s the size. I find tiny cars to be much more exciting than larger ones. They are more fun to go “fast” in because fast isn’t 200mph. No, fast is 70 mph in something like this, so maxing out it’s performance is possible without a race track. Plus, it’s a very simple little piece of kit that just begs to be tinkered with. Any car that I have to take to a dealer for service and repairs can’t possibly be fun or worth owning. I also like that it finally would let me drive a smaller car than what I drive every day (a 1991 Geo Metro).

  6. Don Andreina

    Nicely said. I hope you find an example one day that puts your encyclopaedic mechanical knowledge to use. As for a Cooper S, it’s probably one of the most secure investments in the mid-term future as fuel prices and govt policies will restrict the pre-ECU 6+ cylinder engine to the realm of the super rich.

    • Jim-Bob

      I sadly have to agree. In addition to my Metro I also have an Oldsmobile Cutlass with a Chevy 355 in it that I play with. The sad thing is that while it is cheap to repair and maintain, the cost of fuel+ethanol additive is just too high for me to drive it that often. I took it to the local 1/8 mile drag strip this week and was shocked at how few people were there. When I used to run my other V8 car, an AMC Spirit with a 360 V8 6 years ago, there would be 150+ cars there on a Wednesday night. This time there were barely 30, and most of them were pure race cars. I guess I am not alone then in losing the ability to afford this hobby. I thought it was only people like me, a pizza delivery driver, who had walked away from actively playing with this stuff but it seems that the change is permeating all parts of the working class and middle class.

  7. Grid Michal

    Back in ’64 I was in college in Berea Ohio. One of the guys in the apartment I was in decided to ask his girl to marry him, so one Friday night, four of us my size (6’3″, 225″) jumped into his Mini with 12″(?) tires and headed to downtown Cleveland via a freeway that ran along the waterfront to a tall building housing a well-known (to the world, not me) jeweler. From the back seat, I noted 1) the speedometer was pegged at 80; 2) the car’s springs and suspension were not designed to carry a half-ton of beef; 3) if I’d opened the window I could have touched the road; and 4) I was going to catch the bus back to Berea. I don’t know if he asked the girl, if she accepted, or how long the Mini lived. I went along with my own set of life’s little joys.

    • Don Andreina

      Reminds me of a similar story of four grown lads including me in an 850. The driver was trying to impress and took a corner a little too sharply and there we were while the car spun like a top around its centre. No damage done except to the driver’s ego.

    • paul

      Actually they were 10″ wheels & had no springs just thick rubber bumpers from what I remember.

      • Don Andreina

        At some point I think the mini got the hydrolastic suspension. Can’t be bothered search-engining it, hopefully someone here can confirm.

      • paul

        I know the Austin America a little larger car had the Hydro but I don’t think it made it into the Mini.

      • Jim-Bob

        I believe the Mini was originally slated to receive the hydrolastic system from the get-go, but Moulton hadn’t perfected it by the time it was introduced. The rubber cones were thus originally intended as a stop gap measure and were replaced I believe with the Mk II Mini. However, the hydrolastic system was short lived in the Mini and in only a few short years it went back to the original rubber cone system (I believe with the MK III, but I am too lazy to look it up.) I think BL also either experimented with it on the Metro or used it on the Metro, but I can’t be certain.

  8. Grid Michal

    I can envision that. Remembering that seat belts weren’t an option, I wonder if the same scenario with 4 guys spinning upside down in a spinning upside-down car would have created some sort of gyroscopic effect. How any of us lived….

  9. rancho bella

    Mr. Bean has it right……

  10. jim s

    these make a sprite/midget look big. i wonder if the s motor parts would fit a sprite/midget, if anyone did that swap, how much faster the sprite/midget would be, and how long it would take for the new owner of said cooper s to notice the swap. great find

    • paul

      I believe the 1275 unit was the same for the Mini & the Midget.
      The only difference was the Mini being a front driver & the Midget a reardrive.

    • That Guy

      I don’t have time to research it now, but I think I remember that the Mini and Spridget engines have casting differences that make it more or less impossible to use a Spridget engine in a Mini and vice versa.

  11. Dolphin Member

    jim s nailed it……actually, these pretty much make everything else look big, except maybe that Messerschmit.

    I have always been amazed how well the Mini did in the marketplace and how well they served people in the UK given their truly tiny size and modest specification. The Mini couldn’t have been more different from what No Americans thought of as an entry-level family car.

    Then I drove a Mini Cooper S like this one and it was a terrific little machine—very crisp response from the drivetrain and suspension and a real hoot to drive. I can see why people love those giant-killers, and why they won the Monte Carlo winter rally three times.

    This one looks like it’s well worth putting $$ into. Overall it looks far better than you would expect from being in a leaky garage for decades. The engine bay looks like it’s had a light detail and looks pretty good, but unfortunately there’s no photo of the floors, which may be the biggest job in bringing this back.

    • Don Andreina

      Last time I was in Rome, I couldn’t believe how many Smart TwoFours there were in the streets. The mentality is 180 degrees from the US and here in Oz. There is just no room for larger vehicles mostly when it comes to parking in the street; which is what most owners are forced to do. Things are similar in Asia.

      Issigonis nailed it with the Mini; four passengers in a thing this small, gearbox under the engine, wrapped in clean styling that made the previous Minor look archaic. Even my cherished Fiat 500 couldn’t take the same passenger load because they didn’t want it to compete with the four passenger 600 so they deliberately reduced headroom over the rear seat.

      These things were so good on the Monte, the organisers disqualified them on an illumination technicality. It’s hard to choose the car of last century, but these are up there with the Beetle and the Tin Lizzie.

      • Dolphin Member

        Issigonis not only created a small car for everyman with the Mini, he also changed the typical chassis/drivetrain layout for most cars to sideways mounted front drivetrain/front drive—a very creative solution taken up by most carmakers, but not a performance layout. The MiniCooper is certainly an exception.

        Against my prediction, the Smart TwoFour did become available in the US but not very common in areas I am familiar with. It has been available in Canada for years and has become pretty common in many places. You even see them on limited access highways, but it’s just a tad scary to see them in mixed traffic with 18-wheelers or even pickups, which outnumber Smart cars many times over just about everywhere except maybe NT City.

      • Don Andreina

        Yep, the TwoFour was a dud here as well. But the shift in mentality is striking. For the last brazillion years, the top sellers here were our ‘full size’ cars (GM/H Kingswood/Commodore, Ford Falcon), now everybody wants a Mazda 3.

      • jim s

        if only Smart car was offered with a full manual transmission with foot clutch, tdi motor ( it has been gas only in the USA ) and a large dealer network to surport them. instead there are states with no dealers at all, a listed $99 per month lease but no cars to be had at that lease price from any dealer!

      • Jim-Bob

        The problem with the Smart is that it just isn’t a very good car. The transmission is rubbish, it only seats two, is not really cheaper than a normal 4 seat small car, doesn’t get much better fuel mileage than a Toyota Yaris, and requires premium fuel-negating the minor difference in fuel economy. I can see it if you commute in a large city center with very little parking space, but for any other purpose there are much better vehicles for the money.

        My current favorite is the new 3 cyl Mitsubishi Mirage/ Space Star. It is a small 4 seat hatchback that gets better mileage than a Smart (37 city-and it uses regular gas), but it costs about the same as a Smart. It also seats more than two people and has more cargo space, as well as the same turning circle as a Smart. About the only thing a Smart does better is nose in parking.

  12. zero250 jeff steindler

    I own a blue / white 1967 Mini Cooper S………..mine is a MK II, and I believe this Mini, if it IS a 1967 model, it should also be a MK II, with the larger, square tail lights, instead of the smaller, rounded tail lights on a MK I……………and the grille is also a MK I grille, lacking the detached, 3 – piece grille surround parts……I.say it is a a MK I and 1966 MK I Mini Cooper S…………..I will check and follow-up tomorrow………….

  13. paul

    Jim- Bob, we don’t get the Mirage here just out of curiosity do you all get the VW Jetta TDI. I test drove one & they get about 42 MPG & are quite nice handling with plenty of room for 4.

    • Don Andreina

      Drove a 2007 Golf TDI as a swap when ours was in for a service. As soon as you took your foot off the throttle the engine lost momentum. 42 mpg is amazing, I just checked the C&D review of the VW Up! which gives 36 mpg. Seeing a lot more of these on the roads over here.

      • paul

        42 MPG was the claimed so it maybe less, still I have heard they are quite good in the MPG department , it certainly drove well, of course they probably are not in the same price range as a Mitsubishi, so that is another consideration ,if the thing cost 5 g more then what are you saving.

      • Don Andreina

        Considered the Bora (diff name, same car) when we were looking for a Golf. Second hand the prices were very favourable because – as I discovered with my girlfriend – no one wanted a Golf with a boot. If you’re getting a six speed, I recommend VERY SERIOUSLY that you do some consumer research.

      • paul

        No, not in the market & the auto is supposed to give better mileage then the manual. I just like to stay on top of what is out there but as far as reliability I have about as much a clue as any of these magazines & even consumer reports has to evaluate info from people who can be quite clueless.

      • Don Andreina

        Yep, why buy new when you get ten times the pleasure in something old.

      • Don Andreina

        Sorry, Paul, that post about the six speed read a bit patronising. Without going into detail here, there are some serious issues popping up with that gearbox.

  14. zero250 jeff steindler

    I checked and to my surprise ( and embarrassment ) I found that MK II Mini Cooper production started in October 1967……….so, CORRECTION: this Mini Cooper S IS a 1967 MK I Mini Cooper…….and it has hydrolastic suspension, which began in September 1964…………

    • paul

      I remember my brothers car having it in the America but don’t remember it in the Minor but it is nearly 40 years ago & I owned for a short time before blowing out the tired motor of a $25 car.

  15. Chris A.

    Learning to drive a VW and then getting a chance to drive an early Mini was a real treat. Pretty much the same HP as the VW, but what a joy to drive. The kid who drove it to school soon found it in unusual parking spots like the school tennis courts and back hallway.

    • Graham Burn

      Yes I remember similar pranks with a guy in college who had a Bond Bug!!

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