Debuting in 1959 and initially codenamed ADO15 = Austin Seven & Morris Mini Mini, the Mini was created by Alec Issigonis as the ultimate compact car using an innovative FF layout, practical cabin package design (van and truck types also existed) and instantly became a hit model.
The Cooper model made Mini a household name. Issigonis’s friend, John Cooper was a manufacturer level race team owner who participated in F1 and fell in love with the handling performance of the Mini prototype. He recommended to the president of BMC (British Motor Company) that it be used in touring car races and rally events. Everyone doubted that idea, but in 1961, the Mini Cooper debuted with an increase in displacement from 850cc to 1000cc. In 1963, a 1071cc Mini Cooper S also entered the market.
And then, it achieved the incredible. Starting in 1964, it finished first place 4 years in a row (it was disqualified one year) at the Monte Carlo Rally. The Mini Cooper name became an instant legend and even today, everyone knows that a Mini is a Cooper.
The first generation, called the MK I, was released in 1959 and produced until 1967. The small windows and rear lamps were characteristic of the vehicle. The MK 1 evolved to the MK II in 1967. In 1969, the MK III = ADO20 model change dropped the outer hinges and added larger doors. After that, the MK IV was produced from 1976 until 2000.
Headlines were made when a fully opening spider (soft top), a first for the prancing horse V8 mid-series, joined the berlinetta coupe and targa top GTS.
|Jun Nishikawa’s Highlights!
Although the vehicle inspection forms show 1966, that seems to be an error. An investigation by the previous owner revealed this car was a Morris Mini Cooper MK II (British Motor Industry Heritage Trust certified) produced in June 1969. According to the certification, the original color was almond green with a snow berry white roof. The interior was black trim.
However, the mystery of the vehicle did not stop there. When the current owner took delivery of the vehicle, it was a hardcore rally car equipped with a roll bar and plenty of fire extinguishing equipment. It was apparently built in Australia and actually raced. Everything installed on it was for full competition.
The current owner accepted the vehicle in that condition and restored the car to a factory MK II look over the period of 2 years. Simply removing the rally parts was not enough for restoration. Factory restoration parts were used for the grill, aluminum wheels, bumper, mirrors, wipers, exhaust, and emblems to restore it to its original beauty. The only parts that did not have to be changed were the headlights (possibly original?) glass, and twin fuel tanks.
The paint condition is typical of a vehicle of this year. Since it was a vehicle that had been driven, there are numerous chips and spots where the paint has flaked. It’s easy to tell how much the previous owner enjoyed driving this car by looking at the driver-side support, side sill, and paddles. These parts can be re-conditioned before vehicle delivery (separate fees apply.)
A full paint job was applied 4 years ago and the interior roof and floors were re-upholstered. The hydrolastic suspension was removed and changed to a dry rubber cone type.
The odometer read 85,000 km (uncertain if it is 100% accurate) right after the restoration. It currently reads 92,000 km so the current owner only drove it 7,000km. Despite this, the engine was serviced at a Mini specialist shop in Hakata so it revs fine and for 1000cc, provides an unbelievably lively and enjoyable driving experience. As a bonus, it is also fuel efficient getting 17 kilometers to a liter.
Originally written by Jun Nishikawa
Photo by Hidehiro Tanaka
Published on November 2018
|Year of Purchase