Mini Cooper 997ccAdvert ID: 43043 To Be Auctioned
Dating from mid-October 1961, this is one of the earliest production cars
Owned by our vendor for 50 years and subject to a seven-year restoration
Rebuilt around a 1961 Australian CKD bodyshell with some replacement panels
Superbly painted in its original Tartan Red and Black by ‘Old Skool Minis’
Fitted with its original 997cc engine, rebuilt, balanced and upgraded by SMMC
Fully rewired with an Alternator concealed within the Lucas Dynamo case
Upgrades include ‘S’gearbox, 7.5” Cooper ‘S’ brakes with stainless flex pipes, RC40 exhaust
Period correct Red/Grey Brocade trim. New carpets/door cards. Heated screen
Supplied with its current V5c, Green logbook, Heritage Certificate and restoration invoices
Delightfully restored and upgraded early Cooper from long-term ownership
Anyone who has commenced, what they hope will be, ‘a bit of a refurb’ or a ‘quick tidy-up with some fresh paint’ of their classic car will recognise the point at which a partial restoration inevitably becomes a full one and this was certainly the case with 5392 LJ on offer here.
The car’s Heritage Certificate tells us that it’s an Austin Cooper built on16th October 1961 (within months of the start of production) and finished in Tartan Red with a Black roof before being delivered to Imperial Motors in Bournemouth and subsequently registered on 3/11/1961. Our vendor purchased the Mini in 1969 and has owned it ever since. It was his daily driver and the following year was used to transport the happy couple on their honeymoon but, inevitably, as more modern cars arrived, the little Cooper was used less and less eventually spending long periods in storage. Around 2009, the decision was made to tidy-up the car and return it to the road in time for the couples 40th Wedding Anniversary, however, as Robbie Burns once said “The best-laid schemes o' mice an' men gang aft a-gley.” and it was to be a further seven years before 5392 LJ was returned to her sparkling best.
Once the car had been fully stripped it became obvious that the shell was beyond economic repair and luckily a rust-free 1961 CKD (completely knocked down) bodyshell was located in Australia and shipped to Birmingham to enable the restoration to commence. The rebuild was entrusted to ‘Old Skool Minis’ in Bloxwich and the quality of their work is evident from the photographs of the restoration in the car’s history file. The shell was closely inspected when it arrived and the outer sills were removed to properly inspect the inner ones before new outer sills were fitted together with rear quarter panels, two front wings and door skins. It was then fully prepared and painted to a very high standard in its original colours of Tartan Red (RD9) and gloss black. The original (final-quarter 1961-dated) glass was reinstated with the exception of the windscreen which is now a bespoke Triplex/Pilkington heated item. A new wiring harness was fitted and the electrics are supplied by an alternator cleverly located within a Lucas dynamo case allowing the standard look to be retained but with a better output.
Internally the front and rear seats are the original BMC Tartan Red/Gey and Gold Brocade with other items of trim, door cards etc. purchased from Newton Commercial. The new carpets are naturally Tartan Red and the original “Fug Stir” heater was restored and replaced and works in conjunction with the new heated screen. The original speedometer, which on the very early cars had no ‘Tenths’ on the odometer, was restored and set to zero and now indicates a shade less than 800 miles.
Mechanically the decision was taken to forego pedantic originality and build a car that was altogether more safe and usable with upgrades that are acceptable and often advisable. The original 997 engine was retained and fully rebuilt by Southam Mini (SMMC). The block was overbored by ten thou and fitted with new (OE) BMC pistons, the original crank (with modified oilways) was fine and the flywheel was adapted to accept a diaphragm clutch before final balancing. The head was overhauled and fitted with hardened valve seats for unleaded fuel. The rebuilt engine was placed on a fully-synchromesh Cooper ‘S’ gearbox with Hardy Spicer joints and a 3.7 diff and finally fitted with standard twin 1.25” SU carbs with Cooper filters, an LCB exhaust manifold and an RC40 exhaust system.
The brakes are Cooper ‘S’ 7.5 inch (no servo) with stainless flexible brake lines run underfloor in the original body clamps and the car sits on 4.5” Cooper ‘S’ (LP883) steel wheels. Other fitments include a Smiths capillary temperature gauge, H4 headlights, 12v power socket, tow eyes front and rear and a battery isolator.
This thorough restoration was completed in 2017 and inspected by Paul Sulma of the Mini-Cooper Register to facilitate the update to the DVLA.
The history file includes an original receipt for purchase back in 1969 for £175 signed over a 2d Stamp, various continuation logbooks, the Heritage Certificate, the current V5c and, pleasingly, the chassis plate from the Australian-supplied bodyshell to tie everything together.
This is a lovely restoration of a very early Mini-Cooper and, as one of the first examples of the car that changed sporting saloons for ever, would be welcome anywhere.
1961 AUSTIN MINI-COOPER (997)
Estimate: £30,000 - £35,000
+buyer's premium of 15% including VAT @ 20%
Viewing and bidding The NEC Classic Motorshow is a closed event and an event ticket will be required along with an auction catalogue to enter the sale. Ticket information can be found on the Lancaster Insurance Classic Motor Show website. The NEC Classic Car Sale Auction Catalogue 2019 admits two people into the auction and viewing.
10:00 to 18:30 on Friday 8th
09:00 to 14:00 on Saturday 9th and Sunday 10th of November 2018.
Bidding at the auction can be done either in person by attending the sale, by telephone, by leaving a commission bid or live, online via Proxibid. Click here for full details of registration requirements and a buying guide.
Auction: Saturday 9th and Sunday 10th November 2019
On each day, the automobilia, lifestyle and watches auctions start at 11am and the car auction starts at 2pm. (Remembrance Sunday 10th November, the automobilia auction will begin at 11.05am)
For further information please contact Silverstone Auctions on +44 (0)1926 691 141.
19 Dec 2013
Ashorne, Warks, CV35 0AA
Phone: +44 1926 691141