Classic-Car-Magazine.co.uk  

The online Classic Community

 
 
   

 

spacer
How to Find, Buy or Spot a Genuine Mini Cooper or S

Just because its go a white or black roof it does not make it a Mini Cooper nor does it mean that if it has a body coloured roof does it mean its not a Cooper. Ever since the Mini Cooper was launched it has been faked by using a lower spec car and adding cooper parts and badging but spotting an original one is not as hard as it may seam. It is also not uncommon for a Cooper S to be just a rebadged Cooper. If you are at all unsure you should contact the British Motor Industry Heritage Trust to establish authenticity and you should also become a member of the Mini Cooper register.

Mini Cooper Works Style

The following is a guide to help you through the stages of buying an authentic Cooper or Cooper S. There is nothing wrong with buying a modified Mini with Cooper parts but it should be reflected in the price you pay as genuine Cooper's are always going to more desirable and therefore more costly to buy.

 

Advice given in the past to verify a Cooper is a Cooper included looking for items such as the correct speedometer, seats and exterior trim. This is still good advice but all of this is available again as remanufactured items or can be bought second hand at auto jumbles or eBay and the fakers have become wise to this and replace them. For the record the standard Mini had a 90mph speedometer, the Cooper had a 100mph speedometer and the S had either a 120 or 130mph speedometer. To make sure its genuine you must dig deeper and the first place to look is the paperwork with the car to make sure you have the right car to start with and it is not unknown for a standard Mini shell has been converted to Cooper or S spec or for MII shells to be used to make MKI lookalikes (MKI's have a narrower rear window). If the documents are from a scrapped Cooper or S then you will have to look a lot harder and perform the usual check for cars that are stolen or ringers.

If you can look at the heritage certificate check on the body shell for at lease some signs of the original colour and check that the chassis plate concurs with the documents as is correct for the production dates (see table below). It is easy to buy new chassis plates but these differ from the originals and light marks around the stamped figures are just visible on the new ones. Also look at the number 7's, the originals were straight where as the reproductions will have a slight curve to them.

One good area to check for originality and also crash damage is in the boot, Coopers had a plywood boot floor with the other minis did not. Even if the wood has disappeared then the fixing brackets should still be left behind. There should be 2 on the seat backs either welded or pop riveted on and two next to the boot lid hinges. If the latter two are missing then start looking for accident damage which has been replaced with out the brackets and must been a serious one to require such major surgery.

Mini Copper


 

If you can look at the heritage certificate check on the body shell for at lease some signs of the original colour and check that the chassis plate concurs with the documents as is correct for the production dates (see table below). It is easy to buy new chassis plates but these differ from the originals and light marks around the stamped figures are just visible on the new ones. Also look at the number 7's, the originals were straight where as the reproductions will have a slight curve to them.

One good area to check for originality and also crash damage is in the boot, Coopers had a plywood boot floor with the other minis did not. Even if the wood has disappeared then the fixing brackets should still be left behind. There should be 2 on the seat backs either welded or pop riveted on and two next to the boot lid hinges. If the latter two are missing then start looking for accident damage which has been replaced with out the brackets and must been a serious one to require such major surgery.

Twin fuel tanks were originally an option on the Cooper S (standard from Jan 1966) but twin tanks does not make it a Cooper S as these are available as an after market fitting. To see if the right hand side tank was an original fitting the best place to check is the vent pipe that is held in place by spot welded clips on the seat back under the parcel shelf, these are very difficult to fake. Again if your looking at an S it is important to check the position of the voltage regulator and fuse box. To make room for the added brake servo the regulator was moved further back in the engine bay. On rubber cone S models the regulator is mounted flat on the bulkhead cross member with the connections facing the carburettors while the fuse box was fitted above the regulator. Still on the Cooper S, these all had different wheels to all other Mini's (Cooper had standard Mini wheels), the S wheels had nine ventilation holes and most were 3.5" wide with 4.5" being an option.

Mini Cooper Wheel

At the same time as the standard fitting of twin tanks an oil cooler was added to the Cooper S which was mounted just behind the front grill, this was a great improvement on the up till now optional cooler fitted below the dynamo. The front panel had to be altered to make a black painted diagonal bracing strut.

Engines

Engines will have been probably swapped about by now but if you are after originality you will have to find one where the car and heritage certificate match up. The engines fitted all should have removable tapped covers and a single core plug at the clutch end of the cylinder block. All Cooper S cylinder heads have 11 fixings (standard engine has 9) with the extras one being a stud at the clutch end of the engine and a bolt at the radiator end.

Body Shell

Clues to an early body shell include checking the sun visor fixings, up until October 1964 they were mounted on chrome hinges, later models had longer sun visors which were hinged at the top corner of the windscreen surround rail. It was clipped at the other end and as the visor could swivel there was also a clip above the door, as these clips went into square holes it is another difficult area to fake.
To find the next giveaway to a shells age you have to lift the front carpets, the MKI Cooper and S had a remote gear lever which enters the floor pan via a nice neat hole. Check this hole and also that the standard hole for the Mini's long gear lever is sealed with a blanking plate.

Interior Trim

The MKI Cooper and S trim was always two tone and usually featured a gold fleck as the second colour except when the main colour was green or grey the second colour was plain grey. The MKI's had a very unique interior .Almost all MKII's had black vinyl trim from the Mini Super Deluxe but the MKIII did even worse with identical trim to the Mini 1000 in a range of colours.

Exterior Trim

The exterior bright work on MKI and MKII Cooper and S models is different from the standard Mini with unique grille, bumper overiders (corner bars on MKI) and stainless steel window and door trims. There is no difference on MKIII Cooper S and standard MKIII Mini's. Below is a Mini Cooper with some not so standard trim!

Mini Cooper Police Car

Cooper production dates and chassis numbers
997
Austin MKI
July 1961 to Nov 1963
CA2S7 138301-489222
Morris MKI
July 1961 to Nov 1963
KA2S4 138311-487907
998
Austin MKI
Jan 1964 to Oct 1967
CA2S7 502447-1064385
Morris MKI
Jan 1964 to Oct 1967
KA2S4 502482-1064385
Austin MKII
Oct 1967 to Nov Nov 1969

CA2SB 1068151 -1370956

Morris MKII
Oct 1967 to Nov Nov 1969
KA2S6 1069051-1365476
1071S
Austin MKI
Apr 1963 to Aug 1964
CA2S7 384101-563570
Morris MKI
Apr 1963 to Aug 1964
KA2S4 384601-563500
1275S
Austin MKI
Mar 1964 to Oct 1967
CA2S7 551501-1066319
Morris MKI
Mar 1964 to Oct 1967
KA2S4 552501-1066320
Austin MKII
Oct 1969 to Mar 1970
CA2SB 1068451-1375331
Morris MKII
Oct 1969 to Mar 1970
KA2S6 1068471-1375346
Mini MKIII
Mar 1970 to Jun 1971
XAD 134127-1458987
970S
Austin MKI
Jun 1964 to Apr 1965
CA2S7 549501-549992
Morris MKI
Jun 1964 to Apr 1965
KA2S4 550501-550980

 

BACK