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CURRENT BID: £12,000
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1990 MINI Cooper RSP

Guide Price; £22,000 - £25,000


﹒Rare RSP model
﹒Full respray in 2020
﹒Original interior 
﹒New fuel pump

The Background 

The Mini is recognised as one of Britain's most iconic cars ever produced. It was designed by Sir Alec Issigonis and manufactured by the British Motor Corporation. Launched on 26th August 1959, the Mini was officially unveiled to the public where it was a huge success.

Two years later Sir Alec Issigonis’ friend Mr John Cooper, the owner of Cooper Car Company who was a designer and builder of Formula One cars, saw great potential in the Mini for competition use. After much deliberation the two men collaborated to create the Mini Cooper. Starting off with a tuned 997cc engine with twin carburettors it had a close ratio gearbox and front disc brakes. The Mini Cooper was set into production to produce 1000 units to meet the homologation rules for rallying.

After much success and a few updates, it was in 1964 that the Mini was given the famous 1275 cc engine pushing sales even further and possibly producing one of the most famous Minis ever. It was licensed in 1973 to Spain's Authi (Automoviles de Turismo Hispano-Ingleses), which began to produce the Authi Mini Cooper 1300. The Cooper was produced until 1966, and the Cooper S until 1971 when the Cooper name was discontinued in the UK. 

Fast forward to 1990 and the Mini Cooper was reintroduced to the Mini range and given the name of the Cooper RSP (Rover Special Products). With just 1650 RSP’s rolled off the production line, only 1050 of those stayed in the UK. It was produced with just three colour options of either Flame Red, British Racing Green or Black. The new Mini Cooper RSP was sent over to Rover Special Products where they fitted the 1275cc engine from an MG Metro and installed the Mini 30 interior which was rebadged as Mini Cooper.  It had a sunroof, twin driving lamps, Minilite style wheels, oil cooler plus a few extra bits.

The History 

The seller has owned this 1990 Mini Cooper RSP since 2018. In 2020 the decision was made to carry out some extensive work on the car that would tackle some areas that needed attention. This consisted of a full respray which involved taking the engine out and replacing or repairing parts as required. Keen to keep the originality of the car, any work carried out has been in keeping within the standard RSP specification. 

This classic Mini has clearly spent more time tucked away than driven over recent years,  covering less than 10,000 miles in the past 11 years. Having been in the seller's ownership it was his intention to keep the RSP for many years hence the no expense spared work carried out on the Mini. Unfortunately, the decision to start on the property ladder has forced what will no doubt be a regrettable but needs must sale of his cherished Mini. 

The Paperwork

The V5 is present and shows the Mini has had 9 previous keepers. The RSP has MOT until 26th November 2021 and passed with no advisories. Since 2015 the car has only covered an amazing 187 miles. 

Receipts and invoices are plentiful for the Mini whilst being in the seller’s possession and some from previous keepers has made for a nice history file. 

The Interior

Inside the Cooper RSP is as John Cooper intended, which is a re-badged Mini 30 interior. This  RSP retains the original interior trim with the red carpets that show no real signs of wear. Matching the red carpets is the original red leather bound steering wheel which does have a slight amount of age related wear. The car came with half leather seats that are piped and stitched in red to match the carpets and steering wheel, with a Mini Cooper tagged label. These are in good tidy condition with just some age related creasing to the leather. The rear seat is the same, but there is a small tear in the leather on the upper part of the seat.

Sitting in the Mini, the dashboard is free from any cracks. The instrument binnacle houses green faced gauges and the odometer shows 99,477. This RSP has electric windows which operate as they should. The seller reports that all the other switchgear is also in working order. Indicator and wiper stalks are in excellent condition with no wear to the signage on them. Standard equipment in the RSP was a factory fit glass sunroof, which is in good condition and shows no signs of leaking. The tinted glass is also scratch free that we noticed.

Into the boot area, this is nice and tidy with the battery cover still in place.  Also a point to mention is that the car has had a replacement fuel tank fitted in 2020. Unfortunately the spare wheel is missing.   

The Exterior

Finished in one of three colour options, this Mini was given Black (paint code RCZ) and as with all Cooper RSP’s they came with a white roof (paint code NMN). As mentioned earlier, the Mini was treated to a full respray in 2020 which tackled some rust areas on the floor pan, sills and arches. These were subsequently repaired or replaced as required. To protect all the work carried out to the underside it has been treated to Dinitrol rust treatment. The engine was taken out for the respray and this was also treated to a lick of paint along with some mechanical work. The New Mini Cooper decals have been reapplied to the sides and bonnet after the respray to retain the original look. 

Mini Cooper RSP came with twin spot lights as standard and these are free from any cracks along with the headlights and rear lights. Looking around the car, all the bonnet to wing gaps align as they should and the same goes for the door shut lines which are all uniform. The car is free from any chips that we could see, largely due to it hardly covering any miles since the respray. Whilst the windows were out, the front and rear screens were treated to new rubbers. The door mirrors have been replaced with some bullet style chrome items which are a welcome addition and in keeping with the classic mini look. Whilst building the car back up it was decided that new plastic arch covers were to be fitted to replace the tired old ones along with a new roof gutter trim. 

The RSP Minilite style alloys, (which for those in the know have the stud holes in-line with the spokes compared to regular Minilite wheels which are in between the spokes), have been treated to a respray to match the original colour and fitted with Nankang Econex tyres which are virtually like new. The center caps are all in excellent condition with the Mini Cooper logo.  

The Mechanics

With the rebirth of the Cooper, Rover needed to make the Mini stand out. So they fitted the 1,275 cc A-series engine to the RSP with an HIF44 carburettor. This made it the fastest accelerating car of its class at the time.

Whilst the engine was out, a new clutch master cylinder was fitted along with a new fuel pump. Keeping things smooth on the handling side, it was given a new set of shock absorbers. To help things come to a safe halt, the Mini has had the brake pipes and cylinders replaced. To get a little more air into the mix an aftermarket air filter has been fitted.

The Mini starts up from cold as it should and sounds great with no nasty noises. The seller reports that the car pulls well, handles, drives and changes smoothly through the 4-speed  gearbox as it should.

The Appeal 

With just 1,050 cars made for the UK it's quite safe to say they are now getting thin on the ground. The RSP was the last Cooper to be made with the 1,275 cc carburettor engine in the classic shape Mini before Rover moved to the fuel injected version.

30 years old, this is a well presented Mini Cooper RSP that's had any problem areas ironed out, giving the new owner peace of mind and plenty of fun driving miles to be had. If you're after a bit of nostalgic motoring, or fancy being an exhibitor on a show field at a classic car event, this Mini will deliver just what you need.

Notice to bidders

Although every care is taken to ensure this listing is as factual and transparent as possible, all details within the listing are subject to the information provided to us by the seller. Car & Classic does not take responsibility for any information missing from the listing. Please ensure you are satisfied with the vehicle description and all information provided before placing a bid.

As is normal for most auctions, this vehicle is sold as seen, and therefore the Sale of Goods Act 1979 does not apply. All bids are legally binding once placed. Any winning bidder who withdraws from a sale, is subject to our bidders fee charge. Please see our FAQs and T&C's for further information. Viewings of vehicles are encouraged, but entirely at the seller's discretion.

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Vehicle specification
  • Year 1990
  • Make Rover
  • Model Mini Cooper RSP
  • Colour Black
  • Odometer 99,477 Miles
  • Engine size 1275
  • Location Derbyshire
Bidding history
10 bids from 6 bidders
  • robinso•••• £12,000 10/03/21
  • weldmas•••• £11,250 08/03/21
  • price.m•••• £11,000 08/03/21
  • weldmas•••• £10,000 06/03/21
  • robinso•••• £8,000 06/03/21
  • price.m•••• £5,000 05/03/21
  • John Cu•••• £2,200 04/03/21
  • robinso•••• £2,100 04/03/21
  • ThisIsG•••• £200 04/03/21
  • mac-mil•••• £100 04/03/21

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