After a long history of motorsport success across various disciplines, it’s easy to forget that Issigonis was initially not keen to see his small family car design transformed into the performance icon it became. But John Cooper persisted and, after realising the potential inherent within the Mini, he now has his name on a significant proportion of the Minis, old and new, on the road.
The new Mini accounts for a large share of these, however, as the Cooper name was absent from Minis sold in the UK between 1973 and 1990. The name was reintroduced in 1990 when the ‘Rover Special Products’ (RSP) Mini Cooper was launched as a special edition and proved so popular that it went into full production in 1991. However in 1992, fuel injection was added in order to meet emissions standards, and so carburettor-equipped Coopers from this era are a rare find.
As such, a Rover Mini Cooper is like having your cake and eating it: all the fun of the original, but produced thirty years later.
This Rover Mini Cooper was first registered in Nottingham on 16 October 1991 and, by the looks of the paperwork, has lived all its life in and around the Midlands. The seller bought it locally in October 2018 from the previous owner who had kept it for nine years or so. The idea was to add to his small fleet of classics and his wife to drive it. This was to be a way to get her into classics too but was ultimately unsuccessful as she didn’t bond with the car and consequently it has only covered a few hundred miles a year since, though it has been regularly maintained by the owner.
Over the years it has seen some work to address some corrosion: in 2009, the offside outer sill was replaced and the inner sill repaired. 2015 saw the offside front wing replaced and a new scuttle and front windscreen, together with work to the offside A pillar and the nearside front and rear wing. That said, the owner’s friendly MOT tester reports that the work has all been done to a high standard as it’s hard to spot.
The current owner would be happy to keep the car but really wants to focus his efforts on the rest of his collection and so is offering it for auction.
The set of accompanying materials shows clear signs of enthusiast ownership, including as it does some custom t-shirts, stickers and a cartoon as well as the obligatory Haynes Manual. The owner’s manuals are there too, along with a service book that is stamped up to 1996 and 23k miles and a folder of invoices that covers the work outlined above and otherwise mostly regular servicing and consumables. There is also an almost complete set of MOTs from 1994 and the current ticket expires on 20 May 2022.
Given the limited mileage, to some degree it’s no surprise that the cabin shows little wear but the passage of time doesn’t seem to have done much either. The front seats are pristine, aside from a small split in the stitching on the base of the driver’s seat, the rear seats look hardly used and the carpets remain in great condition. The steering wheel has some light patina but otherwise the dash area is unmarked and houses a fully working radio (though the cassette deck remains untested due to a lack of cassettes!) and the buttons and switches all function as intended.
The windows and glass sunroof operate smoothly and, although it’s not really been out in the rain in the last few years, the sunroof is believed to be watertight as there’s never been any water ingress when the car has been washed. The boot, meanwhile, is clean and tidy and houses a full size spare wheel.
Sporting four additional lamps on the front (two fog, two spots), the popular red body/ white roof combination is set off with bonnet stripes and Mini Cooper decals. The bodywork is straight and solid and although it probably won’t be competing for show honours, it scrubs up well and is very presentable. On closer inspection there are a few bubbles here and there: below the rear bumper, by the nearside front wing seam and at the base of the offside rear wing. However nothing looks like it will need immediate attention and should be manageable in a similar manner to the issues that have popped up so far over the car’s lifetime. It should also be noted that there is a slight dent in the roof, although it’s proved almost impossible to photograph which is an indication of its severity.
The chrome work is all in good condition with some minor pitting here and there but again it’s very presentable. There is a small amount of condensation in the front nearside indicator but it’s still fully operational. The underside has been sealed and looks all to be solid, as does the exhaust. The Minilite wheels are all in good condition with some scuffing and a little corrosion and all wear tyres with good tread depth, though the age of the tyres probably means that they are starting to get a little hard. In all, it looks very tidy and, if properly maintained, should stay that way.
The engine bay is very original and, rarely needing much choke, the engine fires first every time. It reportedly drives very sweetly, pulling well and with no stutter on lift off. It handles just like a classic Mini should and with no unusual noises from the drivetrain or suspension. The brakes, which are disks up front and drums at the rear, perform well and pull the car up in a straight line. In summary, it’s ready to go.
As a starter classic or city commuting car there’s still little to touch a classic Mini for fun or charm. With a vast support network to aid with any issues along the way, a tidy example should be a joy to own. Of course, it’s possible to go to town on restoration and customisation but what we have here is a very usable classic that will no doubt bring smiles to the faces of its next owner and any onlookers alike.
With just 65k miles on the clock and showing all the signs of having been well looked after over the years, there should be much more for this example to give. The number plate J444UNE will also be sold with the car and so if June is your name or it’s the month of your birth, then this could be the car for you. If not, then it could still be the car for you with a plate you can sell on. Either way, get bidding!
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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.
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