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1996 Mini Cooper

Guide Price: £5,000 - £8,000


∙Fully refurbished body and interior 
∙Rare Mk7 Mini Cooper 
∙Mechanically in good order

The Background 

There are very few cars that have the universal appeal of the Mini, but the diminutive four-seater sold like hot cakes during its 41-year production run and found favour with celebrities, rock stars and small families, too. It was a motorsport hero, yet at the other end of the scale, generations of motorists learned to drive in them or had them as a first car. It’s one of those cars that really can be summed up in one word; fun. Every Mini has the same go-kart handling that made it a genuinely entertaining car to drive no matter whether it was the modestly powered Austin Mini from the early 1960s or one of the more powerful 1275cc versions.

The Mini was originally designed during the 1950s and was the brainchild of Sir Alec Issigonis. It was a huge hit, with innovative packaging that created a car with the minimum footprint but with the maximum amount of interior space. Its engine was carried over from the Morris Minor – itself another Issigonis design – but for the Mini it would mounted transversely, and drove the front wheels with the gearbox under the engine. In short, it was a masterpiece of packaging.

Over the years the Mini appeared in several different guises and underwent a series of revisions but even after its supposed successor was launched – the Mini Metro – the Mini continued to sell in enough numbers to keep the production line rolling. In the end the original Mini even outlasted the Mini Metro with the last Mini rolling off the line in 2000, 41 years after it was launched. 

Yes, by modern standards it’s a bit crude, but we don’t drive classics for modern car levels of comfort, we drive classics because they’re rewarding, fun and put a smile on your face. And the Mini will do just that – it’s a great car to zip around in with the driver grinning from ear to ear.

The History

This Mini Cooper dates from the end of the Mini’s dynasty and is a Mark 7, a model that was introduced in 1996 and remained more or less the same until it was axed in 2000. There were a number of changes made to the Mini for this generation – an airbag was fitted in order to comply with European legislation, while fuel injection was adopted for the 1275cc engine and the radiator was moved to the front of the engine bay. Inside a full width dash replaced the shelf that had been part and parcel of the Mini since its launch.

This particular example was first registered in late 1996 and has been in the owner’s possession for the last ten years.  During that time it has been used and loved, and most crucially, thoroughly refreshed. It has undergone body, mechanical and interior restoration, and today presents very well indeed and has been sparingly used since being recommissioned. 

The Paperwork

There’s not much in the way of early history with the Mini Cooper but there are a number of receipts for parts related to the restoration work carried out in 2014/2015 along with some photos of the repairs in progress.

The Cooper was last MoT’d in September 2019, which it passed with no advisories.  This expired in September 2020, and the car has not been tested during the lockdown period, but from what we can see there’s no reason why it shouldn’t garner a new MoT after it’s been given a quick once over. There is a V5C in the owner’s name.

The Interior

Inside the Mini Cooper looks fresh and modern for a Mini with red carpets, black overmats and black and red seats. The wood trim running across the dash might look a little incongruous to those more used to a traditional Mini interior, but it’s original and in excellent condition.

The seats were reupholstered during the car’s renovation to the tune of £750 and the original seats now sport a red and black finish which suit the car’s sporty nature very well. The seats are in good condition and go well with the black door trim panels with their red stitching.

A Sony radio CD player is fitted and appears to be in good order as are the white-faced dials with their distinctive red needles. Overall the interior presents very well and is a good match for the Mini’s red and white exterior colour scheme.

The Exterior

Finished in red with a white roof and bonnet stripes the Mini Cooper looks suitably racy and stylish with the neat white pin-striping finishing off the look in a classy manner. During the car’s refresh it received several new panels which is pretty much par for the course for a Mini of this age. It might have been one of the last of the line models but Minis of this age can succumb to rust just as much as the earlier models so this example brings peace of mind with the knowledge that any potential problems have already been attended to.

The red and white paintwork looks good and while it’s not been painted to concours levels it has been finished to a high standard. The car’s brightwork is all in good order and the light lenses all appear to be free from blemishes, as are the door mirrors. The plastic wheel arch extensions are all in good order and help to give the Mini an appealing stance.

The Minilite style wheels are in excellent order with no sign of any kerbing or damage and are shod with a set of Nankang tyres with decent tread depths all round. They present with the correct Mini Cooper badging too. The boot is well finished although there’s no boot carpet fitted. 

The Mechanics

This generation of Mini Cooper was fitted with a 1275cc version of the classic A Series four-cylinder, a venerable engine which had a nigh-on 50-year production run. In this generation of Mini Cooper it featured twin-point fuel injection for improved reliability and emissions.

While we weren’t able to road test the Mini Cooper it started first time and idled perfectly while being manoeuvred for photography. During the car’s restoration it benefitted from a thorough refresh and while it has covered nearly 90,000 miles the engine’s intrinsic simplicity and renowned reliability should ensure that it’s in fine fettle for many years to come. During its refresh it benefitted from new parts including new coils and a thermostat.

The Appeal

The Mini’s enduring appeal has made it a motoring icon – it might have been originally designed as a small family runabout, but since then it’s secured a place in our hearts and even today is seen as chic and trendy transport. You only have to look at the host of celebrity owners and its crowning glory as the star of the silver screen in The Italian Job to see how much love there is for the Mini.

The car here in Mark 7 Cooper form is one of the ultimate examples of the breed and having benefited from a recent rebuild, it’s now in fine fettle to tackle the 21st century. With excellent paintwork, interior and a sound mechanical makeup, it should provide its next owner with smile-a-minute motoring for many years to come.

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 1996
  • Make Rover
  • Model Cooper
  • Colour Red
  • Odometer 89,324 Miles
  • Engine size 1275
  • Location Essex
Bidding history
39 bids
  • st•••• £9,100 08/04/21
  • Ri•••• £9,000 08/04/21
  • st•••• £8,900 08/04/21
  • Ri•••• £8,800 08/04/21
  • st•••• £8,700 08/04/21
  • Ri•••• £8,600 08/04/21
  • st•••• £8,500 08/04/21
  • Ri•••• £8,400 08/04/21
  • st•••• £8,300 08/04/21
  • Ri•••• £8,200 08/04/21

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