- Part of the Wells Collection
- Only 9,124 miles
- Matching numbers car
- Stunning original condition
- Engine tuned with Downton Touring Conversion No. 5
- Amazing provenance
What makes the top classic cars stand out as so valuable? Three things in our view.
The classic has to be a car that was as desirable back in the day as it is now. It must be in outstanding condition. Most notably it’s essential for it to have provenance.
The term ‘provenance’ is frequently bandied about. Simply put, it means; something that gives your classic a distinguishing, traceable history over and above other examples of the same model making it uniquely special.
We think you’ll agree this Mini Cooper S Downton ticks those boxes
This Cooper S has such a fascinating detailed provenance, backed with a huge document file, we’ve separated that in to a Provenance appendix.
The headlines are;
It was owned by a leading figure in the 1960’s London’s underworld. That individual purchased the Cooper S with cash proceeds from what was then the biggest cash robbery in the UK. By today’s standards it still ranks highly.
After a long period on the run with the Cooper S, the underworld figure was arrested and subsequently sent down for a very long stretch. The Cooper S was seized and put into storage and basically forgotten about. Disposed of several years later at a Police Auction then stored again, it re-emerged in the later 1980’s to have its first MOT.
Grab a cuppa, read the story and leaf through the papers in the gallery.
The classic Mini Cooper S requires little introduction. Celebrated for its engineering, handsome looks and go kart- like handling, anyone who has owned or even driven one still keeps that memory close to their hearts.
The original 1961 incarnation was a modest car, taking the standard 848cc engine and modifying it to create the initial Cooper engine, the 997cc. With twin SU carbs it turned out 55bhp, up 21bhp on the 848cc. Along with its miniature size, close-ratio gearbox and disc brakes on the front wheels, it embarrassed far more powerful cars..
A higher-revving 998cc Cooper engine arrived in 1964, shortly after the introduction of the high-performance Cooper 1071S.
Two new Cooper S models were introduced in 1964. Aimed at motorsport classes. The 1275cc model lasted until the entire range was ditched in 1971.
The real reasons the Cooper S were so revered was two fold; you could drive them flat out, on the straight and on the twisties, the Cooper S cornered like nothing else and moreover they were and remain today, so much fun to drive.
This Morris Mini Cooper 1275 S, registration number CLM 791H was built on 26 August 1969. It was first registered new in December of that year.
That makes it one of the very last of the short-lived Mk 2 Cooper S Minis to be built, and one of the last to carry the Morris badge. A very diminishing resource!
The original selling Dealer, Stewart & Arden’s details remain firmly affixed in the rear screen.
CLM 791H is presented as it left the factory. It is finished in Snowberry White with a contrasting Black roof. It wears the original and extremely rare 3.5J x 10 ventilated steel wheels on a good set of tyres.
This matching numbers car is in stunning original condition. In no small part due to its incredibly rare low mileage, coupled with being kept in dehumidified storage.
The originality is exceptionally rare. Items such as date codes on the original Triplex glass and various components under the bonnet – you know which ones – verify the build date.
The vendor describes the bodywork, including the subframes as being “in first class condition”. There are a multitude of images in the gallery for you to see.
Our honestly held view is it would be very rare to find another Cooper S in this condition.
The clever use of space on the sixties Mini’s means it’s easy to get carried away with the practical and Tardis-like interior. But look beyond that and there are some real unexpected charms in there too. The original Morris badge of the steering wheel along with the sparkling chrome finishes on the expansive door pockets really do make you appreciate how good this Cooper S is.
The black vinyl seats – mind your bum on a hot day – are original. This Cooper S came spec’d with the factory option reclining seats with Britax seatbelts; not that anybody wore them in the Sixties, least of all major league bank robbers on the run!
The view from the images are that all of the original soft trim, such as door cards, carpets, headlining, even the sun visors are as good as you’re likely to see. In particular the door cards present like new. At the rear, the boot area is in terrific condition.
While we’re on the carpets. You’ll note the vendor has helpfully lifted the carpet and felt in various areas to reveal the stunning condition of the floor panels. At the huge risk of repetition on our part, none of us can recall one in such complete overall condition.
The 1275 Cooper S engine is a dream, let’s just recognise that for a moment.
However, when new, the 1275cc A-Series engine in the this Cooper S was in for a surprise. It was treated to a full Downton Touring Conversion No.5 tuning kit.
Downton Engineering are a legend and a story in their own right. The Mini story may have been different if it were not for the eccentric team at Downton Engineering.
Daniel Richmond took over a garage in Downton, Wiltshire in the late 1940s. Disappointed with off the shelf tuning kits, he decide to build his own. Downton were soon supplying cylinder heads to the Abingdon Rally cars and engines to the Cooper Car Company’s racing Mini’s. John Cooper may have developed the original Mini Cooper, but the legendary Cooper S was a Downton engineering creation in collaboration with Morris engines at Coventry.
The No 5 Downton tuning kit takes the 1275 Cooper S to another level. It comprises of a new cylinder head with modified combustion chambers, ports and valves. As a result the compression ratio raised to 10.5 : 1.
A polished inlet manifold is fitted and it is individually matched to the specific cylinder head.
To help the engine breath better by expelling the spent gases from the improved combustion process, a long centre branch (LCB) exhaust manifold was fitted.
New twin SU carburettors, complete with new linkages were fitted with twin pancake air filters,
Downton Engineering claimed a 0-60 mph time of just 7.8 seconds, a whopping 2.4 seconds quicker than a standard Cooper 1275 S. Downton further claimed in a period leaflet, a top speed of 110mph. Useful when you’re on the run from Old Bill.
The price list from Downton Engineering list the No 5 Kit, fitted, as costing £105 & 7 shillings. Spark plugs were to be charge at RRP
To say it’s rare to find a 1275 Cooper S with an original Downton kit is a crushing under-statement.
Deep breath. Where to start? Where we began would be good. What makes the top classics stand out.
Was the Cooper S a much sought after car when it was launched? We all know the answer to that.
Is this Cooper S in outstanding condition? You can see for yourself and make you mind up from the gallery of images.
Does it have the magic ingredient, provenance?
The list starts with many minor, but unique items such as the original green log book. On its own not enough. But then it grows. Our vendor’s Wells Collection is well known for housing exceptional cars and our vendor doing his homework. The traceable ownership. Again, great, but on its own, not quite enough.
But then we get to exclusive matters like individual ownership. Ronnie Dark, was an A-lister when it came to London’s 1960s criminal underworld. The doc pack has many original items about Dark, such as newspapers, Police Statements, Witness Statements, Court documents from the Old Bailey, exhibits lists, the only thing missing is a lock of Ronnie Dark’s hair!
Seriously, this is not just a collection of dry paperwork. As you start to examine it, you’ll quickly understand this is an insight into the social history of our time. Standing alone it has a value, with the car, the value is almost too difficult to put a number on.
As if all that were not enough and we believe it is, you can add in the Holy Grail of Mini Cooper S tuning, Downton Engineering.
Together, condition, desirability, scarcity and provenance, make a very, very unique and exclusive package.
Value. Who knows where this will end? We do know our vendor has put a reasonable reserve based on outstanding Cooper S Minis sold in the market in in recent years.
- 10 March 2021 – Bonhams – 1964 Mini Cooper S recently restored – £62,000
- 7 April 2019 – Goodwood Meeting – 1965 Cooper S – £62,166
- 9 Sept 2017 – Goodwood – 1964 Cooper S – £63,100
Vehicle Location: West Wales– it’s the responsibility of the winning bidder to make collection / transportation arrangements directly with the vendor
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