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Oz Cooper S I.D. questions

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  • Oz Cooper S I.D. questions

    Hello all,
    As promised, my progress so far with these two cars has prompted more questions than answers. Since I am planning full restoration of both cars, and eventual sale of one of them, being certain I have two genuine Cooper S cars is a top priority before I start throwing money around (well, credit anyway).

    I know this is going to get long, so thanks for bearing with me.

    I have gone through the Cooper S identification articles at,, and Parnell's book. With those behind me, I am about 99% sure the 1970 is genuine, and about 95% sure on the 1966. I have a few unresolved questions on each--perhaps someone can assist.

    Both cars have 7.5" discs, number plates in the right locations, with matching engine number (for the 1966), 1275 cooper s engines with extra stud and bolt and twin 1.25" SU carbs, numbers match production dates from, twin fuel tanks with correct straps in right rear passenger position, hydrolastic suspension, chrome trim on all side windows, remote gear change, thicker brake pedal stalk, etc. The 1966 has a 120 mph speedo with markings to 130, and the 1970 has a 120 mph speedo that doesn't appear in Parnell's book, but I've just seen another Morris Cooper S on ebay (1967) that has the same speedo as my 1970. You get the picture--most of the correct markers are there.

    The lingering doubts come from the following:
    1966--Colors listed on the number plate are New British Racing Green and Toga White (which is sort of a grey). The interior of the doors and under the headliner is definitely a dark green, flat original color (non-metallic). The top has been sprayed a grey color, which could well be the Toga White. However, when I sand down a section, there are about 3-4 layers of the grey, and then I come to a cream color and finally a light greenish primer coat and metal. So the question is, was the cream color a primer also, or were the color designators for Oz perhaps different than for the UK? Did a car ever get a different color top than what was on the number plate?

    Next, the opening for the remote shift is supposed to be a neat hole. On the '66, the cutout itself was once neat, but it is fairly ragged, i.e. torn around the edges, etc. I could go either way on this--perhaps a neat cutout that was just damaged, or a hole cut later on. So the question here--is there a replacement body panel for the tunnel that would necessitate cutting this hole? In other words, if the original tunnel on a genuine Cooper S rusted, can you get a replacement with the neat hole already in it, or do you have to cut your own, thus causing a ragged hole in a genuine Cooper S? Related, is it common to damage this hole when removing/installing the remote gear change, i.e. prying against the hole's edges?

    Finally (for now) on the 1966, the fan shroud has a random number stamped on it, not the engine number--it is hard to read, but I believe it is M061403. On the 1970, the engine number is stamped on the shroud. Would there be any significance to this omission on the MKI, or was it handled differently (as was the number plate, etc.)?

    On the 1970, the main question pertains to the speedometer, as mentioned above. Instead of a black face with concentric circles in it, it has a grey face (also from Smith's) and the following lettering: 54M2-1/12 RMPL1312
    As I said, I've since seen another fairly original Oz Cooper S with this same speedo, so I feel a bit more confident that this was in fact original, but do any of you know for sure?

    On both cars, an oil cooler is fitted, but I also question whether it was original. So the first question is whether any Cooper S models in Oz ever were produced without the oil cooler? If so, I think my question is answered. If not, the next problem is that the nose panel on both cars is not the pre-formed type as seen on cars that came with the oil cooler. Instead, the sheet metal has simply been crudely bent backwards to create a shelf for the oil cooler. On the '70, it's possible that the panel is just damaged but I don't think so. There is a remnant of metal spot-welded to the nose panel on the '70 that is in about the right location to be the end of a diagonal brace, but I can't figure out why anyone would have cut the diagonal brace on a car that already had an oil cooler. Anyway. The question here is, if some Cooper S cars shipped without an oil cooler, would it be normal to see the sheet metal bent and vertical brace removed, as is the case with both cars? If none shipped without an oil cooler, is it possible that the nose panel was just changed and that the replacement panels were not available with a diagonal brace, so the crude fabrication happened as I see it now? I am certain that the '66 front fenders were replaced, as well as the bonnet--it stands to reason that perhaps this car had a front-end accident, and all four parts (fenders, bonnet, nose panel) were replaced, causing the problem mentioned. But the 1970, as near as I can tell, has all of its original sheet metal, so I'm hoping someone tells me that some of them didn't have oil coolers and I can just relax and fix the problem!

    Again, sorry for the very lengthy post, and thank you for any insights you might have on these.


  • #2
    It's important when you're trying to ID a Mini to not get too caught up in the small details. It will drive you crazy. The simplest explanation is probably the correct one.

    Concerning the paint. It sounds like the car was stripped on the outside and repainted. This was probably sometime after the front end shunt that required the fenders, nose panel, radiator shroud and hood to be changed. If it was a hard hit is might have caused some damage to the shifter hole or whoever pulled the engine bashed up the hole which isn't uncommon. Of course, I've assumed that everything was changed because of one wreck, not the 3 or 4 that are more likely in the life of a 40+ year-old car.

    In answer to one of your other questions, Mini's almost never rust in the tunnel area and they also almost never rust in Australia.

    The missing recesses for the Hydrolastic lines are harder to explain. Possibilities other than a replacement body shell, would be that this is an early OZ 'S' that was one of the CKD imports. Maybe a '65 instead of a '66? Or in true BMC fashion there was a transition period or, better yet, there were some left over CKD shells that were assembled along with the OZ manufactured shells early in the '66 model year. Since there are no longer any Australian BMC production records we'll probably never know. Parnell says that CKD production started in May of '65 and OZ introduction was in September.

    If you have any information on the original registration on this car you might be able to get a better idea if any of the above are possible.

    Hope this helps,


    If you can afford the car, you can afford the manual...


    • #3
      All is well

      Mascher, thanks for your input. Since I last posted, I was finally added to the forum, and what a great forum also. They sorted me out in quick order, and not only is the '66 genuine, it's also possibly a '65 and a lot more rare than I first thought. Every discrepancy I mentioned they had a perfect explanation for.

      To that end, here are some of the items they corrected me on:
      --The hydrolastic tunnels didn't happen until '67, and prior to that there were four small sheet metal covers at each corner of the car over the hydro tubes. My '66 has those.
      --The missing fuel vent line tabs in the boot for the right fuel tank were not there in '65 and some of '66--instead, the right tank had clips for the fuel vent line. My '66 has the two holes for those clips.
      --As you said, the gearshift hole frequently got torn up from a rubber part failing and letting the gearshift hit the sheet metal.
      --There is a small vent (three-way nylon part) under the rear passenger on the bulkhead--for the SU fuel pump. Present on both of my cars.
      --The radiator shroud on the MKI had the Oz car number (approximately 500 less than the BMC car number) stamped on it. Mine is 510 less, and according to the Aussies, correct.

      So all this leads to the same conclusion you made--the car had a front ender first, which led to the new front fenders and bonnet. The car was stripped and painted butter cream yellow. This also accounts for the non-red primer underneath. Down the road someone painted it again back to something like the original colors, which is where I got ahold of it.

      I can't tell you what a big sigh of relief this was...and pretty cool to have a MKI and MKII Oz Cooper S in the garage at the same time. The project is picking up speed again. I have no idea how I'm supposed to sell one of these awesome cars once I've spent all the time restoring them...maybe my wife will decide that "his-and-hers minis" is the only way to go. We can race each other.

      All the best and thanks again.
      Last edited by bmacpiper; 09-19-2008, 08:29 PM.