Belying its small size and apparent fragility, the Mini Cooper developed into the most successful works rally car of the 1960s, one of its most famous victories being Paddy Hopkirk’s headline-grabbing win in the 1964 ‘Monte’.
The Mini Cooper family’s ultimate expression – the 1,275cc ‘S’ – won first time out in 1964 and became the works’ frontline car from 1965 onwards, winning eight international rallies outright that same year, a quite outstanding achievement.
The works Minis were built at BMC’s Competitions Department at Abingdon, and this Cooper S has been re-registered with the period-correct Abingdon registration ‘79 FMO’. The car was one of four ‘Paddy Hopkirk Recreation’ built circa 1991 by Alec Poole, one-time British Touring Car Champion and BMC works driver, who finished 2nd in the 1968 London-Sydney Marathon with Paddy Hopkirk.
The cars were built with Paddy’s full co-operation and he retains one to this day. An original Cooper S converted from right- to left-hand drive, ’79 FMO’ is constructed around a seam-welded and reinforced bodyshell fitted with full roll cage and finished in works livery of red with white roof and door squares. The powder-coated front and rear sub-frames are fitted with ‘dry’ suspension and Koni shock absorbers, while the braking system consists of Cooper S discs/calipers equipped with competition pads and servo, drilled rear drums and fly-off handbrake.
Built by ex-British Touring Car Champion Richard Longman, the 1,293cc Cooper S engine is fully balanced and fitted with a gas-flowed and polished cylinder head; 731 camshaft; twin SU carburettors; long, centre-branch exhaust manifold; oil cooler and high-performance radiator complete with mechanical and electric fans. Fuel is drawn from the twin, balanced tanks by two independently selectable pumps via a CAV filter/water separator and Aeroquip lines, while power is transmitted via a straight-cut, close-ratio gearbox fitted with limited-slip differential and strengthened drive shafts.
The interior trim consists of red carpets, black roof lining, correct grey/gold brocade door panels and grey/red rear seats. Corbeau rally seats are fitted at the front together with Willans 4-point harnesses. Driver’s side instrumentation includes a Stack rev counter, oil pressure gauge, water and oil temperature gauges, voltmeter and Paddy Hopkirk replica speedometer. There is a Blaupunkt radio in the door pocket. On the navigator’s side is a Halda Twin Master, Speed Pilot and 24-hour Herwins clock and matching stopwatch. Other noteworthy features include electrically heated front screen, air horns and auxiliary lighting.
‘79 FMO’ competed in ‘Le Jog’ in 2004 driven by Richard Martin-Hurst and Willy Cave, and is presented ready to participate in similar historic rally events.The car is offered with BMIHT Certificate, FIA papers, RAC MSA Competition Car Logbook,
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