The ex-works, Cooper Car Company, Warwick Banks, Paddy Hopkirk, John Handley, Julian Vernaeve, etc,1964 Austin Mini Cooper 1275 'S' Group 5 Competition Saloon Chassis no. CA257672084 Engine no. XSP4770
The ex-works, Cooper Car Company, Warwick Banks, Paddy Hopkirk, John Handley, Julian Vernaeve, etc 1964 Austin Mini Cooper 1275 'S' Group 5 Competition Saloon Registration no. GPH 1C Chassis no. CA257672084 Engine no. XSP4770
CA257672084 was built on the 14th December 1964 at the Longbridge plant in Birmingham. The build specification records show the Mini Cooper S was originally finished in Surf Blue and white, and equipped with Hydrolastic suspension, twin fuel tanks and 4½" wheels. Further details are shown on the BMIHT certificate including chassis number and original engine number. The car was despatched from the factory on 19th December 1964 and registered 'GPH 1C' by the Cooper Car Co in January 1965. Work began on modifications in advance of the Olympia Racing Car Show later in the month where the car was to be exhibited. For the show 'GPH 1C' was repainted in Cooper's works colours of Commercial Green and Old English White, and equipped with number of Cooper performance accessories and competition parts. 'GPH 1C' was intended as a press demonstrator and the engine was 'Stage 1' tuned for fast road use. There are many images of 'Graphic', as it was nicknamed by John Cooper, at the Show, those of particular interest depicting Mini designer AIec Issigonis, John Cooper, Eddie Maher (Morris Engines) Charles Griffin (BMC production boss) and BMC A-Series engine designer Bill Appleby. After the Racing Car Show 'GPH 1C' was briefly used as a demonstrator, but after the formation of the Cooper works Mini team for the 1965 British Touring Car Challenge, was allocated to newly signed Warwick Banks, who was to contend the 1,000cc class. Banks's team-mate was John Rhodes. The cars were prepared to Group 2 specification. The Championship's first event was the Ilford Films Trophy at Brands Hatch, where Rhodes won the 1,300cc class and Banks the 1,000cc category in 'GPH 1C'. As BMC had used 'Graphic' for international publicity, it was requested that the car be 'loaned' to the BMC works team for a sedan race at Sebring in the USA where it would be driven by Banks and Paddy Hopkirk. 'GPH 1C' was fitted with a 1,293cc engine for this race, but was hampered by fuel supply problems and ended up finishing 7th. The car is pictured at Sebring in 'Works Minis' by Peter Browning (page 149). Back in the UK, 'GPH 1C'was returned to Group 2 specification and contested the next few races with the larger engine before the 999cc unit was reinstalled. John Rhodes drove the car at Silverstone during this period. In 1-litre form the car contested the Spa 24-Hours race co-driven by Julian Vernaeve and Geoff Mabbs, which was followed by the Snetterton 500km (Vernaeve/Torlay). 'GPH 1C' continued to play a vital role in the Cooper Car Company's assault on the British Championship, being driven in 1,300cc form by Paddy Hopkirk as a 'tow' for Warwick Banks, who was reunited with the car (now back to 999cc) for the final round at Oulton Park. Banks duly took the 1,000cc title, but just missed out on the overall Championship, which went to Roy Pierpoint (Ford Mustang). For the 1966 season, 'GPH 1C' was prepared to the new Group 5 rules and assigned to Paddy Hopkirk for the European Touring Car Championship, and was also raced in Europe by Julian Vernaeve and John Handley. Towards the end of the season 'GPH 1C' was drafted back into Cooper's British Championship campaign for Handley to assist John Rhodes, who was on the verge of winning a second 1,300cc title, which he duly secured at the final round. Last used as a reserve car at Silverstone on 24th April 1967, 'GPH 1C' was then returned to 'road' specification, repainted in its original livery and sold off. The bill of sale to Sunnyside Motors of Tolworth is in the history file. On 12th June 1967 the Mini was sold to Mr O Tomsett, MG Chichester (invoice on file). Mr Tomsett then prepared 'GPH 1C' for competition use and campaigned it throughout the 1968 and '69 seasons at venues including Wiscombe Park, Gurston Down and the Brighton Speed Trials. The car was taxed and road legal. 'GPH 1C' was damaged at an event in Weston Super Mare in 1970 and the car's front end was replaced soon after. A new competition engine was obtained second- hand from BMC's Special Tuning department and Mr Tomsett competed with the car again in 1971 and 1972, with some degree of success. At the end of 1973, Mr Tomsett switched to a tuned MGC he had purchased from Downton Engineering in 1969. It is known that the registration 'GPH 1C' appeared on the racing MGC at this time. 'GPH 1C' was placed into storage, together with a number of other classic competition cars in 1974, and remained untouched until the MG Chichester stable became available in 1983. After the issues of probate were concluded, 'GPH 1C' was purchased together with three other cars in 1985. The vendor registered 'GPH 1C' with the DVLA in 1988, using its green logbook, which had not been updated. Documentation on file from Mr Tomsett's estate confirms the sale and there is a further letter to confirm the authenticity of 'GPH 1C, establishing that the car had been owned by Mr Tomsett since June 1967 to the date of release by the family. Received with the sale documents for 'GPH 1C' was a quantity of documents relating to its competition history at the Cooper Car Co and others confirming its provenance. The no-expense-spared restoration project began in 1986 with the intention of using as many original parts as possible. The bodyshell was sent to Alscot Garage of Alderminster, Warwickshire, twice winners of the Benson & Hedges Concourse d'Élegance. Under the direction of Mr Ian Cornick, Aston Martin specialist, the bodyshell was restored without compromise, using genuine BMC panels that had been obtained over the years. Full details of this painstaking rebuild, plus a fuller account of the car's history and its current specification - which includes aluminium bonnet and boot, full alloy doors as used by the works cars, dry suspension, original Cooper Car Co 4½ x10J magnesium wheels, 1293cc S engine with a Weber 45DCOE, later 4-synchr box with lsd by Tranex - are fully recorded in a 12-page document, prepared by the vendor and running to some 7,000 words, which prospective purchasers are urged to read. The restoration was completed in 1989/90 after a five-year quest to obtain original parts to accurately finish the car. 'GPH 1C' was loaned to Rover/BMW for the launch of the new Mini at the Frankfurt Motor show in 1997, after which it travelled to other motor shows throughout the world. Rover borrowed the car again in 1998 for a series of promotions, including that of the limited edition Cooper Sports, which was painted in Commercial Green, just like 'GPH 1C'. Stored from 2000 onwards, the car was retrieved from storage in 2009 and returned to Ian Cornick to be stripped down, cleaned and rebuilt. The engine was overhauled and converted to unleaded compatibility and the fuel lines replaced with the latest composite type suitable for modern fuels. Only a few miles have been covered since the rebuild. Taxed, MoT'd and offered with Swansea V5C for road or track, this historic racing Mini Cooper S comes with a most substantial file of history. Meriting the closest inspection, the latter includes period scrutineering tickets, original FIA homologation papers for the model Mini Cooper S sales brochures, original Downton and Cooper Car Company invoices, one for the car signed in receipt by John Cooper himself, Cooper Car Company stamped extended ignition key, 1985 'as found' photographs, assorted correspondence and race results.