1991 Rover Mini Cooper Saloon Chassis no. SAXXNNAMMBD023729
Not registered with DVLA
Fifty years ago the notion that the Mini might have a future as anything other than basic transport was anathema and the idea of a high-performance version was laughable. One man though, saw it quite differently. Racing car manufacturer John Cooper already knew quite a bit about tuning BMC's A-Series engine - he was running the company's Formula Junior effort at the time - and a test drive in a prototype Mini convinced him of the car's competition potential. The result, launched in September 1961, was the Mini Cooper, a car that offered a size/price/performance package that was nothing short of miraculous.
Following the original's demise in 1971, John Cooper sold his own modified Minis under the 'Mini Cooper' name from the mid-1980s, before Rover's acquisition of the rights made it possible to officially re-launch the model in July 1990. The new Mini Cooper was based on the Mini 30, the most luxuriously equipped Limited Edition Mini to date, but fitted with the 1,275cc MG Metro A-Series engine rather than the 30's 998cc unit. As a prelude to series production, which commenced in September 1990, Rover's Special Products division built a limited run of 1,650 cars in the summer of that year. More luxurious than the production version that followed, the 'RSP' or 'Limited Edition' Mini-Cooper featured a striped bonnet, leather trim, red leather-bound steering wheel, wooden dashboard and tinted glass. Little more than a year later, the engine was given fuel injection to enable it to met tougher emissions legislation, the resulting model being known as the 'Mini Cooper 1.3i'. Power increased from 61 to 63bhp and there was a slight gain in top speed, which was now 92mph.
This left-hand drive, manual transmission Mini Cooper was purchased new in Monaco and was John Coombs' everyday car until circa 2002, when he replaced it with a BMW Mini. The car was sent over to the UK approximately three years ago and has remained in storage since then. Presented in generally good condition, it has covered only 25,000 miles from new and although not UK registered is MoT'd to September 2014.