1970 Group C Mini Cooper S

Raced from 1972 - 1975.
3 x Bathurst starts.
4 owners from new.
A heap of fun as a racer, or a coffee grabber.
Very 1970's cool WD-40 livery.

The iconic Mini is so much more than just another classic car - it created its own genre; that of the mighty “Giant Killer” and in doing so, has become a cult object; a practical classic that never experienced any cultural cringe, as time moved on and is still admired, all around the world.

Designed by Sir Alexander Arnold Constantine Issigonis (But we can call him Sir Alex), the Mini was a very successful piece of 20th Century design, as it’s clever layout enabled it to punch above its weight with amazing load-carrying abilities (Think of Uni- Students piling in for the World Record etc). Due to the Mini’s design brief, it was small, low and every feature was cut to the bone with weight saving in mind, all these highlighted the cars, perhaps circumstantially, more sporting talents which was excellent handling and the ability to extract the most out of the little 4 cylinder BMC engines.

These talents were noticed by John Cooper, who was swiftly becoming an icon in his own right, building Formula type racing cars for Sir Jack Brabham, Bruce McLaren, Stirling Moss et al, racking up a few F1 World Championships along the way. Through Cooper’s friendship with Sir Alex, he was asked to create a better Mini, so he fitted a more powerful Formula Junior derived engine, along with front disc brakes and a few suspension tweaks, to create the icon, of the iconic Mini; the Mini Cooper. Early Mini Coopers ran 997cc or 998cc “A-Series” I4 engine, but the ultimate variant was the 'S' using the 1275cc version of the motor, with a burly 76hp at your right foot.

As of September, 1965, Australia had its own unique version of the Cooper S, - the local variety had dual fuel tanks for our larger distances between fuel stations, an ADR approved laminated windscreen, beefed up floor-pan to cope with our rougher roads and safe, three-point seatbelts. Australians in particular enjoy barracking for the underdog in nearly any situation and the Mini, raced in the Appendix J days by Peter “Skinny” Manton, Brian Foley and Lakis Manticas, embodied that spirit perfectly. Fun Mini Fact: Did you know that the all-conquering Pete Geoghegan 1965 Mustang was only ever beaten once… Yup, at Warwick farm, with Brian Foley behind the wheel, of a Mini Cooper S!!

The Mini was successfully raced and rallied all over the globe and if the scene of the race needed a nimble and reliable car to win, like most endurance rallies of the day, then you could be guaranteed a Mini would be on the podium somewhere! The high point for the Mini in Australia is undoubtedly, the Mini that won Bathurst (Gallaher 500) in 1966 with our own Bob Holden and Rauno Aaltonen. Quite sadly, that car was stolen in 1968 and likely never to be seen again (Another poignant reminder of how much thieves and bad people in general really suck.) With the 1966 Bathurst winner gone, your options for coolest Mini ever are handed over to the few cars that raced at Bathurst in the Series Production (Group E) and Group C era.

Which leads us to the car Ecurie Bowden proudly has for sale:

The Mini Cooper S, Chassis # YG2541749, was originally purchased by soon to be racer John Lord in April 1970, from Lancaster Motors, in the Sydney suburb of Chatswood. The NSW registration was BAZ 934, and John initially used it as a road car, until an opportunity to attend a Peter Wherrett Driving School led John into the addictive fun that is motorsport. The little Mini was logbooked by CAMS on the 18th of May, 1972 and she was in for some a very long and storied career competing in nine rounds of the Australian Manufacturers Championship events between 1972 and 1975 plus other events.

1972: Sandown 250, Winton and Calder Park.

1973: Sandown 250, Phillip Island 500k and the Chesterfield 250 held at Adelaide International Raceway as well as meetings at Winton and Calder Park.

1974: Sandown 250 and Bathurst Hardie-Ferodo 1000, where John was leading his class by 3 laps and stuffed her in, requiring a new front guard. He also ran again at the Chesterfield 250 at AIR.

1975: A new paint scheme (As the car presents now) and a bombed up 105 Hp engine and John entered the Sandown 250 and one last crack at the Bathurst Hardie-Ferodo 1000. Resulting in a disappointing DNF while leading the class again!

Bathurst 1975 was the last race for the Mini for a VERY long time.  John held onto the car, installing a milder camshaft and a Weber carburettor, then repainted it blue all-over and gave it to his wife Suzie, as a very cool daily driver until about 1983, when it was parked up, but kept in constant registration until 2007, with the car going to its second owner, Mr Andrew Murray. In Mr Murray’s 2 years of ownership he pulled the engine out and painted it, put a new period correct brake master cylinder in it and he rebuilt the brake callipers. In 2009, Mr Murray sold the Group C Mini to a Husband and Wife racing team, who wanted a very special Mini in their life.

With competing in the popular Heritage Touring Cars Category in mind they set about getting the car back to 1975 Bathurst 1000 race-ready specification; Engine work was done by Link Automotive in Mitcham, who went right through the car. They put a new clutch in it and the original “Police-Pack” twin Su’s, which were original to the car, were put back on it"

The original roll-cage had been taken out of the car when it finished racing, and put aside. From moving house a number of times, one of the side intrusion bars went missing. that was fabricated, but other than that one bar, the roll cage itself is the original. The Mini raced in period with a three-point harness, which was upgraded to a safer four-point. The original hole was there for the other type, so we just had to drill another hole for the extra mounting point.

To finish off the correct Bathurst 1975 look, new race decals were made up for the Mini, which was the cars last “racetoration” item, before applying for the important CAMS Certificate of Description (CAMS CoD) With such an original car, which only has 4 owners from new and the history of the car so well documented, a CoD from CAMS, to be eligible for Group C historic racing, was one of the easier decisions for the CAMS team, that deliberate over these difficult to obtain forms.

In 2010 the Racetoration was complete and the CAMS CoD obtained, with the car running in the popular Heritage Touring Cars category, competing at the Muscle Car Masters, Sandown Historics and returning once more to Bathurst, to celebrate the 1966 50th anniversary of the Mini winning the great race. On this occasion, the 1966 winner Bob Holden drove the car, along with the original pilot and long term keeper, John Lord.

The car has been signed by Rauno Aaltonen, Bob Holden and John Lord. It still has its original engine, Dealer ‘Passport to Service’ Handbooks, CAMS logbooks from 1972 and an all-important un-broken line of history. 

The little Mini now sits about more often than not, so the time has come to find the next custodian who will enjoy the odd race and what it is like to get the Sunday papers and a coffee in a genuine Ex-Bathurst racer. 

This Morris Cooper S would arguably be the most original, completely documented with full history, Bathurst raced ‘S’ available.