1968 Austin Mini Cooper MK2 - Hidden Away for 40-50 Years, 6000 Miles, One Previous Keeper (Originally a Famous Historic Rally Driver), Then His Friend Then Owned Her for 40 + years, Full Nut & Bolt Rebuild, Concourse Underneath, Twin Tanks, Hydrolastic Suspension
If you would like to see a folder with 75-100 photographs of her restoration, please use the following link www.gbminigarage.com/vmlWe are now retiring and I need to sell some of the vehicles that I have been keeping in my collection.
This is was going to be one of my lifetime cars. It is a genuine Mini Cooper Mk2 1000cc in Snowberry White with 6000 miles on the speedometer and just one previous keeper.
It was purchased new on the 13th of September 1967 by the infamous rally driver Richard “Dick” Mayo. Dick was so well respected for his rallying that the Mayo Stages Rally and Dick Mayo Memorial Sprint are today both named in tribute to the great man. Dick went on to become a key motorsport figure as the elected Director of UK Motorsport, the national governing body for UK motorsport, previously named the RAC Motorsport Association (1979-1998) & The Royal Automobile Club Motor Sports Association (1998 -2020).
Undoubtedly, under Dick Mayo’s ownership this Mini will have reached the peak of the rally driver experience in its day and the richness of Dick’s driving. That being said she was crashed hard and retired after just a few years and hasn't seen the open road until today. Alan, Dick's friend, who has owned her for the forty years since, advised me that Dick crashed her 1973, but a motoring article written decades later suggests 1983 (needs further research). Either way, she would never see the open road again, until now.
Following the accident Dick Mayo kept her parts in storage for over a decade before selling her to his good friend and motorsport club buddy Alan on the strict basis that he would restore her to her former glory, utilising a wealth of experience in restoring Mini’s.
Throughout the last forty years Alan has carried out a complete nut and bolt restoration, mostly carried out within the last ten years. Her engine has been rebuilt with an unleaded head and twin carburettors. Most of her mechanical parts are brand new, as is her expensive hydro-lastic suspension (which is lost on most examples and adds so much to the driving experience). She has a new wiring loom and everything works. She is rust free throughout and near concourse underneath and under her carpets. At the same time most of her aesthetic details are original or of the correct period where replacement was strictly required. Forty years gives you the opportunity to find these parts. Also, she has twin petrol tanks!
Alan describes taking great care and forty years to preserve her originality as far as possible, being carefully guided by John Parnell’s literature. That being said, Alan has made but a handful of tasteful and period, yet none factory upgrades, where necessary or sought. Mechanical upgrades include an unleaded head conversion (he reports a fully rebuilt engine) and a period alternator for power generation, opposed to the lesser, troublesome and period dynamo, albeit I am guided that an alternator was a factory additional extra available at the time. Aesthetic upgrades include her brand new period 10” Minilite alloys that provide a wider stance and are fitted with brand new tyres, her Smiths RV1 Tachometer (a common, useful feature on early Cooper’s) and a set of period Lucas Spotlights. Speaking to Alan, it’s instantly evident from the warmth in his voice that these spotlights were close to his heart as he had purchased them in 1970 for his second Mini Clubman and these two were the only survivors (the other two being stolen by school children in the seventies when he was a teacher).
Dick Mayo sadly passed away in 2004. Alan became too old to finish her restoration and she was passed to ourselves last Winter. The last job was the twin carburettors. After purchasing her I had her carburettors professionally set up using old school technology, serviced her and she passed an MOT (despite being MOT exempt) with no advisories (everything is new). She drives beautifully, she is tort, well she’s just lovely to drive, one of the best experiences I have had in a Mini (despite only covering three to five test miles).
We have a large history folder and the relevant logbooks. She hasn’t seen the open in road in 40-50 years so this is mainly invoices for the rebuild. There aren’t any previous MOT’s to validate the mileage, only a verbal guarantee which seems relatively reliable considering her ownership history. She is HPI clear, however we know that Dick Mayo crashed her hard back in the day.
The DVLA mistakenly registered ourselves as a third keeper (two previous), opposed to an off record motor trade company and subsequently accepted their mistake and removed ourselves as a keeper, returning her to one previous keeper. We have paper correspondence from the DVLA confirming such and the latest logbook in my personal name at my address, however the DVLA has advised that the new keeper should register with a V62 for the above reason. We have this in writing from the DVLA. This is annoying, but worthwhile to keep her as one previous keeper and we are more than happy to assist in this process (we are a classic car dealership).
It’s a beautiful car with some awesome provenance, a car that drives brilliantly and is a proper rare find.
As stated, the Mini was one of those golden finds that I wanted to keep forever, but retirement has gotten in the way. Aspects of the Mini are perfect, but there are other areas that could be improved upon if you wished and I’ll outline these below.
(a) Paintwork (except underneath and inside which are concourse). Alan put some painstakingly hard work into cutting out each and every bit of rust and welding in new panels, photographing the process (75 plus photographs). However, Alan then decided to hand paint her on top in old fashioned style, using special enamel paint and a tiny brush. The more I look at her the more I love this rough and ready period finish, it’s classical, that being said, I have and you may, consider repainting her to make her nice and shiny. I have a quote at £2000-2500 which remains an option with my bodywork guys. Her body does have dints here and there and areas which look like there may be filler underneath, which doesn’t correlate with the above photographs so that is a mystery. Alan said that the shell looked like it had been rallied hard when he got it. I showed my bodywork specialist and he was baffled because the preparation was good. Mysteries. Come and have a look.
(b) She has passed the MOT emissions test, however there is some moderate puffs of smoke when you put your foot down or have her on choke. This clears on tick over. She has only done 4-5 miles in 40 years, which may explain this. However, it is more likely than not the valve stem seals which have likely become brittle over the decades and there was some oil on the spark plugs to validate this. I would budget for new valve stem seals.
Note RE Roof Mounted Spotlight
She has a genuine BMC Works Lucas roof mounted twisty spotlight with the interior handle. I haven’t fitted this, but simply dismantled it and placed part of it on top for effect. If you wanted to fit it, that would be easy enough but I didn’t want to damage the roof / headlining.
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