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1998 Rover Mini John Cooper S 90bhp Conversion

Supplied by the famous flagship Park Lane Mini of London on 23 October 1998 personally to the then well known politician Sir Stephen Wall, this Rover Mini has the John Cooper S Pack “dealer fitted” from new by Rover Mini Park Lane and represented the UK as Sir Steven Wall's vehicle in Brussels within his role as Britains’ Permanent Representative to the European Union in 1998 and 1999, before returning to London with Sir Steven Wall when he took up a position in the Cabinet Office in 2000 under the then Prime Minister Tony Blair.

Amazingly, the DVLA have advised the previous owner that she was classed as an official British Government Vehicle and if that’s correct then what a fantastic provenance, we just love the Britishness of Sir Steven Wall shooting around Brussels, then London in this little Mini, very fitting for the role.

Within her history folder she has Sir Steven’s original purchase invoices and copies of the relevant V5 documents within Sir Steven’s name (see pictures). Her original purchase invoice stated that the purchase price should have been £8288.27, however she was sold as a “tax free sale” through “Rover International Wholesale” meaning that £1446.07 in tax was avoided and such amount just happened to perfectly pay for the John Cooper S package and an upgraded grill, absolute winner. She’s been owned 19 years, has the most fantastic history and is in great condition (we’ll expand on everything below).

The current keeper (two previous keepers) has owned her for nineteen years and watched his children grow to teenagers in her whilst raising her to a genuine low 54,000 miles. During this time she has been meticulously maintained to the highest standard (25 services) and every shred of documentation seems to have been saved in her massive history folder, verifying all of the above.

1. John Cooper S Conversion (Dealer Fitted From New)

When did you last encounter a John Cooper S Pack which was fitted by a dealer from new? We haven’t, as in our experience these conversions have all been carried out after the fact by John Cooper Garages. Reading her original Rover purchase invoice (see pictures) from Park Lane Mini (photographed), it’s noted that Sir Steven paid an extra £1388.27 to have a “dealer fitted” “Cooper S Pack” from new (see photograph).

Paul who’m has owned her since 2004 contacted John Cooper Works for confirmation of the specification in 2004 (email photographed) and they stated that she had “the 90bhp conversion” which included; their polished and ported three cylinder head, Janspeed LCB exhaust manifold and full flow rear exhaust silencer, roller tipped 1.5 ratio rockers, a polished and ported inlet manifold, uprated fuel pressure regulator, modified full flow air filter box and platinum tipped spark plugs. Paul has since switched the 1.5 ratio rockers for standard to avoid cam wear (daily driver for 19 years) and switched the platinum tipped spark plugs and Janspeed exhaust for standard and an RC40 for daily driving (however these can be purchased separately if required). She has the relevant John Cooper plaque beside the drivers seat with the reference 125000/195/10 (photographed).

Driving her, she is fast and wonderful fun, terrifying really, lots of power and that iconic rally winning classic Mini handling.

3. Owned for 19 Years

Paul first purchased her from the reputable Mini Man of Solihull at Christmas in 2004 for the price of £7195.56. Paul gave Mini Man special instructions to fit the upgraded electric “one-click” Webasto roof in premium Hollandie Deluxe Fabric which was £761.00 at the time (we have never encountered such a quality Webasto on a Mini) as well as the triple white Cooper Sportspack central gauges (Volt, Clock, Oil Temp). At the time when Paul bought her she had covered just 28,000 miles from new and Paul lovingly recollects spending the last 19 years and 26,000 miles running his kids around, they weren’t born then, teenagers now. Paul is the treasurer of his local Mini Club and has maintained her to the highest standard and kept a huge folder of receipts which must add up to over ten thousand pounds spent, looking after her well since 2004. Circumstances have now forced Paul to sell her. Her logbook reads 2 previous keepers, one being Sir Steven Wall.

The only other modifications made by Paul include; two extra front spotlights (originally supplied with just two), an Aston Martin DB6 chrome petrol cap cover (beautifully made), an upgraded stereo, USB port, upgraded shock absorbers and a Paul Smith Gearknob… and the expensive alloy wheels. Photographs taken by Paul in 2004 and included show her looking identical to how she looks now, she has aged well.

4. The Biggest Paper History File

Most Mini’s come with no significant history, this Mini comes with the most meticulous file, it has been loved and cherished, looked after to the highest standard. We can’t incorporate all of such into this description, however we have outlined her service history (25 stamps and/or invoices), her mileage history (54,000 validated miles) and the key maintenance. In reality the history folder spans her lifetime and has thousands if not tens of thousands of pounds worth of receipts and MOT’s so we can’t incorporate all of them and have only discussed the most important ones. We have taken pictures of the most important documents (blurring out any addresses and codes) for legal reasons and we have taken photographs and videos of the file itself which you can speculate as to what’s inside, or pop over and view it in person.

5. Service History

Book One (Factory Supplied & Complete)

Nov 1998 - 1,080 Miles - Garage Theo of Brussels
April 1999 - 2,096 Miles - Garage Theo of Brussels
Oct 1999 - 4,693 Miles - Garage Theo of Brussels
June 2000 - 7,038 Miles - John Cooper Garages of Sussex
June 2001 - 10,545 Miles - Miniman (Specialist) of Knowle
Oct 2001 - Not stated - Rover Approved Evans Halshaw Stamp in the back of the book coded A097 (implied recall regarding front brake hose / bracket).
May 2002 - 14,724 Miles - Miniman (Specialist) of Knowle
March 2003 - 20,490 Miles - Owner Note in Service History Stating Service Carried Out
Feb 2004 - 25,240 Miles - Owner Note in Service History Stating Service Carried Out
** Paul Purchases Her **
Dec 2004 - 28,819 Miles - Miniman (Specialist) of Knowle
June 2005 - 30,490 Miles - Nick’s Garage of Cardiff
Nov 2006 - 32,799 Miles - Monico Garage (Unipart) of Cardiff (Stamped in Both Books)
*** Book Complete ***

Book Two (Supplied by Unipart)

Dec 2007 - 33,680 Miles - Monico Garage (Unipart) of Cardiff  (Plus New Shocks)
Nov 2009 - 38,215 Miles - Monico Garage (Unipart) of Cardiff
Nov 2010 - 39,359 Miles - Monico Garage (Unipart) of Cardiff
Nov 2011 - 41,157 Miles - Monico Garage (Unipart) of Cardiff (Plus Wheel Cylinder)
Nov 2012 - 42,456 Miles - Monico Garage (Unipart) of Cardiff (Plus New Exhaust & Heater Valve)
Dec 2013 - 44,376 Miles - Monico Garage (Unipart) of Cardiff (Plus New Shocks, Brake Service, SB Mounts, Mounts, Bushes etc.)
Nov 2014 - 45,610 Miles - R.T Motorsport of Newport
Nov 2015 - 45,761 Miles - Thomas Modern & Classic of Cardiff  (Plus Brake Service & Fuel Pump)
*** Book Complete***

Paper Service History

Nov 2016 - 47,664 Miles - Thomas Modern & Classic of Cardiff (Plus Huge Suspension & Brakes Restoration)
** Not MOT’d 2017**
May 2019 - 51,513 Miles - Thomas Modern & Classic of Cardiff (New Fuel Pump Fitted at Time)
June 2020- 53,194 Miles - Thomas Modern & Classic of Cardiff
May 2021 - 53,792 Miles - Thomas Modern & Classic of Cardiff (inc. Rear Brake Service).
April 2023 - 54,770 Miles - GB Mini Garage of Sheffield (Engine & Brake Service).

6. Interior

What a wonderful interior she has, finished to a very high standard in red x grey x gold details, we believe this is one of Newton Commercial’s masterpieces, their seats ranging from £1-2k these days. At first it looks like the special Monte Carlo edition interior, but when you look closer it’s quite unique. These were already fitted when Paul purchased her in 2004. She is finished with the iconic Cooper Sportspack triple centre gauges and a Paul Smith gear-knob, and a cup holder.

7. The Boring Administrative Stuff

For reference her original dateless number plate assigned by Park Lane Mini was S127 KXP, however we’re advised by the DVLA that due to certain rules surrounding ex-government vehicles and/or the fact that she was re-imported from Brussels with a private plate (contrasting advice) that she can’t be returned to that dateless number plate (it seems like a niche regulation, not sure). Instead she is assigned a private plate which the DVLA advise that Sir Stephen Wall chose when bringing her back to London. Paul spent some time questioning the DVLA regarding this and the correspondence is within the history folder.

She was exported when new in 1998 to Belgium for Sir Steven Wall’s political use. We have all of the export documents. She was then reimported in 2000 when Sir Steven Wall returned to the Cabinet Office in London. When Paul purchased her such export was noted on the logbook by way of her being registered as a 2000 plate (return date, standard with imports), however Paul successfully petitioned the DVLA to return her to her original 1998 registration date and she is now registered as a 1998 again (all correspondence retained).

8. Condition

She’s in beautiful condition. During Paul’s ownership she’s had a new rear subframe, proper sills and her underside is in very good condition. On top and inside she is very nice with just minor marks commensurate with age, you will love her. It's hard to describe a classic vehicle as they are not brand new, they will all have imperfections. I would note a small scratch on her roof, a small scratch hidden behind her boot lock and a small chip in her seat maybe and there will be other small marks as she's a classic, undoubtedly. She's just not brand new, she's been very much loved and used daily throughout her life. Please see the above video which shows more detail.

She has last week passed a new MOT. The only advisories were that she has a thin layer of underseal underneath to protect her from damp (standard) and an oil leak described as "not excessive". Regarding the oil leak, I put her on the ramp and cleaned the entire bottom of the engine after the MOT and then left her for several days to identify the location of the leak. After several days no leak had appeared or was evident and she has not leaked since. I can only assume that such was remnants from when we cleaned the engine bay, carb cleaner mixed with historic oil residue dripping down to the lowest point where we didn't clean. That being said she is a Mini and if she doesn't have an oil leak now, she could have one tomorrow due to the design of these engines (most leak oil, don't be concerned unless it's major)... always assume a Mini leaks oil.

The Final Evolution of Classic Mini (1996-2000) - The Ultimate Base Specification

Several well reputed authors describe the final Mini model (manufactured between 1996 and 2001) as “The Ultimate Mini”. They were the “Ultimate Mini” because with the 21st century fast approaching and with the modern Mini preparing for launch and these being the final models to leave the production line, Rover embarked upon what they described as “the most radical package of improvements for 36 years [since the Mini’s launch in 1959]”. Those improvements made this final model the most; powerful, reliable, safe, useable and green factory production Mini model ever created. The benefits of this final model are often asked of us and aren’t immediately obvious, so we have done our best to collate various factory records below for you to explain the standard basic factory specification of these final models (on which the Cooper Sportspack expands):

A. The Most Powerful Standard Factory Production Engine

Taking the special earlier “Cooper” 1275cc engine and refining it with improvements including new multi-point injection and dual spark technology, this would be the most powerful and reliable general factory production engine of the Mini Marque. By more powerful we are referring to the fact that she has approximately 64% higher power than the standard 1000cc, 26% more power than the standard 1275cc carburettor engines and 18% more power than the standard 1275cc single point injection engines. This does not take into account the Cooper conversion.

B. The Most Reliable Standard Factory Production Set-Up

Being significantly more reliable for several reasons, this was a Mini that you could rely on. The primary Improvements included:

(a) Upgrading the less reliable old fashioned carburettor, manual choke and distributor sparking system with modern sequential fuel injection, dual spark technology and automatic choke to significantly reduce breakdowns and improve fuel efficiency.

(b) Upgrading the previously underpowered alternator’s (power generator) amps by 44% to 65 Amps, upgrading its ancillary belts and providing an Amp gauge, power generation was increased significantly and the risk of a flat battery reduced.

(c) Upgrading the old fashioned radiator to a new aluminium cooling system and front mounted electronic fan reduced the risk of overheating.

B. The Safest Factory Production Mini

Being the only model to incorporate a drivers airbag, strengthened steering column and safety crash beams within the doors as well as seat-belt pyrotechnic pretensions (pull you back if you crash) and having at this point standardised rear seat belts and a fob operated immobiliser, she is the safest factory production Mini.

C. The Most Usable Factory Production Mini

These Mini’s were designed for everyday modern use, whether it be around the city or on the motorway. To achieve this several upgrades were made:

Having a newly enhanced torque curve which allowed the utilisation of a higher final-drive ratio (2.76:1), she provides much more comfortable fast road and motorway driving;

Upgrading the Torque curve also made it almost possible to reach 90mph in third gear, allowing much easier acceleration;

Upgrading the Mini with a significant amount of new sound deadening (floors, roof, bulkhead, fuel tank etc.) and a revised mechanical layout, cabin noise was significantly reduced for a more comfortable experience on the motorway; and

Most importantly, Rover described the Mini as essentially heading up market, they described the Mini as being gentrified and set upon significantly improving the quality of many of the bolt on parts and the interior (compare these interiors to earlier interiors and the game had changed). The interior was now properly comfortable, made of high quality materials and featured a two speed interior heater, intermittent wipers and the purchase price was adjusted to reflect such.

D. The Most Fuel Efficient & Lowest Emissions

Having improved fuel efficiency arising from the new fuel injection technology and a newly added (early nineties) and then upgraded catalytic converter, modern emissions standards were complied with and emissions were reduced.

Accordingly, these models were significantly more powerful, reliable, safe, useable, fuel efficient and greener than any previous model, despite its classic appearances and feel, the Mini had been reborn within the modern age. These improvements also explain the price difference for these models, whilst they had that same iconic design, exciting feel and rally winning handling, everything else was upgraded.


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