The history of the Mini Cooper

As a team of Mini specialists, we’re very passionate about the true British icon that is the Mini Cooper. It’s not just a stylish vehicle that looks great, they’re powerful tools of automotive engineering and our team of drivers have performed superbly in racing events in previous years, showcasing both their incredible talent as drivers and quality of the vehicles they’re driving.

The history of the Mini Cooper

The Mini Cooper is arguably one of the most easily recognisable automobiles ever produced. The original Mini started production in the late ‘50s and quickly became one of the best selling cars in Europe, with many attributing the transverse engine front-wheel drive layout as a main factor of this success.
Like many inventions throughout history, the Mini was invented to meet a demand. During the 1950s, Great Britain had great need of a vehicle with high fuel-efficiency.

As such, in 57 Sir Leonard Lord (of the Morris Company) asked his top engineer, a man called Alex Issigonis to lead a team of designers with the goal of providing a solution to this demand. The vehicle created as a result was a compact vehicle with a transverse engine and a gearbox (allowing for front wheel drive) and all four wheels being pushed out to the far corners of the vehicle, maximising both interior space and handling of the vehicle.

Many features that enthusiasts love about the classic Minis were originally included to keep costs to a minimum. This includes external door and boot hinges, and of course the sliding windows which were used instead of the more expensive roll-up style side widows.

However, shortly after this vehicle reached the market, John Cooper (the race car builder) saw the potential in this vehicle, the engine’s displacement was increased from 848cc to 997cc, SU carburetors increased the power from 34 to 55 horsepower, and front disc brakes and a close-ratio gearbox were added to complete the performance boost.

The origins of the Mini Cooper S

In the early 1960s, a more powerful Mini Cooper vehicle was released. Dubbed the Model S, this Mini came with a superb 1071cc engine and large servo-assisted brakes. This superior and more powerful version of the Mini Cooper was sold for a year, and sold a total of 4,030 models.

However, this was not the only S model produced, two other S models were also produced specifically for circuit racing, one of which the 1275cc Cooper S model for Under 1300cc classes was produced until ’71.

The Mini Cooper in motorsport 

The Cooper S is a very successful vehicle in the world of motorsport. In fact, the Monte Carlo Rally has had numerous victors in Mini Coopers, including the 1964, ’65, and ’67 winners.

Here at Mini Sport, we proudly and passionately race our Minis in some of the most exciting events throughout the country. For example, last year, Team Mini Sport took part in the Mull Rally, an annual event which is attended by many motorsport VIPs, in which Daniel Harper & Chris Campbell from Team Mini sport finished 2nd. As passionate Mini Cooper enthusiasts, we’re always happy to demonstrate that whilst the Mini is indeed an automotive icon of British culture, it is also a superb racing machine.

Simply put, Mini Coopers are our passion, ever since the halcyon days of the Mini; we have been there, providing parts and spares to fellow enthusiasts from all over the world. As a result, we have established a world-leading service in the supply of everything Mini; it’s still going strong over 50 years later.

In fact last year we were approached by Mike Cooper, son of the legendary John Cooper with the prospect of re-launching the ‘Cooper Car Company’ in association with Mini Sport. Our exclusive Cooper Car Company collections are internationally recognised for reliability and power; taking direct inspiration from the original parts designed by John Cooper and Charles Cooper when the company was founded in 1946, with classic styling and high-grade quality.

Why buy from Mini Sport?

As part of our Exclusive Collections, we stock a diverse and bespoke range of Mini Parts, Components, and Memorabilia which is designed and manufactured in collaboration with some of Mini and Motorsports’ most notable names and talent. In our Exclusive Collections you’ll find products that are only available at Mini Sport, however that is not all you’ll also be able to browse through acclaimed with custom designs and style, which evoke the authenticity and heritage of our favourite Classic Car, the Mini Cooper.

In addition to the Mini Cooper parts and memorabilia available, our team can also provide restoration and repair services for a diverse range of Mini models. So if your classic Mini requires restoration services due to damage or wear and tear, get in touch with the Mini Sport team. We have restored a range of Mini models from across the globe to personal specification, making specific effort to retain original parts and authenticity where possible, preserving the legacy and character of this unique and inspirational vehicle. In fact, we have become internationally renowned as experts in the restoration of Classic Minis.

Get In Touch With Our Team Of Mini Experts Today

If you would like to learn more information regarding our company or our services, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with our team of Mini experts. You can speak to us by calling 01282 778 731 or alternatively you can send any questions or enquiries you have to us via e-mail at

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6 Facts About Paddy Hopkirk and the Monte Carlo Rally

Over 50 years ago, the Mini established itself as a ‘must-have’ car for drivers everywhere; a massive factor in this was the success of Paddy Hopkirk as he roared to victory in the 1964 Monte Carlo Rally in his Mini Cooper S.

In an interview in the Belfast Telegraph, Paddy recounted that famous moment, as well as some other tales from his life. Here’s, we’ve picked out some of the best ‘Paddy Facts’ about the Monte Carlo Rally – how many are you already aware of?

Paddy Hopkirk Monte Carlo Rally Facts

  1. Paddy’s Mini made quite the impression in Minsk. In those days, The Monte Carlo Rally required drivers to set off from various places in Europe to converge on the starting point in Reims, in northern France. Paddy seemed to have drawn the short straw as he was made to go from Minsk (then in the USSR, now Belarus) – in mid-winter. So as you can imagine, there were deep pockets of snow everywhere. In fact, it was so cold that the cars had to be towed around the city square by tractors to get them started. As the watching locals had never seen a Mini before, they thought that this was how one was started!
  2. He drove the wrong way. Battling the track around a small village in France, Paddy accidentally drove the wrong way up a one-way street and was stopped by a gendarme who threatened to book him. This would have meant that he would have been disqualified from the race, so he told the military policeman that he ‘resigned from the race’ and was hurrying home at the behest of his family who had some bad news about sick mother. A little porky that saved his race and helped to make history!
  3. He ATE his side hustle. With not much money at stake in the race, Paddy brought several piles of ladies nylon stockings with him, swapping them for a giant tin of ‘Beluga No1 caviar’ with the chef of the hotel he and his crew were staying at. The plan was to sell the caviar to the chef of a posh hotel (as they all are) in Monte Carlo when he arrived in the city. Apparently, the caviar would have sold for more money than he would have got for winning the rally.As it turned out, he did win the rally. However, instead of selling the caviar, he and his many friends – the F1 driver Juan Manuel Fangio, Stuart Turner (manager of the BMC team) and designer of the orginal MIni, Alec Issigonis, ended up dining on the caviar and washed it down with champagne and vodka to celebrate the win!
  4. He became Britain’s most famous racing driver (at least for a while!) The shock win of this little car against the supercars with their massive engines made headlines across the world. Paddy received congratulations from the Prime Minister, Alec Douglas-Horne and politicians in Northern Ireland, as well a telegram from The Beatles, who would be proud owners of their own Coopers not long after. He was even invited on Sunday Night At The Palladium to be interviewed by Bruce Forsyth in front of millions of viewers.Perhaps the most famous interaction with a ‘celebrity’ that Paddy Hopkirk has had was with Princess Grace of Monaco, who presented him with the trophy for winning the rally. Famed for her previous career as an Holywood actress (notably the Alfred Hitchcock films, Rear WindowDial M For Murder and To Catch a Thief), Grace Kelly made international headlines when she married Prince Rainier in 1956 and was amongst the world’s most admired people. On the 5oth anniversary of his win in 2014l Paddy returned to Monte Carlo to show the trophy to her son, Albert (the current monarch of Monaco).
  5. He keeps his signed photo and telegram from The Beatles in his cloakroom. Before sending the telegram and signed photo, drummer Ringo Starr found himself in need of a lift whilst in Paris and Paddy’s mechanic duly obliged. After hearing about the famous win, Ringo sent Paddy a telegram that read “It’s nice to be number one isn’t it. Stop. Congratulations. Stop. Thanks for the lift. Stop. Ringo Starr”! The signed photo that accompanied it was dedicated with signatures from all four Beatles and a “You’re one of us now Paddy!” message. (So after all this time, it was actually Paddy who was the fifth Beatle?). To this day, Paddy keeps them framed in his cloakroom!
  6. Paddy became synonymous with safe driving. The spotlight that the Monte Carlo Rally win provided opened a few doors for Paddy  to explore the things that he was passionate about. Those of you of a ‘certain vintage’ will fondly remember the heyday of public information films – well, Paddy was in one! As a recognisable name, the government-backed initiative employed Paddy to present a piece on the importance of wearing seatbelts. Check it out, it’s almost like Hitchcock himself directed it:

So those were our 6 Paddy Facts concerning the Monte Carlo Rally. With such a long and varied career, there is plenty more to chat to the man himself about! Paddy regularly attends classic Mini events across the country so be sure to get along to one and meet the man himself!

Safe driving is something that Paddy is a big advocate of to this day. Along with his son (also called Patrick), they are ambassadors of IAM RoadSmart; an independent road safety charity who run courses and hold events to improve the standards of driving. Earlier this year, at the age of 86, Paddy passed the course with distinction. He regularly travels throughout the country to talk about road safety and how older people especially, can drive safely with confidence on today’s roads.

Mini Sport & Paddy Hopkirk: A Winning Combination.

Having been working alongside Paddy for many years here at Mini Sport, we have created a wide range of Paddy Hopkirk Mini products that any dedicated Mini fan would love. Aside from some fantastic Monte Carlo Rally merchandise, we have worked closely with Paddy to design and build Mini parts that are preferred by the man himself.

If you have any questions that you would like to ask about anything you may see on our website, or just need advice on Mini servicing in general, our Mini specialists would be pleased to speak with you. Give them a call on 01282 778731 or send an e-mail to

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Week 11 – New Normal

As lockdown eases ever so slightly, I have found myself looking back over the last 10 weeks, at what has been achieved by so many throughout the World in these unprecedented times.

Many have lost loved ones to this evil virus and many still have a very uncertain future, not least of which ourselves in the UK, but our hearts go out to our friends in North & South America, whom we are thinking about daily. As I have said many times before Stay positive, Stay strong, Keep safe and Carry on and we will get through this eventually.

This will possibly be my last update for a while, as we go back to some sort of “New Normal”, whatever that ends up being.

A huge Thank You to you, our customers around the World, who have kept us busy by keeping the orders flowing in, we could not have got through this without you. Please keep sending your orders and we will keep supplying them.

The last few months have been tough for many. It has been emotionally draining for everyone being stripped of our usual freedoms, teaching kids from home and being within the same four walls with the same people for weeks on end.

Everyone has had their own Everest’s to climb, but you, our customers, have been incredible and we truly can’t wait to see more of your marvellous creations. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you.

Thank you to the wonderful Mini Sport Team who have worked tirelessly against some very highly stacked odds to supply those orders, we have been through some very challenging times with many road blocks thrown in our way but through sheer determination we have succeeded in getting the majority of orders out to you our customers.

We haven’t always succeeded in satisfying everyone, but most people have been very understanding when we have been human, thank you for your patience and understanding, it has meant a lot to us.

As we move into this “New Normal”, I want to assure everyone that we are still working just as hard to send out your orders. So all those that haven’t returned to work yet and are still working on their projects, we are ready and waiting for your orders and we endeavour to get them to you as quickly as possible.

Don’t forget to keep sending your photos of your beautiful Mini’s they really are inspirational. If you haven’t already looked at the gallery we have put together of our customers Mini’s through the last 10 weeks, then take a look and be prepared to be wowed.

Lastly, to all the key workers, medical staff and everyone else who has contributed in getting us through these last few weeks, Thank you from us all here at Mini Sport for your dedication to the cause, it makes you proud to be human being.

As we look to the future with hope and although there will inevitably be bumps in the road that throw us of course, remember –
Stay positive, Stay strong, Keep safe and Carry on.

My kindest wishes to you and yours,



1964 Mini Cooper S Restoration

We’re recently completed work on a restoration on a 1964 Mini Cooper S!

Our customer had a very distinct image in mind for this Mini, wanting a ‘cool London zoom around Mini’ – going from white with a black roof, to Brewster Green with a black roof!

Arriving at Mini Sport, it was time for our expert team to examine the Mini, checking for any points of concern and parts that would need addressing, before the respray of this Cooper S was to get underway. This Cooper S was in relatively good condition, with our team noting that a few small repairs would be required to the body.

But first, the Mini was to be completely stripped down to a bare shell, before moving to the bodyshop for the restoration to begin.

You can view the transformation in our gallery below!

Once the Mini was completely stripped, the shell was then transported to Mini Sport’s Body Shop, to be prepped & repaired by our expert technician.

The floor was more complicated due to underlying rust, this had to be stripped back to bare metal & prepared before adding any new paint.

Small repairs carried out, including replacing an A Panel. Fully painted inside & out, including the Roll Cage in body colour. Painted, the shell was moved back to Mini Sport’s Fitting Bays – ready to be built back up in to a Mini!

Fitted with both new sound proofing & carpets. Wiring all checked before re-fitment of the “Works Type “ Dash. When the engine is refitted then we are almost there.

With the engine fitted, the Mini was then tuned on the Rolling Road. Fully built and returned to the bodyshop for final polishing & finishing.This 1964 Mini Cooper S is now finished, time for quick photoshoot before being returned to it’s owner…

Beautiful Limited Edition Cooper Steering wheel added for that 60’s Race Car feel. Beautiful inside & out. Fresh engine bay completes this beautiful restoration!

Reunited with it’s owner… Another Mini back on the road!

Mini Sport’s Managing Director Chris Harper added:

We have been creating a beautiful Mini Cooper S for a customer over the last few weeks to his own specification, it is an absolute stunner and stands proudly together with all your creations too.

It has been a pleasure to undertake this project in these times, it has lifted spirits in a way only creating a beautiful Mini can.

Please take a look at the photos and decide for yourself, maybe you will get some inspiration, tips or ideas that we can help you with or just enjoy the beauty.”

Want to know more about our Restoration & Body Shop services? Download our handy Spray Centre guide or contact our knowledgeable team today to see how we can help you on your restoration journey, whether you want us to carry out the work, or just advise you on the process, or assist with finding the right parts.

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