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  1. Several years ago I was lucky enough to acquire a very original South African 1964/5 – 1071 [URL=''%5DAustin Cooper S[/URL], which was sent to SA from the UK as CKD kit in 1964 but not registered until 01-01-1965.

    This car as it's very unusual compared to my other rather standard UK Cooper's. For a start its very low mileage at only 28,000, which I believe to be correct and the fact that it has not been totally messed about with since the late 60's early 70's.

    I say messed about with as my car use to belong to a gentleman called Dennis Nathan, who use to work for BMC Blackheath in the [URL=''%5Dmid-sixties%5B/URL%5D. My understanding from talking too Dennis is he bought the car off the factory (Blackheath) in the late sixties, probably at a very reasonable price, as the 1071 was quite old hat by 1967/8. Dennis then commandeered the help of Mr Ralf Clark who was then the HOD for engineering at Blackheath at this time. Between the two of them they hatched a plan to build a [URL=''%5Dcircuit race car[/URL] with a 1275 S engine to compete in the very competitive SA endurance series. Its believe Ralf Clark might have used his BMC UK connections and sourced most of the full race S engine parts!

    This car then went on to compete in the late 1960's early 70's Castrol 8/9 hour endurance series in SA.

    When I bought the car off the late Mr Greave's who it must be said was a true gentleman, he had quite literally just brought the car back into the UK after repatriating from SA. Unfortunately due to ill health Mr Greaves had to sell the car and I agreed to buy the car off him with the understanding that I would rebuild the engine to how it was when the car last raced in the late 60s early 70s.

    When I acquired the car the engine had already been taken out by the well-known mini specialist Rod Taylor at (Southam Mini Metro Centre) SMMC, I worked with SMMC to strip the engine fully down but it was obvious straight from the start, even before we even stated on the engine that this was a very special little motor car, as it was quite literally covered in special tuning parts, which just continued when we took the engine to bits. Some of these parts had been painstakingly fabricated/modified by hand for racing, others were quite literally like opening a parts book from ST at Abingdon, which was all the more remarkable as this car has come all the way [URL=''%5Dback from SA[/URL].
    It was not so easy to get a hold of this information but I knew the car was a special car and I was fortunate enough to be able to talk to both Dennis Nathan and Ryno Verster. I believe Ryno even talk to Ralf Clark on my behalf, who confirmed that he knew of this car as it was initially a factory engineering development car for a few years and was used by the then CEO a Mr Reece Oakes, before he either got bored with it or Dennis saw an opportunity to race a cooper S with some tentative factory support.
    Anyway what's been interesting is trying to piece this all together made all the more interesting with me being in Old Blighty.
    For the eagle eyed amongst you they are silver band displacers on my racer, which again have been fully set up for track use with ST comp bump stops. Interestingly after talking too Dennis about the displacers, he confirmed that displacers on my car were and still are all totally independent from one another and not interconnected front to back as a road Cooper S would be. I have done a bit of research on this and apparently this was quite a common mod for hydro race cars, as it gave a much stiffer road holding dynamic and elevated the pitching effect of a hydro road car.

    I am also led to believe that hydro cars when set up properly with the correct S displacers and comp bump-stops, can be every bit as good if not even better than dry cars.

    With regards to the square grey box in the corner of the bulkhead, this is a really interesting bit of kit. Basically my little cooper S has what can only be best described as a very early form of electronic ignition. The dizzy has been completely modified to be bespoke for this system and has some strange PCB with capacitors and resistors etc. all over it, then instead of a rotor arm it has very accurately machined metal disc which has been made to fit on top of the dizzy spindle, this disc has four small holes in which a hall sensor (mounted above) picks up the pulse from. As mentioned this is really usual stuff and I have never seen anything like it before. I can only assume that this was used in preference of using mechanical points because if your endurance racing this would remain constant and more robust over the duration of a race but this is pure speculation on my behalf.

    The gear box is a STD Cooper S 12G333 box and is in amazingly good condition. Again this has just finished being rebuilt by Rod Taylor from SMMC and the only real damage to talk of was on 3rd gear and the lay gear and lay shaft. Rod seems to think this damage could be consistent with a car that has been used in circuit racing, as he has seen gearboxes like this where there is no real damage to the 1st and 2nd gears but damage to 3rd and 4th gear. The strange thing is that it does not have any straight cut gears or drop gears. The diff is a 3.44 which is a good all round diff and it did have the yellow rubber couplings on it but I have just changed these to Hardy Spicer.

    The cylinder head is an AEG163 but has defiantly had a lot of work done to it. Again it has some very unusual stamping marks on it and Dennis mentioned along with the rest of the kit of engine parts these were all ordered and came from Abingdon Competition department in the mid 60's. One thing is for sure it's a piece of automotive art and looks like you could not get any bigger valves in there even if you wanted too. I have enclosed some pictures so you can see what I mean.

    The crank is an AEG 480 cross drilled lightened and balanced competition crank and is fortunately standard / standard on the big and little ends The block is an thin flange S block but is usual in that it has been sleeved with some very strange sleeves, which again I have never seen before, anyway this is now at +40. Another noteworthy point is the block has strange numbers on it and the engine number has been machined into the block again please see photos for more info.

  2. Hope your not going to use that dizzy for your trip to France last time i saw a resistor like that it was in my mothers radio
    Nice car and history will love to see this car in person


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