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Lot 106: Austin Mini Cooper MK I

CarFest South Pride and Joy Auction, Silverstone Auctions (25 August 2013)

Designed as project ADO15 (Austin Drawing Office project number 15), the Mini came about because of the fuel shortage caused by the 1956 Suez Crisis. Petrol was once again rationed in the UK, sales of large cars slumped but the market for German 'bubble' cars boomed. Leonard Lord, the somewhat autocratic head of BMC, reportedly detested these cars so much that he vowed to rid the streets of them and design a 'proper miniature car'. Alec Issigonis, had been working for Alvis, but had now been recruited back to BMC in 1955. So with his skills in designing small cars he was a natural for the task. The team that designed the Mini was remarkably small: along with Alec Issigonis, there was Jack Daniels (who had worked with him on the Morris Minor), Chris Kingham (who had been with him at Alvis), two engineering students and four draughtsmen. Together, by October 1957, they had designed and built the original prototype, which was affectionately named "The Orange Box" because of its colour. Issigonis' friend John Cooper, owner of the Cooper Car Company and designer and builder of various Formula One and rally cars, quickly saw the potential of the Mini for competition use. However Issigonis was initially reluctant to see the Mini in the role of a performance car, but after John Cooper appealed to BMC management, the two men collaborated to create the Mini Cooper. It was a nimble, economical and inexpensive car. The Austin Mini Cooper and Morris Mini Cooper debuted in 1961. This very early Mk I Cooper was manufactured during the first year of Cooper production. The Heritage Certificate states the car as delivered new in Tartan Red on 6th August 1962 to Anstey's Ltd, Maidstone, Kent. The car was registered in 1962 '644UKN' and still retains that number to this day. In total, the car has had 4 former keeps from new and there are DVLA copies of all previous registration documents, including a copy of the original buff log book. Finished in its original colour combination, this Cooper was restored in 1998 according to the bills. Included in the history file are invoices for the restoration work and an engine rebuild. Credit to the restorers, as the car is still presented in lovely condition and drives very well. There are a number of old MoT test certificates dating back to the 1990s and a full year's current MoT. Silverstone auctions sold another Mk 1 Cooper in July 2012 for 23,000. This example must represent superb value for money as Mk 1 Coopers continue to rise in value and provide an excellent investment opportunity.

Lot Details
Auction CarFest South Pride and Joy Auction
Silverstone Auctions, Laverstoke Farm, Hampshire
TypeCar
Lot Number106
Estimate£12000-£15000
Outcome SOLD
Hammer Price-
Hammer Price (inc premium)£17250
Year1962
Condition rating2
Registration number644 UKN
Mileage-
Chassis numberC-A2S7/278222
Engine number9F-SA-H/10800
Engine capacity (cc)997
Engine - cylinders
Number of doors