Morris Mini 1275 MK1 Cooper S
The mini has a special place in most people's hearts. Just about everyone has a memory or story involving a trip in a Mini. Learning to drive, learning how to use a spanner or learning about the more interesting parts of your first girlfriend or boyfriend in a cramped space - whatever it is, the Mini is a car of firsts. This sort of connection does not happen by chance and few cars in the history of the motor vehicle can approach its achievements. From it's original purpose of providing cheap daily transport for the masses, it quickly achieved legendary racing prowess and went on to become a major film star. It has a place in the heart of just about everyone who it has come into contact with and is a design icon.
When we decided to add a Cooper S to our Collection we had a few requirements. First of all we wanted a car with an original shell. Now, this is easier said than done as front ends were almost a service item in the Seventies and many cars were crashed, bent and shunted to the point where it was easier and cheaper to just replace the shell. Secondly, we wanted a car that had not been restored, and if possible, some kind of service history or documentation to back up its provenance. Finally, we wanted a car that had all of its original Cooper S components so that it could be as close to original specification as possible. No wonder it took us nearly 10 years to find such an example!
Chassis No. K-A254/1012496A ticks every box on our wish list. In fact it is a bit of a freak. Having literally spent years and years looking, we don't think we have ever seen a Mini with a history file like NLR 921F. The car has every single invoice from new, the original order form, sales invoice, and a fully stamped service book. It even has an original 50 year old brown cardboard folder with handwritten notes scrawled over it detailing the first owners first trip to from John Sprinzels Garage in Lancaster Mews to his home in Switzerland.
The cars 3 inch history file is truly amazing and a real step back in time through 5 decades of motoring.
Built on 8th June 1967 in Longbridge the factory specification was pretty simple: Island Blue body with an Old English White roof plus a Cumulus Grey & Gold Brocade interior. The power was a standard 1275 cc engine producing 78 BHP at 5,800 rpm & 79 lb.ft torque at 3,000 rpm. The car was delivered to John Sprinzle racing in Lancaster Mews, London who had a reputation for supplying cars to the stars and for producing "gentleman racing" modifications. John himself was an accomplished racer with factory connections and his garage was one of the places to go if you were in the with the right set.
The original order form shows the addition of a Sump Guard, Factory Heater, BMC Seat Belts, WASO Steering Lock & a 15 inch flat, dished leather steering wheel. BMC records show the car was originally built for the home market but was transferred to export on 14th December 1967 as the first owner resided in both London and Switzerland. We assume the export box was ticked to reduce tax from the final list price of £741 & 13 shillings.
The car was formally registered on 14th December 1967 and the first owner took delivery on 19th December. His first drive was to his home in Switzerland - what a cool trip! The running in service at 3,000 miles was carried out at Garage De La Rivera, Route de St. Maurice, Switzerland. We can't possibly recite here the service records for the next 40 odd years and but they are all fully documented in the history file. What we can say is this is probably one of the luckiest Mini's in history as each owner took incredible care with the car and carried the baton of maintaining the vehicle with no expense spared.
We discovered the car through a long term friend of ours who knew the last owner very well. He had used the car as his daily driver for the last 30,000 miles of its life before laying it up for rest in the late 1980's.
By this time it was in need of total restoration. What followed was a 3 year labour of love with one single purpose - to retain the original shell and all parts wherever humanly possible and to re-create the car as it would have been seen in the 19th December 1967. We are incredibly proud of the workmanship and attention to detail achieved in this restoration. It is testament to literally hours and hours of research, blood, sweat, tears and craftsmanship of the highest order. This has resulted in one of the very finest examples of a MK1 1275 Cooper S in existence and one of the very few with a history file like this. Welcome to the family NLR 921F. We are delighted to have you; enjoy your stay, we know we will.