1968 Morris Cooper S


Oldtimer Australia is delighted to offer for sale a genuine, matching numbers, Australian built 1968 Morris Cooper S MK1.

The car retains its original ID plate and the various stamped numbers are correct, confirming this to be a genuine, matching numbers, Morris Cooper S MK1. The body number and car number are within the correct range. The car retains its original 1,275cc engine.

The ID plate confirms the original colour of this car was sandown red (paint code 10886), a colour the car still caries today, though as you can see from the photos the roof has been painted a contrasting grey. The car also retains its original Larke Hoskins dealer ID plate in the engine bay.

The previous to current owner, who is a real Mini enthusiast and quite an accomplished racer, acquired this car for his wife in 1986. He restored the car for her so she could use it in competition. The car was rebuilt as a tribute to the Cooper S’ which won the Monte Carlo rally back in 1964, 1965 and 1967. The car was stripped back to bare metal and repainted in its original colour, however, his wife wanted the car to stand out and insisted on the roof being painted grey. There are some photos on file showing the work done.

A good friend of his, John Leffler, another well-known name in the Mini world in Australia rebuilt the engine. Leffler himself raced Morris Coopers in the 1960’s and finished second in the 1969 Rothmans 12 Hour Classic at Surfers Paradise driving a Morris Cooper S.

When he acquired the car in 1986, the odometer was not working. A new one was installed which was reset to zero. Today the odometer reads 17,529 miles which is the mileage the car has travelled since it was restored.

The current owner, who is also a Mini tragic, acquired the car around five years ago from his good friend.

Since the car was restored it has been use sparingly and as a result is still presents very well today, its overall condition and presentation belying the age of the restoration. The red paint still has a strong depth of colour and nice gloss finish throughout. Given the age of the restoration, not surprisingly there are some small stone chips on the front of the car and other minor blemishes here and there. The grey paint on the roof is in excellent condition though we did notice a small scratch, in the middle, most likely caused by the antenna.

All the external trim is in similar good condition to the paintwork. The bright work on Cooper S is a real feature and it all presents well. The lights, lenses and all the glass on the car are in good condition with no evidence of any cracks or chips. The car is fitted with four spotlights at the front, which give the car a really aggressive look and are currently just for show as they are not wired up.

The car is fitted with Minilite style wheels which are shod with Yokohama Advan-032R 165/70R10 soft compound tyres.

Open the door and you are welcomed by the spacious interior the Mini is known for. It is minimalistic, but very functional. The rally feel is continued inside the car. There is a period correct Halda Twinmaster rally odometer, map reading light and some of the toggle switches have been extended to make them easier to reach for the driver. On the right side of the dashboard an aftermarket tacho has been fitted. All the instruments are clear and look to be in good working order.

The seats, both front and rear are in good condition with no tears or marks. They are comfortable and provide ample support. The dash, door cards and the carpets are all well presented and in good condition.

A nice touch is that the driver’s sun visor has been signed Rauno Aaltonen (dated 13.10.91), the flying Finn who won Bathurst in 1966 at the wheel of a Mini Cooper S. There is a photo on file of him sign the car.

The car starts easily from cold. You do need to use the choke, but once the car is started you can slowly back the choke off and warm the engine up feathering the accelerator. As soon as the engine fires up it is immediately apparent that this Cooper S is not running a stock standard engine. It has a mild cam, the head has been ported and the engine is now fitted with 1½” SU carburettors instead of the standard 1¼” inch SU carburettors. The raspy exhaust note is fabulous and there is no doubt this car means business!

The engine has warmed up and we pull out into the morning traffic and are greeted by thumbs up from passers-by. This is going to be fun . . . The engine revs freely and willingly and the car just wants to go. It is immediately obvious that someone has spend quite a bit of time to make sure this car is setup just right. The engine has loads of power and the car goes hard. The gear changes are short and sharp, which is to be expected as the gearbox was rebuilt 300km ago. The suspension is firm and gives you the feeling that you are driving a go-kart on the road. That said, it is not too firm to the point where it is no longer a comfortable car to drive. Even on a bumpy section of the road this car is still relatively pleasant to drive. The car is fitted with fully adjustable suspension, which will allow its new owner to set the car up to his or her liking. What is equally important is that when you have a car that ‘goes’ the brakes will also stop it quickly when needed. Fortunately, on this car they do. The brakes work well and pull the car up quickly and in a straight line.

The Morris Cooper S is somewhat of a legend and after half an hour behind the wheel of this car you get it! Even today, they are still very capable cars that have clearly stood the test of time.

On our test drive, this car easily kept up with modern day traffic and was able to give plenty of cheek to those who dared.

The Mini Cooper S is still as much fun to drive today as when it was first introduced to the world all those years ago.


  • Geniune Australian built Morris Cooper S.
  • Number correct.
  • Matching numbers engine.
  • Great colour combination of sandown red with a grey roof.
  • Ready to use and enjoy.



The Mini was born from the major fuel shortages in the UK due to the Suez Crisis in the mid to late 1950’s. Petrol was rationed and as a result the demand for large imported cars slumped. At the same time the demand for small, fuel-efficient cars skyrocketed.

In 1955 BMC had recruited Alec Issigonis from Alvis. His task was to design a range of technically advanced family cars in the same innovative spirit as the Morris Minor (that he had previously designed). Leonard Lord was the head of the British Motor Company (BMC) and he laid down the basic requirements for his small car. It should have 2 doors, be able to seat 4 people and be contained in a box measuring 10 x 4 x 4 feet (or 3.0 x 1.2 x 1.2 meters). The plan was also to use an existing BMC engine to save on development cost.

By July 1957 BMC had built the first prototype that was code named XC9003. Leonard Lord approved the car for production on the 19th July 1957. Prototype XC9003 became project ADO15.

ADO15 was to use an existing BMC A series four-cylinder water cooled engine of 948cc capacity. However, contrary to most cars this engine was mounted transversely in the car to create more space for the driver and passengers. Interestingly, testing showed this engine would give the car a top speed of over 90mph which was deemed unnecessary and the engine capacity was reduced to 848cc.

The production version was first demonstrated to the press in April 1959 and it was officially announced to the public on 26th August 1959. The Mini as it was now called was marketed using the two main BMC brand names, Austin and Morris. In the UK the Morris version was known as the Morris Mini Minor and the Austin version was known as the Austin Seven, named after the popular Austin from the 1920’s and 1930’s.

In Australia the car was introduced as the Morris 850. It was officially launched in March 1961, though it is understood cars were sold in this country prior to that. Interestingly, the Mini was never officially sold as an Austin in Australia.

Initial sales of the Mini were slower than expected, however, by the early 1960’s the Mini had found its niche and BMC produced over 200,000 cars in 1962. As they say, the rest is history and the Mini went on to become a motoring icon and when production finally ended in October 2000, around 5.3 million cars were built. It is understood that BMC built c1.2 million MkI’s from 1959 to 1967 and c400,000 MkII’s  from 1967 to 1969. The Mini was of course reborn under BMW’s ownership in 2000.

One of Alec Issigonis’ good friends was John Cooper, the owner and founder of the Cooper Car Company. Cooper immediately saw the potential of the Mini for competition and the Mini Cooper was introduced in September 1961. The standard Mini’s 848cc engine with 34 bhp was replaced by a 997cc engine developing 55 bhp, and front disc brakes were introduced. In 1963 the Cooper was followed by the even more potent Mini Cooper S with a 1,071cc engine and a top speed of close to 100mph.

In 1962, Rhodesian John Love became the first non British racing driver to win the British Saloon car Championship in a Mini Cooper.  While the standard Mini and the Mini Cooper had already been used in rallying by BMC’s competitions department, the Mini Cooper S became an outstanding rally car. The car won races all over the world, including the prestigious Monte Carlo Rally three times for BMC, in 1964, 1965 and 1967.

In Australia, production of the Morris Mini started in late 1961 and locally built cars began to differ from their British counterparts as local components were used. The Mini Cooper was launched in October 1962 and the Cooper S in September 1965. In Australia, production of the Mini ceased in 1978.

In 1966 a Mini Cooper S driven by Rauno Aaltonen and local hero Bob Holden led a pack of Cooper S’ home to snare the first nine places outright in the Bathurst 500 mile race, a record which still stands today.

In 1999 the Mini was voted the second most influential car of the 20th century, behind the Ford Model T, by the Global Automotive Elections Foundation.

What a legend!


  • -
  • Morris Mini Cooper S
  • 1968
  • Coupe
  • Manual
  • 17,519 miles
  • 1,275cc


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