In 1956, the Suez Crisis caused the folks at Austin to invite Alec Issigonis (later Sir Alec) to design a new car to combat what they saw as looming fuel rationing. When he had finished, the engine was the only part of the car that was not completely new. The compact four-seater famously mounted the enlarged A30 engine transversely, driving the front wheels through a four-speed box located in the sump. Independent all-round hydrolastic suspension used ingenious rubber blocks in compression.
The first prototypes ran in October 1957 and the car was launched in August 1959 with several thousand being pre-built for dealer stock. While the Morris version was called the Mini Minor, the Austin was known as the Se7en, but the name never caught on and soon they were all known as Minis.
The top speed of the first 33-hp models was 70 mph, and the Mini’s excellent handling soon attracted tuning specialists. With BMC’s agreement, race builder John Cooper produced the first Mini Cooper in 1961. The engine was 997 cc tuned to produce 65 hp, and with twin SU carbs, top speed rose to 85 mph. The Mini began its rally career in 1962. In 1963 the Cooper S with 1,071 cc was quickly followed by the 1,275 cc, which delivered 75 hp and 100 mph. From 1964 to 1967, the Mini was almost unbeatable and would have won the Monte Carlo Rally three times in a row, save for a last-minute rules change. Production of the Mini Cooper continued to 1967 and 44,859 were made. BMC built the Mini Cooper S until 1971, by which time 191,242 had been made.
Although re-badged as a Morris early in its life, this 1964 Mini Cooper 1275S Works Rally was originally an Austin Mini Cooper 1275S. Chassis number CA2S7662044 was built at Longbridge, November 26, 1964, and sent to the MG Car Company at Abingdon for rally prep.
DJB 93B took part in the 1965 Swedish and Acropolis Rallies, retiring with mechanical trouble each time, and then finished 13th in class on the 1965 Alpine. With Rauno Aaltonen at the wheel, DJB 93B won the 1965 RAC Rally in the U.K., then Tony Fall won the Scottish Rally in 1966. DJB 93B was retired after an accident in the 1966 Gulf London Rally and not rediscovered until 1986. Since then, it has been successful in hill climbs and it won the 2001 Midland Speed Classic Championship.
The vendor tells us that as far as is practical, the 1275S Works Rally has been rebuilt to the original Abingdon Competition specification. It has a restored Mk I body shell, uprated with a double-skinned exhaust tunnel, floor under driver’s feet, and cross-member, along with a strengthened bulkhead steady-bar bracket, steering rack mounts, and rear shock mounts, all to Abingdon spec. The restoration remains dry suspension, which replaced the hydrolastic form in period.
The engine produces 117 hp at 7,000 rpm and 107 ft-lbs torque at 5,000 rpm. It incorporates a 1275S thick-flange block bored .020 over to 1,293 cc, Omega dished pistons, Farndon cross-drilled crank, fully machined conrods, a Downton No. 2 cam, and a 12G940 head fed by twin SU H4s. The transmission uses a 22G333 gearbox casing, straight-cut close-ratios, straight-cut drop gears, 4.3:1 final drive and Quaife Torsen-type limited slip.
A list of the equipment includes 1964 glass windows, heated screen and trims as used on the 1965 RAC, a driver’s bucket seat with tubular frame and a co-driver’s reclining seat that are exact replicas of the originals, current Willans harnesses, a Works dash and navigator’s department that are Abingdon-correct, five extra Lucas lamps with quick-release brackets, a swivelling roof light with Aaltonen anti-glare scoop, and six genuine magnesium Minilites wheels with Yokohama A008s. The roof, body, engine, and transmission paint colors are authentic.
The file accompanying the 1275S Works Rally includes a registration document acknowledging “historic vehicle” status, signed and dated Heritage Certificates that are pre- and post-rebuild, which confirm manufacturing, registration, and competition history, Abingdon build sheets, and much more. The vendor provided a collection of magazines that featured DJB 93B.