November 28, 2012
The engine bay is empty, and the cylinder
head is sitting on our bench
The top head is not original to a 1275
Cooper S, but the bottom head is
Once you start changing stuff, where does it stop?
Our Mini came with a head, though it wasn’t bolted to the engine. Or anything, for that matter. In fact, it wasn’t even near the car. We managed to dig it out from the pile of old Mini parts that had come with the car.
We decided to send the head to Dave Anton at APT, so he could look it over. There are very few of these 1275 Cooper S heads around anymore, as they had a tendency to crack. Apparently, most have been run hard and don’t take kindly to it (at least in stock form).
Fortunately, ours was not cracked, but it did need valve seats. It had had several valve jobs over its life, and at least the last one had not been done well.
Dave suggested we just use a much more common Sprite/Midget head, then put this rare piece on a shelf. We refused, as we want to keep this car as original as possible. Like George Washington’s proverbial axe—once you start changing stuff, where does it stop?
We’ll cover the engine build in more detail when we start the project series in Classic Motorsports magazine in the spring.