Identification by Chassis Number/VIN – Standard Cars
Like all cars, the Mini was produced with an identifying number, well, several, in fact. The one that counts was originally called the Chassis Number and eventually changed into the international standard for Vehicle Identification Numbers, or VINs.
The Chassis Number/VIN can go a long way in helping you identify your Mini. There are twoarticles on the Mini Mania web site that deal with reading your Chassis Number/VIN. They can be found Articles & News / Technical Information / General.
The Chassis Number/VIN can tell you a lot about your car, and by using that number you can confirm your information with the Archive at the British Motor Industry Heritage Trust . If you are lucky enough to have an early Mini, the records can tell you even more details, like original color, engine number, some accessories, where the car was originally sent, and that all important build date. Information on later cars is not as complete, but the build date is available in most cases.
Not all the news about the Chassis Number/VIN is good, however. Over time many paperwork transcription errors have crept into the numbers. This is especially true of the earlier cars and even more so for early cars imported into the U.S. The letter S often morphs into a number 5. Letter L becomes a number 1, etc. Usually, these are obvious transcription errors and if you are familiar with what should be where in the numbers you should have no trouble. Two thoughts: (1) it pays to know what the number means and to make sure the paperwork for a car matches the number on the car, and (2) beware the petty bureaucrat at your local licensing agency. Know your numbers and be prepared to support them in case you run into the clerk from hell!
The other problem can be more serious. The Chassis Number /VIN identification method is only good if the number on the car is the one that belongs with the car. Discussed elsewhere are the Mr. Potato Head aspects of the Mini (easy changeability of parts between the various models)and the problem of cars being “revinned”; i.e., taking the paperwork and Chassis Number /VIN from one car and putting it on another. This is most often done to make a late car, not legal for importation into the U.S., appear (from the number, at least) to be an earlier car that is exempt from importation regulations.
So, the Chassis Number /VIN is an important clue to your car’s pedigree, but unless you are positive it is the correct one for the car, look for other clues, clues you know to look for because you’ve studied the cars and their history, a small portion of which is in this article. Also, see the section, “Identifying Non Standard Minis.”
Hi, I am looking at investing in a South African built 1966 Mini Cooper S. It's first date of registration was January 1966 and therefor would of been built in late 1965. It has one petrol tank only, is this authentic or were all 1275'S only produced with twin petrol tanks? It is in a very good condition. What is its value?
Engine Number: 9FSY32712 VIN Number (South African): C8958802121113D
There is a book out, self-Published by Ryno Vester, that is the definitive book on South African Minis. It's long title is, "Thanks For the Memories. A South African Mini Story." It's a cross between a nice "coffee table" book, an in depth history of the South African Minis (Ryno spent 4 years researching), and a compiliation of enough facts and figures to make your head spin. There are distribution points for the book in South Africa, the U.K., and the U.S. If you are interested, I can put you in contact with sellers, and I can put you directly in contact with Ryno.
To answer your question (eventually!), the South African 1275 Cooper S models were introduced in July 1965. (No start of production date is given.) These were CKD cars (like all South African Cooper S Minis), assembled from English supplied "kits" with some "local content" changes. They were not manufactured in South Africa.
Local content changes included the South African-specific bucket seats, and, starting in early 1967, the Australian-style roll-up windows.
Only 655 Cooper S models were assembled in South Africa (1071 and 1275) so any S.A. Cooper S is a rare bird. Value is hard to estimate. It depends upon condition, originality and authenticity. A car in perfect, original shape might fetch US$20,000. A rust hulk with no proof it's genuine might be worth $2-3000.
The engine number you quote of 32712 fits well with the late 65/early 66 time frame, but the leading letters/numbers should be 9F/Sa/Y. The Chassis Number (now called VIN) is unfamilar to me. My understanding is that those "kit" cars from England retained their original Engish number plate (often with the top half of the tag showing the manufacturing plant/county cut off) and then had another number attached. The long one you quote doesn't look like any number I've seen on an early South African car. I doubt it is the original number.
According to Ryno's book, all South African 1275 Cooper S models, unlike the English vers
03/20/2011 @ 1:43 PM
i've tried to register my 1964 mini cooper at the DMV, and told it was the incorrect vin number. i've looked up several sites and no luck. i hope you can help me. there are two numbers i've tried. 031006AA2575625235 or 031006AA2575626235, i really appreciate any help you can give me. to be honest if this requires a credit card or other payments for answers i'm sorry i wasted your time. thank you. j . thomas
The numbers you've posted are not valid for any Mini Cooper model, and I've not seen them on any non-Cooper model, either. They certainly are not from an English built car and don't come close to patterns I've seen on Australian, South African and Italian cars.
03/21/2011 @ 7:51 PM
i have a 1965 mini cooper with no paperwork, only a bill of sale. DMV will not register the car unless i can prove the year. i need to go to a website that breaks down the vin numbers so i can show them a copy that it is a 1965 by the vin number. can anybody help . i appreciate it thank you j thomas
03/22/2011 @ 2:54 PM
can the numbers possibility be from a 1965 astin martin? i'm really sorry for being such a pain. thank you again j thomas
10/13/2011 @ 6:02 PM
i have a mini cooper with numbers yka 2f1 and 9y/sa/h 1189 could you help me to find out about my car thanks tony m
The numbers have an Australian look to them; although the "9Y" prefix on the engine number doesn't look right. Post your question on Mini Mania's web site's Forum. There are a few regulars from Australia that may be able to help. Or do some web searching for Australian Mini sites. You can even google the numbers you have to see what turns up.
i was just looking at the number on the woody this morning and it is aa2s7L-12819 i must not be reading write or the guy replaced the vin once before? any ideas? i know he put an 1100 in it. where would i find the other numbers to verify on the car? thanks brandon
Brandon. Not a correct number for a Woody. That's from a very early, LHD, 850 saloon. You're unlikely to find another "VIN" number on the car, but try the firewall either side of the speedometer hole.
The VIN is correct for the body. K-A2S4L-892587, as suggested it is a Morris Cooper and looking at the glass it is a 1966 2nd quarter car also the rear latch gives the same info 1966 26week. It is an S model it has the shifter hole, and 2nd gas tank with proper spot welded stud holders (per Parnell).
Bully for me right?
Why was I confused?
The car has 12H/719X/1863 for a motor/trans axle and the gas tank dash etc. all from a later model Innocenti. It also has a Type 2 grill attached to the hood using rivets to attach the metal plate from a type 2 inno with the same paint color on the gas tank. All the other paint I can see, that is original, is almond green, english white top. The subframes are from another car... yellow overspray on those. Pieces and parts, bitsa as you say. Gas tank says Verde Chiara, and Nero, my car never was. My interior is all black with red inserts and I am not sure what it came out of (Inno?). The boot is Italian, double pressed with the "Mini Cooper 1300" Italian shaped license plate shape and top mounted light.
None of it is bad in my mind, all period parts in pretty good shape and clear up-grades. Now to get her running!
01/09/2013 @ 2:55 AM
hi, is the starting digets 9y on a mini engine a 1275? cheers ADAM
Attempting to ressurrect what I think is a 1973 Mini. It has the odd rectangular grill and says miniclubman on rear hatch. Engine tag looks suspiciously damaged but appears to be #99H702E-H28920. Car No. is XA2S2-10270291. There is a Commission # of S20S-89130A. Any help identifying actual year etc would be helpful. It is a right hand drive. I believe it's less than 1L.
Car won't go. Clutch doesn't release to allow putting in/out of gear. I installed new bearing, slave cylinder, hydralic line and the push arm pin. Release lever moves with pedal but I don't know if it is enough travel or if internal socket hole [jbearing push] may be too warn. The plunger stop nut is set back enough to not be serving any purpose.
If I receive helpful advice to get car in gear and moving, the brakes have issues of their own. The fronts drag when the drum screws are tightened. Even when leaving screws off, the drums drag when wheels are bolted on firmly.
This mini is making our 52 MGTD look quite dependable [and simpler]. Help please.
Articles referred to in the above article can answer your questions about the type of car. The year is not carried in the Chassis number but British Motor Industry Heritage Trust, for a fee, can get you the build date. It could be an early 70s Clubman.
Your other questions are more likely to get answers from the Mini Mania Forum or by contacting email@example.com. They are a little out of place in a car ID article.