Belying its small size and apparent fragility, the Mini Cooper developed into the most successful works rally car of the 1960s, one of its most famous victories being Paddy Hopkirk's headline-grabbing win in the 1964 'Monte'. The Mini Cooper family's ultimate expression - the 1,275cc 'S' - won first time out in 1964 and became the works' frontline car from 1965 onwards, winning eight international rallies outright that same year, a quite outstanding achievement.
According to the British Motor Industry Heritage Trust, this now Morris-badged (though originally Austin) Mini Cooper 1,275S, 'CA2S7/662044', was built at Longbridge on 26th November 1964 prior to despatch on 2nd December to the MG Car Company at Abingdon where, like most BMC factory competition cars, it was issued with a Berkshire registration, in this case 'DJB 93B'. Following subsequent preparation by the Abingdon-based Competitions Department, initially as an Austin for export market reasons, it took part in the 1965 Swedish and Acropolis Rallies before finishing 13th in class on the Alpine and (as a Morris) winning the RAC Rally of GB in the legendary Rauno Aaltonen's hands.
Having been driven to victory by Tony Fall on the Scottish Rally the following season, 'DJB 93B' rolled into retirement from Abingdon Competitions Department service during the 1966 Gulf London Rally and was not seen again until 1986. By 1991, ownership had transferred from clubman Jeff Wilson to Mini Machine of Darlington, from whom the project was taken on in 1996 by the highly respected and very successful Works Rally co-driver and subsequent World Rally Team Manager (Toyota, Mitsubishi etc) Phil Short, who commissioned a
total restoration to original Works specification.
A correct and fully restored Mk1 body shell was employed, though with double-skinned exhaust tunnel, floor under driver's feet and cross-member, strengthened bulkhead steady bar bracket, steering rack mounts and rear shocker mounts all being to Abingdon specification. Although run initially in hydrolastic form, like most works Minis of the day, the car was given 'dry' suspension in period and is in this form today. Parts were sourced by marque specialist John Kelly while Simon Wheatcroft's workshop was responsible for the detailed build.
The engine incorporates a 1,275S thick-flange block, linered and bored out +0.020" to 1,293cc; Omega dished pistons; Farndon cross-drilled crank in EN40B steel; fully machined conrods in EN24V; Downton No. 2 cam; and 12G940 cylinder head fed by twin SU H4 carburettors. Engine builder Bryan Slark, formerly with Downton, achieved a dynamometer reading of 117bhp at 7,000rpm and 1071b/ft torque at 5,000rpm.
The transmission specification includes a 22G333 gearbox casing, straight-cut close-ratio pinions, straight-cut drop gears, 4.3:1 final drive and Quaife Torsen-type limited-slip differential. Following installation in the car, the rolling road showed 96bhp at 7,250rpm and 811b/ft at 4,250rpm. The engine is said to be extremely flexible from 3,000rpm and eager to rev to 8,000rpm at which point it sounds wonderful!
As the early BMC roll-bar with single rear stay no longer complies with FIA/MSA safety requirements, a Safety Devices bolt-in full cage with easily removable front hoop was chosen.
1964 glass windows have been used, while the heated screen and all trim, as well as the Springalex-type steering wheel, air horns and internally mounted electric washers, are exactly as used on the 1965 RAC. The seats are exact replicas of the originals: the driver's a bucket-type with tubular frame, the co-driver's reclining. The works dash and well-equipped navigator's department are Abingdon-correct, while the Willans harnesses and FIA cut-out switch are compliant with current regulations.
The electrics are authentic, having been wired by Stan Chalmers who, with John Smith of Lucas, used to wire-up all the factory cars. There are five extra Lucas lamps with quick-release brackets and a swivelling roof light with Aaltonen anti-glare scoop. Under-body protection is provided by a 'Scottish' sump guard with optional extension guard and battery skid. The wheels, six of them, are genuine magnesium Minilites shod with Yokohama A008 tyres: five new, one used. Roof and body, as well as engine and transmission, paint colours are all authentic. For display purposes, there is a December '65 tax disc.
A most impressive history file contains signed and dated BMIHT Heritage Certificates pre- and post-rebuild confirming manufacturing, registration and competition history; Abingdon 'Build Sheets' for 1964 RAC Rally; BMC Homologation Forms from period; FIA Historic Vehicle Identity Form; current MSA Competition Car Logbook; MoT Test Certificates 1986-July 2007; two folders of original invoices; and current Swansea V5C registration document. Photograph albums record the car's restoration, wiring and engine - both in build and on the dyno - and winning drivers Aaltonen and Fall with it at the Abingdon Reunion. On the front covers of Autosport (December 1965) and Mini World, 'DJB 93B' has also featured in several other publications, copies of which accompany the car also.
'DJB 93B's BMC factory team rally history:
1965 Swedish (Rauno Aaltonen) retired, mechanical
1965 Acropolis (Timo Makinen) retired, mechanical
1965 Alpine (Pauline Mayman) 13th in category
1965 RAC (Rauno Aaltonen) 1st overall
1966 Scottish (Tony Fall) 1st overall
1966 Gulf London (Tony Fall) retired, accident
This is one of the most correctly specified and detailed ex-works Minis around. Since completion in 1998 the car has been maintained regardless of cost (as confirmed by bills on file) and always garaged in a heated and dehumidified motor house. Apart from regular exercise on various historic rally 'fun runs' as part of the 'Slowly Sideways Group', 'DJB 93B' has also been successfully hill climbed and sprinted with a win in the 2001 Midland Speed Classic Championship. The car purchased at Bonhams' 'Race Retro' sale at Stoneleigh, Warwickshire in March 2007 (Lot 306), since when it has been invited to the Goodwood 'Festival of Speed' where it was driven again by Rauno Aaltonen in 2010.
While other ex-works cars come onto the open market from time to time, many of them are likely to cost very much more again to restore and then involve even further expenditure to return them to period-correct specification. Few are likely to have been prepared to the standard of authenticity to be found on this car. 'DJB 93B' has been rebuilt as far as has been practical to the original specification in which it would have started the 1965 RAC Rally, which it won, making it the only Mini ever to do so.
Sold for £80,700 inclusive of Buyer's Premium