Our fea­ture car

Australian Muscle Car - - Aussie-Built Mini -

The

car pic­tured here is an Aus­tralian-built 1966 Mor­ris Cooper S that be­longs to long-time Mini afi­cionado Fred Bur­ley. It is one of a num­ber of Coop­ers that the Syd­ney-based Bur­ley fam­ily has owned over the years, as Fred ex­plains.

“I’ve grown up with Mor­rises. Pre-war cars like a 1929 Cow­ley and an Eight, plus a few Coop­ers when I was a kid. My first car was a Mini and Dad and I have owned lots of Mi­nis. I even raced one in Group N back in the 1990s.”

Fa­ther (Fred se­nior) and son fin­ished restor­ing a 1970 MkII Cooper S in Crys­tal White over Jet Red last year and turned their at­ten­tion to our Cooper S, fin­ished in the rare com­bi­na­tion of Toga White over Seamist Green.

“Seamist Green was a popular colour on Mor­ris 1100s and Austin 1800s. I’ve never seen an­other Cooper S in my com­bi­na­tion, but I un­der­stand that the first batch of (solid) Seamist Green Cooper S cars were de­liv­ered to the Ten­ter­field Po­lice and used as un­marked high­way pa­trol cars.”

“We bought our ‘66 Cooper S from the es­tate of the popular, late Group N racer Bob Asher (the Bur­leys also have his ex-Group N Mini as well) in 2007. It was stored un­der the house, com­plete but in boxes. Bob bought it from a guy in Bate­mans Bay in 1991. We be­lieve it may have been used as a rally car.”

The rest of the car’s his­tory is un­known, though it was de­liv­ered by well-known Syd­ney BMC dealer Larke Hoskins – it has a metal tag in the en­gine bay to prove it!

Fred’s ap­proach to the car’s re­build has been to bring it back to original con­di­tion but not con­cours. The body was taken back to bare metal but was fin­ished with acrylic paint. As many original parts as pos­si­ble were used. Old bolts were cleaned but not plated. The original Porce­lain Green vinyl seats were re­coloured and the original head­lin­ing was used. The en­gine was re­built to stan­dard spec­i­fi­ca­tion and painted in cor­rect me­tal­lic green. Even the stan­dard tin rocker cover and 1¼” SU HS2 car­bu­ret­tors were used.

Fred plans to put his Seamist Green Cooper S onto club plates. He is look­ing for­ward to us­ing the Cooper S as its maker in­tended – driven en­thu­si­as­ti­cally on a wind­ing road!

AMC would like to thank lead­ing Cooper S author­ity Stephen Dal­ton for his as­sis­tance, The Mini Ex­pe­ri­ence mag­a­zine for its se­ries of fea­tures on the Po­lice Cooper S and Build­ing Cars in Aus­tralia – Mor­ris, Austin, BMC and Ley­land (1950-1975) pro­duced by the BMCLey­land Aus­tralia Her­itage Group and pub­lished by Hal­stead Press.

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