Muscle Mail AMC BEST LETTER
Muscle Mail best letter winners will receive a gift voucher from our friends at House of Muscle to the value of $150rrp. Choose from their range of retro themed muscle car goodness. Check the full range at www.homspeedshop.com
thanks for the feature articles on the Morris Cooper S (issue #91). I never thought I would see the day when this mighty little car would feature in such a muscular magazine.
For four years I was the proud owner of a burgundy-over-white Cooper S, which I purchased in May 1968. I was an apprentice automotive spray painter earning $20 a week and paying my pride and joy off at the rate of $15 a week. Petrol was 20 cents a gallon with methanol 30 cents a gallon, one gallon of which went into each tank every time I filled it up. Out on country roads 42 miles to the gallon was achievable.
Cortina GTs, MGBs and Valiant Pacers were lots of fun, as were V8 Falcons when we came up against them. However, in the twisty bits they were no match.
My Cooper S didn’t stay stock for very long; 11/2 inch SUs replaced the 11/4s and a four-blade replaced the 16-blade. I polished the ports, fitted negative camber brackets and an anti rollbar at the rear, homemade brackets lowered the steering column. Feet on the dash and a big heave bent the driver’s seat backrest, wood rim steering wheel, Smiths tacho and a racing harness.
The engine and suspension modifications resulted in a genuine 104mph, officially timed 17.42 sec quarter mile and a car that stuck to the road like s**t to a blanket. It was my understanding at the time that the 1275cc Cooper S was the first four-seater car to produce 1hp per cubic inch, 78bhp from 78 cubic inches.
Your ‘Coppers in Coopers’ story bought back many memories. My mate and myself were both driving our Cooper Ss on our trip to the 1967 Gallagher 500 at Bathurst when, at about 6am Saturday morning east of Coonabarabran, I looked in my rear view mirror to see a third Cooper S had joined us. Next thing he was alongside displaying a police sign and we were both booked for doing 80mph. Your story mentioned that many were written off in the line of duty. None were destroyed quicker than the all-burgundy Cooper S received by the coppers in Casino, in northern NSW. It was on a Friday afternoon during 1968 or ’69 that the Casino police took delivery of a brand new patrol car. Later that night whilst on their maiden patrol around town they witnessed a modified Valiant ute doing burnouts in the main street. The police officers in their brand spanking shiny new Cooper S attempted to apprehend the driver but he took off, with the police giving chase. The ute driver must have been unfamiliar with the layout of the streets around Casino (he was from Brisbane) and couldn’t find his way out of town. The driver of the police car decided, as the chase had been going on for some time, the only course of action was to ram the Ute, which was what he did. This not only disabled the Valiant ute but caused enough damage to the Cooper S to write it off.
This was probably the shortest career experienced by any car in the NSW police force. The Cooper S was eventually purchased from the police insurance company and repaired. It was driven around Casino for many years afterwards.
Regarding my great little car in the pics, that made way for a white with gold stripe XY GS 302 4-speed Falcon ute which served us well for 10 years until our son came along. I wish I still had both cars parked in the shed now.