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Su­per Cooper

Many

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.

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