READY, STEADY, CONCOURS!
Dan Ingles was only going to keep this John Cooper LE Mini for the summer, but then the concours bug took hold, and he hasn’t stopped since!
Originally purchased ‘ just for the summer’, Dan Ingles caught the concours bug and this John Cooper LE is the result!
Dan Ingles was lucky to have had a 1999 Rover Mini Cooper Sportpack as his first car. “I loved that thing to death, but it was a real bone-shaker. It was as low as I could get it and on shortened and super stiff Gaz shocks,” explains Dan. Unfortunately, it met an untimely end as he was hit at 30mph from behind whilst stationary and then pushed into the back of a BMW X5! “Unsurprisingly it was written off, but even at that time values were increasing and I ended up
being paid out more then I’d bought it for, and I’d done 60,000 of the 85,000 miles it had travelled, and had been through three gearboxes!”
Not put off Classic Mini ownership, but again not really looking for another at the time, he spotted this 1999 Rover Mini John Cooper LE on eBay in April 2016. “Being completely honest I wasn’t looking to buy a Mini at the time, but I’d seen it online and although the photos weren’t great, the price was fantastic, so I travelled from South Leicestershire to Somerset to view it.” Dan describes the condition in the metal of this Mini as “amazing” - it had already been the lucky recipient of some quality restoration work in the past. “The family that owned it had been trying to sell it for a while without any buyers as they were relocating to France. I picked it up the following week with the intention of just keeping it for the summer and selling it on. Well, that didn’t happen and I’ve now owned this Mini for over two years and got the bug for concours,” laughs Dan.
For those not in the know about Rover Mini Special Editions, and it’s not easy as there were quite a number of them, this was another of the limited-edition models created alongside the Mini 40. However, on top of celebrating the Classic Mini’s big birthday, the Cooper was also built to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Cooper F1 World
“I’ve now owned this Mini for over two years and got the bug for concours!”
Championship. The Rover Mini John Cooper LE, as it was called, was only available with Brooklands Green and Old English White paint on the outside, with a Grenadine Red leather interior. Officially, just 300 of these sought-after Minis were produced. Although, the rumour is that John Cooper’s wife wanted one after they had all sold out, so Rover built an additional Y-plated car for her, pushing the production total up to 301!
Completely standard when he bought it, Dan wouldn’t really say that he’s modified this Mini now. “I’ve made some choice changes to match my taste in Minis and improvements to the brakes to make it stop well, drive well, and so I can enter it into concours competitions.”
Dan first focused on the outside of his Cooper LE, swapping the standard Sportpack wheels for these more retrolooking 13x7-inch split-rim replica Superlights with gold centres. Carrying on the retro look, he’s fitted the Wipac stainless-backed spotlights and replica Lucas P700 headlamps. Then finished the look with Mini Spares replacement bumpers, over riders and corner bars, a wavy front grille, JB fabrication replacement-centred stainless rear fog lamp, Cooper Car Company replacement filler cap and wipers, blades and washer jets, all finished in stainless steel.
After some wins on the show ’n’ shine circuit, Dan fixed his eyes on concours success, and set about improving this Mini’s already luxurious interior. Firstly, with a Custom Consoles centre console, that has been colour-matched to those gorgeous red leather seats. Plus a Minivation phone holder, which Dan describes as “an amazing bit of a kit”, as it actually holds his sat nav! He’s also swapped the standard leather gear knob, for one from the Cooper Car Company. Then, stainless steel door latch cover plates, seat pulls and door jam striker plates, all from Smiffy’s Bits. Finishing off the interior look with a hidden cigarette lighter (power socket to power up his sat- nav) and chrome air vent surrounds.
The boot came next, with a custom boot liner kit made by Martin Wixon, which has been perfectly matched to the seat colour. “This is my favourite addition to the car, it has also been great to get to know Martin and Sarah Wixon,” exclaims Dan.
MOVING TO CONCOURS
Feeling that the standard brakes could be improved, a Cooper Car Company fourpot brake upgrade with 8.4-inch drilled and grooved discs came next and were fitted with braided front brake lines and Mini Sport Superfin rear drums.
The move from show ’n’ shine to
“It’s not really a scary move from show ’n’ shine into concours”
concours saw work on the engine compartment next, although first came a K&N filter element in the original air box and a Maniflow cat back exhaust to help release a few extra horses from the 1275 MPi engine. Followed by more colourcoding and polished, shiny parts.
Firstly, he had the standard air box painted Brooklands Green to match the bodywork. Then a polished rocker cover and bars from Mini Sport. Then Dan’s engine was put on a strict diet of stainless Smiffy’s Bits parts, with an alternator guard, relay covers, ECU cover, head bolt covers, horn bracket, radiator bracket, brake reservoir cover, HT lead clamps, top coolant hose, ECU bracket, radiator top finisher, engine fuse box cover, ignition bracket, top hose support bracket, head nut covers, alternator terminal cover, air filter bracket and the UK map relay cover.
“It’s not really a scary move from show ’n’ shine into concours,” says Dan. “I’d like to thank Mark Wynn-Smith and Tracey Lippett for giving me an encouraging push to do it. Concours is really accessible and to anyone thinking of doing it, speak to the competitors as they are all really friendly and full of helpful advice and support. It’s worth speaking to the judges too!” Dan’s best advice is find great trades people who
you can trust, if you struggle to do things yourself. “I’d be lost without my bodywork chap, Jay from JP Tuning, and also my mega mechanic Jason Muddimer,” Dan says.
The British Mini Club has also been a big support for Dan, as he thinks their shows are really great. Himley 2017 was the first time he had ever entered a show ’n’ shine competition and the Mini and Metro Show was the first time he’d entered a concours competition, and came second! “The highlight so far of owning this car, was getting a third place in the concours last year at the Stanford Hall show. It’s my home show, I scored 192/200 and my little girl collected the trophy with me.”
By chance, Dan’s also got to know the chap who originally did the restoration work on this car. “Clive Brookes got in touch with me after seeing a photo I’d posted on the internet, and we’ve met up a few times at the London to Brighton run. I can’t really take any credit for how good the car is, as it’s Clive who built it - he is an ex-Beaulieu Gold Cup winner, the most prestigious concours award at the Mini Cooper Register’s National Day, after all.”
This is obviously a very clean and wellkept late Classic Mini, but I asked if Dan’s
“I’ve not had any issues, as it was so well put together when it was restored”
come up against any problems with this car? “I’ve not really had any issues with it, as it was so well put together when it was restored,” says Dan, however, when he added those wider wheels, he admits it drove like a dog. “This has been solved by adding adjustable camber and sorting the tracking. It also needed a replacement water pump recently, which I luckily found two days before this year’s London to Brighton Mini Run.”
Dan’s future plans mostly revolve around more concours competitions, but without giving too much away, he’d like more power and some new wheels! We look forward to seeing those extra mods to complement this late Classic Mini special edition.
Luxurious Grenadine Red leather interior with colour-matched Custom Consoles centre console.
Gorgeous red leather seats.
Black leather OE steering wheel.
Complete with its own little replica model!
Keeping things period in Brooklands Green with Old English White roof.
Original and stunning!
Dan’s dash includes a hidden cigarette lighter.
Cooper Car Company gear knob.
Magnolia instruments shared with Mini 40.
Mini Spares wavy grille and replica Lucas P700 headlamps look fab.
Split-rim replica Superlights with gold centres.
More Mini Cooper branding.
Branded by the man himself!
Original Mini Cooper branding.
Standard 1275 MPi engine with the airbox painted in Brooklands Green and finished with a plethora of Smiffys Bits stainless steel items.
...fully trimmed and lined in vinyl and colourmatched to the interior.
The boot is Dan’s favourite modification...
Completing the look with stainless steel over riders.
Proud Mini owner, Dan Ingles.
Unique JB Fabrication centred rear fog lamp.
More stainless steel with the exhuast.
Dan adjusted the camber to create the perfect ride.
We’re not surpised this stunning Mini is a concours winner.