The 1963 Austin Mini Cooper

    1963 Austin Mini Cooper

    Originally the brainchild of race car builder John Cooper, the Austin Mini Cooper was designed by Alec Issigonis. Issigonis thought that the Mini should be a "people's car" rather than a performance machine and the did not like the idea of a souped-up Mini. He persuaded British Motor Corporation to do just that and agreed to a trial run of just 1,000 cars in order to meet the homologation rules of Group 2 rally racing. It was a great decision.

    The Mini Cooper was one of Britain's great sports car legends that became the definitive rally car of the '60s. Its small size, maneuverability, and front-wheel drive allowed it to dance around bigger, more unwieldy cars to gain victories.

    The Mini was a perfect blend of pin-sharp steering and terrific handling balance.  The Mini Cooper, a nimble, economical and inexpensive car has a low center of gravity and a wheel at each extreme corner - the perfect credentials for solid handling.

    The Mini Cooper, dubbed the "S", was developed in tandem and released in 1963. The Mini Cooper S earned acclaim with Monte Carlo Rally victories in 1964, 1965 and 1967.

    Now we wonder how many MINI Cooper automobiles were sold thanks to the movie, the original "The Italian Job". We saw Lamborghinis, Alfa Romeos, Jaguars, and Aston Martins being raced in the movie but the real stars were the three Mini Cooper S models used during the gold heist hauling three tons of gold in these tiny cars.

    1963 Austin Mini Cooper S, above

    1963 Austin Mini Cooper Specs

    Production  145,000 (all models).

    Body Style  Sedan.

    Engines  4-cylinder 970 cc/977cc/997cc/998cc/1071cc/1275cc.

    Power Output  65 bhp at 6500 rpm to 76 bhp at 5800 rpm.

    Transmission  Four-speed

    Maximum Speed  100 mph

    0-60 mph  12.9 sec

    0-100 mph  20 sec

    1963 Austin Mini Cooper

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