Engine of a Mini Seven racing Mini
Photo: Copyright © 2009 Eelke Blok

White Cooper

I am the proud owner of a fully restored 1991 Mini Cooper. My dad bought the car for me late 1999, so I would have some transportation during a half-year internship in Great Britain. The car was British Racing Green at the time and after returning to the Netherlands I continued driving her.

The car is one of the last Coopers with a carburettor, at the end of 1991 the first Coopers with Single Point fuel injection were introduced. After having driven the green Cooper for about three years and having upgraded her modestly with such things as a K&N air filter, a Moto-Lita steering wheel and 5J12 Minilite rims (there's a picture on Flickr as it was back then), I decided it was time for a more radical approach. So, in the winter and spring of 2002/2003, she was completely restored. I did the stripping myself, and had a lot of help from my dad, who also thoroughly cleaned many of the old parts until they looked brand new again. Because the Cooper was my daily driver at the time, which meant I didn't have all the time to do it myself (including learning to do everything), I payed a company some serious money to do the build-up. A set of pictures about the restoration is available on Flickr.

Unfortunately, I have gone through a lot of trouble with the car after the restoration. The engine was under-performing from the get-go and only after the head was taken care of by a knowledgeable amateur (the word amateur is not at all meant to sound negative) has it produced power figures that make sense for this kind of setup (i.e. around 77 bhp). You can read all about it in various blog posts I have written on the subject. I also feel the paint job is sub-standard. The best thing would probably be to take it apart again some time, and get it a proper paint job, although now that the car is living indoors for most of the time, there really is not a big need. To make a long story short, I wouldn't hire a company to do a restoration very soon again.


  • Overhauled 1275 '91 Cooper lump
  • Rebored to 1293 cc
  • SirYun-modified cylinder head (29mm in, 35mm exhaust)
  • Kent 276 cam
  • Duplex timing gear
  • Single SU HIF44 carburettor.
  • K&N cone air filter
  • Maniflow LCB exhaust manifold
  • JanSpeed single center exit exhaust end pipe
  • Standard inlet manifold (MG Metro-spec), flowed
  • MiniSport 1:1.5 ratio roller-tip rockers
  • 13-row oil cooler
  • 78 bhp (@crank, confirmed on a rolling road)


  • Standard manual gearbox
  • Central oil pickup
  • 3.1:1 diff
  • Non-verto clutch
  • Lightened flywheel


  • Front: standard 8.4 inch discs
  • Rear: MiniSport Superfin alloy drums
  • EBC Green Stuff pads


  • Dry rubber cones
  • Hi-Lo adjustable ride height rear
  • Red Koni dampers all round
  • MiniSport adjustable tie-bars
  • MiniSport rear camber brackets


  • White 5x12 inch Genuine Minilite wheels
  • Yokohama A539 165/60R12 tyres


  • Rover Cooper shell
  • Rover Cooper look, including round grill, standard three color rear lights
  • White Diamond
  • Black roof
  • Black wing mirrors matching roof to continue Rover Cooper theme
  • Matt-black special wheel arches, again to continue Rover Cooper theme
  • Chrome grill (internal release), bumpers (original Special items), doorhandles, boot-lock, roof aerial
  • Color-coded number plate light housing


  • Newton Commercial carpet set
  • Cobra reclining seats, type "Le Mans", black leather
  • Rear seat retrimmed to match front seats
  • Door cards retrimmed to match seats
  • Moto-Lita steering wheel with black leather rim, matching aluminium doorhandles and window winders
  • Burr walnut dashboard
  • John Cooper signature alloy pedals
  • "Mini Cooper" four-piece overmat set.