Three years ago Harrison Kirby made a 'barn find' discovery that most of us can only dream of. He’d found the sorry remnants of a 1968 Cooper S, a MkII Mini that would have originally come with the desirable 11-stud 1275 engine, front disc brakes and a posh interior.
Except this was no original MkII – as you can see it had been prepared as a Mini Miglia race car before being laid-up and seemingly forgotten.
The story goes that it was originally built by an engineer who worked at Longbridge, Bob Sayer, then raced with the club until 1981, when the engine dropped a valve at Silverstone.
In fact, here’s a pic of the race meeting in question. Behold the '80s club racer look...
It’s unusual enough to find a genuine MkII Cooper S, let alone an original race car that hasn’t since been rebuilt beyond recognition, or worse, scrapped. Perhaps that dropped valve was a blessing in disguise for this car.
Either way, Harrison has spent the past three years rebuilding the car to current Mini Se7en regs, albeit without changing the ‘as-found’ 1981 blue livery. What’s more, he looks set to join us on the grid in 2016 for the 50th anniversary season. That certainly beats another factory restoration job in our eyes.
We can’t wait to see it on display for the first time in almost 35 years. Harrison says it’ll soon have a freshly-rebuilt Selby engine and should be ready for the first round at Castle Combe on 28th March.
Let's hope this car's on-track fortunes will be a little better than in 1981!
With bumper grids planned and plenty of new car builds in progress, 2016 is going to be epic!
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