Carole Nash
Content Writer
Published: 26th September 2017

The Mini is a beloved icon of British motor history, starting with the Mark 1 in 1959. One of the most popular models is the Mini Cooper S, and it would make a fine addition to any classic car collection. The car was created by Alec Issigonis and his friend, John Cooper, owner of the Cooper Car Company. He built race cars and came up with the idea of building a sportier version of the Mini.

Are you thinking of buying one? We’ve put together a guide that will give you an insight into what you need to know before purchasing a Mini Cooper S.

Check the engine

The Mini Cooper S was fitted with a 1071 cc engine, so you’ll want to make sure such a powerful engine is working properly. Common engine issues include overheating and oil leaks. The leaks can be attributed to failing engine oil seals. You should also look out for worn piston rings and cylinder bores. You can identify worn piston rings by looking out for blue smoke when the engine starts.

If the engine has any of these problems, then you’ll to consider how much it’ll cost to fix the engine on top of what you’re paying for the car.


It’s best to avoid buying a Cooper that was built in 1968 or earlier because they don’t have a first gear synchromesh. Mini Coopers come with four forward gears, but it’s possible to fit them with five-speed replacements. We would recommend getting the gear box replaced if it only has four gears.


To get the best kind of steering, you’ll want to buy a model made after 1969. This is because they used telescopic shock absorbers, while older models featured Hydrolastic suspension. If you feel there’s anything unusual about the steering, then this might be down to worn upper or lower bushings. You’ll need to get them replaced quickly.


Considering the Mini Cooper S is a small car, you’ll want to keep the tyres a similar size, as modifying them will affect the car’s handling. If you notice any wear and tear then it’s worth getting the tyres replaced.

Buying a Mini Cooper S is a worthwhile experience because it’s a beautiful car. Compact, speedy and stylish, the Cooper will give you plenty of good memories.