Mini creator Alec Issigonis was against the idea of a performance Mini. Fortunately, his wishes didn’t prevail, and a legend was born in the form of the 1961 Mini-Cooper, as tweaked by F1 guru John Cooper. The first cars used a 997cc twin-carb A-series; this was changed for a 998cc unit from 1964. Front disc brakes were standard and Coopers stood out by their two-tone paint schemes and special grilles. Speeds of around 90mph may not have been all-out fast, but it was the Cooper’s handling brilliance that turned it into such a potent rally tool.
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The MINI Cooper 997/998 release date is to be announced on Hatchback.