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Collector Finds Earliest Known MINI, the Cooper S Mark I, in Suffolk Barn

Seek and you shall find: a 65-year-old pensioner with a passion for classic cars in general and MINI Coopers in particular has just stumbled across what he likes to call the find of his life.
Rare MINI Cooper S Mark I found in a Suffolk barn 6 photos
Earliest known MINI Cooper S Mark I found in Suffolk barn is now part of private collectionEarliest known MINI Cooper S Mark I found in Suffolk barn is now part of private collectionEarliest known MINI Cooper S Mark I found in Suffolk barn is now part of private collectionEarliest known MINI Cooper S Mark I found in Suffolk barn is now part of private collectionEarliest known MINI Cooper S Mark I found in Suffolk barn is now part of private collection
Bob Long from Suffolk, UK, is now the proud owner of the earliest known version of MINI Cooper, MINI Cooper S Mark I. Only 4,000 cars were ever made starting in 1963 and he now owns one in very good condition.

It’s been locked in a barn in Suffolk since 1983 and the only reason Long came across it is that he put out an ad saying he was looking for one. He was shocked to receive a response so close to home, but even more shocked to see how well preserved the car was.

“I collect rare cars and it has taken me four year to collect something like this. I was purposely looking for this car, I wanted it as it is so rare - I only collect rare cars,” Long tells Express. “And I have specifically taken a liking towards the Mini Cooper because it was my first car I ever bought. I would imagine that car has done very few miles.”

When it first came out, the MINI Cooper S Mark I cost about £600; it is now worth around £50,000, but Long says he has no intention of selling – unless the buyer offers him a shameless amount of money.

For the time being, he is focused on getting the car in full working order. He is taking it to a garage where it will be restored to its former glory. Not that it’s looking that bad: Long says there isn’t much rust on it but its engine is “seized up” from all the years of not being used.

“It's 100 per cent authentic. It still has its old road tax disc in the window, its original engine, and its original body. The sky's the limit - I knew it was an early one and extremely rare to find,” the new owner continues. “I have got the heritage certificate with its unique body number so I know this is the real deal - you can't fake that.”

Long’s collection also includes the earliest version of MINI Cooper S Mark II, which he found in Florida, and a Riley Alf. He also owned John Lenon’s MINI with an Aston Martin interior, which he bought for a bargain off Lenon’s cleaner (for £150) and then made the mistake of selling it for £500 just 5 weeks before the singer was killed.

He says that taught him a lesson to hang on to his prized cars for longer.

 
 
 
 
 

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