Mini Cooper S restoration

I have been fortunate enough to work on a variety of incredible cars during my tenure at Sweeneys Garage, from classic Mercedes Benz models to rare and illustrious cars like the Porsche 911 2.7 Targa from 1976. My absolute favourite car that I have spent time restoring, however, was the original Mini Cooper S.

The Mini Cooper S was the first classic car that I had ever built from scratch. At the time, I could not afford an original car so I had to make do with what was available from parts sourced across the country. This was in 1983 and I was a plucky 21-year-old with a burning passion for my own car. I raced across the UK on my Honda CB 750/4 motorbike, gathering components to get my Mini Cooper S ready for the road.


There was a lot of work that went into the Mini Cooper S, and my experience working on this beautiful car has stayed with me throughout my time at Sweeneys Garage. The body of the Mini was de-seemed and fully lightened and was adorned with a Navy Blue paint job and a cream roof. Other additions included a full roll cage, Spax adjustable suspension, rose-jointed drive shafts and Sparco bucket seats.

I was determined to make my Mini drive the way that it was intended to, so I sourced original Cooper S instruments, disk brakes and added a straight cut gearbox to pair with the full rally-spec Cooper S engine. It was dyno-tested and the engine ran at a beefy 120 bhp, which was a lot considering its incredibly lightweight frame. It’s safe to say that my original Mini Cooper S was blisteringly fast, and it cemented my love for classic cars. That is why I strive to provide exceptional service for all types of classic cars at Sweeneys Garage.

Since then, I have worked on more expensive cars such as the 1993 Mercedes G Wagon and more sought after cars like the Toyota Celica GT4 St185 Carlos Sainz. It is undoubtedly the Mini Cooper S that inspired my work on restorations, and will always be one of my favourite cars.