Mini 1275GT Special Tuning, Press Launch Car, Auto Car Magazine
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Mini 1275GT. 1972 RAC Rally. Phil Cooper and Mike Bennett
Autocar road test and Leyland Special Tuning PR car. The 1275GT modelled was the sixth produced, being completed at Longbridge on September 9th 1969 and, as the first five have been destroyed, is the oldest surviving example. It was allocated to BL's press office and was the first 1275GT ever road tested; by Autocar for their 13th November 1969 edition. It was then transferred to Leyland Special Tuning (ST) in Abingdon to be modified and used as a PR car showcasing ST's performance upgrades including a big-valve 1293cc engine with a 649cam and LCB manifold. Autocar tested it again a year later in comparison with a standard 1275GT apparently not realising that this heavily modified car was the one they'd previously tested!
Experienced rally driver and BL dealer Phil Cooper borrowed it for the 1971 RAC Rally and ST prepared it to 'works' Group 2 specification, unfortunately Cooper's Longman 5-port engine blew a head gasket, forcing retirement. It was then bought by Leicester-based BL dealers, Lathams, who loaned it to Cooper for the 1972 RAC. However, the offside-rear radius-arm parted company with the car in Clocaenog and he retired. It was then campaigned in club rallies for ten years by Eddie Plant who sold it to Ade Wildsmith in 1985. He rallied the car initially but gradually restored it to 1972 RAC specification. Since 2013 it's been owned by Simon Drew, proprietor of, 'The Mini Works', Edinburgh, who has thoroughly recommissioned it and uses it regularly.
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