British Sports Cars is proud to have this 1967 Morris Mini Cooper S in our possession. This is no ordinary Mini Cooper S. In fact, it’s one of only two cars built by Sprint and then further modified by Wood and Pickett on Abbey Road in London. Sprint was very well known in late-sixties England for the work they did with the Mini Cooper. Geoff Thomas, the builder of the Mini Sprint and a long-time racer of Minis, had an extreme idea how to improve the car for racing. What he did was take six inches out of the car to reduce its wind drag; no easy task because this was not just a roof chop. He decided that along with a roof chop, he would also cut the center out of the car leaving the proportions the same. This is a major undertaking! Can you imagine how much work this would take? Along with modifying the center of the car, you would have to change every aspect of the car from the size of the gas tank to the size of the radiator. When done right, a genuine Sprint is something to admire.
Shortly after Geoff Thomas finished building the car, it was sent to another very famous company known as Wood and Pickett. Wood and Pickett is well known for their work with Rolls Royce and Bentley as well as modifying Minis for The Beatles. Yes, the Beatles drove Minis and the company they chose to build them was Wood and Pickett on Abbey Road. There was a recent article in Mini World Magazine in which Phil Wood, the son of Bill Wood, was interviewed about growing up around the company. In the interview, he mentions this one car being shipped from California on several occasions for additional work to be done. Wood and Pickett did everything they possibly could have to this car: power windows, power sunroof, full leather interior with custom dash, and of course the signature square headlamp conversion.
However, the work on this car did not end there! Once the car was completed by Wood and Pickett, it was sent to the famous shop of Richard Longman where a competition motor and transmission were custom built for the car. Richard Longman is known as the guru of A series motors in the Mini world. Richard built engines for all of the famous Mini race cars of the day and is a true legend of motor sport racing in the UK.
British Sports Cars was just able to acquire this car from long-term storage in Southern California. This is a car that we have known about and have been trying to buy for over twenty years. The car sat in the condition you see it in above since about 1980 while in the possession of its long-time owner Dr. Gerard Depersio. Gerard bought this car as a Sprint in the UK in the early seventies and is the one who commissioned all the work to be done on the car.
Once the car was completed, it was shipped to California where the car was only on the road for a short time before it was stolen. Gerard placed an ad in the Mini Owners of Los Angeles newsletter about the missing car. Thanks to the ad, he was able to track down the car. He went to where he had been told the car was and got it back with gun in hand. Shortly after getting the car home, he had it shipped back to Wood and Pickett where it stayed for some time while it was completely rebuilt from the ground up. Once back here in California, Gerard could not keep his hands off the car and started work on further modifications.
The car is now undergoing a full restoration here at British Sports Cars which we are all eager to see completed!
Please be sure to check back often or sign up for our RSS feed to keep updated with the progress we will be making with this very rare gem in the world of Minis.