This identification guide has been written the Austin MK1 Cooper S (970cc) produced in 1964 and 1965. Follow this link for the equivalent 970cc Morris Cooper S.

The 970cc MK1 Cooper S was a special homologation version of the Cooper S produced by BMC under both the Austin and Morris badges, allowing the Cooper S to compete in the <1000cc racing class. The 970 is a desirable version of the MK1 Cooper S, particularly considering its low production numbers. The 970 Cooper S was produced in the UK, with a few exports to markets including South Africa, Rhodesia (Zimbabwe), Ireland, Belgium, and Chile.

Given the value difference between standard Minis and the Cooper S, it is important that a buyer understands the unique features to look for to confirm they are purchasing a genuine car. This guide attempts to provide a detailed summary of the Austin MK1 970 Cooper S in this respect.

Period of manufacture:

17 June 1964 – 5 April 1965

Number produced:

The majority of sources viewed confirm that only 963 MK1 970cc Cooper S cars were produced. This figure includes both Austin and Morris versions of the car.

Please note, this guide has been written based on a variety of online sources and enthusiast input. You should not rely on this guide to make any purchasing decision and we make no representation that all information is accurate. You should always seek independent professional advice when looking to purchase a unique car. If you have additional information, photographs or corrections you believe need to be made to this page, please contact us by clicking the button at the top of this page, or comment below.

1. Exterior Features - Austin Cooper S (970cc)

The Mk1 Austin Cooper S 970 had the following external features as listed below. Note, many of these features can easily be replicated on any MK1 mini body, and therefore these features should be analysed in conjunction with the other criteria outlined in this guide.

  • “Austin Cooper S” badging in cursive writing on the rear central boot lid.
  • “Austin Cooper” badge with a small S above on the front centre of the bonnet.
  • MK1 body features include smaller windows (that don’t go right up to the roof gutters like later cars), smaller tail lights, and external hinges on doors.
  • British MK1 doors with MK1 handles and sliding windows.
  • Single left hand side fuel tank only (dual tanks were not standard on the 970 Cooper S, but a 10 gallon ancilliary tank was available as an option, among other features (as opposed to the 13 ½ gallon additional tank available on the 1275 Cooper S).
  • The Austin had a grille with a larger number of thinner cross slats than the equivalent Morris Cooper S (See images for a better description).
  • Vented 9 slot wheels (10” X 4.5”) painted Old English White, with central chromed steel hubcaps and originally supplied with radial ply tyres. These wheels had a more negative offset than the standard mini and Cooper.
  • Front and rear chrome bumper over-riders and corner nerf bars.
  • Cars specifically delivered to the U.S. market (very few) had all red tail lights, with all other markets receiving amber turn signals.
  • The MK1 never had factory fitted flares, and instead, a plastic chrome trim should run along the side body seem and over the wheel arches.
  • Paint colours and combinations on the Austin Cooper S are outlined in this guide under the section titled “Paint Colours and Codes”.
2. Interior Features - Austin Cooper S (970cc)

The MK1 Austin Cooper S 970cc had the following interior features, which should be present on an original car:

  • Seat trim: Front bucket seats and rear bench seat with two tone vinyl trim. The trim colour will depend on the paint colour of the car. The attached chart (in the images) shows which cars came with what trim, including the associated headlining and carpet colour. The colours available on the vinyl seat trim included the following 6 combinations:

     -  Powder Blue / Silver Brocade Grey.

     -  Powder Blue / Gold Brocade Grey.

     -  Dove Grey / Dark Grey.

     -  Dove Grey / Porcelain Green.

     -  Tartan Red / Gold Brocade Grey.

     -  Camulus Grey / Gold Brocade Grey.

  • Central instrument cluster contains 120MPH speedometer (also containing the fuel gauge), temperature gauge on LHS and oil pressure gauge on RHS.
  • Three point seatbelts were standard on the front seats only. The rear seat had no belts.
  • Indicator light on MK1 cars is present on the end of the indicator stalk, as opposed to within the instrument cluster on later cars.
  • Vinyl covered dash rails top and bottom.
  • Chrome solid top (ie – not vented) ashtray in front upper dash rail.
  • Single lever Smiths Heater Assembly (See images).
  • Heater cable on left and choke cable on right of central lower dash controls.
  • Two spoke steering wheel has Austin emblem in centre. Cars were often retrofitted with period Springalex type steering wheel or other common brands.
  • Unless installed as a later option, the MK1 970cc Cooper S should only have one fuel tank on the LHS of the boot (second tank was available as an option).
  • Carpeted boot board, resting on support brackets (two support brackets are spot welded to the rear seat back / boot wall, and three supports at the edge of the boot). See images for a better description.
  • Boot lid internal lining: Cooper S cars had a hardcover vinyl type lining over the inner boot lid, held in place with small chrome screws and upholstery washers.
3. Paint Colours - Austin Cooper S (970cc)

The MK1 970 Cooper S was available in the following 6 paint colour combinations from the factory, as listed below. Like Coopers, the Cooper S came with a contrasting roof colour. An example of each of the colours / combinations has been provided in the attached images. Also attached is a table detailing the paint colour of the car, and its associated / matching interior provided from the factory, as well as an original colour chart.

  • Black (Code BK-1) on Tartan Red (Code RD-9)
  • Black (Code BK-1) on Old English White (Code WT-3)
  • Old English White (Code WT-3) on Fiesta Yellow (Code YL-11)
  • Old English White (Code WT-3) on Almond Green (Code GN-37)
  • Old English White (Code WT-3) on Surf Blue (Code BU-35)
  • Old English White (Code WT-3) on Tweed Grey (Code GR-4) (Available from April 1964)

Unfortunately, the MK1 Cooper S 970cc did not have its original paint code printed on any sticker or plate on the body. Unless you have early documentation, it can be difficult to confirm whether the paint colour on a Cooper S today is in fact the original designated colour (particularly if a car has undergone a thorough restoration). The best you can do is to confirm it complies with one of the above factory available colours.

4. Chassis Number - Austin Cooper S (970cc)

An Austin Cooper S 970cc should have a specific chassis prefix, followed by a unique chassis number for that particular car, as outlined below:

Chassis Code = C-A2S7 (For LHD market cars, the chassis code was followed by an “L”, (ie. C-A2S7L).

The chassis code will be followed by the unique chassis number, which should be within the range of 549501 - 549992.

Location of chassis code and chassis number:

The chassis code and number are located on the small aluminium ID tag, which is secured with self-tapping screws to the top of the radiator cowling (between the radiator and inner mudguard). See images for a better description. Unlike the Australian models, this number was not stamped into the body, and the tag is the only reference available to confirm originality. Note that blank chassis plates are widely available, and can easily be stamped with any chassis number to replicate a Cooper S.

Body Number:

Cooper S models had an exclusive body number sequence identified by the beginning prefix letter “A”, followed by a 5 digit unique number. The body number was stamped on a metal plate, approximately 3 inches long, which was spot welded to the bonnet slam panel. See images for a better description of the location.

An Austin Cooper S 970cc should have a body number in the range between 28155 - 38585


5. Engine Number - Austin Cooper S (970cc)

An Austin Cooper S 970cc should have an engine prefix in one of the the following formats listed below. 

9F/SA/X (followed by a unique 5 digit engine number) = 970cc engine without closed circuit breathing (1964), or;

9F/SA/X (followed by a unique 5 digit engine number) = late 1964/1965 prefix used for the late 970cc cars with closed circuit breathing and warning switch type oil filter head, or;

9FD/SA/X (followed by a unique 5 digit engine number) = 970cc engine with closed circuit breathing (1964), or;

9FE/SA/X (followed by a unique 5 digit engine number) = 970cc engine with closed circuit breathing and warning switch type oil filter head (1964).

A unique 5 digit engine number will follow the prefix, being in the range of 29001 - 30029.

Engine Number location:

The engine number is embossed into a tag, found of the top front right hand side of the engine block (if you are facing the car), immediately in front of the cylinder head, and behind the alternator/generator. See images for a better description.

As with body tags, it is worth noting that blank engine tags are readily available and easily forged. Engine numbers should therefore be assessed in conjunction with other identification criteria, and not taken on face value. It is worth noting that an engine may be missing its tag, if it was reconditioned (the alloy tag can often dissolve of the block has been dipped or blasted. 

6. Gearbox Number, Head Number and Engine Component Dates - Austin MK1 Cooper S 970

Verification of a genuine Austin 970 Cooper S can be further achieved through checking certain casting or stamping numbers on certain parts. Several examples are provided below.

Gearbox Number:

The 970 Cooper S should have gearbox casing casting number 22G190 or 22G333. These are the correct numbers for the type A and B remote gearbox. Synchromesh on this box was only available on gears 2 - 4.

Cylinder Head Number:

The 970 Cooper S should have a casting number on the cylinder head of AEG163. This number was also used on some 1071cc engines, and 1275 engines, being applied to the Cooper S from late 1963 - 1969. All Cooper S cylinder heads are referred to as 'eleven stud' (as opposed to 9 on non-Cooper S cars), referring to the number of studs attaching the head to the cylinder block. 

Other part numbers:

Certain components on Mark I cars were stamped with a production date. This is in the format of month / year, (eg., 10/64 for October 1964). These dates can be useful for working out the age of a car, or judging how original it is overall. The following parts are known to be date stamped: (bootlid lock, brake drums, coil, distributor & dynamo, floor start button, fusebox, glass (using the Triplex system of placed dots under the letters), headlamp bowls, horn push surround, ignition switch, indicator arm, light dip switch & light switch, regulator, starter, wiper motor & wiper switch).

7. Mechanical Features - Austin Cooper S (970cc)

The MK1 Austin Cooper S 970cc had the following mechanical features:

  • The 970 Cooper S had a unique block, crank shaft, conrods and pistons.
  • Twin 1 ¼ SU HS2 carburetors.
  • Rubber universal joint couplings (as opopsed to the later pot joints applied to most Mini's, or the Hardy Spicer CV joints of the later 1275 Cooper S).
  • 10 inch pressed-steel wheel rims with ventilation holes. 
  • Standard tyres were radial ply Dunlop SP41 145 SR10.
  • Single left hand side fuel tank.
  • Rubber cone suspension.
  • Electric fuel pump, located in the rear subframe.
  • Exhaust "extractors".
  • 120MPH speedometer.
  • Removable tappet chest / pushrod covers on rear of engine block (Note, these were also present on small bore blocks and are not unique to the Cooper S).
  • 7 ½ inch front disc brakes that had a vacuum assisted brake power booster.
  • Brake pedal is thicker than the standard mini, and thicker than the clutch pedal.
  • 1 11/16 Welch (core) plugs in blocks.
  • Cylinder head has 10 nuts and 1 bolt (adjacent to thermostat housing), identifying it as Cooper S - see previous section for further clarification.
  • Metal air filter assembly containing 2 round air filters.
  • Electric SU fuel pump (located on L/H side of rear sub frame, under the subframe).
  • Early MK1 cars do not have synchromesh from 1st to 2nd gear. 2nd - 4th are synchromesh.
  • MK1’s had a generator, not an alternator.
8. References - Austin Cooper S (970cc)

The following sources, among input from many enthusiasts, have contributed to the creation of this page. If you have any further information you believe can be added, please let us know by contacting us or commenting below.

Book: Original Mini Cooper and Cooper S, by John ParnellPaul Debois, Motorbooks International, 2002