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FJD312D. 998 Cooper.

(All about classic Minis, Mini Coopers and new MINI)
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worksminis
Posts: 221
Joined: 07 Apr 2017, 20:28
England

FJD312D. 998 Cooper.

Postby worksminis » 29 Jan 2018, 23:32

How to go International rallying in the mid 60s?
FJD312D was a grey/white roof 998 Cooper, bought new from his then local dealership by Searle Siemssen of Crowthorne to compete in the 1966 RAC Rally. An experienced driver of an 850 Mini (that continued in service on some club rallies but was otherwise now his wife's car). The new Cooper was regularly used to commute to work at the Met Office (then, and until comparatively recent years, in Bracknell).
It appeared on at least one National status rally (now National A) in 1966 as part of the process to upgrade to an International Competition Licence. (A few years later, the International qualification process changed to requiring completion of 2 further Restricted status rallies as an alternative to one National, once a National licence was held – not lest because National status rallies seemed to be a bit thin on the ground and going out of fashion).
Why not a 970 S to compete in the 1000cc class? The answer from many might have been “try finding one”. It was routine for genuine private entrants on Internationals to use a new car then rather than build one from scratch. A Mini of course had virtually no body welding mods to be done then. With many cars on the RAC etc. being fairly standard (especially engine/transmission) it was a no brainer as regards initial financial outlay vs labour. This was 1966. A new 970 S was no longer available and had been scarce even in 1964...
FJD312D had “blue” hydrolastic units fitted (at Abingdon). “Red” “Export” units (as used by the works team initially on the new Appendix J cars, including the 66 Monte Group 1 cars) had already been superseded. Fitting the lines inside for protection was prohibitively expensive in labour and FJD had strips of duralumin about 10” wide fitted along the underside of the floor. A home made lamp bar for 3 lamps, twin tanks, DS11pads/VG95 linings, a heavy “bomb proof” sump guard and some exhaust protection was more or less it. BMC optional reclining seats were another essential for an event that lasted 5 days with only 1 night in bed.
The entry was one of 3 comprising the CSMA club team. Co-driver was Jim Bate. In that team at the time crew members were brought together for the RAC and were not necessarily regular rally partners. As was not at all unusual then, Dunlop SP44 tyres were only fitted to the front wheels, rears being SP41 (in later years SP Sport were also used and eventually SP44 all round).
Service crew on the 66 RAC was Terry Wordingham from the Met Office and Lawrence Castledine from the Road Research Laboratory at Crowthorne in a 997cc Anglia. The team had signed up with Shell for oil supplies but suffered with pressure problems and eventually Duckhams 20/50 was substituted during the rally. Rumour has it that draining the old oil involved parking over a roadside drain cover in Dumfries...
The car finished the event, along with the similar team car of Tony Davies (red/black roof 998 Cooper DAD879C) but the third car (Stan Tinn, Renault R8, did not finish, removing any chance of the club team award which was the main target).

t.b.c.



worksminis
Posts: 221
Joined: 07 Apr 2017, 20:28
England

Re: FJD312D. 998 Cooper.

Postby worksminis » 01 Feb 2018, 23:37

The car was again part of the CSMA team on the 1968 RAC Rally. This event has gone down in history as the one with the fewest works cars (and the highest RAC finish for a “private” Mini – Phil Cooper's S). The Special Tuning private entrants support bus provided assistance after the Keilder stages, Bill Buroughs welding up FJD312D's service car's roof rack, that had taken flight when the service car went off into an orchard...
FJD312D finished the rally 22nd overall. At one point, the rear mountings of the sump guard extension had worn completely away and had to be re-drilled (by hand...) through the dural plate and the floor.
It was sold in 1969, making way for a new Mk2 998 Cooper YPL406H.

worksminis
Posts: 221
Joined: 07 Apr 2017, 20:28
England

Re: FJD312D. 998 Cooper.

Postby worksminis » 29 Jan 2018, 23:35

After a year of club rally use, FJD312D was entered in the CSMA team for the 1967 RAC Rally, alongside the Tony Davies Cooper, DAD 879C, and the new red/black roof 1275 Cooper S of Derek Burman, PGN777E. This was the RAC rally that was cancelled a few hours before the start as “Foot and Mouth Disease” rapidly spread.
Using the funds set aside for the 67 RAC, the club entered cars for the July 1968 Gulf London International Rally. This turned out to be the last of 4 Gulf London Internationals, only 2 of which came anywhere near London and all 4 of which had no connection with the geographical “Gulf” but offered free Gulf petrol. This rally ran for 4 days and 3 nights in the heat of high summer with a couple of 1 hour “breakfast halts” and one 3 hour stop in the middle. (The RAC Rally at that time ran for 5 days with 1 overnight halt). FJD312D was co-driven this time by Barbara Sabey, a senior scientist with the Road Research Laboratory.
On the Dalby Forest stage, during the second half of the rally, the nearside rear hydrolastic unit burst. Although the service crew changed this, at the roadside in Thornton Dale, for one of the standard units carried in the service car, and a pump was fetched from the nearest BMC/BL dealer, the car would have been OTL at the next TC and was retired.

68 Gulf, believed to be one of the stages in West Devon (Halliwill?)
68 Gulf.jpg

Click image to enlarge



t.b.c.


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