Thursday, 16 April 2020

Spanish Sprint - what's its background?

An interesting message about an interesting MiniSprint came in from Spain last week:

"Hello Jeroen. My name is Jose and I am a Spanish Mini collector located in Barcelona. I have a very nice collection with some very good cars. I am writing to you to learn if I can find out more about my 1967 Austin Cooper 'S' MiniSprint. This car has been in a garage for 30 years and I recently purchased it but found not much about its history. I don't want to bore you with many words but if you can help me identify who was the preparer of my car, thank you very much. If you need any more information, I'll give it to you."

By this time I have been in touch with Jose as I still wanted to know a bit more about the car's background. A Heritage Certificate learns us that it was based on a genuine 1275 Cooper 'S' export model built on 30 March 1967 and despatched to Spain on 23 May 1967, left hand drive of course. It wasn't registered in Madrid until November 1968. The Cooper's original colours were Old English White with a black roof and a red and gold brocade interior. Then there's a gap in the car's history until 10 years later when Juan Puiggali bought the Sprint in 1978 at a Peugeot sale in Alicante or Valencia. Puiggali remembers the seller at the time telling him it had been used for hill climbing, but that's about it. The car was painted grey / metallic gold at the time and Puiggali bought it and repainted it again, this time in Almond Green. Fast forward to 2019 and Puiggali sells the Sprint to our man Jose. He strips down the retrimmed interior only to find the original brocade interior beneath it...

Not bad, but still it leaves plenty of questions. I would mostly love to know if this car was originally modified as a MiniSprint back in 1967 prior to finding its first owner in Spain? Timewise this is well possible. I also know that there were at least two dealers for the (Walker) MiniSprint in Spain: Garage Serrano in central Madrid and Garage Sub-Way in Rosellón, both dealers of the Broadspeed GT also. In 1967 there was also a white Walker GT MiniSprint on display at the Barcelona Motor Show, but this car was equipped with the square headlights, so I don't think it will be the same car. Last but not least there is said to have been a MiniSprint on display at the 1968 Bilbao Trade Show, but I have never seen any evidence. So that's it for now. Any more information would be highly appreciated by Jose and myself.

MiniSprint is based on an original 1275 Austin Cooper 'S' sold to Spain when new in 1967
Picture Jeroen Booij archive

The car is said to have been hill climbed in Spain between 1968 and 1978 but info is sketchy
Picture Jeroen Booij archive

Current licence plates date back to November 1968. Paint colour changed at least twice
Picture Jeroen Booij archive

It is an original Austin Cooper 'S' according to the Heritage Certificate also
Picture Jeroen Booij archive

Seats were retrimmed in black vinyl but look what came out behind that!
Picture Jeroen Booij archive

Retrimmed interior... We'd love to know the early history of this Spanish Sprint. Who knows more?
Picture Jeroen Booij archive

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