Model: 1967 Morris Mini Cooper S
Release: Vintage Ad Cars Series 5
eBay link: Greenlight Mini Cooper S
Why I’m featuring it: I’ve had my eye on the dinky little Greenlight Mini for a while but was waiting to find a release in a realistic race or rally scheme before buying. My Lamley colleague @championdjk already did a great article on this casting when it debuted in the Italian Job versions in 2020 so I won’t repeat those details here, but suffice to say, this is one of the smallest and cutest 1:64-scale cars around!
And so to this version, which was recently released in Series 5 of Vintage Ad Cars. If you’re not familiar, this is a cool series that recreates versions of cars that were used in period print advertisements. In our case, it’s a BMC (British Motor Corporation) ad from around 1967 that wittily juxtaposes the Mini’s on-track success with its everyday dependability in more mundane pursuits.
I’ve not been able to pin the image down to a particular race – it may have been taken specifically for the ad – but I think there’s a good chance that it’s a Gordon Spice car. In the mid-60s, Spice raced a Mini Cooper in these colours, with racing numbers in this white-on-black style, in the British Saloon Car Championship (BSCC – now the BTCC). The shot below shows him in action in a BSCC race at Crystal Palace in May 1966 (#47, on the right).
If anyone knows the real story behind the picture in the ad, I’d be delighted to hear it. But whoever’s driving, this is a fun version of the Cooper S to model!
If we’re going to nitpick then it’s possible that the body colour is a little too pale (it looks darker in my pictures than it really is). It’s always hard to tell with old photographs but Rainer Schlegelmilch has a great shot from ’67 that backs up my richer-hue theory. The hood number should be angled more steeply, too, and I’d have preferred a racing interior. However, none of these things detract from the model. I’m more bothered that, as is often my experience with Greenlight, the Mini doesn’t roll as well as it should – in this case, because the front axle isn’t straight – and squeaks, too. Surely they can do better at this price point?
I still love the fact that Greenlight made this car, though. I’m also looking forward to finding the ’64 Monte Carlo Rally version, which was just released in Series 2 of Hot Hatches, as well as the spurious but awesome Falken MiJo exclusive.
To wrap things up, let’s do a mini-Mini comparison. From left to right, here’s the Greenlight Cooper S with interpretations from Norev, Hot Wheels, Matchbox and Tomica.
(follow me on Instagram @diecast215)