Sixties Mini Cooper vs Col de Turini
The Cooper is 50. Can the old-timer teach the Countryman a lesson on the rally that made it famous?
Posted: 25 Feb 2011
Unfortunately, the TopGear editorial staff is, on average, a couple of decades younger than the original Mini Cooper, making us monumentally underqualified to wax lyrical on the cultural nuances of the early Sixties. But we can talk about rallying. When Hopkirk danced the Cooper to victory over the big, heavy, rear-drive Ford Falcons and Mercedes 300 SEs, a rallying legend was born. Hopkirk's win in 1964 was followed by victories for a pair of Finns, Timo Mäkinen and Rauno Aaltonen, in 1965 and 1967. Coopers took the top three spots in 1966, too, only to be disqualified on a technicality - even so, the little Mini's status as a racing legend was confirmed. The Cooper went on to record thousands of victories across the world, cementing Britain's place at the top table of racing.