Bringatrailer.com Fortnight Favorite: 1965 Austin Mini Cooper S

For the last few years, Bringatrailer.com (BaT) -- which publishes daily features on a very, very wide range of vintage cars for sale -- has been the only blog that I’ve regularly visited. Sometimes the site inspires me to seek out the next subject for our Collectible Classic section, which I’m in charge of. Sometimes it makes me long for the rust-free 1967 MGB/GT Special that I fully enjoyed for three years (including this fun trip) before selling it last fall, in anticipation of the birth of my second daughter. And often the site makes me ponder what old car I’ll park in my garage next.

In the November 2010 issue of Automobile Magazine, we interviewed the site’s editor-in-chief, Randy Nonnenberg, whom we called “The man who launched a thousand trailers.” Besides me, other committed BaT’ers from Automobile include Jamie Kitman (the owner of two dozen or so vintage cars, including this lovely BaT find), Joe Lorio (who’s shopping for a Jeep Grand Wagoneer to replace his 1968 Mercury Colony Park), Jason Cammisa (whose small fleet changes often but has been anchored by this beloved 1987 Volkswagen Scirocco 16V since 1997), and Evan McCausland (who’s currently weighing the benefits of spending money on a Matra Bagheera or a roof for his house). Me, I’m not sure what’ll be next, but it could be a Triumph Dolomite Sprint, a Ford Cortina, a Dodge Spirit R/T, or a Plymouth Valiant station wagon -- even though those last two choices are unlikely to grace the understandably selective pages of BaT.

My favorite for this fortnight

For the first installment of my BaT Fortnight Favorite, I’m choosing this 1965 Austin Mini Cooper S that was featured last Monday. First off, old Mini Coopers in general are insanely entertaining to drive, as I learned while briefly piloting this late-model example, our October 2009 Collectible Classic feature car, two years ago. The car on BaT, though, is a Mark 1, U.S.-market Cooper S that’s more or less stock, and not many were originally sold here. This clean-looking Cooper has had the same owner since 1974 and has been in Kansas since new, which gives it a much better chance of actually being rust-free (the seller claims “no rust ever”) than the countless old Minis that have been privately imported to America from coastal Australia or New Zealand -- let alone dreary Great Britain. I even like the cream over red color combination, which I find refreshingly different from the red or green vintage Minis that are so popular. A fair portion of BaT’s vast -- and highly knowledgeable -- peanut gallery says they’d prefer this cheaper red ’63 Mini in California that was modified up to “S” spec, but I’d probably spend the extra money on the white car simply for its lovely vintagey interior and not-red paint. I would be tempted to remove the wheel flares, though, as some commenters opined. Either way, this ’65 seems like it’d be a spectacular shuttle for a weekend trip from Kansas to the winding mountain roads of Colorado or Tennessee. Remember, cars were built to be driven, and cars like this were built to be driven until a smile is permanently cemented on its driver’s face.

Honorable Mentions

Finalists for my favorite BaT car from April 1 through April 15 include this vacation-ready 1990 Volkswagen DOKA pickup and this futuristic 1986 Alpine GTA Turbo 2.5 (both posted today) as well as this 1967 Lancia Fulvia 1.3 Zagato project, this military-badass 1967 Kaiser M-715, and this racy 1965 Kellison J6 Panther tribute car. I like to think that I know a lot about old cars, but I must admit that -- of the aforementioned quintet -- I was familiar with only the Lancia before their bringatrailer.com features. This is SOP for BaT.

Subscribe?

If you’re not as committed to daydreaming about old cars as I am, check out my semimonthly blog, where I’ll pick my favorite BaT car of the past couple weeks. If you want to stay fully up-to-date on what the old-car buffs are discussing, subscribe to BaT’s daily email blast of a wide assortment of old cars for sale and visit automobilemag.com every so often to learn what cars I like best. And feel free to share your thoughts -- and your own favorites -- in the comments section below. There’s also a version of BaT for vintage motorcycles called Throttle Yard; hmm, maybe my wife wants this bike.

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