View Full Version : Elf-Buick-Cooper S

05-22-2005, 07:43 AM
Last week I went to an exective board meeting for my club (EMRA) in Staten Island. We like to car pool since it's about a 1.5 hour drive, so I met up with my friends Mike and Pete. I show up at Pete's repair business about 15 minutes early and he is still finishing up a client's car. Pete does Brit-car repair, so I'm used to seeing some "odd-ducks", but this one was pretty rare: a Riley Elf (based on the classic Mini chassis). The Elf was right-hand drive and steel grey...very nice in an odd sort of way. These cars have a little trunk jutting out (with Sprite tailights) and a grill that reminds me of an old 3.4 Jag sedan.

After the Elf was done we hopped into Mike's Buick and the 3 of us drove about an hour to pick up Pete's girlfriend (our club treasurer). Then, on to Staten Island.

The meeting went well with lots of good "car-talk", plus we spent about $30,000 on upcoming events (track rentals).

On the way home, I commented about how much the Buick was swaying about as we kept up with local traffic (which means about 20 MPH over the speed limit)....little did I know! This Buick was a well-kept car, about 6 years old. As we slow down to pull off the main freeway (to drop off our treasurer) the right rear suspension fails, locking up the right rear wheel! We discover that the ball-joint has come apart on the right-rear suspension. Mike calls a tow truck so he can be towed home (about 65 miles...lucky he has insurance). But Pete and I can't ride in the truck (no room).

So Pete's girlfirend lends us one of her Minis to get home. She has a '65 and a '68. She has documentation to prove that her '68 is the last Cooper "S" imported by BMC to the US (there are lots of Coopers brought over later...but not by BMC).
We take the '65. It has a full roll-cage and harnesses. The engine is a 1400 cc offset-bore with Vizard cam, big carbs, ported head, hi-comp pistons, alum flywheel, trick distributor, close-ratio gears...you name it. It has nice aluminum 10" wheels and tires and Konis. This is a dry-suspension car (the newer one is wet-suspension). Honestly, she is a little-old-lady school teacher and drives this thing to work most days.
What a riot this Mini was! I have owned several Minis and driven lots of them. But this was the fastest Mini I've even been in. We didn't get home until about 1:00 AM but it was sort of worth it after being in that Mini.

05-23-2005, 09:20 AM
I'm glad the Buick made it safely off the road. Suspension failures can be very dramatic!

My Mini is near stock and I drive like a little old lady on Prozac... and I still love my car.

11-16-2005, 01:03 PM
sounds like what happened to my buick recently, except mine had the left front ball joint go... boy did that look catastrofic!