eBay Find of the Week : ‘Twini’ Cooper S

Keith Adams

Twini on sale on eBay
Twini on sale on eBay

Here’s an interesting one. Well, when we say interesting, perhaps it’s more a case of scary. Whatever your opinions on the ‘Twini’ prototypes, it’s good to know that there are dedicated Mini enthusiasts out there who have recreated these fascinating might-have-beens. Even better to know that there’s one for sale on eBay… and it could be yours for a cool £25,000.

According to the sale description, two Twini Coopers were built with competition in mind – one by John Cooper Garages, and the other by BMC and Downton Engineering. The BMC car enjoyed the briefest of competition histories. It was entered into the 1963 Targa Florio, but failed to perform as expected due to the rear engine overheating. In the end events overtook this car, as BMC Competitions got to grips with making the standard front engined car go well – and three Monte Carlo victories were the result.

The car for sale was first registered on 12 July 1965, and is an Austin Mini Cooper S Mk 1 1275cc, painted Almond Green with Old English White roof.  It is fitted with optional equipment consisting of fresh air heater, oil cooler and sump guard. Two genuine 1275 Mini Cooper S engines were fitted during the 2000-hour build. It’s possible to drive the car on both – or either – engines, and has been fully sorted to run in traffic.

This car has been recently completed and was featured in the May 2011 edition of MiniWorld magazine. Most impressively, it scored a 14.7 seconds/93mph standing quarter at Avon Park. That’s quick in today’s terms… and that makes this one scary Mini.

For the brave, check out the eBay page.

Twini on sale on eBay
Twini on sale on eBay
Twini on sale on eBay
Twini on sale on eBay
Keith Adams


  1. So twin 90bhp engines = 180bhp.

    Still if one 1275 S engine manages 40mpg then two would manage 20mpg! Must be fun though.

    Start up must be like firing up Concorde though, no1 engine start, no2 engine start…..

  2. There was a full review of this car in a Mini magazine a few months ago, it’s truely superb and looks perfectly period, something 99% of older Mini restorations fail to capture.

  3. John Cooper was famously injured in a twini-Mini crash on the Kingston bypass If I recall correctly around 1965 .

  4. Citroen produced a twin engined 2CV ‘Sahara’.

    One thing always puzzled me about twin engined cars, how do they regulate the synchronisation. Even on identical engines, it is possible for one engine to be ever-so-slightly slower/faster turning than the other.

  5. In addition to the 2CV Sahara – which actually reached production level – other twin-engined cars I know of were the Alfa Romeo Alfasud Bimotore (mid-70’s) and the 1998 Mercedes-Benz A-Class 190 Twin, used by then-Mercedes-McLaren F1 top driver Mika Hakkinen – more likely as a publicity stunt.
    Both were one-offs.
    I suppose – without further inquiries on the ‘net – that all twin-engined cars like these were – the Twini being no possible exception – AWD. They’d just grab another ‘Sud/Mini/Merc engine and powertrain and slam it on the rear end.
    Yes, synchronizing two engines on the same car wouldn’t be very easy…

  6. Loving that! Be nice to see it go up against its modern upstart BMW Mini Cooper S younger brother to see what happened.

  7. Thing is the two engines being a ‘little’ out of sync doesn’t matter too much, as it just pushes the other one along.

    It’s a lot like the Lexus RX400H, Petrol engine drives the front, electric motor drives the rear.

    Imagine sitting on a bike and pedalling while someone gives you a shove from behind i think it gives a good idea of how it works.

    A far more complex task is designing and adjusting a gear linkage to make both gear boxes shift with one lever.

  8. Correct me if I’m wrong but I think there once was a prototype of a twin engined Mini Moke.
    It is a very interesting car this twin-engined Mini, but I just don’t have the 25 grand in my back pocket 😉

  9. @KeithB The Smart For 2 was built by Brabus, I believe it was two Smart engines grafted to a common block with a new crankshaft to form a V6 engine.

    The twinnies are AWD with both engines running, they can also be FWD or RWD with only one engine running, depending which engine is running.

    The way a twinny is configured it would not be practical, if possible at all to have the power from both engines going to just the front or just the rear wheels.

  10. I wish I had few years back two engines in my Austin Metro 1.3 HLE, so every time that British kettle heated up, I could keep going using the twin engine. That is a great idea for car engines that heat up even when stopped in traffic lights and going idle at 1000 rpm. Really I do not believe that Mini would have both engines properly synchronised to run the car AWD without stuffing up not only the suspension and steering but also the tyres very quickly. Definitely it is not a very smart idea to have two accelerator pedals in a car. Does it have two gear knobs?.

  11. If I remember correctly, the twinie coupled the throttles, clutch and gearboxes with hydraulic slave cylinders. Seems like a reasonable solution to me! It was said that the original twinie had the HP/weight ratio of a Ferrari Berlannetta. Quick car!

  12. Don’t forget about the Twin Engined Suzuki Escudo that was built for the 1995 Pikes Peak Hill Climb. Back then the road was still less than half paved and it also was the overall winner of the race. Further it made an appearance in “Gran Turismo II” for the PS1 for the rally races. The car in the game was a Monster and truthfully I cannot remember using any other car for racing against friends.

  13. Hi, I did a two week holiday relief job at Cooper’s Holleyfield Road site, early summer of 1963. I worked as a forecourt petrol pump attendant and also cleaned the delivery wax off the new Mini Coopers that were for sale. Just a cloth and a bucket of paraffin – no Health & Safety. The pay was 2s & 6d (12.5p) an hour – I got £10.00 after 2 x 40-hour weeks. I remember Bruce McLaren was Cooper’s F1 Works Driver, John Cooper was still in hospital from his A3, Hook Underpass crash and the workshop was playing around with a twini Morris 1100 for BMC.

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