A chat about the 970 S.

General Chat with an emphasis on BMC Minis & Other iconic cars of the 1960's. Includes information on MK1 Action days.
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tweedy998
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A chat about the 970 S.

Post by tweedy998 »

Hi all. I'll try and keep this fairly brief and not ramble off into too many realms. I guess the crux of the thread is that ever since getting 'into Mini's' in the late 1980's, one version which has always eluded yet fascinated me has been the 970 S. Back in the 90's the 970 was the holy grail as far as I was concerned, as I built up my late 70's and early 80's 998's up into what today some trendy folk would probably call 'cafe racers' including a car destined to be a hillclimber at Harewood, only to meet an all to soon demise in a supermarket car park in Leeds... (exploding diff planet gears - not pretty). I hankered after what I imagined the short-stroke 970 to be like, all peaky high revs and slightly frantic delivery. The closest thing I probably got to experience back then was the 1293 racers prepared by GRV Developments, where I spent as much time as I could in my late teens and early 20's, soaking up the atmosphere, and the best of knowledge I could from 'big' Ron Whittam, Nobby Clark, and Andrew on the infamous rolling road. But even then, I can't recall them ever having a 970 in for tuning or fettling.

And now, all these years later, having returned back full circle to the Mini fun of my youthful days, I still find myself intrigued by the car or rather the engine and the way it behaves and drives. So, I guess what I'm getting to is; are there any 970 owners or drivers here on the forum who could enlighten me with their experience of a 970. Long and short of it, what are they actually like to drive?

Looking forward to hearing any anecdotes etc. Cheers, Ed.
1965 Tweed Grey Mk1 Morris Cooper 998
2005 Renaultsport Clio 182 Trophy 407/500
2010 Storm Grey Renaultsport Clio 200 Cup
swifty
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Re: A chat about the 970 S.

Post by swifty »

I sold my 970 about 4 Years ago . I absolutely loved it . Slightly modified with a evo cam . Tweaked head , LCB etc . Still on its 1 1/4 su carbs . Pulled a 3.4 diff easily . Boy did it rev . It loved it . Would rev more than the cam choice was capable of . Wished I would have fitted a SW10 or similar together with some bigger carbs . I have a 62 mini super and I’m building a 970 tuned engine for it , that’s how much I loved it . …. Shirley
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1963 austin Cooper s mk1 1071
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1962 Morris mini super 850
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mk1
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Re: A chat about the 970 S.

Post by mk1 »

I have had / driven regularly 3 970's. One was a pretty much standard car, this was, how can I put it, fairly underwhelming. Very little different to a 998 Cooper, yes it "could" rev a lot higher, but with the asthmatic standard cam there was little point in doing so. All round a well mannered easy car to drive with an absolutely bulletproof engine.

Second was my Brother's 970 rally car. This was bored out to 73.5mm hada 649 cam, big head & single 45 weber. It went like the proverbial shit off a stick, revved to 9,000 regularly & reliably, made over 100 bhp & was a true Giant killer. I remeber one time after a night road rally in the early days when, after having been pushing a guy in an RS 2000 for miles & miles he was approached by said driver who asked what Rick had under the bonnet & when he said a 1000cc engine the guy actually burst into tears !!

Last is my recent 970 based Supercharged Hillclimber. This has been a bit of a game of 2 halves. While it has been very reliable once I got over some initial teething problems & makes decent power, it hasn't really been as successful as I hoped. The 970 short motor however is a work of art & has proved to be 100% bulletproof.

So in short, to get the best out of a 970 I would strongly suggest you give it a good tune & rev the tits off it. This way you will really get something that turns heads & is genuinely fun to drive. Without some fairly serious tuning, you can end up with a super reliable 998 Cooper.
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tweedy998
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Re: A chat about the 970 S.

Post by tweedy998 »

swifty wrote: Tue Jan 24, 2023 11:35 pm I sold my 970 about 4 Years ago . I absolutely loved it . Slightly modified with a evo cam . Tweaked head , LCB etc . Still on its 1 1/4 su carbs . Pulled a 3.4 diff easily . Boy did it rev . It loved it . Would rev more than the cam choice was capable of . Wished I would have fitted a SW10 or similar together with some bigger carbs . I have a 62 mini super and I’m building a 970 tuned engine for it , that’s how much I loved it . …. Shirley
Lovely looking car Swifty (or Shirley). Sounds like your 970 lived up to the expectations I'd have of the engine - sounds brilliant fun, as Mark points out in the next post it would seem they're at their best with a bit of breathing on, which given they were a bit of a homologation special at the time makes sense.
1965 Tweed Grey Mk1 Morris Cooper 998
2005 Renaultsport Clio 182 Trophy 407/500
2010 Storm Grey Renaultsport Clio 200 Cup
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tweedy998
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Re: A chat about the 970 S.

Post by tweedy998 »

mk1 wrote: Wed Jan 25, 2023 9:30 am
Second was my Brother's 970 rally car. This was bored out to 73.5mm hada 649 cam, big head & single 45 weber. It went like the proverbial shit off a stick, revved to 9,000 regularly & reliably, made over 100 bhp & was a true Giant killer. I remeber one time after a night road rally in the early days when, after having been pushing a guy in an RS 2000 for miles & miles he was approached by said driver who asked what Rick had under the bonnet & when he said a 1000cc engine the guy actually burst into tears !!
Thanks for the insights Mark, really appreciate it, and thoroughly enjoyed reading about your Brother's rally car, that sounds like a very rapid machine indeed!

Will you have your car out at Harewood again this year? I'd love to take a closer look at it. :)

As you point out, this is exactly what I've heard anecdotally before - that the standard car is a little flat, but with a bit of breathing on they can really come alive! I'd love to have one, one day, but can't see how now with the prices they are. I love our 998 Cooper, and it now goes very well after the recent fettling I've given it, but because of how it is (very standard looking - which I want to preserve), I can't really take the tuning any further. A screaming 970 road going competition car might just be my perfect Mini I think!
1965 Tweed Grey Mk1 Morris Cooper 998
2005 Renaultsport Clio 182 Trophy 407/500
2010 Storm Grey Renaultsport Clio 200 Cup
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Re: A chat about the 970 S.

Post by mk1 »

Glad to have been able to give you a bit of insight.

I suspect that the Mini won't be out this year as I am currently re doing it. It's going back to road going trim to run in the pre 1972 class, & is probably getting a 1380. Running the fuel injected supercharged engine excluded me from too many classes & events. So I'll be in the lotus 7 until the Mini is sorted again I'm afraid.

Look forward to seeing you at Harewood though, always happy to talk.

This is a pic of Rick's very rapid 970.
970_1.jpg
M
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AndyPen
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Re: A chat about the 970 S.

Post by AndyPen »

Had a circuit sprint 970 for a short while, with all the usual mods such as some kind of wild cam and super valve springs. Ran on split Webbers and was all lightened and balanced. The shell was cut to pieces weight wise and had alloy everywhere, including a flat boot and a fibreglass 'groundhog' nose. It went like a bullet and surpassed most other under 1000cc cars. I seem to recall it red lined very, very high too. Sadly it didn't like being left outside and all I have left is the rusty end of the boot mounting - which I only kept to help locate the rivet position.

Our 850 SDL had one of our 970s dropped into in in the early 90s as it was going spare, and was intended to be temporary, however it is still in there and that is a right little buzz box too. The intention was to use it in our rally car but that never happened. I think it has a 731 cam from the era and may not be the best, with H4 carbs that came from one of the old Downton boys. Picked them up from just behind the works in a farm workshop that was stacked with Downton stuff. If only I knew then what I know now, there was even a badge nailed to the door can you believe, and an old sign hanging in the rafters, but I digress.

I know it isn't the fastest car on the road, but one word covers driving it, GRIN ;-)


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mgcm1598
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Re: A chat about the 970 S.

Post by mgcm1598 »

mk1 wrote: Wed Jan 25, 2023 9:30 am I have had / driven regularly 3 970's. One was a pretty much standard car, this was, how can I put it, fairly underwhelming. Very little different to a 998 Cooper, yes it "could" rev a lot higher, but with the asthmatic standard cam there was little point in doing so. All round a well mannered easy car to drive with an absolutely bulletproof engine.

Second was my Brother's 970 rally car. This was bored out to 73.5mm hada 649 cam, big head & single 45 weber. It went like the proverbial shit off a stick, revved to 9,000 regularly & reliably, made over 100 bhp & was a true Giant killer. I remeber one time after a night road rally in the early days when, after having been pushing a guy in an RS 2000 for miles & miles he was approached by said driver who asked what Rick had under the bonnet & when he said a 1000cc engine the guy actually burst into tears !!

Last is my recent 970 based Supercharged Hillclimber. This has been a bit of a game of 2 halves. While it has been very reliable once I got over some initial teething problems & makes decent power, it hasn't really been as successful as I hoped. The 970 short motor however is a work of art & has proved to be 100% bulletproof.

So in short, to get the best out of a 970 I would strongly suggest you give it a good tune & rev the tits off it. This way you will really get something that turns heads & is genuinely fun to drive. Without some fairly serious tuning, you can end up with a super reliable 998 Cooper.
Mark, I'm please to find that I wasn't the only one using completely inappropriate engines for road events. Back in the late 80s I did a load of navigational events with a 1310 fitted with a 296 cam, MED 37/30 race head with enormous ports, 1.5 rockers, 45 Dellorto, straight cut drops etc, etc. It never once passed a noise test properly (I tweaked the rev counter to read 5k when the engine was only doing 4k) and we rarely featured anywhere close to the sharp end of the results, but it was a complete hoot to drive. Less so on the way to and from work, though.

More recently I had the pleasure of doing some work on a customer's 970S, a very original, dry sprung car. It wasn't the fastest thing in the world, but so smooth and, despite still having the standard cam, was completely happy to do do the gear-change points on the speedo. Delightful.
kit of bits
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Re: A chat about the 970 S.

Post by kit of bits »

I had the 970 S engine in the moke it was a full southam engine.
999cc SW5 cam, can’t remember the head but built to suit the engine, light steel flywheel, H4’s 333 box etc etc
It went really well to well for the moke..
The moke is for sale by the current owner if you haggle hard you may be able to buy the moke nick the engine and fit a standard ish one resell the moke without losing to much money and end up with a expensive 970S engine..
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tweedy998
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Re: A chat about the 970 S.

Post by tweedy998 »

Thanks for all the replies so far, and the pics. Inspirational. :)
1965 Tweed Grey Mk1 Morris Cooper 998
2005 Renaultsport Clio 182 Trophy 407/500
2010 Storm Grey Renaultsport Clio 200 Cup
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