Rally legend Paddy Hopkirk is among the 100 lucky drivers to have taken delivery of ‘his’ special-edition Mini. The BMW-owned brand launched the Cooper S Paddy Hopkirk Limited Edition earlier this year, commemorating Hopkirk’s victory at the 1964 Monte Carlo Rally in the classic Morris Mini Cooper S Mk1.
The win, which was the tiny hatchback’s first, came on the twisting roads above Monte Carlo, with Patrick ‘Paddy’ Hopkirk and his co-driver Henry Liddon competing with significantly more powerful vehicles. Overcoming the odds and their rivals, the pair managed to bring the number 37 car home in first place.
To honour that victory, Mini is building 100 special-edition cars for the UK, each based on the contemporary Mini Cooper S. As with Northern Irishman Hopkirk’s famous car, the special editions get red paint and a white roof, as well as a single white bonnet stripe. All 100 get ‘37’ decals on the doors and black detailing on the radiator grille, door handles and fuel filler flap.
Under the bonnet, the Cooper S Paddy Hopkirk Limited Edition gets the same 2-litre petrol engine as the Cooper S, producing 189 bhp. However, customers will be able to upgrade to the more potent John Cooper Works (JCW) version with 228 bhp. Customers also get a range of options, including a larger touchscreen, automatic gearbox and other extras usually associated with the Cooper S.
Taking delivery of his car, Paddy Hopkirk said he was honoured to be remembered in such a way, and the car reminded him of “lucky days”.
“I’m so flattered to have a MINI named in my honour,” he said. “Motorsport is long behind me now and for my win at the Monte Carlo Rally to be remembered in this way is a great thrill and honour. The designers at MINI have done a wonderful job. They’ve got a lot of the features on it just like the classic Mini I took to victory, with the number 37, the bonnet stripe and the colours – it reminds me of my very lucky days and wonderful memories.
“Everybody wanted to win the Monte Carlo Rally, it was a very glamorous event, so when I joined the British Motor Corporation and the Mini came along it surprised the world. It became a David and Goliath with the might of the other car manufacturers spending a fortune to try and win the event. We were beaten by the big American cars down the straights, but we would beat them on the twisty bits! For the Mini to win against really powerful cars, showed just how good it was – it made the car famous.”