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How to Identify an RSP

There are lots of unique features to the RSP, and many of them could have been changed over the years.  Here are the things to look out for in identifying an RSP - and the details you need to know if you want to return your car to its original spec.


This is the correct type of bonnet badge to be found on an RSP, there are a number of different stickers and badges available for the Mini, so you must be careful to know which one is for which car.
The bonnet stripes on an RSP are  unique to the RSP,  the John Cooper signatures are a seperate sticker that goes on top of the stripes, and they are on both stripes facing outwards.

These are the correct stickers for the rear 3/4 panels, they have a dual pinstripes running from the stripe to the front wing, about 2 inches (50mm) from the headlight rims.
This is what one of the export models look like from the rear. Notice the Rover badge. This appeared on all of the cars exported to Japan. The bumpers are non-original but did appear in the John Cooper catalogue as an extra.
This is what the standard spotlight/driving light looks like. Notice a very small square in the centre of the light with a small Rover sticker on it, very unusual to still be there thesedays and no-longer available from dealers. The mainstream Cooper was not fitted with these lights, but the dealers were able to fit them on request for owners.

You may notice that on the RSP Coopers the number plate light housing is colour coded to the body colour, along with the mirrors. The bootlid has no badge affixed, 
As well as the mirrors and rear number plate housing, the RSP has it's Mini Special type wheelarch extensions colour coded to the body too, this is how they should look when correct, although the side repeaters are non-original and should be amber in colour instead of white.

Another feature to distinguish the RSP from Mainstream and other Coopers is the factory-fitted sunroof. This is a rare sight indeed, a sunroof with the original sticker intact, as you can see, it was made by Tudor Webasto, more known for their full fabric type folding sunroofs.

The RSP was built in a limited production run by Rover Special Products (RSP) between June and October 1990. 1650 cars were built, 600 going abroad and the remaining 1050 being for the home market. All RSP production cars have common chassis numbers. The cars started at 010001 and finished (for the UK market) at 011050.

The prefix letters are also unique to the RSP, and they are :SAXXNNAMBAD######. It's the BAD that distinguishes us form other models, for example, the Mainstream Cooper is SAXXNNAMBBD######.

Our engines are just ordinary MG Metro  engines with MG Metro gearboxes and 3.1 final drives Their numbers are another unique RSP number, it's: 12A 2AF 531 0###

Engines etc.

The only differences between the RSP and Mainstream underbonnet, is the fact that the RSP doesn't have the nice badge in the air-intake, which is a bit of a shame as it looks great, and we have a seperate wiring harness for the auxiliary fan. Not seen in this shot, but there all the same is the oil cooler. This is not the same as the 1966-71 Cooper S, it's very similar to the MG Metro Turbo one and it sits behind the right hand side of the grille under the alternator.
This is where the engine number is to be found, just above the alternator. These pictures are thanks to Sam Day for letting me loose with my digital camera around his car, as it was a good base for an original car to start with. The ignition shield would normally cover these parts of the engine.


The interiors of RSP Coopers are a re-badged Mini 30 interior. The badges were changed from Mini 30 to Mini Cooper, as you will see from the photos.

This was the new badge that Rover came up with for the RSP. The interiors remained the same no matter what the body colour was.
The RSP also had head restraints fitted, I've never ever met anyone whose head is halfway down their back, but for legal reasons they have to be there !

Also noticeable in this shot are the rear seat belts.

All RSP Coopers were fitted with this red leather steering wheel and red carpets. The dash assembly had it's first outing in the 1969 Mini 1275GT, although it has had subtle changes, the speedometer goes to 110mph, although Rover claim that the RSP will only just hit 92mph.
If the car is fitted with one of the John Cooper Garages' S Packs which boosts power from 60hp to 78hp, it will have a plate like this affixed to the crossmember by the drivers seat.


This is what a standard RSP gearknob looks like, it can also be found on other Mini models such as the Mini 30.
Over the handbrake is this little 'grip' ! It's better than the old fashioned thinner one, but is also found on the Mini 30 and Mainstream Cooper models so is not a unique part for the RSP.


This is the wheel from a Monte-Carlo Cooper, it shares a lot of characteristics with other Mini Cooper wheels, this is the same as on the Mainstream and 1.3i, it's dimensions are 4.5"X12". It differs from the other models by being painted in a Gun-Metal colour in the centres. These wheels are not found on any other model other than the Monte-Carlo.
This is the correct wheel found on the Mainstream Cooper, it may look similar to the RSP wheel, it's dimensions are the same but notice where the cut-outs for the wheelnuts are, between the spokes.

This is the correct wheel and tyre combination for the RSP. They look very similar to other models, but the spokes are cut  to accomodate the wheelnuts. This wheel and tyre are still unused and were found in the boot of my RSP.
This is the legend found on the sidewall of the correct specification tyre fitted to the standard RSP Cooper. Most owners, including myself, have changed these to better tyres as these were not universally loved, they had a very good wear-rate at the expense of grip.

This is what the tread pattern looks like on the Pirelli CN54 tyre.


This was about as advanced as music got in the 1990 RSP Cooper, it was a fairly decent sound for the time but lacks a bit of oomph nowadays. The model number for this radio-cassette is the Philips R570, it is a 3 band radio with anti-theft security code, utostore and 2 speakers.
The standard aerial was put on the nearside (lhs) front wing, it was the same aerial as many other Mini models from 1983 onwards, it is distinguished by the 4 grooves on the boss at the bottom.

The RSP Cooper only came in 3 colours.

Here are the paint codes:

Flame Red RWU

British Racing Green  RWV

Black RCZ

All roofs were white in colour, code: NMN


Site Updated 16/05/2008
  RSP Cooper Register  2001 - 2008