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Drake's Mini - 731 HOP
The car's the star

Journalist Sue Schofield tracks down the car used by John Drake in the 'Danger Man' series.

It was small, fashionable and an icon of Britishness and the Austin Mini Cooper, driven by John Drake in the 'Danger Man' series was a star in its own right. The original car, registration no. 731 HOP was the very first of two early versions of the Mini Cooper 'S' Type registered together on the 20th of March 1963. The car is seen being driven around Marble Arch in London by Drake in the opening titles of many of the original episodes.

'Hot' competition versions of the Austin/Morris Cooper Saloon, they were both fitted with the 1071 cc engine based on the Cooper BMC power unit which had been successful in Formula Junior Racing.

Drake's 1963 car, and its sister 732 HOP were part of the BMC press fleet and used by BMC for promotion and racing, before finding its way into the Danger Man series. Press photos of the time show the car performing at race-tracks, complete racing numbers, and typed press releases.

The 1071 'S' cars may have been tuned for the show, in standard form the car put out about 70 horsepower, which was good for about 90 m.p.h. The car is seen putting up a good fight against a Mercedes 190 on a frozen Spanish woodland track in 'The Man With The Foot'.
Drake's mini '731 HOP'

View 1963 Autocar Article
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The cars for the Danger Man series were maintained by Taurus Performance Tuning, a race and road car preparation company specializing in race prep on clients' cars . They entering a full BMC supported Mini Cooper 'S' 1071cc, for Britain National Championship and 999cc 'S' for European Touring Car Championship.

Taurus also prepared and maintained various cars for British TV shows including the now famous Mini Cooper 'S' 731 HOP. Racing and stunt driver Phil Wicks remembers driving the car in some episodes of 'Danger Man'.

Sister car 732 HOP was later sold and exported and seen in Denmark. Drakes car, 731 HOP, in its colour scheme of Smoke Grey/Old English White was later seen in a 1967 episode of The Saint, sporting an RAC badge.

Where is 731 HOP today? Our spies can reveal it's still alive and living in England, although currently not being used on the road. The current owner we're told, is tall, handsome, with cool, dangerously blue eyes. He says he works for 'World Travel', somewhere in London.

If he ever wants to sell the car, it's worth at least 20,000 today.

John Pick's Mini - 732 HOP I was recently contacted by John Pick from Oxfordshire who sent me a picture and information on his mini - 732 HOP, the slightly younger sister of Drake's 731 HOP.

We bought this car in 1976 and it was then a rally car which we continued to use for several years. We then rebuilt it in 1979 for club rallies and autotests as a Mk3 shell as the old one had had an accident but it was still in the shed so when we found out the history it was rebuilt again in 1997 at the Techno Classica exhibition in Essen, the largest classic car show in the world for veteran, vintage and classic cars. It was then used on the Midland Hillclimb Championship for five years and has now had another refresh ready for its 50th birthday.

I still have not been able to find out if 731 HOP still exists as Sue Schofield's article on your website suggests it might. Checking DVLA and MOT records does not bring anything up but it could be in a shed somewhere.

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