Reports of the Mini's imminent demise surfaced again in with the launch of the Austin Mini-Metro badging with the word "mini" in all lowercase. Faced with competition from a new wave of modern superminis like the Ford Fiesta , Renault 5 , and Volkswagen Polo , the Mini was beginning to fall out of favour in many export markets, with the South African, Australian, and New Zealand markets all stopping production around this time. Buyers of small cars now wanted modern and practical designs, usually with a hatchback.
The Metro was therefore in essence, the Mini mechanicals repackaged into a larger hatchback bodyshell. Although the Mini continued to be produced after the Metro's launch, production volumes were reduced as British Leyland and its successor Rover Group concentrated on the Metro as its key supermini. The original Mini's last year in the top ten of the UK's top selling cars was , as it came ninth and the Metro was fifth. The arrival of the Metro also had production of the larger Allegro pruned back before it was finally discontinued in In , BL made 56, Minis and over , Metros.
Due to their common powertrain package, the Mini received many mechanical upgrades in the early s which were shared with the Metro, such as the A-Plus engine , inch wheels with front disc brakes, improved soundproofing and quieter, stronger transmissions.
This not only modernised the Mini but, because many of its major subassemblies were now shared with the Metro, made it very cost-effective to produce despite falling sales volumes. The Mini's 25th anniversary fell in and British Leyland produced a 'Mini 25' limited-edition model, both to mark the occasion and to publicise the recent upgrades to the model.
This marked the start of a turnaround in the Mini's fortunes. Basic models such as the City and the City E using the economy-tuned drivetrain from the Metro HLE filled in the bottom of the Austin-Rover range and still found buyers who wanted a compact city car that was easy to park and cheap to run.
Low purchase and running costs also made the Mini continually popular as a first car for younger drivers, and Austin-Rover introduced a steady stream of limited editions with bright paint colours, body graphics, and trim to appeal to this market. The Mini was also becoming prized as a characterful and nostalgic car in its own right, and the London Collection of limited-edition models was more upmarket and luxurious and named after affluent or fashionable parts of London.
These marketing strategies proved very successful; Mini production actually had modest increases through the mids, from 34, in to 35, in and 39, in By , with the reintroduction of the very popular Cooper model, Mini production passed 40, In , Austin Rover decided to keep the Mini in production for as long as it was viable to do so, putting an end to reports that it would be discontinued by , by which time the original Metro would also be replaced.
The fibreglass Mini built in Chile from until was not the only fibreglass version; in the summer of , a fibreglass bodied Mini again entered production, this time in Venezuela. The producer, Facorca, intended to sell the car in the Caribbean and Central America, and also had plans for Brazilian assembly. All cars had 8. The Mini Cooper was relaunched in , 20 years after the demise of the original model.
With the larger Metro being redesigned in to take the new K-Series engine, the Mini became the sole recipient of the classic A-Series engine with transmission-in-sump layout. The engine mounting points were moved forward to take cc power units, and includes the later Horizontal Integral Float version of the SU carb , plus the single-point fuel-injected car, which came out in The cc power units were discontinued. An internal bonnet release was fitted from This was the final version, twin point injection with front-mounted radiator.
Full-width dashboard replaces the original shelf, internal bonnet release. Introduction of airbag on driver's side. The basic Mini was the 1. The Metro had ceased production two and a half years earlier, ironically meaning the Mini outlived the car that was supposed to replace it.
Released in as more luxurious versions of the Mini, both the Wolseley Hornet and the Riley Elf had longer, slightly finned rear wings and larger boots that gave the cars a more conventional three-box design. The wheelbase of the Elf and Hornet remained at 2, mm The cars had larger-diameter chrome hubcaps than the Austin and Morris Minis, and additional chrome accents, bumper overriders and wood-veneer dashboards. The Riley was the more expensive of the two cars.
The full-width dashboard was a differentiator between the Elf and Hornet. Plates in the engine compartment on the right side fitch plate bear evidence of this speciality. Very early Mark I versions of both cars e. The Elf's and Hornet's special bumper overriders first appeared in In the Heinz food company commissioned, from Crayford Convertibles Crayford Engineering , 57 convertible Hornets to be given as prizes in a UK competition.
Many are still on the road as of Both the Elf and the Hornet went through three engine versions. Initially, they used the cc Therefore, Mark II cars also came with increased braking power in the form of front drum brakes with twin leading shoes to cope with the increased power output. Both Mark I and Mark II featured four-speed gearboxes three synchromesh gears with rod gear change, a. Automatic gearboxes became available on the Mark II in as an option. The Mark III facelift of brought wind-up windows and fresh-air fascia vents.
Concealed door hinges were introduced two years before these were seen on the mainstream Mini. The gear selecting mechanism was updated to the "Cooper" type, which also gave a welcome increase in engine location due to the remote housing extension being directly bolted onto the back of the differential housing as seen on Mini cars of the time.
The s retained the "magic wand". Automatic gearboxes were available to the Mark III in again. Full-four synchromesh gearing was eventually introduced during Code example: R-A2S Riley, A type engine, 2 door saloon, 1st series, serial number "" . These models were two-door estate cars with double "barn-style" rear doors. Both were built on a slightly longer chassis of 84 inches 2. The early Morris Mini Traveller and Austin Mini Countryman cars had an internal fuel tank located on the left hand side of the rear load area.
This is identifiable by the fuel filler cap being on the left hand side of the car just below the rear window. In October the fuel tank was relocated to the underneath of the car and the filler cap was moved to low down on the right hand side of the car — the same configuration that was already in use on the Mini Van.
From the start of production both models had a decorative, non-structural, ash wood trim on the rear body, in the style of a pre-war shooting-brake. This gave the car a similar appearance to the larger Morris Minor Traveller and gave rise to these cars simply being called a woodie.
It is a popular misconception that the difference between the Traveller and the Countryman is the wood trim, or that only wood-fitted models in the Austin and Morris ranges were respectively called Countryman and Traveller, with the plain versions simply being Estates, but neither of these is the case.
An all steel version of both the Traveller and the Countryman without the wood trim was launched for export markets in April and for the home market in October at a lower cost than the versions with the wood trim. Estate versions of the Mini were then produced in both Austin Countryman and Morris Traveller variants, both available with or without the wooden framing.
The Mini Traveller and Countryman Register was created in to help locate and preserve the remaining Mini Traveller and Countryman cars. Built on the longer Traveller chassis but without side windows, it proved popular in the s UK as a cheaper alternative to the car: it was classed as a commercial vehicle and as such carried no sales tax.
A set of simple stamped steel slots served in place of a more costly chrome grille. The Mini Van was renamed as the Mini 95 in , the number representing the gross vehicle weight of 0. A utility vehicle intended for the British Army was built with a twin-engined 4-wheel-drive. Although the 4WD Moke could climb a gradient, it lacked enough ground clearance for military use.
About 50, were made in total,  from to in the UK, to in Australia and to in Portugal. The factory specified the weight of the pick-up as less than 1, lb kg with a full 6 imperial gallons 27 l; 7. As with the van, the pick-up had stamped metal slots for airflow into the engine compartment. The Pickup was basic, although the factory brochure described a "fully equipped Mini Pick-up is also available which includes a recirculatory heater".
Passenger-side sun visor, seat belts, laminated windscreen, tilt tubes and cover were also available at extra cost. A total of 58, Mini pick-up models were built. The Mini K was offered in 2-door saloon  and 2-door van body styles. I-style externally hinged doors. A small round sticker with a kangaroo logo was placed on the triangular panel between the door and the front body seam. The "Kangaroo" name was supposedly coined because it is claimed that a kangaroo can go all day without drinking which the advertisers used to emphasise the frugal fuel consumption and, possibly, larger fuel tank.
Issigonis' friend John Cooper , owner of the Cooper Car Company and designer and builder of Formula One cars, saw the potential of the Mini for competition. Issigonis was initially reluctant to see the Mini in the role of a performance car, but after John Cooper appealed to BMC management, the two men collaborated to create the Mini Cooper.
The cc One thousand units of this version were commissioned by management, intended for and designed to meet the homologation rules of Group 2 rally racing. The cc engine was replaced by a shorter stroke cc unit in A more powerful Mini Cooper, dubbed the "S", was developed in tandem and released in Featuring a cc engine with a Cooper also produced two S models specifically for circuit racing in the under 1, cc and under 1, cc classes respectively, rated at cc 59 cu in and a 1, cc From onwards Cooper S models featured twin fuel tanks as standard.
The smaller-engine model was not well received, and only had been built when the model was discontinued in The 1, cc Cooper S models continued in production until The Cooper name was discontinued from the UK Mini range at this time. It proved popular and a new Cooper-marked Mini went into full production in late To meet emission standards, Coopers from on were fitted with a fuel-injected version of the 1, cc engine, and in a multi-point fuel-injected engine was introduced, along with a front-mounted radiator and various safety improvements.
In , under the ownership of British Leyland, the Mini was given a facelift by stylist Roy Haynes , who had previously worked for Ford. The Mini Clubman was intended to replace the upmarket Riley and Wolseley versions. At launch all Clubmans were powered by the cc engine as already used in the Mini , with 38bhp. A more sporting model with the cc single-carburettor 59bhp engine, dubbed the GT, was slated as the replacement for the cc Mini Cooper the 1, cc Mini Cooper S continued alongside the GT for two years until The Clubman Estate replaced the Countryman and Traveller.
The original "round-front" design Mini remained in production alongside the Clubman and GT in and forms as lower-priced models in the new Mini range. Production of the Clubman and GT got off to a slow start because the cars incorporated "lots of production changes" including the relocation of tooling from the manufacturer's Cowley plant to the Longbridge plant : very few cars were handed over to customers before the early months of Early domestic market Clubmans were still delivered on cross-ply tyres despite the fact that by radials had become the norm for the car's mainstream competitors.
The official name was always just the "Mini GT", and it was a separate, distinct model from the Clubman although it shared the same frontal treatment as the Mini Clubman, and was launched at the same time. Innocenti in Italy, however, continued making their own version of the Mini Cooper for some time.
It was the first Mini to be equipped with a tachometer. It also featured a standard-fit close-ratio gearbox, and initially had inch From the standard Clubman and Clubman Estate received the cc engine as also fitted to the Austin Allegro with 45bhp, although Clubmans with the AP automatic transmission retained the less powerful cc power unit. Throughout the s, British Leyland continued to produce the classic "round-front" design, alongside the newer Clubman and GT models.
The long-nose Clubman and GT offered better crash safety, were better equipped, and had better under-bonnet access, but they were more expensive and aerodynamically inferior to the original design. The Mini Clubman and GT were replaced in by the new hatchback Austin Metro, while production of the original "round-front" Mini design continued for another 20 years. For the Australian market, all Minis including the Van gained the Clubman front in although the car was still basically a Mk I behind the A-Pillar.
Australian Clubman saloons were marketed under the Morris Mini Clubman name when introduced in August ,  and as the Leyland Mini , without the Clubman name, from February To end Mini production in Australia, a limited-edition runout model was produced — the LS. Fitted with a pollution control 1, cc engine sourced from Europe, the LS had a single 1.
Production of this model commenced in July and concluded in October with an approximate total of vehicles produced. Throughout the s and s the British market received numerous "special editions" of the Mini, which shifted the car from a mass-market item into a fashionable icon. It was even more popular in Japan, which took the lion's share of the circa 40, Minis produced annually in the early s. In , under Bernd Pischetsrieder , a first cousin once removed of Issigonis, BMW took control of the Rover Group, which included the Mini, fitting an airbag to comply with European legislation.
By March , Rover was still suffering massive losses, and BMW decided to dispose of most of the companies. The sell-off was completed in May that year. BMW retained the Mini name and the planned new model, granting Rover temporary rights to the brand and allowing it to manufacture and sell the run-out model of the old Mini. Mini Hatch , the new model made by BMW, is technically unrelated to the old car but retains the classic transverse four-cylinder, front-wheel-drive configuration and "bulldog" stance of the original.
The last Mini to leave the Longbridge plant did so in , when a s GT which was used by staff to travel around the car plant was recovered from the disused tunnels under the plant. The car was damaged by a storage container falling on it and had been left without an engine or gearbox for around 30 years before being recovered during work to infill the tunnels.
From the Mark IV onward, many special limited-production editions of the Mini were offered. These included models that were created to commemorate racing victories or to celebrate an anniversary of the Mini marque. Limited editions generally came equipped with a unique combination of interior and exterior trim and special decals.
There was also a version inspired by The Italian Job , a film famous for having a trio of Minis in its epic closing car chase. From to , Issigonis had been designing a replacement for the Mini in the form of an experimental model called the 9X. A number of prototypes produced for vehicles based on the Mini but which never saw production are held and sometimes displayed at the British Heritage Motor Centre museum at Gaydon , Warwickshire. These included the Twini, a re-engineered four-wheel-drive Moke with two engines—one at the front and another at the back; the Austin Ant , a second attempt to produce a four-wheel-drive vehicle, this time using a transfer case ; and a two-seater convertible MG edition of the Mini, cancelled due to it being perceived as competition for the MG Midget.
In , a project considering possible improvements to the Mini was started. Codenamed Minki "Mini" plus K-Series engine , it included a redesigned dashboard, a two-piece rear door or tailgate instead of a boot, fold down rear seats, Hydragas suspension and a 3-cylinder version of the K-Series engine with a 5-speed gearbox.
In the idea to update the Mini again surfaced but this time with BMW management. As part of the process of deciding how to replace the Mini, a vehicle representing what the current Mini could have become, if it had been developed further over its production history, was commissioned. The car had to be widened by 50mm and lengthened by 50mm to accommodate the new engine and gearbox, with Hydragas suspension and dashboard from a Rover The Minki-II was used for Hydragas development work, this suspension being considered at the time for the R59 project, later to become the Mini Hatch.
The cheapness and availability of used Minis make it a candidate for body replacement. There are over Mini-based kit cars from various small companies and individual enthusiasts. The Outspan Orange is probably one of the most unusual. Several still survive. BMC operated a Competition Department at Abingdon , Oxfordshire, under the control of Stuart Turner, which built specially prepared Minis mostly based on Cooper and Cooper S versions to compete in international rallies and other motorsport.
This department played a key role in ensuring the Mini's huge success in motorsport throughout the s, in particular, winning the Monte Carlo Rally in , and , the Lakes Rally in , and , and dominating all of the first 9 positions in the Gallaher at Bathurst. The car also won the , , , and British Saloon Car Championship season , as well as the British Rally Championship in , and , the European Rally Championship in and , and won the Finnish Rally Championship in and The Cooper S also had some success in the European Touring Car Championship , winning in and , the Guia Race of Macau a finish in , a 1—2 finish in and a win in , and the Australian Touring Car Championship , winning its class in , , , , and A further title was the Sun-7 Chesterfield Series.
The Mini also achieved class wins at the Armstrong , repeating this feat every year until , and having class wins at the , and Sandown , and Six Hour Le Mans in , , , , , , , and , as well as the Phillip Island K. Mini Leyland came 4th place in the underlitre category in the , and Trans-Am seasons , improving to 3rd in The disqualification related to the use of a variable resistance headlamp dimming circuit in place of a dual-filament lamp.
The car competed as late as the Australian Rallycross Championship. The Se7ens is the UK's longest running one make motor racing championship, having been introduced in In a Mini broke the land speed record. The Mini has won many awards over the years, including second place in 's "Global" Car of the Century award, behind only the Model T Ford.
Grassroots Motorsports awarded Mini with the Editors' Choice award in At its peak, the Mini was a strong seller in most of the countries where it was sold, with the United Kingdom inevitably receiving the highest volumes. The 1,,th Mini came off the production line in ,  with the 2,,th in It dominated the mini-car market until the arrival of the Hillman Imp in It outsold the Imp.
Competition arrived with the more modern and practical Vauxhall Chevette of , but the Mini continued to sell well until its "replacement"—the Metro —arrived in By this time, the Mini's design had been overtaken by numerous more modern and practical vehicles.
Although the Metro did not replace the Mini, production figures for the Mini dipped during the s, and interest in the design was not revived until the reintroduction of the Mini Cooper in This helped sales of the Mini through the s, to the end of production on 4 October A total of 1,, Minis were sold in the UK after its launch in The last new one to be registered was sold in , some four years after the end of production.
Sales were discontinued when stricter federal safety standards were imposed in      and the arrival of the larger and more profitable Austin America. Mini sales fell in the calendar year and the US importer was expecting the forthcoming Austin America to find a larger market. The America was also withdrawn in due to slow sales and the introduction of bumper-height standards. Mini sales continued in Canada until Leyland Minis also were subject to stricter government regulation with high bumpers, large turn indicators, warning buzzers and lights for seat belts and also a fitting of air pollution pumps which required a specially designed radiator.
Today the U. Government exempts cars older than 25 years from all import laws , so older Minis can be freely imported. The Canadian government applies a similar rule after 15 years. Issigonis designed the Mini with an emphasis on active safety. Asked about the crashworthiness of the Mini, he said: "I make my cars with such good brakes, such good steering, that if people get into a crash it's their own fault"  and "I don't design my cars to have accidents".
In July BMC announced that following "comments by safety experts" about the Mini's external door handles, these would be modified on new cars so that the gap between the handle and the door panel would be effectively closed. Nicholas Faith states in his book that Murray Mackay , one of the UK's leading motor vehicle crash and safety researchers, was critical of the pre Mini's passive safety features, including the protruding filler cap, the door latch, and the vulnerability of the passenger space to engine intrusion.
The Mini was withdrawn from the American market because it could not meet the U. The Mini was modified during its production to improve its safety. It featured a longer crumple zone , a "pedestrian friendly" front-end, run-flat tyres, strengthened door sills, extra internal padding and recessed door handles, the latter having been used earlier on Australian-built Minis owing to local laws.
In January Which? Several key events marked the 50th anniversary of the Mini in Between 7 and 10 August approximately minis from around the world congregated at Longbridge Birmingham to celebrate the 50th anniversary. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. British car model from to This article is about the — Mini. For other uses, see Mini disambiguation. For the Feedtime album, see Cooper-S.
Motor vehicle. Austin Metro  Mini Hatch. See also: Mini Mark I. Longbridge plant , Birmingham, England Venezuela. Main article: Mini Moke. Main article: List of Mini limited editions. See also: Mini concept cars. Main article: List of Mini-based cars. Retrieved 25 April Retrieved 1 June Archived from the original on 15 April October London: Daily Express Newspaper: Retrieved 15 August Complete Classic Mini — Orpington: Motor Racing.
ISBN Essential Mini Cooper. Bideford, Devon: Bay View Books. Cars: An encyclopaedia of the world's most fabulous automobiles. Hermes House. It defined a new genre. Other cars used front-wheel drive and transverse engines before, but none in such a small space; this was possible as the engine is mounted on top of the gearbox. Retrieved 20 July On This Day. Archived from the original on 3 October The World's Great Cars. London: Marshall Cavendish. ISBN X. Archived from the original on 17 August Retrieved 11 October Breedon Books Publishing.
Issigonis and the Mini. Icon Books. Archived from the original on 7 February Archived from the original on 5 August The Autocar : The Times , 26 August ; p. The Cars of BMC. Motor Racing Publications. Archived from the original on 20 September Retrieved 5 December Mini 50 Years. Initial sales were worryingly slow. Then to the rescue came the rich and fashionable Walton, Jeremy. Mini Cooper and S St. Paul, Minnesota: Motorbooks International, , p.
AR Online. Retrieved 22 August Brooklands Books. Adams, Keith ed. Around the World: Chile. Retrieved 25 August Mini Gold Portfolio — Archived from the original on 15 June BBC News. Calgary Herald. CanWest Interactive: F4. Retrieved on 21 June The Unmutual Prisoner Vehicle Guide. Retrieved on 20 June Retrieved 26 August Archived from the original on 9 October Bring Out The Mini-Cooper".
The Times. Retrieved 3 November Bay View. Q magazine. Archived from the original on 30 December BBC News Online. Retrieved 28 July Archived from the original on 9 February Retrieved 2 February Ralli SM. The Works Minis. Henley on Thames: Foulis. Retrieved 3 March Classic Motorsports : 8.
Archived from the original on 2 April Archived from the original on 20 April Archived from the original on 3 April Touring and Tenting. Retrieved 28 January Archived from the original on 29 February Archived from the original on 27 April Archived from the original on 29 May Crash: The limits of car safety.
As […]. During the early s, around 20 Mini Beach Cars were built by the Longbridge Experimental Department, all but one of which were in left-hand-drive form. Happy birthday Mini! On 26 August , motoring history was made.
Exactly 60 years ago, the first Mini was launched to the public and its creator, Sir Alexander Arnold Constantine […]. The Mini is 60 years old this week. The AROnline development story tells the tale of how this small car changed the way we looked at economy cars almost overnight.
It changed the way we looked at small cars almost overnight, and sent the Designers scurrying back to the drawing boards — the Mini was little short of a major […]. A good time, then, for Ian Nicholls to chart the origins and production history of this car in what is […]. A brief look at how the ground-breaking Mini made it from sketch pad to showroom in little more than two years, a remarkable achievement for a car that completely threw […].
Heath Robinson strikes The Mini was an enduring success for the British Motor Corporation and then British Leyland — and the sheer number of markets the Issigonis Brick was exported […]. Keith Adams tells the story of Rover Special Products and why this small group sprung into life and managed to create some very innovative products in its short and productive […]. Development story. Car of the Month. Alec Issigonis.
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