British Mini Club

Follow us on Facebook

Follow us on Twitter

Follow us on Flickr
Monday, 26 August 2013 09:05

Happy 54th Birthday Mini

Happy 54th Birthday today to the Mini. On August 21st 1959 Hawaii became the 50th US state, while the classic Mini was officially presented for the first time just five days later, on August 26th 1959.

Revolutionary, trend setting, copied but never bettered by others, World Rally winner, Saloon Car winner. Loved by Celebrities and the media, and more popular today than it ever has been.

The Classic Mini is still used by advertisers today. We recently saw an advert in a Little Chef roadside diner  which included the original Mini. It just keeps growing and growing.

Modified by many for Drag Racing, rear engined, Vauxhall engines, Honda engines. The list is endless.  Unrestored Barn finds fetching an incredible £40,000 at auction, when will it end? Hopefully never.

The birth of the classic Mini 54 years ago saw the start of one of the automotive industry's most spectacular success stories. The small car created by legendary designer Alec Issigonis astounded everyone with its creative use of space that maximised room for passengers and luggage without compromising the Mini’s compact proportions. The classic Mini pioneered design principals which impacted generations of small cars, with a transverse mounted engine, front-wheel drive and wheels in all four corners remaining part of the MINI DNA today.

33 EJB Its sporty qualities soon paved the way for success on race circuits and rally tracks all over the world, and the little car's subsequent racing career was crowned with three victories at the Monte Carlo rally. This success was widely acclaimed, achieved with apparently simple means and with a vehicle that was charmingly modest and unassuming compared to its competitors.

The current MINI product range also offers reliable companions for such a lifestyle. The MINI Countryman has already attracted a large number of fans in Hawaii since its market launch around two years ago. In addition to its standard roof rails, which make it easy to mount a surfboard rack, it has one particularly useful modern feature: the all-wheel drive system ALL4, which it shares with this year's newly launched model, the MINI Paceman. Thanks to the precisely controlled distribution of power among all four wheels, the MINI Countryman and MINI Paceman offer remarkable stability and control not just on loose sand near the beach but also in the tropical mountain regions in the interior of the islands. And thanks to cutting-edge engine technology it is able to explore completely new territory, where this is permitted. As a result, the fun of driving and the pure joy of living are brought together once again, with many a perfect beach now that much easier to get to.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY MINI from all of us at the British Mini Club and here’s to many more

MINI in Hawaii

Published in Mini News

Forever Young - The Classic Mini says congratulates Porsche 911 on it's 50th birthday.

In September 2013 the flag-bearer of the German sports car fraternity, the Porsche 911, will celebrate its 50th birthday. And among the hoards of well-wishers will be MINI, not least because its model history also includes – in the classic Mini – a similarly compelling work of art characterised by a similar reluctance to abandon the exuberance of youth.

It may be the fundamental differences between the two cars (e.g. the Mini has its engine in the front, the 911 at the rear) that dominate at first glance. But there are also a number of factors – over and above their shared cult status – that lend particular empathy to MINI’s birthday greetings.

Both models made their name with an eye-catching turn of speed. At the end of the austere 1950s Mini was the ground-breaking new kid on the block, generating sales figures that mimicked the upward curve of its acceleration. The 911, as the successor to the Porsche 356, was born with speed in its blood.

Only a handful of cars can claim to have endured over such lengthy time spans, retaining their unmistakable identities despite all the nips, tucks and updates along the way.

When major landmarks like a 50th come into view, it’s traditional to look back over the birthday boy’s childhood. Although the Mini and Porsche 911 may not be cars you would instinctively compare, there are one or two striking aspects of their history that have brought them together over time – a less than straightforward christening, for example. The 911 came into the world in 1963 initially as the Porsche 901. However, the rights to using a zero in the middle of a three-digit car designation had already been snapped up by French manufacturer Peugeot. Which meant that when this legendary-sports car-to-be eventually arrived on the scene a year later, it was as the Porsche 911. It is unlikely the use of the number one to fill the gap was a coincidence. Fittingly, it remains the no. 1 in its class to this day; now in its seventh generation, the 911 has sold over 800,000 units – a figure beyond the reach of any segment rival.

The Mini, by contrast, saw the light of day as twins. On 26 August 1959 the British Motor Corporation (BMC) unveiled the fruits of its endeavours to develop a revolutionary new small car – introducing the public to not one but two new models: the Morris Mini-Minor and Austin Seven. Everyone now knows which name ultimately made the cut. As for the classic Mini’s sales figures: by 2000, when the curtain came down on production, 5.3 million units of Britain’s best-selling car had found homes.

Scroll down for a gallery of these two motoring icons

It’s tempting to wonder how different history would have been without the creators of these two successful cars. Neither Sir Alec Issigonis nor Ferdinand Alexander Porsche had any inkling that their designs would come to be considered immortal icons of modern times. Indeed, you would have needed a very clear crystal ball to see that Porsche had just dreamt up the most successful sports car of all time and Issigonis the “world’s only cool small car”.

The parallels don’t end there, either, the classic Mini and Porsche 911 displaying a similar aversion to resting on their laurels. Both cars made a point of keeping their finger on the pulse and appealing to the imagination more effectively than any rivals. Not that every modification enjoyed universal praise – take the switch from air cooling to water cooling at Porsche or the extra focus on comfort and luxury of the first MINI built by BMW. Ultimately, though, these two pillars of the automotive community have continued to thrive, their sound genes underpinning looks that remain remarkably true to their respective originals. The two companies have also demonstrated an open mind to adding new models to their ranges – and a successful approach to executing those plans. In many respects, the Panamera and Cayenne broke through similarly symbolic boundaries as the 

Countryman and Paceman.

 

What hasn’t changed is the “regal” sense of driving pleasure on offer in both brand’s cars. In 1960 Lord Snowdon, then husband to Princess Margaret, used his influence to arrange an opportunity for his friend Issigonis to demonstrate the small car’s talents to Queen Elizabeth. Settling in next to Issigonis, Her Majesty allowed the Mini’s creator to chauffeur her around the grounds of Windsor Castle. There is also a quasi-royal element to Porsche’s heritage, albeit in the spelling of a famous surname rather than the person of the British monarch; the slate grey 911 driven by Steve McQueen in the film “Le Mans” – and later owned by the Hollywood star – has earned a deserved place in automotive eternity.

 

The Mini, by contrast, saw the light of day as twins. On 26 August 1959 the British Motor Corporation (BMC) unveiled the fruits of its endeavours to develop a revolutionary new small car – introducing the public to not one but two new models: the Morris Mini-Minor and Austin Seven. Everyone now knows which name ultimately made the cut. As for the classic Mini’s sales figures: by 2000, when the curtain came down on production, 5.3 million units of Britain’s best-selling car had found homes.

 

It’s tempting to wonder how different history would have been without the creators of these two successful cars. Neither Sir Alec Issigonis nor Ferdinand Alexander Porsche had any inkling that their designs would come to be considered immortal icons of modern times. Indeed, you would have needed a very clear crystal ball to see that Porsche had just dreamt up the most successful sports car of all time and Issigonis the “world’s only cool small car”.

 

The parallels don’t end there, either, the classic Mini and Porsche 911 displaying a similar aversion to resting on their laurels. Both cars made a point of keeping their finger on the pulse and appealing to the imagination more effectively than any rivals. Not that every modification enjoyed universal praise – take the switch from air cooling to water cooling at Porsche or the extra focus on comfort and luxury of the first MINI built by BMW. Ultimately, though, these two pillars of the automotive community have continued to thrive, their sound genes underpinning looks that remain remarkably true to their respective originals. The two companies have also demonstrated an open mind to adding new models to their ranges – and a successful approach to executing those plans. In many respects, the Panamera and Cayenne broke through similarly symbolic boundaries as the Countryman and Paceman.

 

What hasn’t changed is the “regal” sense of driving pleasure on offer in both brand’s cars. In 1960 Lord Snowdon, then husband to Princess Margaret, used his influence to arrange an opportunity for his friend Issigonis to demonstrate the small car’s talents to Queen Elizabeth. Settling in next to Issigonis, Her Majesty allowed the Mini’s creator to chauffeur her around the grounds of Windsor Castle. There is also a quasi-royal element to Porsche’s heritage, albeit in the spelling of a famous surname rather than the person of the British monarch; the slate grey 911 driven by Steve McQueen in the film “Le Mans” – and later owned by the Hollywood star – has earned a deserved place in automotive eternity.

 

Motorsport occupies a key chapter in the histories of both Porsche and Mini. The 911 in its track-tuned permutations is the most successful racing car ever built. Practically every race of any note has been won by a 911 on one occasion or other. And no memory of the 1960s can be complete without images of the MINI Cooper S roaring into view. The darling of the sixties avant-garde was not only something of a phenomenon on the road, its class victory in the 1963 Monte Carlo Rally in the hands of Finnish driver Rauno Aaltonen kicked off a peerless run of success on the motor sport scene that reached its pinnacle with three overall wins in the Monte in 1964, 1965 and 1967.

 

Several decades later – in 2010 – David and Goliath were to go head-to-head “for real” when Jim McDowell, then MINI’s top man in the USA, challenged Porsche to a race-off at the Road Atlanta circuit. The proposition would see a 184 hp MINI Cooper S lining up against a 345 hp Porsche 911 Carrera. So to make it a worthwhile match-up there had to be a twist; instead of using the full circuit for the race, the two cars would do battle over the smaller infield track. Extremely tight and twisty and lacking any long straights, it offered a chink of light to the MINI with its insatiable appetite for corners. The 911 still managed to maintain an advantage of around two seconds over its plucky challenger, but trackside boffins calculated that each of those seconds would cost a Porsche driver 38,000 US dollars given the disparity in purchase prices. And, for MINI fans that took some of the sting out of its defeat in this not entirely serious race.

Published in Mini News

A few months ago MINI announced it would start to build the new MINI in Holland in response to world wide demand.

Recently employees of VDL Nedcar in Holland started the restoration of one of the first Minis built in Holland. This Classic Mini - one of the oldest Minis in the world - was assembled in 1959 by Miller's Automotive Factories in Amersfoort and is now in being completely restored by a team of five employees of VDL Nedcar. The VDL Nedcar employees were selected from the 1500 employees who will also produce  MINIs  at the VDL NedCar factory . From the second half of 2014 MINI will be the only (volume) car brand to be produced in the Netherlands.

Mini built in the Netherlands

This is the second time this British icon is to manufactured in the Netherlands. From its launch year 1959 to 1966 importer JJ Miller's Automobielbedrijven assembled in Amersfoort over 4,000 Minis. In 2012 BMW Group Netherlands began a quest to find one of the Netherlands built  Minis.  After the discovery of this Classic Mini, VDL Nedcar responded enthusiastically and suggested the restoration team. This is managed by a project manager and includes sheet metal workers, a painter and an engine specialist. These five employees are temporarily moved from the factory to work on this project. Before the end of this year, the Dutch built Classic Mini will be reborn in the same factory where in late 2014 a new generation of Dutch MINIs will be produced. To follow the restoration visit The Dutch Facebook page  of the MINI, who will also be closely following the launch of the MINI production at VDL Nedcar. This Mini - officially recognized by the international 1959 Mini Register as one of the oldest Dutch built Minis-  will be placed in a prominent place in the Dutch car factory in honour of the 1500 workers.

Judging by the images in the gallery below it looks a massive job. Very similar to one of the recent barn finds in the UK. We wonder how far they will take it towards orginalty and sourcing the correct parts and panels. Certainly interested in seeing the Mini finished in the not to distant future.

Published in Mini News

If you managed to visit the British Mini Clubs event at Himley on the 12th may 2013, you would have seen the Mini rallying legend Barrie 'Whizzo' Williams and his MK1 Cooper S. During the day our very own Danny managed to interview him. Barry first got into motorsport in 1957 and a few years later moved into the Mini. with which he managed quite a bit success.

The Mini Cooper S on show, owned by Barrie, was the won the 1964 International Welsh Rally outright. It then competed in the Swedish in which Barrie was the first British driver to finish a Scandinavian Winter Rally. It was 1st in class on Geneva International Rally and 2nd overall on the Manx International. It competed at also at Circuit of Ireland, in the RAC Rally as part of the maufacturers team. The 1965 Welsh Rally, and many club, national, autocross, auto tests and hill climbs. It stands today as a still competitive race car.

 

Dim lights Embed Embed this video on your site

 

This article appeared in the Daily Telegraph in 2002 about Barries life http://www.telegraph.co.uk/motoring/2718040/Autobiography-Barrie-Whizzo-Williams.html

Published in Mini Events

MINI and Goodwood Festival of Speed are like peas in a pod, a charming mix of history, heritage and heart-beating, pulse-racing fun. This year, Goodwood celebrates 20 years of being the world’s biggest motoring knees-up.

MINI wants you and your classic Mini there, sharing centre stage with MINI UK. The winner’s beloved gets the honour of being the only classic Mini on the stand.

What you need to do

Entering’s easy. Just tell us in 40 words what gets you doe-eyed and craving more with an Ode to Mini. Have you got a favourite drive? What’s that just-me-and-my-Mini feeling you get behind the wheel? How long have you been together?

If you and your pride-and-joy are available from 9th – 16th July 2013, upload your ode and a picture of your Mini by 11th June to the Goodwood competition tab at www.facebook.com/MINI.uk   Our judging panel will shortlist 10 entries for MINIacs to vote on. Will your Mini woo the crowds at Goodwood? It’s showtime.

From 22nd May head to facebook.com/MINI.uk and find the Goodwood Competition tab for full competition details.

What winning means

Your classic Mini centre stage on the MINI UK stand

Two tickets for Saturday 13th and Sunday 14th July 

Lunch on Saturday 13th July 

Sponsor wristbands

Accommodation in a local hotel for two people (based on two sharing) on Saturday 13th July

Loan of a MINI for the period of the festival, with a petrol allowance

Car transportation (pick up and return of your Mini, where appropriate)

Full car valet on site prior to podium reveal

Key Dates:

  • Competition entry: 21st May – 11th June
  • Shortlist top 10 by judging panel: 12th – 14th June
  • Social community voting on top 10: 15th – 24th June

 

Terms and conditions: Competition open to UK resident’s only aged 18 or over. A maximum of 1 entry per Facebook account. MINI are searching for a classic Mini to display at the Goodwood Festival of Speed from Thursday 11th to Sunday 14th July 2013.  The winning entrant and their Mini will need to be available from Tuesday 9th July 2013 to Tuesday 16th July 2013. Participants entering with a new or modified MINI will not be shortlisted to the voting stage. Full terms and conditions on the competition tab at facebook.com/MINI.uk.

Published in Mini News
Wednesday, 03 April 2013 13:58

Mini Beats Parallel Parking Record

We have all seen the incredible Russ Swift parallel park a classic Mini and a New MINI into the smallest of gaps. Remember when he did it at Mini Fest in 2011 and drew gasps from the crowd in amazement. Well two guys have taken it one step further.

Brothers Alastair and and John Moffatt decided to have a go at the Guiness World Record in there Classic Mini and challenge the record set by Ronny Wechselberger in 2012 by squeezing into a space only 14cm longer than his Volkswagen Up.

After 2 tries John finally beat the record by getting into a gap no bigger 13.1cm, which is just incredible. Just 5.15 inches which is just over 2 inches at either end of the Mini. Massive congratulations to Alastair and John. Even a Vdub can't beat a Classic Mini setting the record not once but twice!!

Dim lights Embed Embed this video on your site  

Published in Mini News

Up for the vote: The classic Mini and 99 other “Great British Innovations”.

The British Science Association is inviting the public to vote on the most important scientific and technical advances of the last 100 years – the revolutionary British small car is the only automobile to be nominated – online poll runs until 24 March 2013.

 

Rankings, statistics and surveys enjoy a strong tradition in Great Britain, the home of MINI. The British Science Association has just opened a major poll inviting internet users to vote online for the most important and influential innovation of the last century in the field of science and technology. Among the nominees are the classic Mini, the revolutionary small car which was created by Alec Issigonis in 1959 and would have an enduring impact on car design.

Front-wheel drive, a transverse-mounted front engine and a gearbox below it gave the classic Mini the maximum possible interior space on the smallest possible footprint, setting an example for small and compact cars for generations to come. The classic Mini is regarded as a model of British engineering prowess to this day. It is the only car to make it onto the distinguished shortlist of significant innovations hatched in the UK, where it is competing with such inventions as radar and ultrasound technology, the antibiotic penicillin, the artificial hip, the hovercraft, the jet engine, the atomic clock, Dolly the cloned sheep and the World Wide Web. The vote is taking place to coincide with National Science und Engineering Week, which aims to generate enthusiasm for science and technology among the young in particular. The poll is being run under the patronage of the world-famous astrophysicist Professor Stephen Hawking of Cambridge University.

The complete shortlist of “Great British Innovations” can be found on the website specially created for the poll – www.topbritishinnovations.org – where online votes can be cast until 24 March 2013.

Published in Mini News

Footman James launches ground breaking new insurance proposition for young enthusiasts aged 17-23 years.

British Mini Club show sponsor Footman James made the announcement at the specialist insurance broker’s recent Classic Industry Forum, which took place last week (6th March) at the Heritage Motor Centre, Gaydon.

Twenty key industry stakeholders including insurance, club and media partners attending the Forum heard how Footman James had been working in partnership with insurance partner KGM to develop a brand new proposition for young classic enthusiasts.

Footman James’ managing director Andy Fairchild advised that it had been difficult issue to take on with the insurance industry but the innovative new scheme, set to go live from next month, will mean that young drivers, who had previously struggled to obtain insurance for their classic would now be able to do so, subject to a range of qualifying criteria.

“We have been working hard with our insurance partners to establish a range of criteria that will assist us identify the true classic enthusiast.  Young drivers who purchase classic vehicles as a means of obtaining cheaper insurance are not, in our opinion, true classic enthusiasts and a risk that insurers will not take on – a decision that we fully support,” explained Mr Fairchild.

He continued, “One of the ways of establishing true enthusiasts, in our opinion, is down to whether they are members of a car club.  We have, therefore, selected this as the primary qualifying criteria for the product and as a result, the product will initially be available to members of pre-selected clubs only.”

  • Qualifying criteria for 17-23 year olds
  • Owner must be a member of one of the pre-selected clubs
  • Car must have been manufactured in or before 1985
  • Owner must have use of or own a second vehicle for everyday use.
  • Owner must limit their mileage to 3000 or 5000 miles per year.
  • Owner must have a maximum of one non-fault claim or minor conviction.
  • Car must be parked off the road or garaged

In addition, young drivers who meet the above criteria can be eligible for further discounts if they score enough points in a brand new points system devised by Footman James and KGM.  The system will award points to young drivers who can demonstrate a commitment to the movement through the following: length of club membership, involvement in club activities and events, family history of owning classics/club membership and how they heard about the product.  Advanced driving qualifications and mechanical competence are also being considered as other potential point scoring opportunities.

“We are delighted to take the lead on providing classic insurance for young enthusiasts. Through the development of this unique product we hope to help secure the future of the classic movement for many years to come and implore young enthusiasts and the industry at large to assist us in making a success of the initiative.  The ultimate aim is to engender confidence amongst the insurers and ultimately, we hope to extend the product to other clubs in the future,” concluded Mr Fairchild.

Check out what Footman James can do for you http://britishminiclub.co.uk/club-services/insurance

Published in Auto News
Tuesday, 12 March 2013 16:30

MINI Plant Oxford A Century of Car Making

MINI Plant Oxford celebrates 100 years of car-making this March, against a background of rising production, increased investment and continuing expansion. Today, Plant Oxford employs 3700 associates who manufacture up to 900 MINIs every day, and has contributed over 2.25 million MINIs to the tally of over 11.65 million cars that the factory has produced since 1913.

The first car built at the factory, a Bullnose Morris Oxford, emerged on 28 March 1913 and has been followed by cars from a wide range of famous British brands – and one Japanese - including MG, Wolseley, Riley, Austin, Austin Healey, Mini, Vanden Plas, Princess, Triumph, Rover, Sterling and Honda, besides founding marque Morris and MINI. The Pressed Steel Company subsidiary occupying the same Cowley complex also built bodyshells for Rolls-Royce, Bentley, Jaguar, MG, Standard-Triumph, Ford and Hillman, as well as tooling dies for Alfa Romeo. The plant has a long and impressive history of shipping cars abroad that has resulted in more than1.7 million MINIs going to overseas customers.

The plant has produced an array of famous cars, including the Bullnose Morris, the Morris Minor, the Mini, India’s Hindustan Ambassador and today’s MINI. It also produced Hondas for a short period in the ‘80s, as well as some slightly notorious models including the early Riley Pathfinder, the much-derided Morris Marina, the startling ’70s wedge that was the Princess and in the Austin Maestro one of the world’s earliest ‘talking’ cars.

There have been eight custodians of Plant Oxford over the past 100 years, beginning with founder William Morris who owned the factory both directly and through Morris Motors until 1952, when Morris merged with arch-rival Austin to form the British Motor Corporation. Morris himself, by this time known as Lord Nuffield, was chairman for six months before retiring. During the early ‘60s the plant had as many as 28,000 employees producing an extraordinary variety of models.

In 1967 BMC became British Motor Holdings after merging with Jaguar, and the following year that group was merged with the Leyland truck company (which also included Triumph and Rover) to form the British Leyland Motor Corporation. Nationalisation followed in 1974, the group undergoing several renamings until it became the Rover Group in 1986. Boss Graham Day was charged with privatising the company for the Thatcher government, which was completed in 1988 with the sale to British Aerospace. They in turn would sell the Group, which included Land Rover, to BMW in 1994.

BMW Group invested heavily in Rover, deciding early on that a replacement for the Mini would be a priority. But considerable headwinds, and an unfavourable exchange rate lead to BMW selling Rover to the Phoenix Consortium in 2000 and Land Rover to Ford in 2000. The MINI brand was retained together with Plant Oxford, as Cowley had been renamed, along with the associated Swindon pressings factory and the new Hams Hall engine plant in Birmingham that was for production.

Today, Plant Oxford is flourishing with the manufacture of the MINI hatchback, Convertible, Clubman, Clubvan, Roadster and Coupé. It is currently undergoing a major investment that includes the installation of a 1000 new robots for both a new body shop and the existing facility. This represents the lion’s share of a £750m investment programme, announced in the last year, which also sees the significant upgrading and installation of new facilities at the company’s Hams Hall engine plant and the Swindon body pressings factory.

The Oxford plant has generated considerable wealth for the nation, as well as for many other countries around the world during its 100 years, providing direct employment for hundreds of thousands of employees and tens of thousands more through indirect jobs. The plant has a long history of export success, Morris products accounting for nearly 30 percent of the nation’s total exports by the mid 1930s. In 1950, the plant produced its 100,000th overseas model – a Morris Minor – and by 1962 BMC was shipping 320,000 examples of its annual production of 850,000 vehicles to over 170 countries, Oxford contributing a major part of that total. BMC was the UK’s biggest exporter in the early ‘60s, just as Morris had been in the ‘30s.

Plant Oxford has contributed to the industrial activities of a surprising number of far-flung countries too, by producing tens of thousands of cars for export in CKD (Completely Knocked Down) form for assembly in overseas factories. Countries that have built cars from kits include Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Cuba, East Africa, Ghana, Holland, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Iran, Ireland, Italy, New Zealand, Malaya, Mexico, Nigeria, Spain, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Trinidad, Turkey, Uganda, Uruguay and many others. By 1967 CKD cars formed 40 percent of BMC’s exports, the kits assembled in 21 plants around the world. Morris Oxfords, Minors, MGAs, Minis, Morris 1100s and commercial vehicles were among the many models built in these distant factories. Plant Oxford’s export record is equally impressive today, no less than 1.7 million MINIs having been exported to over 100 countries since 2001.

Today, Plant Oxford forms the central element of BMW Group’s UK production network, which includes the Hams Hall engine factory in Birmingham and the Swindon pressings plant, formerly a part of Pressed Steel. The network faces a bright future as the next generation MINI family enters production over the coming years amid a trend of rising sales and exports.

 

The Cars

Many famous cars have been produced at Plant Oxford, several of them revolutionary. Here are some highlights:

‘Bullnose’ Morris Oxford 1913-26

William Morris’s first car, actually named the Morris Oxford but known as the Bullnose because of its distinctive, rounded radiator cowling in brass. A bold series of price cuts saw Morris becoming the UK’s biggest selling marque by 1924.

Morris Minor 1928-32

A small, affordable car whose price Morris eventually cut to £100, ensuring considerable popularity. Together with the baby Austin Seven, it made the motor car significantly more attainable in Britain.

Morris Eight 1935-48

A big pre-war and post-war hit, this barrel-bodied Morris developed through several iterations and remained a common sight right into the ‘60s.

Morris Minor 1948-71

A major step ahead in handling, steering, braking and roominess, the Alec Issigonis-designed Minor was a huge success. The Minor was the first British car to sell over a million, a milestone celebrated with a limited run of Minor Millions painted in a dubious shade of lilac. It was sold as a saloon, a semi-timbered Traveller estate, a convertible, a van and a pick-up.

Morris Oxford III 1956-58

The ‘50s Oxford was a family car staple of the Morris range, besides continuing with the model name that had started Morris off. An unremarkable car, except that it was the basis of India’s once hugely-popular Hindustan Ambassador, Morris shipping all the Oxford III tooling to the company in 1957. The Ambassador – or Amby, as it is fondly known – remains in small-scale production today.

BMC Mini 1959-69

The revolutionary Mini was another creation from Alec Issigonis, its transverse, front-wheel drive powertrain and space-efficient packaging redefining small car design. Go-kart handling soon inspired the sportier Coopers and giant-slaying, headline-making competition performances. Classless, fashionable, much-loved and widely exported, it introduced a word to the English language and became Britain’s most famous – and most produced - car. Plant Oxford manufactured it for 10 years from 1959, its counterpart Longbridge, Birmingham factory remaining the chief UK source until its demise in 2000.

BMC 1100/1300 1962-74

The second front-drive Issigonis model, essentially an enlarged Mini with Pininfarina styling and Hydrolastic fluid suspension. The most advanced small family car on sale at the time, it sold even faster than the Mini to become Britain’s best-seller for 10 years. Launched as a Morris, it was also sold as an Austin, MG, Riley, Vanden Plas and a Wolseley, and was offered in two-door, four-door and estate bodystyles.

Morris Marina 1971-80

Much derided at the time, but the Ford Cortina-bashing Marina was a top five best-seller for years despite its simple mechanicals, and a mainstay of the plant through the 1970s. Unusual for offering a coupe version that was cheaper than the saloon, it was replaced by the lightly restyled Ital in 1980, this car destined to be the last Morris. Like the Minor it replaced, the Marina achieved sales of over one million.

Triumph Acclaim 1981-84

Essentially a rebadged Honda Civic, the Acclaim was a stop-gap model that was the product of an unusual deal struck in 1979 by BL Cars and Honda. The goal was to providing BL with a new model offering between the 1980 launch of the Austin miniMetro and 1983’s Austin Maestro, the Acclaim’s Honda-designed production lines also prompting the installation of the first robots at the Oxford plant. The Acclaim was also significant for being the first Japanese car to be built in the UK, and the last Triumph. The BL-Honda partnership eventually led to the Japanese company setting up its own UK factory at Swindon.

Rover 800 1986-9/Honda Legend 1986-8

These executive cars were unusual for being the progeny of an engineering collaboration between Rover and Honda, the two sharing inner bodywork, suspensions and some drivetrains while presenting unique body and interior designs. Plant Oxford not only built the Rover 800 but for a short period, the sister Honda Legend model too. The 800 was also part of a major export initiative to the US in the mid ‘80s, under the Sterling brand name. This much deeper collaboration furthered a fruitful period in which Japanese just-in-time and continuous improvement techniques were introduced to the plant, eventually leading to significant gains in vehicle build quality.

Rover 75 1999-2000

The first and only Rover wholly developed under BMW ownership, the elegantly styled 75 saw a wholesale improvement in both quality and dynamic standards for the brand. Production transferred to Longbridge, Birmingham, after BMW sold Rover in 2000 and ended prematurely in 2005, although variations of the model live on in China as Roewes and MGs.

MINI 2001-06

The all-new MINI recalibrated the Mini as a larger, vastly more sophisticated premium supermini in an evolution that defined a new market, just as the original car did. Widely praised for styling that honoured its predecessor with contemporary and hugely appealing flair, it also won plaudits for its handling, imaginative interior design and build quality. The MINI also introduced personalisation on a scale never before seen in a small car, firing the gun on a trend now widely copied. It exceeded its sales targets from the start – unlike the classic Mini – and was joined by a Convertible in 2002.

MINI 2006 to date

The next generation MINI hatch further refined the 2001 concept with more space, more sophistication, more advanced engines – now mainly UK-built – more equipment and more choice. This was expanded considerably by the introduction of the Clubman estate in 2007, the Coupé and Roadster in 2012 and the Clubvan in the same year. A renewed version of the highly popular Convertible appeared in 2007.

Published in Mini News
Thursday, 21 February 2013 19:13

15th Oldest Mini Found in Barn

Classic Mini number 529 and apparently the 15th oldest surviving in the world has been found in a barn in Bicester, Oxfordshire here in the UK. The 1959 Morris Mini Minor has been locked away for 40 years after the owner had an accident which badly damaged the drivers side front end.

Purchased 54 years ago by the un-named owner, which we presumed to be the first and only owner in 1959. Originally Cherry Red but painted blue sometime in its life. Recently found by the sadly deceased owners family when they were looking through his barn. It is to be auctioned by Bonhams Auctioneers at Oxford on March 2nd and expected to fetch at least £10,000.

It is a local car to the Oxford area as the number plate 620 GFC relates. The FC in the registration denotes it was regsitered in the Oxford area so it would be interesting which dealer it was purchased from. Hopefully the owners family have found all the paperwork.

The Morris Mini Minor has its original engine which has done just under 47,000 miles and certainly needs a full restoration. Although of course it begs the question is it worth more unrestored, like the recent barn find that sold for close to £40,000 

The senior specialist at Bonhams, Rob Hubbard, said: "It is one of the oldest surviving Mini cars and that in itself makes this one special. It was put into the barn after a minor prang and has been there ever since. The owner's children finally got round to sorting out the old barn and found this. It is a nice, original example, with a proper engine. The car will appeal to somebody who fancies a bit of a challenge and who is looking for a good restoration project to get involved with. It represents a wonderful opportunity to acquire an example of one of the 20th century's greatest cars in its earliest and and purest form."

Looking at the other images of the Mini on the Daily Mail website it shows the plate with car number of M/A2S4 and a number of 629 so we would presume it is number 629 rather than the claimed 529. It is an original spec Mini that would certainly take some love to get it back on to the road again. Is it worth saving? Of course it is. Any Mini is worth saving but how many of the panels are worth saving or being replaced.

 

Read more and check out the other fascinating images http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2281569/Morris-Mini-Minor-saloon-sale-One-oldest-surviving-Minis-world-left-rusting-barn-set-fetch-10-000.html


Published in Mini News
<< Start < Prev 1 2 3 Next > End >>
Page 1 of 3

Classified Ads

Event Signup. Click here