The Mini Legend – History (Part II)

The Expansion

The Mini was originally launched as Austin Se7en and Morris Mini-Minor in 1959 but soon afterwards a lot of variations of the model appeared on the market, expanding the range in many ways, either for the purpose of use or how fast it runs. The range is presented in a chronological order.

A 1959 Morris Mini-Minor found in Heritage Motor Centre (Motor Centre), Gaydon, UK.

A 1959 Morris Mini-Minor found in Heritage Motor Centre (Motor Centre), Gaydon, UK.

1959 – 1967
Austin Se7en / Morris Mini-Minor (Mark I)
Both available in Basic and De Luxe Versions, they were the first Minis. The engine size was 848cc and the price started from £497 (Standard). Austin Se7en renamed as Austin Mini in 1962. The Hydrolastic suspension was available from September 1964 and an automatic gearbox from 1965.

A Morris Mini Traveller Super Deluxe in 1962

A Morris Mini Traveller Super Deluxe in 1962

1960 – 1967
Austin Se7en Countryman / Austin Se7en Van / Morris Mini Traveller (Mark I)

Countryman featured a wooden framing. All of them were 10in longer than Austin Se7en / Morris Minor. The engine size was 848cc and the price ranged from £360 (Van) to £623 (Wooden). Austin Se7en Van was in production until 1961. Austin Se7en Countryman was renamed as Austin Mini Countryman (Mark I) in 1962 and it was produced in all metal body.

An Austin Mini Pick-up

An Austin Mini Pick-up

1961 – 1969
Austin Se7en Pick-Up / Austin Mini Pick-up / Morris Mini Pick-up

Same platform as Austin Se7en Van but with flat loading bay and a self-contained cabin. Also a drop-down tailgate was fitted at the rear end of the loading bay. Initially the engine size was 848cc but from 1967 it changed to 998cc. The original price was £360.

The Austin Super Se7en

The Austin Super Se7en

1961 – 1962
Austin Super Se7en

An Austin Se7en with improved interior and different slatted grille (9 wavy horizontal bars and 12 straight vertical bars). The original price was £592.

The engine of Mini-Cooper with size 997cc as introduced in 1964

The engine of Mini-Cooper with size 997cc as introduced in 1964

1961 – 1967
Austin Se7en Cooper / Austin Mini-Cooper / Morris Mini-Cooper

The Cooper Series of Mini were made from the Cooper Motor Company, a company specialised in sport cars, as a part of Minis suitable for competitions. They featured front disc brakes, a close ratio gearbox and contrasting roof colour. The engine size was 997cc and the original price £679. In 1964 the engine specification changed in order to improve performance and the engine size became 998cc (Mark I).

The Riley Elf was a more luxurious option of a Mini with a slightly different bodyshell

The Riley Elf was a more luxurious option of a Mini with a slightly different bodyshell

1961 – 1969
Riley Elf / Wolseley Hornet

Two more luxurious versions of the saloon version of Mini for different market. The body length was 8½in larger. The Mark II brought a larger engine and Mark III was released in 1969.

Mini Cooper 'S' came with a new version of the 'A' Series engine featuring 1071cc. The speedometer went up to 120 mph

Mini Cooper ‘S’ came with a new version of the ‘A’ Series engine featuring 1071cc. The speedometer went up to 120 mph

1963 – 1964
Austin Mini-Cooper ‘S’ / Morris Mini-Cooper ‘S’
Similar to Austin / Morris Mini-Cooper from the Cooper Motor Company, but with more powerful engine reaching the size of 1071cc. The original price was £695. From 1964 to 1965 there was a limited edition of Mini-Cooper ‘S’ with an engine size of 970cc, often referred as Mini-Cooper 1000. From 1964 to 1967 the engine sized became 1275cc and the price reached £778

An Austin Mini Moke from 1965

An Austin Mini Moke from 1965

1964 – 1968
Austin Mini Moke / Morris Mini Moke
It was a basic commercial version of Mini for light off-road usage. The production lasted up to the early ’90s abroad, where its popularity was greater than in UK.

Mini Mark II came with larger rear window and new square rear lights.

Mini Mark II came with larger rear window and new square rear lights.

1967 – 1969
Austin Mini Mark II / Morris Mini Mark II
The major changes included a new front grille design, larger size of rear window and better brakes. Also the new square rear lights were introduced as London’s streets became so crowded that it was really hard to see the Minis in the night with the previous rear lights. There were two versions available the Basic and the Super De Luxe but the version names eventually changed to Mini 850 and Mini 1000 respectively. The engine size was 848cc for the Basic and 998cc for the Super Deluxe. The original priced varied between £509 (Basic) and £579 (998cc Super De Luxe).

An Austin Mini Countryman Mark II

An Austin Mini Countryman Mark II


1967 – 1969
Austin Mini Countryman Mark II / Morris Mini-Traveller Mark II

Both models followed the changes of the saloon models to Mark II. The engine size increased to 998cc and the price ranged between £610 (All metal body) and £629 (Wooden).

1967 – 1969
Austin Mini-Cooper Mark II / Morris Mini-Cooper Mark II
All the changes lined up with the Mark II non-cooper model. Also the same standardised style grille was introduced between Austin and Morris. The engine size was 998cc and the original price £631.

The Badge from Austin Mini Cooper S Mark II

The Badge from Austin Mini Cooper S Mark II

1967 – 1970
Austin Mini-Cooper ‘S’ Mark II / Morris Mini-Cooper ‘S’ Mark II
Both models were similar to the non ‘S’ models but equipped with twin fuel tanks, 4½in rims in standard model, different badges and a larger engine, reaching the size of 1275cc. The original price was £849.

The Mini 850 (Mark III) produced in 1971

The Mini 850 (Mark III) produced in 1971

1969 – 1976
Mini 850 (Mark III) / Mini 1000 (Mark III)
Minis moved to Mark III with internal hinges and winding-up windows. Both Austin and Morris Brands were abandoned. The quality of Mini 1000 was higher than Mini 850 and included inertia seat belts and reclining seats. The engine size was 848cc for Mini 850 and 998cc for Mini 1000. The price was £596 for Mini 850 and £675 for Mini 1000. Mini 850 was in production until 1979. Mini 1000 renamed as Mini 1000 Super in 1979 and Mini 1000HL in 1980. The price of Mini 1000HL was £3,122.

A Mini Van made in 1978

A Mini Van made in 1978

1969 – 1983
Mini Van / Mini Pick-up
The name changed and the Austin / Morris Brands were abandoned. The engine size varied between 848cc and 998cc.

A Mini Cooper 'S' Mark III

A Mini Cooper ‘S’ Mark III

1970 – 1971
Mini Cooper ‘S’ Mark III
Similar appearance as the non Cooper ‘S’ models. The loss of the two tone paint option and the implementation of Hydrolastic suspension appeared in this model.

A Mini 1000 (Mark IV) produced in 1977

A Mini 1000 (Mark IV) produced in 1977

1976 – 1984
Mini 850 (Mark IV) / Mini 1000 (Mark IV)
Minis moved to Mark IV with minor changes. In Mini 1000 the rear light were fitted with built-in reversing lights. From 1979 the gutter drip-rail was deleted and a plastic trim was fitted. From 1980 extra sound-deadening material was fitted to the floorpan.

Mini Ritz was a limited edition model based in Mini Mark V and it was produced in 1985

Mini Ritz was a limited edition model based in Mini Mark V and it was produced in 1985

1984 – 1992
Mini Mark V
The body was same to Mark IV but front disc brakes sized 8.4in became standard, as well as 12in wheels and plastic wheel arches. The engine size was 998cc until 1990 when the 1,275cc engine appeared.

The British Open version of Mini Mark VI (1992)

The British Open version of Mini Mark VI (1992)

1992 – 1997
Mini Mark VI
A modified front subframe was introduced and the engine moved forward. An internal bonnet release was also fitted from 1992. The non-Cooper versions featured carburettors until 1995 whereas Copper version featured a 1.3i fuel-injected engine.

The Mini Cooper Mark VII

The Mini Cooper Mark VII

1997 – 2000
Mini Mark VII / Mini Cooper (Mark VII) / Classic Cooper (Mark VII) / Classic Cooper Sport (Mark VII)
A Multi-Point fuel injection (MPI) engine was introduced to lower emissions and noise and increase the performance. Major changes also included a front-mounted radiator, an airbag for the driver and side impact bars inside the doors. Sport Pack with 13in wheels became an option. The engine size was 1275cc and the prices were £8,995 for Mini Cooper, £9,895 for Classic Cooper and £10,895 for Classic Cooper Sport.

The Mini Milestones

In December 1962 half a million Minis had been built.In December 1962 half a million Minis had been built.

By 1965, the quantity was doubled to one million cars.
By 1965, the quantity was doubled to one million cars.

By 1969, the total number of Minis built was two millions.

By 1969, the total number of Minis built was two millions.

Via Flickr All rights reserved by bigblogg http://www.flickr.com/photos/bigblogg/6555928351

Image via Flickr. All rights reserved by bigblogg

In 25 of October 1972, Lord Stokes celebrated the three millionth Mini.

In 1976, the production line built the four millionth Mini.In 1976, the production line built the four millionth Mini.

10 years later, in 1986, the five millionth Mini would be produced.
10 years later, in 1986, the five millionth Mini would be produced.

Last Classic Mini

In 4th of October 2000, when the production of the Mini ceased, 5,387,862 Minis would have been produced. The last built would be a Red Cooper Sport. After 41 years, it would have been remembered as the Classic Mini, an UK icon.

The Awards

The Mini has been awarded many times over the years. In 1995 it was awarded as “Car of the Century” (Autocar Magazine) and in 1996 as “Number One Classic Car of All Time” (Classic & Sports Car Magazine). During 1995 Mini would be considered as “European Car of the Century” in a worldwide poll through Internet, run by the Global Automotive Elections Foundation. At the same poll, Mini managed to take the second place, just behind the Ford Model T, for the “Global Car of the Century”.

References

  1. Harvey, C. (1993), Mighty Minis, 2nd Edition 1997, Somerset: The Oxford Illustrated Press Comments: Very interesting Mini-Logbook at the end of the book
  2. Setright, L. (1999) Mini – The design icon of a generation, London: Virgin Publishing Ltd. Comments: Details for the different models of Mini from 1959 to 2000
  3. Murdy, T. (2003) Mini Performance Manual, Somerset: Haynes Publishing Ltd. Comments: Excellent information about the different Marks of Mini (Mark I to Mark VII)
  4. Avarvarii, A. (2006) 1959 – 2006 The History of Mini [online] available from http://www.topspeed.com/cars/mini/1959-2006-the-history-of-mini-ar10921.html [19 October 2013] Comments: Details about the different Marks of Mini (Mark I to Mark VII)
  5. BBC News (2000) End of the Mini [online] available from http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/955500.stm [20 October 2013], Comments: News for the ceased production of Classic Mini.
  6. Glasgow Herald,  (2000)  The best of the small talk [online] available from http://www.roblightbody.com/mini/history/glasgow_herald.htm [20 October 2013] Comments: News reports for the ceased production of Classic Mini in the newspapers
  7. Wikipedia (2013) Mini [online] available from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mini [19 October 2013] Comments: Includes historical details of Mini such as the Design and Development and details for the Marks of Mini from 1959 to 2000.
  8. Adams, K.(2011) The cars : Mini development history, part 1 [online] available from http://www.aronline.co.uk/blogs/cars/mini-classic/the-cars-mini-development-history-part-1/  [19 October 2013] Comments: Includes historical details of Mini
  9. Adams, K.(2011) The cars : Mini development history, part 2 [online] available from http://www.aronline.co.uk/blogs/cars/mini-classic/the-cars-mini-development-history-part-2/  [19 October 2013] Comments: Includes historical details of Mini
  10. Davis, D. Jr. (2010) Mega Fun in Mini Packages [online] available from   http://www.caranddriver.com/photo-gallery/david-e-davis-jr-mega-fun-in-mini-packages-column [21 October 2013] Comments: Very interesting photo gallery
  11. Baker, J. (2013) Austin Memories: Austin Se7en Mini [online] available from http://www.austinmemories.com/page8/page36/page36.html [21 October 2013] Comments: Very interesting pictures of various Mini models
  12. British Race Car (2012) Bruce McCalister’s 1968 Austin Mini Cooper S MkII Race Car http://www.britishracecar.com/BruceMcCalister-Austin-CooperS-Mk2.htm [21 October 2013] Comments: Photographs from Cooper and Cooper ‘S’ Minis
  13. Zal, P. (2013) The complete catalog of cars since 1945 [online] available from http://www.automobile-catalog.com/ [21 October 2013] Comments: Photographs from various Mini Versions
  14. Ayshire Minis (2013) Gallery [online] available from http://www.ayrshireminis.com/mini/en/galleries.php [21 October 2013] Comments: Photographs from various Mini Versions
  15. Smith, P. Love:Mini [online] available from http://www.love-mini.co.uk/the-cars [21 October 2013] Comments: Photographs from various Mini Versions
  16. Mini World Magazine, History of the Mini [online] available from http://www.miniworld.co.uk/the-scene/new-to-minis/79-history-of-the-mini [22 October 2013] Comments: Excellent chronological historic data from every Mini models made from 1959 to 2000

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