5 of the Most Unusual Mini Designs Ever!

From 1959 until 2000, the British Motor Company and its successors manufactured the Mini. The groundbreaking design of the original Mini, including its endearing looks and agile performance paved the way for a whole generation of carmakers and ensured that the Mini cemented its place in popular culture.

In 1999 the Global Automotive Elections Foundation voted the Mini the second most influential car of the 20th century. Then in 2000, German carmaker BMW aquired the Rover Group (formerly British Leyland) and introduced us to the BMW MINI hatch, which became another instant hit. The brand has since designed and manufactured other models that probably sound familiar, such as the Clubman, the Countryman and the Paceman.

This article is going to take a look at some of the more unusual Mini designs over the years, only then can we begin to appreciate just how truly versatile this little piece of history is.

#5 The Mini Riley Elf

Image source: foshie / Flickr - Licensed for reuse under Creative Commons 2.0
The Mini Riley Elf was introduced in 1961 as a luxury version of the Mini. The Mini Riley Elf had a large boot, an upright front grille and a full-width dashboard. Riley is a bicycle and car manufacturer dating from 1890. They wanted to name the car “Riley Imp”, rather than “Riley Elf”, however that name had already been registered by Hillman.

#4 The Mini Shorty

Image source: Phil Campbell / Flickr - Licensed for reuse under Creative Commons 2.0
Clearly conceived for those who have trouble parking a standard size Mini, the original 1963 Mini Shorty was basically a cut-and-shut job. Inspiring stuff it seems, as it’s become a popular Mini modification. If you’re planning on building a Mini Shorty for yourself, you should be aware that the DVLA class the Shorty as “a radically altered vehicle” so you will need to obtain an IVA in order to re-register the vehicle and stay legal.

#3 The Mini XXL

Image source: Venom82 / Flickr - Licensed for reuse under Creative Commons 2.0
Third on our list of the most unusual Mini designs is the SIX METRE LONG Mini XXL limousine. Fully loaded with all of the toys you would expect to find in a limousine, the MINI XXL comes equipped with a retractable flat screen TV, a DVD player, CD and radio, air conditioning, sunroof, full black leather and a telephone in the rear so that passengers can communicate with the driver. Nifty.

#2 The Mini Moke

Image source: Brian Snelson / Flickr - Licensed for reuse under Creative Commons 2.0
Manufactured between 1964 and 1993, the Mini Moke was based on the Mini and shared many similar parts. “Moke” is actually an old term for “Donkey”. The initial design was a prototype for a light military vehicle in the style of the American Jeep, but its small wheels and low ground clearance made it impractical as an off-road vehicle. It was subsequently offered in a civilian version as a low-cost, easily maintained utility vehicle.

#1 The MINI Wildgoose Camper

Produced in limited numbers during the 60's by a company in Worthing on the South coast of England, the Mini Wildgoose Camper was a Mini motorhome designed for retired couples. However most found that with their rather large plywood bodies and small engines, sometimes just getting to your destination was an adventure in itself. Four seats were provided in a dinette and a double bed was also accommodated. Equipment included was a table, curtains, cupboards and water carriers.

So as you can see, the Mini isn’t all about being cute. It’s a versatile vehicle and the cheapness and availability of used Minis make it a candidate for modifications such as body replacement. There are over 120 Mini-based kit cars from various small companies and individual enthusiasts. There are also garages across the UK dedicated to Mini repairs and servicing. The Mini truly is a British icon.

At Motor Heads we appreciate every opinion! except SPAM! Comments are moderated, so if you want to link to your motoring site please ensure its relevant to the conversation, otherwise your comment will be removed.

Post a Comment

At Motor Heads we appreciate every opinion! except SPAM! Comments are moderated, so if you want to link to your motoring site please ensure its relevant to the conversation, otherwise your comment will be removed.

Post a Comment (0)

Previous Post Next Post