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If any car sums up the sheer joy, excitement and pure fun associated with owning a classic vehicle, then surely the Mini Cooper is right at the top of the list. The iconic ‘60’s racer immortalised in the 1969 Michael Caine caper, The Italian Job, has delighted fans and owners alike on the open roads and on the racetrack for more than 60 years.
Sixty years ago, the British Motoring Corporation introduced to the public the latest versions of the Mini, the Morris Cooper and its badge-engineered twin, the Austin Seven. At first glance, they seemed to be a sporting version of the ‘Super Mini’ launched a few months earlier. However, keen drivers paid close attention to the race-tuned to 997cc 55 bhp engine with twin SU carburettors, close-ratio gearbox and front disc brakes.
When the British Leyland Motor Corporation launched the Clubman in October of 1969, the copywriters worked overtime. There were references aplenty to its size, not to mention “For the first time a Mini has wind up windows in padded doors”, which was slightly economical with the truth.
James is the Managing Director of Auto Windscreens and his Mini is a car that would have been unthinkable to the average economy-minded driver 41 years ago. No City would have featured an electric blue paint finish, alloy wheels and whitewall tyres, as this was the entry-level model.
One of the many attractions of the Silverstone Auction at this year’s Lancaster Insurance Classic Motor Show is a vehicle that genuinely merits the term ‘television icon’. HLT 709 C is an Austin Mini Moke, built on 15th May 1965 and registered a month later in London.
If you stop to think about truly iconic British vehicles, or indeed companies, it won’t be long before the name Morris pops up. Morris Motors was one of the true giants of 20th Century Britain, operating through both world wars and creating a range of successful, iconic vehicles.