Mini van and pick-up
‘Not only are these Minis are unusual but they all ooze period charm’
Thanks to its ingenious design you could fit a surprising amount of stuff into a Mini saloon, but if you really wanted a compact carry-all the van or pick-up met all your needs.
Launched within five months of the saloon’s arrival, the Minivan appeared in January 1960 in Austin or Morris guises – a year later it was the turn of the pick-up.
Standard fare for these commercial Minis was an 848cc A-series unit with a 3.76:1 final drive ratio, but from October 1967 there was a 998cc option which came with a 3.44:1 diff instead. To increase practicality both variants featured a wheelbase stretched by four inches over the saloon while the overall length grew by 9.5 inches. Marketed as quarter-ton commercial vehicles, the payload was 5cwt (254kg) and rubber-cone suspension was fitted throughout production – there were never any Hydrolastic-suspended Mini vans or pick-ups. Indeed, BMC didn’t put much effort into modernising these Minis – for the entire production run the door hinges remained exposed and there were sliding windows, along with the original-style door bins. As a result it’s no wonder these cars are so popular – not only are they unusual but they all ooze period charm.
The van was by far the most popular of the two models, both of which went out of production in 1983, although the final 850 pick-up had been made in 1980. Now, both variants have a keen following and that’s unlikely to diminish. As with the rest of the Mini scene, there are originality devotees and there are those who modify their commercial to within an inch of its life. What matters is that these classics are great to drive, and thanks to many parts being shared with the Mini saloon you can buy pretty much anything you need at very keen prices. As a brilliant allround classic, no wonder demand has long exceeded supply.
The Minivan was standard in all but the load capacity.
Engines came in 848cc form initially, upgraded to 998cc from 1967 onwards.