Buy­ing Guide

Mini van and pick-up

Classic Car Weekly (UK) - - This Week -

‘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.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.