Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Alameda Street Sighting - 1976 Morris Mini Clubman

It's been a little while since our last car feature so here's a little feature on a little car. I don't recall ever seeing a Mini Clubman before I spotted this one on the streets of Alameda, California. Okay, I've seen a lot of the modern MINI Clubman, the extra-long variant of the MINI Cooper. But this is the original Clubman, an effort to modernize the classic Mini whose original design and styling dated to 1959. Clubman was a more expensive car than the regular Mini and featured a longer front end with improved crash safety and easier service access.

In Australia the Mini Clubman was marketed under the Morris brand, which may hint at the origin of this particular example. Other markets lost the Austin and Morris names around 1972. This car sports a "cross" style grille which places its production between 1976 and 1980. As is a popular accessory on classic Minis, this one has eight-spoke Minilite wheels with Mini Cooper center caps -- 10 inch diameter. I can't tell if it was the yellowish late evening light or if the roof is a light gold color rather than the Mini's trademark white over red. This could be a nod to the San Francisco 49ers football team whose colors are red and gold. This is a Bay Area car, after all.

I really like the condition of this one, an unusual version of an otherwise popular European classic that's very rarely seen in the U.S. Kudos to the owner for choosing something different.

Anyone who can narrow down the exact year of manufacture would be appreciated - I'm terrible with these cars no matter how much research I do.

5 comments:

  1. Funny that the original shaped mini front out lived both models that were supposed to supersede it namely the Clubman and boxy Mini Metro.

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  2. I think it's a British one. The Morris badge is from an 1960s Mini Mk or 2, and Australian Minis of the era had strange flush-mounted door handles.

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  3. This car is a 74 I believe. I know the owner. I also have a Mini Clubman which I imported from the UK in 2012. Mine is the earlier version with the chrome grill and original elongated MINI. Logo vs this one's black BRITISH Leyland logo. Mine is a 1972 and also a RHD Clubman that I have upgraded with Cooper S disc brakes, 10" x 6" Revolution wheels, etc.

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    1. Oh, this car did not originate in the Bay Area. It was purchased by this owner from the north Central Valley near Anderson, CA. The roof color is original, sort of a greenish white and not a tribute to the 49ers as suggested. Part of your research is accurate but part of it isn't. The Clubman was designed to take over from the original Minis because they were going to be cheaper to build. Yes, they did become a replacement for the discontinued Elf & Hornet lines, but the redesign was by the same designer who had previously worked for Ford - England. You might recognize his work and the similarity in the early Clubman line with his MK II Ford Cortinas. There were roughly 274,000 Mini Clubman saloons produced worldwide and this is one of them. The replacements for the Cooper S line, the Mini 1275 GT, had the Clubman nose and about 110,000 of these were built. These Clubmans were never exported to North America.

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    2. I have at least four other classic Minis in my archives. You seem to be much more knowledgeable about them than I am -- I'd love to run them by you and see if you can help ID the models and/or years. Please feel free to email me if you would be willing to help out. Thanks!

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