CC Outtake: Old And New Minis

Old New Mini

These aren’t the newest or the oldest, but still provide quite a contrast.  I would estimate that the new(er) Mini is twice as far from the camera than the old one, which makes them look about the same size!  Of course that is not the case…


Need I say the old Mini is actually much smaller than the new?  Even though the square Clubman front end added 112 mm/4.4 in to the front end of the Mini the real size difference puts the new car at a whopping 464 mm/18.3 in, or 19% longer!

Mini section drawing

The wheelbase contributes 434 mm/16.9 in alone, but this does not all go into internal space; the original Mini was famous for its tiny 10″ wheels that were specified in order to reduce the space taken up by the wheel arches.  Even a stock Mini Cooper’s modest 175/65R15 tyres are approximately 115 mm/4.5 in taller than the original rollerskates, and the arches have to be large enough for the 2006 John Cooper Works GP’s 18 in wheels.

John Cooper

The new one is I think a 2001-2006 R50 generation car (seen above in prototype form with John Cooper), in other words the first of the “new” Minis (why do they want to use all capital letters for the name?), apparently the glass-covered C-pillar is a clear point of difference from the R56 generation car that replaced it. The belt-line is also lower.


The “old” Mini is a unique Australian production, as it still featured the exposed door hinges after the UK production had the neater concealed version but flush door handles – compare it to the UK press photo above.  In Australia the Clubman was seized on as the opportunity to facelift the by-then 12-year old car, and completely replaced the more charming original style instead of selling alongside it as in the UK.  From 1973 they dropped the Morris name to become the Leyland Mini.  The subject car in the first photo has a set of 10″ ROH Contessa alloy wheels, the local copy of the famous Minilite, and the white roof has been added too.


Further Reading:

CC Capsule: Mini Then And Now

Automotive History – Just How To Replace The Mini?