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Hagerty
Hagerty Employee

10 of Europe's best, most off-beat classic Mini conversions | Hagerty Media

Almost as soon as the Mini first broke cover in 1959, long-established coachbuilders and enterprising start-up operations were quick to grasp its potential. The Mini soon became redolent of the Swinging '60s and, as the standard car became too run-of-the-mill for some, there were plenty of companies willing to accommodate their every whim and desire-at a price.
https://www.hagerty.com/media/automotive-history/10-classic-mini-conversions-uk-europe/
59 REPLIES 59
Spuds
Advanced Driver

Was an awesome car for sure.IMO one of the motoring icons of all time.
mrhammered34
Pit Crew

love the chopped tops and sectioning, a great way to change the way a car looks and handles.
25aniv
Intermediate Driver

The BAC M-30 for me! Though that Wildgoose camper looks like it would be hilarious fun. Camping for one?
wdb
Intermediate Driver

Always had a thing for the (unpictured) Mini Marcos myself, although that Broadspeed might become my favorite going forward. It's downright handsome.
Gary6
Pit Crew

If you cover the "Mini- Zagato" forward from just behind the headlights and cover the tail lights,
what remains, the lines are amazingly like an Alfa Romeo Bertone coupe of the 60's and 70's.
Those are amazing classics.
BishPatrik
New Driver

I once parked next to a Mini at a classic car show that had a boat back end, which was called the Tritanic, and it has been my favourite mini since.

https://lirp-cdn.multiscreensite.com/c359e16c/dms3rep/multi/opt/2018-05-28+11.40.21-1920w.jpg
transamranch
New Driver

That is so cute! Thank you for sharing that photo. Would love to have one.
tahend
Detailer

NEXT!!!!!!!!!!
JStein
Pit Crew

I'm surprised that the Mini Marcos wasn't included. It is better known and was more successful than the other variants, even finishing at the 1966 24 hours of Le Mans.
RW68RSConv
Intermediate Driver

Can you imagine how slow the Wildgoose Camper must have been? I would like optional extension bars with wheels to prevent rollovers! Certain things just shouldn't be mashed up. However, Mini Gatto and Broadspeed are clearly the best coachwork, heads and tails above the rest.
GRP_Photo
Instructor

As for "rollovers", perhaps you missed the fact that the Wildgoose is what we call a "pop-up camper" in the States. It would be no more top-heavy than an ordinary Mini.
MrMINI
Intermediate Driver

Look closely, the top part goes down for traveling.
transamranch
New Driver

Your missing the Isetta. Which is my fave, I consider it a conversion because BMW based it off one of their motorcycles and used motorcycle parts.
MattK
Detailer

It's not a Mini.
MrMINI
Intermediate Driver

The original Mini had nothing to do with BMW. 

BrentF
Pit Crew

The Aston-Mini gets my vote!

ChevySS
New Driver

Fun article but you guys missed an incredible American builder: Gildred Racing's Super Coopers out of Buelton, CA. Google them.
Roadsterboy
Pit Crew

Where is the Mini Marcos
MoparMan
Advanced Driver

Hmmm...I'd like the Wood & Pickett front end on the Zagato Mini Gatto, or maybe on the Broadspeed Mini GT/GTS. I'm a sucker for the fastback, but the rear end is kind of awkward. Since I'm 6'4" I'd probably have issues fitting into ANY of them, LOL!!! 🙂
MrMINI
Intermediate Driver

I am 6'4" and get into the Mini the same way I put on trousers, one leg at a time. 

My first Mini was in 1967 and my Dad at 6'7" could drive it, before I even knew about seat extender brackets.  In fact, a couple of times my Mom (5'10"), Dad and us 5 kids would go places in it. If we went back in time with a new Mini, we could not all get in it. Even though smaller on the outside, the original Minis had more room inside.  Ron 

jaysalserVW
Detailer

It appears that the Radford Mini uses Tail Light Lenses from 1962-1967 Volkswagen Beetles--albeit laid on their sides. Maybe manufacturer, Hella, had a hand in that?
RogerB
New Driver

I am also surprised there is no mention of the Mini Marcos which was much more common than most of the examples shown. See https://silodrome.com/mini-marcos-history/
Safetyguy
New Driver

What....No Hillman Husky Wagon?
My brother had a nice one.
Rear side windows welded in with with steel....Panel Wagon!
It was a great little ride!
MrMINI
Intermediate Driver

Not a Mini.

DMensh
New Driver

Definitely missed the Mini Marcos. In continuous sales from 1966 to present. Only British finisher at Le Mans in 1966, finishing 16th overall.
Tim
Instructor

I would bet big money there weren't eight Tickford Minis built. At best, just one. All that bragging about how much they would cost and those alleged buyers was just to try to con people into thinking other people liked it so they would want one, too. That thing is an ugly beast that should be erased from history. 😄
silverado
Intermediate Driver

Sorry but they are ugly. I never liked those little cars. That little camper looks dangerous, I'd probably roll it turning over in bed. I like USA built cars and trucks.
LamboEd
Intermediate Driver

Wildgoose for sure, that is pretty crazy! Camping on a budget! Better than a tent, been there done that! It would be cool to see it parked next to a million dollar Prevost 45!
miniguy
New Driver

What a great article! I happen to own one of these FANTASTIC cars. My third classic Mini. Never been sure if it's a Wood & Pickett or a Radford??? Owned about 25 years. One of the most dependable, and enjoyable cars I have ever had. Mine is an Estate Traveler Woody. Acquired in a bit of "hostile takeover". Very amusing story. I have always known how lucky I am to own it.
DHR
Pit Crew

What about the Wolseley Hornet Mini.
MrMINI
Intermediate Driver

It and the Riley Elf were production models.

Shredder65
New Driver

In 1969, my brother bought a Mini for my Mum. She had no idea what type it was until one day she asked "Why do I have electric windows? What is this 'Radford' badge? And why does it say 'Austin Cooper S' on the back?" There was a lot of explaining to do, but she kept it. At eighteen, she gave me the car. I drove that thing all over London through traffic like I stole it! Fantastic handling, great on the track.
josephdemeyer
New Driver

Was there ever made a 4wd mini or even one with an extra engine in the rear ( like the 2cv desert conversion)
MrMINI
Intermediate Driver

There were a few Minis built with front and rear engines, usually using a front sub frame in the rear. John Cooper built one and actually crashed it when a weld broke and one of the rear wheels tried to turn. Interesting story to look up. He said he was lucky to come out of it alive.

I've read about a Mini Pick up on a farm in England that had the rear engine backwards so he could use 1st and reverse gears together for the mud. Going down the road he only used the front engine. 

There were Mokes built for military use with twin engines but I don't think that went through. 

Plus the Mini gearbox that was made with a shaft coming out the rear for 4 x 4 drive, the Ant or something like that.

MrMINI
Intermediate Driver

I have a one off Mini. Not a custom, but a full race Mini built by Clive Trickey from a new body shell. When he registered it in 1967, he was not allowed to call it a Morris or Austin, so it was registered as a CET Mini (Clive E. Trickey). Everything is documented in writings by him in Cars and Car Conversions Magazine and books he wrote about tuning Minis. I found the Mini in 1985 while stationed in England. I brought it to the U.S. and took it back to the U.K. in 1990 for another assignment there. I raced it in 1993-94 before retiring and returning to the U.S. with it. I still have it, but it has set in the back of my garage for 20 years.

My favorite of the 10 Minis listed would be the Broadspeed. I have actually been in a Wildgoose, although a different version of the one shown.

I bought my first Mini in 1967 and 8 more before joining the USAF in 1977 so I could go to England. They are great little cars.  Ron

JohnnyD
Intermediate Driver

My wife's first cousin's around Cheltenham, England all drove Mini's as primary family or work vehicles in the 60s, 70's, and 80's. They were lower middle class working families. Economy was important. They loved their easy upkeep cars.. They added fog lights and fancy seat covers but they would have loved to afford one one these - except that ugly camper.
GRP_Photo
Instructor

I like the SX1000.
12richie34
New Driver

What about the clubman variations...the marcos and the GTM?????
BobWVic
New Driver

Yes, the GTM is a surprising omission, given that it was a production car with decent sales.
MattLaube
Pit Crew

You forgot the Innocenti (sp) I saw one at the MINI meet in Dayton Ohio in 1979. Leather, wood and nice paint..de seamed as well as I recall. Veglia gauges?
At the time I had a 63 Cooper balanced and blueprinted with many go faster bits. No one could touch it on the "track" at the time. It was "civilized" with Austin America parts as a real heater and better than stick seats.
MrMINI
Intermediate Driver

They were the Minis built in Italy. And there were the AuthI Minis built in Spain. Regular production cars, not special built Minis that the article is talking about. Although when you see some of these in the U.S., you might think they are special made Minis. There are different badging and variances in the Minis built in different countries. Like the Australian Minis, they will throw you for a loop. Factory wind up windows with vent windows on Mk l and Mk ll Minis. And various other things.
MattLaube
Pit Crew

If it wasn't for my Mini I may have never "met" my wife. As I said above it was highly modified. (mini, but wife not so much) Some folks called it a suitcase with wheels as it had leather straps holding down the fiberglass bonnet and deck lid.  It had those old school Dunlops that had the tread up halfway to the bead on the sidewall.  I used to have my trophy from the Mini meet in 79 but it got "misplaced" by my late folks at least 30 years ago.  I'm pretty sure the Innocenti had a square-ish grill and well appointed on the inside.  Weren't some OZ spec Minis assembled in Melbourne?  However, they were still stock and just slightly modified for the OZ market..maybe a Roo bar!

MrMINI
Intermediate Driver

Matt, I'm pretty sure we've met before. I was at Mini Meet East in 1983, 86, 89, 90, 95, 96, 97 and 98. Not sure about 87 & 88. Also Mini Meet East meets West in 1984. I had FTD in 95 and 96.
My first Mini wasn't running when I met my wife in 1968 so I sold it to buy an engagement ring. I found my 2nd Mini near where we were living in 1975, which wouldn't have happened if I had not married her, as we were living in the area where she lived when I met her. If that makes any sense. The 2nd Mini is what got the ball really rolling. I can't count how many I have owned through the years, most of them in the 10 years I spent in England. I bought a new one in 1983, totaling it in 1984 and had a 1992 in '94, just to name a couple. Ron
MattLaube
Pit Crew

Is Mini city still around? 

 

Back in 1977 I pulled a few Austin Americas from the jaws of the shredder to learn the intricacies of the "auto" trans. My gear head mentor obtained a book from the UK about  how they supposedly worked. The front clutch packs went south at about 30k miles max.  The guy who designed the trans was famous for Botany and not auto design-only in the UK...." "gather together a clean jam jar whilst prizing grud from the immediate surfaces"

MrMINI
Intermediate Driver

There was the Innocenti that looked like a regular Mini and also ones with a different body altogether. In '85 I had a Mk ll Cooper S from Italy. It was LHD, but never was sure if it was an actual Innocenti or not. It did have the Innocenti Boot lid though. The body ended up being used by a fellow named Paul Streiby to restore his Mk l Cooper S. Ron
3304HL
New Driver

Unipower GT!
Zephyr
Advanced Driver

For those who don't know, and I certainly didn't until I looked it up, a "compulsory purchase order" is what we in the US would call it when the government exercises their right of eminent domain.
MiniMig
New Driver

Best Mini conversion? Ever? The Oscar Mayer Weinermobile Mini! I know, it's not the classic mini, but...
Grumpy7
New Driver

Don't forget the Riley elf and the Wolsley Hornet, upgraded interior and had proper extended trunk, made by parent co BMC group.