Thursday, May 28, 2015

Innocenti Mini

What do you call a Mini when its wearing a Bertone styled body? The Innocenti Mini. Now you’d be expecting this to be an alternative from a separate company offering a “modernised” Mini which by 1974 was 15 years old. But this alternative was effectively offered by British Leyland who built the Mini at the time and owned the very Italian sounding marque Innocenti.

Under the skin it was the same as the Mini, and was offered with the same 998cc (90L) or 1275cc (120L) engines when launched as well as the Mini suspension providing similar handling. However the one aspect that it did improve on over the Mini was the provision of a hatchback, added to that better build quality, it lead to better sales numbers across Europe. Offically it went out of production in 1982, but was built under licence in various territories until 1990.

I don’t understand why, at the time, it didn’t replace the aging Mini, it was larger, had better access to the rear, better build quality, “modern” styling from an Italian design studio while keeping all the handling attributes that made the Mini so fantastic to drive.


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