The MINI Clubman says “farewell” to Oxford by closing a historic chapter in its history.
On February 5th the last MINI Clubman rolled off the production line at the British company's plant in Oxfordnearly 55 years after the model debuted in 1969.
With the unique style and characteristic back dividing doors of The MINI Clubman remains instantly recognizable around the world to this day, with its 'end of an era' at the British factory marking a closing chapter in MINI's history, which continues to present its new, fully electric model family.
From his presentation 55 years ago more than have been built 1.1 million copies of the MINI Clubmanwith half of them manufactured in Oxford and exported to more than 50 countries.
The classic Mini Clubman
The… figure of the Clubman is dated since the early 1960swhen the owner of the Mini, the British Motor Corporation (BMC), presented two versions of the original model: the Austin Seven Countryman and Morris Mini Traveller. Featuring a longer frame and distinctive rear doors, both offered extra space and practicality. Along with the Riley Elf and Wolseley Hornet – which were the larger, more luxurious saloon versions of the Mini – these cars paved the way for the first Mini Clubman.
In 1967, British Motor Holdings (formerly BMC) began to overhaul the Mini model portfolio, hiring the famous designer Roy Haynes to craft features from all four models into a single car: the Mini Clubman.
At the end, three production vehicles were based on the Clubmanwith the former debuting in 1969 as saloon, followed by the Clubman Estate a year later. The third was the 1275 GT, which did not carry the Clubman name but shared its distinctive nose and was famous for its motorsport career.
The 1970s brought new features, such as a stronger 45 hp engine. Continuing to make its presence felt in the market for over a decade, almost 600,000 Mini Clubmans were built – including 197,000 copies in the Estate edition – before production ended in 1982 with the 1000HL Estate.
The first modern MINI Clubman
After a gap of 25 years, the MINI Clubman was reborn in 2007. While offering a modern aesthetic, it retained signature styling cues from its predecessors – most notably the distinctive split rear doors. However, putting them back into a modern vehicle was proven big challenge for MINI engineers in Oxford. “We had to ensure that both doors would always open fully without obscuring the rear lights, which was a legal requirement” explains chief quality engineer Guy Elliott, who was part of the car's door system development team at the time.
As the first MINI to offer five seats, the Clubman introduced a unique system called Clubdoor, allowing easy access to the rear passengers, which was hinged at the rear and asymmetrically placed on one side of the car.
From Clubman to Clubvan
Inspired by the Morris Mini Van, MINI introduced in 2013 the world's first premium delivery van vehiclewhich was named MINI Clubvan. Retaining five doors but with only two seats, the model offered businesses a larger, easily accessible cargo area with a completely flat floor.
With a bulkhead to protect the driver and passenger, the Clubvan's cargo area could be loaded up to the roof, with maximum payload 500 kg. There were 6 object attachment hooks on the floor, which prevented goods from moving during transport, while many 12V sockets could be used to power electrical equipment.
MINI Clubman, the third generation
With the third generation in 2015, the Clubman was further developed by offering a capacious boot up to 1,250 liters, improved usability thanks to four doors full size and an 8-speed automatic transmission – a first for the MINI brand. Many other features made their debut in the Clubman, such as electric parking brake, the full electric seat adjustment and optional MINI Yours Interior Styles. Later, and specifically in 2016, it was presented Clubman ALL-4the brand's first all-wheel drive model.