Mini overseas : South Africa
South Africa produced the Mini in an interesting variety of body combinations not seen elsewhere…
The Wolseley 1000 was South Africa’s first mix-and-match Mini, mating the glitzy Wolseley front end – complete with the obligatory illuminated grille badge – to the standard Mini bodyshell. Well, almost standard – as can be seen in the above brochure image, the door featured ADO16-like opening quarterlights and wind-down windows, thanks to engineering input from BMC Australia.
As the name implies, the Wolseley 1000 was powered by the 998cc version of the familiar A-series engine, and it also benefitted from Hydrolastic suspension. Inside, the dashboard featured extra padding and a centrally-mounted three-dial instrument pod, housing a speedometer flanked by gauges for water temperature and oil pressure, plus a small group of warning lights.
Sales began in September 1967, with a Mk2 version appearing in December 1968, featuring refinements similar to those introduced on the UK’s Mk2 Minis. However, in the latter half of 1969, Leyland South Africa (or Leykor) implemented a product rationisation programme that mirrored what was happening within the recently-formed BLMC back in the UK.
As a result of this, the Wolseley 1000 was axed in August of that year, along with the locally-produced Cooper ‘S’. It is thought that only around 450 Wolseley 1000s were built in total.
The so-called Mini Mk3 appeared in September 1969, effectively replacing the Wolseley 1000. In styling terms, it seems that the thinking behind the earlier car was simply reversed to produce a booted version of the standard-fronted Mini.
Presumably the intention was to combine a more modern appearance with greater luggage capacity, but whatever the reason, the resulting car can’t help but look decidedly odd to anyone familiar only with the standard Eurpoean versions of the car. During the 1970s, Leykor also produced standard-bodied Minis with either the rounded Mk3-style or the square-set Clubman front ends.