It’s AROnline‘s favourite special edition Mini – and for good reason.
When people discuss special edition Minis, the popular perception is that this is phenomenon that kicked off during the late-1980s in order to sell more cars. But pretty much from the moment the Mini was launched back in 1959, dealers as well as its maker built bespoke and upgraded versions. However, it’s the 1979 20th anniversary edition – the 1100 Special – that probably remains AROnline‘s favourite of all.
The 1100 Special was launched in August 1979 the celebrate the Mini’s 20th anniversary. Unlike most that came before, the 1100 Special was mechanically, as well as cosmetically, upgraded. Powering the car was a 1098cc Clubman-specification engine, pushing out 45bhp and 57lb ft – and was the only non-Haynes fronted Mini to benefit from the 1100.
Visually, the 1100 Special was spot-on. It boasted metallic paint, graduated stripes, wheelarch extensions and stanard-fit alloys. Inside, it was equipped with the 1275GT’s instrument pack, and full-depth centre console. Contemporary advertising put it so well (underneath a very fetching interior shot) with its a pithy tag-line, ‘You take the Daimler dear, I’ll drive the Mini’.
In the end, 5100 were built after the initial planned run of 2500 sold out in double quick time, forcing BL to run off an additional 2600…
1979 Mini 1100 Special
Chrome Clubman-style bumpers, black-centred grille and vinyl roof (Tan coloured for the Rose body and Black for the silver body)
Wide shaded side stripes on lower body sides, Mini Special A-panel decals, ‘Special’ grille badge and ‘Mini Special’ boot badge
Interior – Tartan check trim with unique centre console and two-Spoke sports steering wheel
Exaction 10in (often referred to as 1100 Special alloys), Innocenti wheelarch extensions, side indicators (mounted higher on the wings and longer in length than most mini models), 1275 GT instrumentation, radio, Clock and cigar lighter.
Cost New: £3300
Metallic Silver (MMB – BLVC202)
Metallic Rose (CMM – BLVC303)
(Details from the Mini LE Register)
Is the Editor of the Parkers website and price guide, formerly editor of Classic Car Weekly, and launch editor/creator of Modern Classics magazine. Has contributed to various motoring titles including Octane, Practical Classics, Evo, Honest John, CAR magazine, Autocar, Pistonheads, Diesel Car, Practical Performance Car, Performance French Car, Car Mechanics, Jaguar World Monthly, MG Enthusiast, Modern MINI, Practical Classics, Fifth Gear Website, Radio 4, and the the Motoring Independent...
Likes 'conditionally challenged' motors and taking them on unfeasible adventures all across Europe.