1992 Rover Mini 'British Open Classic' Saloon Registration no. K45 PFP Chassis no. SAXXNYADBBD047191 Engine no. 12A2BG03242206
'The new Mini was as different from the British small car norm in 1959 as a space shuttle from a firework. It bristled with innovative ideas, it looked radically different from any other car and was the most compact "real" car Britain ever produced.' Chris Rees, 'Complete Classic Mini'.
One of the most influential automobiles of all time, the Alec Issigonis-designed Mini debuted in 1959 to universal acclaim. True, there had been numerous front-wheel-drive designs before the Mini's arrival, but the transverse engine layout allowed Issigonis to create a trend-setting masterpiece of automotive packaging. Less than two-and-a-half years after its initial conception the Mini was officially launched at the 1959 Motor Show, having been shown to the motoring press eight days previously. BMC chose to market the car as the 'Austin Se7en' and 'Morris Mini Minor' before 'Mini' became a marque in its own right in 1969. In due course estate and van versions arrived, larger engines became available, more luxurious Riley and Wolseley models joined the line-up and the sporting Mini Cooper was introduced. The early Mk1 had the 848cc A-Series engine, rubber cone suspension and floor-mounted starter button, the latter two features being replaced by Hydrolastic suspension and key starting respectively in 1964.
'Special Edition' Minis first appeared in the mid-1970s and that offered here is an example of one of the two 1992 offerings, the Mini 'British Open Classic', the other being the Mini 'Italian Job'. Finished in British Racing Green metallic, the 'Open Classic' was the first special edition to be based on the new 1.3-litre Mini and the first UK-market model with a folding sunroof, the latter electrically operated. Other noteworthy features included Minilite style alloy wheels, body-coloured door mirrors, chromed front grille and tweed/leather upholstery with 'By Appointment to Her Majesty the Queen' labels stitched to the front seats.
One of only 1,000 earmarked for the UK market, this 'British Open Classic' has had only one (lady) owner from new. 'K45 PFP' has covered only some 7,200 miles since delivery and still has that distinctive 'new car' smell inside. Described as 'a delightful car to look at and drive', this rare and exclusive Mini variant is offered with MoT to June 2016 and a V5C registration document.