The MINI clubman, released in 2007, has become a unique entry in MINI's ever-growing range.
One of the smallest and best estate vehicles on sale today, the Clubman's history dates back to founding estates and car-van conversions that began life in the 1950's.
The Clubman is a modern take on a British classic, yet exudes an upmarket class and drivability only available from MINI. So where did it all start?
The Mini was first launched in 1959, a revolution in small car production. The Mini had a unique transverse engine front-wheel drive layout that meant it was excellent for space saving. In fact, the Morris Mini Minor had around 80% of its floor plan available for passengers and storage, setting benchmarks for the next decade of car manufacturers.
A combination of practicality, low cost and that cheeky Mini styling meant that the Morris Mini Minor was soon a hit. It was driven by everyone from Paul McCartney to Steve McQueen - and production of the original continued until 2000.
The Traveller and Countryman
It wasn't long before this spacious yet compact layout was put to use in the Mini Van in 1959, using a longer chassis for even more storage space. The van, which missed out many features such as the chrome grille, was incredibly popular as a low-cost commercial vehicle which was actually free from road tax.
The design was so versatile that extra seats were added, along with rear windows and styling touches from the hatchback. The result was a compact car with true practicality and load-lugging ability. The Morris Mini Traveller and Austin Seven Countryman were born.
The Traveller was marketed as a car for the go-getters and those who were part of the camping and caravanning boom in the late 1950's and 60's, the adverts suggesting: "Go Modern… Go Mini Travelling." The Mini traveller was designed as the ultimate family vehicle, with room for a family of four and all their luggage.
It's no wonder then that the Morris Traveller and Austin Countryman stayed in production for the next nine years. There were several variations on the design, including the famous 'woody' models which incorporated wooden beams in to the construction of the car, similar to the Morris Minor. In 1969, after around 207,000 Traveller and Countryman models were built, the line was discontinued and superseded by the MINI Clubman Estate.
The Clubman Estate
The Clubman Estate was a Mini model in its own right, first produced by British Leyland in 1969. It continued in production through to 1982, after three model revisions. This new Clubman model was much larger than its predecessor, offering more practicality than ever before.
The entire Clubman range was treated to updated, upmarket styling from designer Roy Haynes, including the estate which received a bolder, squarer look. Production of the estate continued alongside the updated Mini Mk.IV until the design was phased out in 1982. It was still an extremely popular model even towards the end of its reign, and in total just under 200,000 units were sold of the Clubman Estate.
The MINI Clubman
The estate was then resigned to the history books for over 25 years, until the Clubman name was revived in 2007 for an all-new car. Much like the original, the new MINI Clubman featured the lengthened body of the standard hatchback, and 'barn' style rear doors for ultimate loading access. A real blast from the past, but full of new features and powerful, turbocharged engines such as that in the Cooper S, the new Clubman introduced an entire generation to the MINI estate.
In a world where individualism is hard to come by, the Clubman was unique in every sense of the word. It remained as practical as ever before, and is still the ultimate choice of MINI for families always on the go. In fact, the clubman has 260 litres of storage space in the rear - 100 litres extra storage space over the MINI hatchback. This, and it's still able to hold up to a full family of five.
A special edition of the clubman was released in 2011 called the Hampton. The very essence of MINI luxury, the Hampton includes an exclusive Reef Blue metallic colour scheme, and damson red bonnet stripes that share their colour with the all-new 17" two spoke alloys. On the inside, the Hampton boasts a full leather interior and anthracite detailing on the instruments - a feature borrowed from the hot-hatch John Cooper Works.
Excellent used MINI Clubman models are now available, with options from across the range that feature photographs and HD video.
The New MINI Clubman
Earlier this year, MINI announced the all-new Clubman - a true, premium five seat vehicle. A new, elegant silhouette with sleek lines are almost concept-car in the nature of its design, yet it still retains that classic MINI character.
Preserving the characteristic split rear doors, the MINI Clubman is more practical than ever before, with a boot volume of 360 litres and four full-sized doors for the ultimate in accessibility and usability. The new clubman is still undoubtedly a car for all the family.
The new Clubman also comes extremely well-equipped, with 16" Revolite Spoke Alloy Wheels and MINI Navigation as standard.
With a range of new, powerful and efficient engines and exceptional emissions figures, the new MINI is available to order now from your nearest Stratstone MINI Retail Centre.