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Australian Minis
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Some literature is available for the Australian Minis. “Mini Minor Down Under,” by Pedr Davis is one book. (ISBN 0-947079-10-6). The Cooper and Cooper S versions are covered to some extent in Parnell’s, “Original Cooper and Cooper S” (ISBN 1-870979-32-X).

Minis were being road tested in Australia as early as June 1960, but assembly didn’t start until January 1961, and they were officially being sold by March 1961, as Morris 850s. You’d have been hard pressed to tell the difference between the English and Australian cars at that point.

The sliding windows of the English style Minis proved unpopular in the hot country and roll up windows were developed for the external hinged cars in 1964. They appeared on the Mini Deluxe Mk I in March 1965. These doors with their vent wing window (also used in South Africa for a time) became popular and were even introduced on the Mini Van when it showed up in May 1965. By October 1965, all Australian Mini models had the roll up, vent wing windows.

The roll up, vent wing window doors continued on through all Australian production, but a major change was made to the shape at the same time as the “burst proof” door lock went into production. The two doors can be told apart by the pivoting door handle for the earlier doors, and the flush, lift up handle for the later. The earlier doors will fit directly onto a Mk I or Mk II English Mini, but the later doors are a bigger project than just a bolt on one.

Although much of the English Mini remained in the Australian versions, and major changes in the English versions were adapted for the Australian cars (usually a little after introduction in England), the Australian versions do have differences that one has to be aware of. Interiors differed. Heaters were different. Some braking systems used a different master cylinder not found on any English cars. Some body pressings were different; e.g., the cowling around the wipers, the drip rail holes and the floors in the hydrolastic models. The later had recessed channels to raise the under-floor pipes and covers were installed below the pipes for further protection.

In late 1971, the Clubman style Mini became the Australia standard and by October 1978, all Australian Mini production (except Mokes) ceased. The production count at that time was approximately 176,000 plus another 26,000 Mokes.

Moke production continued on into 1982 before it finally stopped in Australia. (Production started again in Portugal in 1983.) If you own an Australian Moke you will find them very different from the English versions starting with the introduction of 13” wheels in 1968. Over time, body panels changed (and were even galvanized!), the fuel tank filler was relocated to the side panel, different engines were used, interiors were changed…and more. As the years went on, the Moke was still instantly recognizable as the same vehicle first put on the roads in England in 1964, but the Australian versions changed significantly.

Moke owners tend to be fanatical about their cars, even more so than owners of other types of Minis, so the networking necessary to find parts and information is not difficult to do. Internet searches will turn up Moke owners all over the world.

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