Article by “www.minimania.com”
The Innocenti assembled Italian Minis were put on the market in November 1965, as the Innocenti Mini 850. Later versions had 998cc engines, including the up-market 1001, and a 998 Cooper. Innocenti produced a model called the Mk 3, one of only two models to be so designated with the other being built in South Africa.
A wood sided Estate was produced, called the Mini T, and was the only variation on the Mini standard saloon shape produced by Innocenti.
Perhaps the Innocentis are best known for the 1275cc powered Mini Cooper 1300 models. For details on the Cooper versions of the Innocentis, see Parnell’s book, “Original Mini Cooper and Cooper S ” (ISBN 1-870979-32-X)
By February 1970, the Innocentis had adopted a roll up window different from the English version that incorporated a fixed quarter light window. By October 1970, the quarter light windows were redesigned to open much like those on the Australia and South African cars; however, the window assemblies are not interchangeable. The opening quarter light was not available in all markets, Germany, for example.
Like cars in other markets, the Innocentis changed more away from their English brethren as time went on. The boot lid shape was different. Interiors changed dramatically, and usually for the better, with more gauges and more comfortable seats. Exterior trim varied, especially the grilles, and switches and electrical fittings in general were unlike English cars. Finding the proper gauges or items like head light surrounds or proper tail lights can be difficult.
Mechanically, the Innocentis remained much like the English cars, more so than with interior and exterior appointments. It is interesting to note, however, that the 998 Innocenti Coopers used the larger Cooper S brakes instead of the English Cooper type brakes.
By early 1975, production of the Mini-looking Innocentis stopped and the deTomaso Mini 90 and 120 were introduced. Under the skin these still had many Mini components, but looked much like any other small hatchback of the period.
No official production total is known but about 400,000 is quoted, including all the CKDs from the early years.
Like Minis built and assembled in other countries, owners of Innocentis need to immerse themselves into the sources of information available, especially the Internet. With the many differences it is important to know what can be obtained through normal Mini suppliers (almost all mechanical bits, for instance), and what is going to take some digging to find (for example, gauges and electrical items).
As an interesting side note, not all Innocentis were built in Italy. Some were built in Seneffe in Belgium.
Article by “www.minimania.com“