The split doors close on an icon — Farewell Mini Clubman

1.1 million vehicles produced
during model’s 55-year-history

(February 7, 2024) OXFORD, UK — The last Mini Clubman rolled off the production line this week at MiniPlant Oxford, 55 years after the model’s debut in 1969.  With its unique styling and signature rear split doors, the Mini Clubman remains instantly recognizable around the world. The end of the Mini Clubman signifies a closing chapter in Mini’s history, while the brand continues to introduce its new, all-electric Mini family.

Commenting on the end of production, Dr. Markus Grüneisl, CEO of Plants Oxford and Swindon, said “We are incredibly proud to have built the Mini Clubman at Plants Oxford and Swindon over the last 18 years for customers all over the world. With its departure, we look ahead to welcoming members of the new Mini family to our Oxford and Swindon lines, including a new convertible model which we will start to produce at the end of this year.”

Since its introduction more than 1.1 million Mini Clubman models have been built, with half of these made at MiniPlant Oxford. Exported to more than 50 countries, the Clubman is driven across the globe, with the UK choosing Midnight Black as its favorite exterior color.

The Clubman silhouette dates back to the early 1960s, when Mini’s owner, British Motor Corporation (BMC), introduced two estate versions of the original Mini: the Austin Seven Countryman and Morris MiniTraveller. Featuring a longer chassis and distinctive barn-style rear doors, both models offered additional space and practicality. Alongside the Riley Elf and Wolseley Hornet - which were longer, more luxurious saloon versions of the Mini- these cars paved the way for the first Mini Clubman.

In 1967, British Motor Holdings (previously BMC) set out to streamline the Mini portfolio, hiring renowned designer Roy Haynes to combine attributes from all four models into a single car: the Mini Clubman. The final design was far more angular and featured a distinctive front nose, which was 10cm longer than the original Mini.

In the end, three production vehicles were based on the Clubman, with the first car debuting in 1969 as a saloon, followed by the Clubman Estate a year later. The third was the 1275 GT, which did not bear the Clubman name but did share its distinctive nose and was famed for its motorsport career.

The seventies brought new features including a more powerful, 45 bhp engine and side stripes. Proceeding to dominate the automotive market for over a decade, almost 600,000 Mini Clubman were produced – including 197,000 Estates – before it finished production in 1982 under the 1000HL Estate moniker.

Following a 25-year-hiatus, the Mini Clubman was reborn in 2007. While delivering a modern aesthetic, it retained characteristic styling cues from its predecessors - most notably the signature, split rear doors. However, reinstating them into a modern-day vehicle proved quite the challenge for engineers at Mini Plant Oxford. “We needed to ensure that both doors would always open fully without obscuring the rear lights, which was a legal requirement. Achieving this required fine tuning and developing the gas strut system to ensure the doors functioned correctly in all climatic conditions” explained Lead Quality Engineer, Guy Elliott, who was part of the development team for Door Systems at the time.

As the first Mini to offer five seats, the Clubman introduced a unique Club door — enabling easy access for rear passengers – which was hinged at the rear, and asymmetrically positioned on the one side of the car.

Reflecting on the integration of the Club door, Guy commented, “The Club door was pillar-less, meaning two moving parts were coming together. We had to ensure the front door and Club door were flush to minimize wind noise when driving. The two glass systems had to be carefully controlled and most importantly, it needed to be watertight, which required precise control measures.”

With the third generation in 2015 the Clubman grew, offering a boot capacity of up to 1,250 liters, enhanced usability thanks to four full-sized doors and an 8-speed Steptronic transmission – a first for the Mini brand. Numerous other features made their brand debut on the Clubman, including an electric parking brake, full electric seat adjustment and the optional MiniYours Interior Styles with backlit door bezels. Its launch was closely followed by the introduction of the Clubman ALL-4, the brand’s first all-wheel drive model, in 2016.

In 2023, the Clubman was celebrated with the launch of The Final Edition. Offered with a fixed specification, this model featured an edition-specific Shimmer Copper radiator grille and side scuttles, 18” Final Edition Spoke 2-tone alloy wheels and exclusive ‘Final Edition’ letting on the rear. Limited to just 1,969 units, the Final Edition paid homage to the launch year of the original.

As the Clubman’s half-century journey draws to a close, an electrifying new chapter begins with the continued launch of the new Mini family. Following the debut of the all-electric MiniCooper and new MiniCountryman, 2024 promises to be another exciting year for MINI.