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The Differences in the Morris & Austin Mini Coopers

Updated April 17, 2017

The modern-day Mini is known as the James Bond car or Austin Powers vehicle of choice. This tiny yet powerful vehicle was derived from the U.K.'s Austin Mini and Morris Mini cars that were, in fact, created in response to the 1956 Suez Canal Crisis, which drove up fuel prices. Sir Alec Issigonis was determined to create a small and powerful car that would rival the larger cars of the day. Over the next three years he worked on his design and in 1959 presented the Austin Mini and Morris Mini to the U.K. Although the Austin and Morris shared much in common, the Morris Mini-Minor was known for its lesser design. There are some details that are known to collectors and classic car aficionados.

Dates of Production

The Austin Mini and Morris Mini were first launched in the U.K. in 1959. There were design changes and engine improvements over the years to both models, but it's important to note that the Austin and Morris label merged into the current name of the Mini in 1969 in the U.K. The Morris Mini K was produced in Australia and restricted to sales in that market. It was produced until 1970. The dates of production of the Morris Mini are considered to be 1959-1969. All cars after that date are considered to be Minis.

Seat Design

Morris seats were set in black and black-fleck upholstery. The stitching on the seat created one central flute that ran from front to back. Austin seats were in upholstery coloured of red, blue or flecked pattern. The stitching on the seat created multiple thin flutes that ran from front to back. Later on the Austin seats took on a pattern of welded flutes but the Morris stitching patterns remained the same.

Speedometer Design

The Morris Mini speedometer was created with a clear glass face and a silver needle design while the speedometer of the Austin Mini had a cream-coloured glass design with a red needle.

Companion Box Liner

The original Morris Minis included cardboard liners in the rear companion box while Austin Minis had the typical flat liners in the companion box. The companion box was located on the left and right rear passenger sides of the vehicle. Often these were transformed into ashtrays during this time period.

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About the Author

Kate Muir began her career in 2000 and has written corporate communications, largely in the field of arts and cultural policy. Her articles have been published in the "Toronto Star." Muir has a Bachelor of Arts, Honors, in political science and cultural policy.