The MINI Clubman

Get used to it. Chances are this won’t be the last time you hear the name.

Several sources are now telling us that MINI is very close to finalizing use of the Clubman moniker with the 2008 long wheel base MINI. While there are some copyright issues to deal with, we’re told they are tame in comparison to the ones that “Traveller” would entail.

For those know a thing or two about MINI history, Clubman might not seem like an appropriate name at first for an extended wheelbase MINI (aka the R55). However Rover did produce a Clubman Estate which does give the name some historical relevance. Originally the Mini Clubman was intended to replace the up-market Riley and Wolseley versions. The Clubman versions offered better crash safety, more equipment, and engine access, but were decidedly more expensive. Ironically the flatfront Clubmans were discontinued in 1980 in favor of the Austin Metro while the classic round Mini shape continued on until the year 2000.

For those curious about all those great recommendations MotoringFile readers gave MINI on potential names, we’ve been promised that they were indeed read by quite a few folks at MINI. Whether or not anything from the comments were actually considered we don’t know. Nevertheless the suggestions are a great read and a good example of the general creativeness of MINI owners. You can check out that story and the comments (all 183) here.


[ MotoringFile R55 Section ] MotoringFile [ The Mini Clubman History ] Unofficial Austin Rover Resource
  • Nathaniel Salzman

    Even if the Clubman is not an exact descendant, it’s good to see that MINI will continue to tip its hat to the past. The heritage of these little cars adds so much to their appeal. I like to think of my MCS like a good thoroughbred horse with lots of great Rover and BMW pedigree. As names go, not my favorite, bit I like that it’s a nod to the MINI’s breeding.

  • Mark

    VERY glad to see that BMW is making the effort to keep the tradition and heritage of the MINI line in the new MINI family. It may look like a small point to some, but it is HUGE to MINI fans. And to me, as the new Clubman will be my next MINI.

  • Jack07734


    Thanks for sneaking in a non GP/MTTS news item. I was begining to wonder if there was any other MINI news out there.

    Cheers, Jack

  • Good news about the new clubman!

    The old clubman was a great car and I am not sure if Gabe has tried to sneak in some homour regarding the fact that in its day the clubman was considered to have better crash protection!

  • Alan Ashcroft

    I had a Mini clubman 1275GTS in 1985… my first car. They were only ever made in South Africa (where I am) and Australia. If the new clubman takes anything from that name it will be an awesome car. 🙂

  • Frank

    The President of our local club, Minis of Miami, has a beautifully restored 1973 Clubman Estate (Wagon) that she calls “Stogie”.

    Take a look under the “members” section:

  • Frank

    Some pictures from our last Minis of Miami event….Scroll over to see Sharon’s 1973 Mini Clubman Estate:

  • j

    next i wanna see a moke!

  • Frank

    I don’t like Mokes. Butt ugly cars. Sure they have an interesting “charm” of their own but I am not sure if MINI should go in that direction.

    I much prefer a MINI pick-up instead.

  • Frank

    In regards to the chosen name, I think Clubman is the most appropiate moniker for the upcoming extended wheelbase MINI. Either that or MINI “R55” but then again you don’t want to name a MINI like if it were a Mercedes AMG vehicle.

    Of all names suggested, I think Clubman continues to be the most relevant of them all.

  • SB

    I never really cared for the Clubman name as it somehow solicits the vision of a station wagon in my mind (maybe that’s just their desire). Never took a liking to the Walkman name either … and it seemed to experience some slight degree of success in the 70’s and 80’s … so what do I know. Clubman does have a nice sort of retro ring to it, which I think keeps MINI well grounded in it’s storied past … and that’s a good thing!

  • Jon

    I am happy that Mini decided on a historically significant name for the R55. I think that the Clubman name is totally appropriate for the R55. For this decision by mini I cheer their efforts.

  • In regards to the chosen name, I think Clubman is the most appropiate moniker for the upcoming extended wheelbase MINI. Either that or MINI “R55″ but then again you don’t want to name a MINI like if it were a Mercedes AMG vehicle. Of all names suggested, I think Clubman continues to be the most relevant of them all.

    I disagree that this name is the most relevant, for the exact reasons Gabe has given in the story itself; Clubman never meant “long wheel base” in the Mini’s past. Traveller is more relevant, as is Countryman.

    Having said that, I am inclined to soften my opinion because of the supposed problems with acquiring the Traveller name (and I can imagine “Countryman” doesn’t go very well with the cheeky image the marketing department has given Mini). After all, Clubman is referring back to Mini history, if not in the most accurate way. It’s still miles better than if they would have gone for BMW vocabulary (Touring).

    All in all, not the best outcome imaginable, but acceptable 😉

  • Bill Lawrence


    Now I know what to call my next car. Clubman has a nice cheesy British ring to it. It has a whole heck of a lot more character than the usual alphanumeric soup that we get with other cars.

    Clubman can be interpreted 2 different ways: Country Club Man or Night Club Man. Overall, I like it!

    Way to go MINI. I’m getting as excited about my next MINI as I was my 2003 MINI!

  • dark06mcs

    i cant wait to see the first add with a club sandwich reference. you heard it here first!

  • Dave

    Now my recollection of the Clubman name (I grew up in the UK) was the ghastly hack job done to the front end of the car (grill, bonnet and lights). The name has no good nostalgic connotations for me. Still, I guess now BMW has a chance to fix that!

  • Dave

    reminded me of the allegro front end (yuk!)

  • DaveK

    So will these be available towards the end of 07 or beginning of 08? I am torn between the 07 and the clubman.

  • Crashton

    Well I think I’m going to call it the TRAVELER anyway. Or maybe the Clubman Traveler. 😉 I’m looking forward to see one in the flesh. Guess I’ll have to wait a bit.

  • O(=^=)O Capn
    Clubman can be interpreted 2 different ways: Country Club Man or Night Club Man. Overall, I like it!

    Night Club Man! I dig it! Rock on Bill!


    Austin Allegro, going through something of a rennaisance at the moment I believe. My fathers first four wheel drive, lime green, great fun family car.

    Dave I bet it didn’t have the bird pulling power you required?

  • Mike

    The Clubman will be my next MINI, adding a more compatible garage-mate for my 2002 Cooper than my Scion xB.

  • Vanwall


  • Demelza
    it’s good to see that MINI will continue to tip its hat to the past.

    I don’t know. All they do is profit from the history. They want nothing to do with the classic Mini, they just want their history. If they would only put a little money in the machines of British Motor Heritage which they use to produce panels for the Classic Mini… If showing of wasn’t the only thing they did, but show they really care for the history… Still think that’s a shame.

  • Bwana Yak

    I now have an AWD turbo-diesel Clubman on my Christmas list for ’08!

  • Greg W

    Anyone want to buy a mint Clubman Estate and have it shipped from New Zealand? This will be a collectors car and very valuable.

  • Greg W

    Yep, I’ll go with Clubman for new MINI. For heritage sake. Then they can add extra appendages like GT (grand tourismo).

  • Greg W

    And more… Rover made Clubmans? Er…not quite correct. Here is the history; 1. Austin and Morris combine and become BMC (British Motor Corporation). 1952 2. Restructuring now called BMH (British Motor Holdings). 1966. 2. BMH gets restructured British Leyland and now becomes BLMC. 1968 3. BLMC becomes BLMH (British Leyland Motor Holdings). 4. BLMH restructed. Becomes Austin Rover Group. 5. Austin Rover group becomes Rover Group 1987. 6. Rover Group gets bought by BMW. 7. BMW makes MINI a brand, not a model.

    The Countryman/Estate was only made by Leyland, not Rover.

    source British Motor Heritage Trust catalogue.

  • Bruce
    … BMW makes MINI a brand, not a model…

    Actually, Mini became a separate brand for marketing purposes back in 1970.

    Here’s a link to a couple of magazine ads during the British Leyland years showing the Mini listed as the brand.

    No mention of Austin or Morris by this time (even though Minis were sold at Austin or Morris dealerships). In markets outside of the UK, (e.g. France, Canada) the Mini continued to be sold as an “Austin”, but for its home market in the UK, from about 1970 onwards, it was simply Mini – a car and a brand. Sometimes Austin-Rover, or just plain Rover crept into the advertising, but Mini continued to exist as a separate brand.

  • R53

    really horrible. it is nightmare already. why mini does’t want to join WRC? I am waiting for AWD 300ps MINI.


  • R53

    I want BMW to sell MINI brand then HONDA should buy MINI brand and sell type R version. LOL

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  • gaztronic

    clubman hmmmmmm. what rubbish. If you look at the photo’s of the clubman at the top of the page you will notice that it had the un popular square front produced from 1969 to 1980 the only decent clubman was the gt 1275 and it was only called this as cooper had disasosiated itsself from British leyalnd and wouldn’t concent to their brand on the car. If BMW produce a square front mini then yes youse the name if not follow the history and use countryman or traveller. putting the clubman name on the car might doom it to the original models failure.

  • gaztronic

    The mini was never used as the brand. from new in 1959 it was sold as the Morris mini minor and the Austin seven. then both companys started to use just mini. Durnig the 1970’s the mini wore the Leyaland L and then in the 1980’s after sale by leyland ( government owned) to british aero space it became part of Austin Rover later just Rover at no time in the history of the original mini was it a brand. Later badges just said Mini or Mini cooper but it was always listed on dvla Uk log books a Rover mini or Rover mini cooper.

  • ichor

    they can put whatever they want on the badge, i think we should all still refer to it as the “traveller”. it will be the mark of us proper afficionados. it’s the MINI Traveller, we all know it to be true.

  • The Mini clubman has a great following in the UK. They are obviously out numbered by the original roundnose version due to the number produced. If you think the clubman pictures at the top of the page are horrible, check out the purple clubman on the following link Purple Mini Clubman

    Its in the third row, click it for a larger image.

    What do you think?

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  • rebecca mini owner

    as a woman who loves cars, clubman is back to the stoneage. I am all about clubbing men but get a good idea here. I am also all about heritage, but clubman is wrong compared to what the name could be. travelor or traveler or motorer or anything but clubman. there are great ideas that were just given to them. Even Estate or Rover would be fantastically forward and not backward as clubman.

  • Wenli Chen

    Is Mini Cooper Car British Car?

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  • Roddaz

    Hey they cant call that a Mini Clubman because The Real mini clubmans ALL had square fronts but this is a round nose ??? and this one is more like a mini Van ???

    I would love to see a “NEW MINI CLUBMAN” as long as it had a square front like the old ones – Why is MINI just churning out variations of the same style?

    And to whoever mentioned the idea of a “NEW MINI MOKE” and “PICKUP” – What a great Idea! I think BMW could do a good impression of the Wolseley Hornet Mini too! There is More To the name MINI than just Coopers.

  • will_89