New R50 MINI comes to Longbridge....

New R50 MINI comes to Longbridge....

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mab01uk

Original Poster:

45 posts

139 months

Friday 22nd November 2013
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First R50 Body Built in 1999


Early R50 Built at Longbridge (Methods Build 1999)

New Rover MINI comes to Longbridge.
That was the Plan, although in the end it never happened........

The general BMW plan for the Rover Group was that Cowley, renamed Oxford would produce the large cars, with Longbridge, becoming Birmingham which would produce the small and medium.

Rover Birmingham (Longbridge) needed to undergo major restructuring to prepare for the launch of R50 (new MINI) in the year 2000. In order to create a world class manufacturing facility for the production of the new Mini, Rover needed to replace existing old buildings with new factories, designed to accommodate modern machinery and equipment.

More details of the original Factory development plans for R50 MINI production here:
Longbridge New Mini R50

mab01uk

Original Poster:

45 posts

139 months

Friday 22nd November 2013
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R53 MINI Cooper S Prototype photos












John Cooper unveils the new MINI Cooper


mab01uk

Original Poster:

45 posts

139 months

Friday 22nd November 2013
quotequote all
Media preview of the new MINI on the eve of the Frankfurt Motor Show in September 1997. Almost a hoax as it was a "skin prototype" based on the modified platform, engine and running gear of a Fiat Punto! It successfully diverted publicity at the show from the arrival of the new Mercedes A-Class and Smart cars.This news clip includes an interview with the late John Cooper.

MINI Cooper Prototype Preview 1997 - YouTube

Interviews with Nick Stephenson (Rover Group Design Director) and John Cooper at the 1997 Frankfurt Motor Show Preview of the New MINI. With BMW investment the MINI (R50) project was being designed and developed by Rover Engineers at Gaydon with production planned for the Longbridge factory.........

New MINI Preview with John Cooper Interview - YouTube

Mike Brewer introduces the New 'Rover' MINI to the Classic Mini just before the 2001 Launch, on the Channel 4 Motoring programme 'Driven'.

Driven New MINI Launch - YouTube

mab01uk

Original Poster:

45 posts

139 months

Friday 22nd November 2013
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John Cooper pictured below with a classic Mini Cooper and an early prototype of the New MINI Cooper in August 1998.


mab01uk

Original Poster:

45 posts

139 months

Friday 22nd November 2013
quotequote all
The New R50 MINI as featured in 'The Engineer' magazine back in October 2000:








mnkiboy

4,409 posts

146 months

Monday 25th November 2013
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This appeals to the geek in me! Interesting info, i'll have a read through all the links tonight when i'm home.

mab01uk

Original Poster:

45 posts

139 months

Wednesday 27th November 2013
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Interesting discovery came to light last week on the MINI forums.....an R50/53 Rover MINI Prototype.

I have a Strange / 1 off Mini
Hi, all
Aquired this Mini shell today. It was a pre production Mini made by Rover. The glass has Rover on it. The headlights are very different. As far as I know this was a test car and was then stripped and sent to a company to test the door seals. It had a machine attached to the door which opened and closed it.
I have a Strange / 1 off Mini - MINI Cooper Forum - MINI2 Mini Cooper Forums


mab01uk

Original Poster:

45 posts

139 months

Wednesday 27th November 2013
quotequote all
More pictures of what could be the oldest and only pre-production prototype Rover R50/53 MINI left in existence as recently discovered, since being dry-stored in 1999, unless of course you know different......spot the differences?

Note the shape of the side vent holes in the A panels with seperate round repeater holes, different headlights and added R53 bonnet bulge which all match the Rover Longbridge MINI prototype photos earlier in this thread.
Also has an early pre-production version of R53 Cooper S fuel cap.

MINI on ebay:
VERY RARE & COLLECTIBLE PRE PRODUCTION PROTOTYPE ROVER / BMW MINI ONLY 1 LEFT ?? | eBay












mab01uk

Original Poster:

45 posts

139 months

Thursday 28th November 2013
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Interesting reply on the Mk1 Mini Forum:
mk1-forum.net • View topic - Rover shut down

[quote="Blue Mk2"]I was working at longbridge in 1997/8 and was asked if I wanted to look at one of the new minis in 'methods' building, It was very interesting and the spec list read from something out of a bmw 7 series options list!

you have to remember that the New MINI was a risk and a lot of people thought they'd never sell a 12k mini to anyone! 200,000 a year proved that wrong but at the time...

I seem to remember that early cars had the indicator repeater green light in the stalk , now where have I seen that before?

it quickly got deleted (shame) and just the alarm was on the other stalk , I think,

anyhow we built the first R53 s with battery in the boot etc and with hand mod'd bonnet as per photo above and by the following Wednesday there was a picture in Autocar ! redface

there was also an R3 Rover 200 with 'S' running gear which used to fly around

what are your plans with it , I cant imagine there are any others and process is to scrap em , maybe they forgot about this one!
[/quote]

mab01uk

Original Poster:

45 posts

139 months

Monday 2nd December 2013
quotequote all
John Cooper pictured in August 1998 inside the secure viewing garden in the Rover Gaydon Design Centre with one of the first MINI Cooper prototypes to be completed.
Note the snap-action fuel filler cap - which would not be adopted on the production R50 MINI Cooper. Rover design was always unhappy about that deletion.......however a different but similar style fuel cap did appear later on the R53 MINI Cooper S launched in 2002.



The early Rover style snap-action fuel cap fitted on the recently discovered MINI prototype......


Wozy68

5,268 posts

150 months

Wednesday 1st January 2014
quotequote all
mab01uk said:

First R50 Body Built in 1999


Early R50 Built at Longbridge (Methods Build 1999)

New Rover MINI comes to Longbridge.
That was the Plan, although in the end it never happened........

The general BMW plan for the Rover Group was that Cowley, renamed Oxford would produce the large cars, with Longbridge, becoming Birmingham which would produce the small and medium.

Rover Birmingham (Longbridge) needed to undergo major restructuring to prepare for the launch of R50 (new MINI) in the year 2000. In order to create a world class manufacturing facility for the production of the new Mini, Rover needed to replace existing old buildings with new factories, designed to accommodate modern machinery and equipment.

More details of the original Factory development plans for R50 MINI production here:
Longbridge New Mini R50
Very interesting and such a shame the actual outcome.

I'm sure I read somewhere that Gordon Brown then chancellor refused to offer a Grant towards the modernisation of Longbridge when BMW asked for it (after they had spent so much money already on their English Patient) ..... and this was part of the reason they moved all to Cowley and put Rover up for sale?

RacingBlue

1,369 posts

144 months

Wednesday 1st January 2014
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Good series of articles - shows what a great piece of design the original R50/53 was. Shame in their later incarnations the design became more and more caricatured until we ended up with this monstrosity:


DEANO87

832 posts

152 months

Wednesday 1st January 2014
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Interesting reading. Thanks for sharing.

Burridge1

3 posts

67 months

Sunday 8th January 2017
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Any updates on this prototype? Details of what the buyer did with it etc? Really interesting thread. I read the "new mini" by graham Robson book and it showed some R50 Mini's with this body and the same headlights and side vents, but no sign of the R53 in there until the end where it said about the arrival of the cooper S coming in 2002, but told it asif it was being designed AFTER the finished One and Cooper models, although it looks as though they were being developed at the same time!

Also the supercharger horn and intercooler is different on that prototype to the production model??

Edited by Burridge1 on Sunday 8th January 20:51

amgmcqueen

3,062 posts

130 months

Tuesday 10th January 2017
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It staggers me to think that the original BMW R50/53 MINI is approaching 20 years old?!

Still looks so good!

GiveItSomeWellie

2,917 posts

176 months

Wednesday 11th January 2017
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Burridge1 said:
Any updates on this prototype?
I haven't heard anything, I'm still miffed that I got outbid on it frown