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morris mini-minor

Morris Mini-Minor - 226

page last updated: 22 February 2017

 


 

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Another keystone of the Sixties Corgi range - the BMC Mini. There was the basic Morris (like this one), the Austin and all the Cooper and Rally variants, never mind the Pop-Art ones and Wicker jobs, this casting must have paid for its self many times over.

Corgi released the Morris Mini Minor in 1960 and it remained in production up to 1968 during which time many millions of pieces were produced. It is most commonly found in pale blue with red or yellow seats. It is also seen in dark red, yellow and in lilac, Ramsay mentions a red version, but I suspect this is the Austin (225). Early cars have flat turned wheel hubs, migrating to spun hubs and later models will have cast spokes.

The prize version is the Jensen's promotional version which is worth well into four figures, of the core production versions look for pale blue or lilac with spun hubs and red seats or yellow bodywork in any variant. Cast hub versions tend to be more desirable than turned or spun hubs.

The re-photo project has revealed to me that these toys are not all the same. There are at least two very distinct castings. This is genuinely the first time I've spotted this in nearly 50 years of familiarity with Corgi Minis. The early casting has a thinner C pillar and a more prominent 'bum'. The newer one has a horizontal ridge in the casting on the front wing and more pointed indicator lamps. In fact they are completely differently modelled toys, every panel and window aperture is different. The one thing they have in common is that in neither case did they get the back end right.

There appear to be three 'families' of the saloon casting. My early 226, my Austin Seven, Competition models, Wicker and 1965 Monte Carlo are all similar, given that the Austin grille and jewelled lights drive their own differences. The ones with six jewels are later casting which is slightly wider and has a taller windscreen, they also have rally front seats and recovery gear where the back seats should be. The later 226's and the 'civilian' Whizzwheels are also similar, except for the flares on the wheel arches. Thirteen models in my collection (at the time of writing) which appear on the surface to be the same all have their own characteristics.

Looking at my collection the early Morris Mini and Austin 7, the Competition models, the Wicker Mini and the first Monte Carlo mini are on the old casting. The cast wheel models, later Monte Carlos, Sun Rally and Whizzwheels models are on the new one. I wonder why they changed it. Obviously the Magnifique was a newly modelled car and to be fair it was the Mini Mk2 which was a different car, the vans and Countryman were new models too - bigger slightly. Add to this the Austin/Morris grille differences early on and the flared arches on the Whizzwheels models and you get a lot of different castings on this apparently homogenous set of model cars.

The picture at the  bottom is one of Chris Davidson's and a fantastic rarity. It is a 'Jensens' model. One of a batch made for a department store in Denmark. These make hens teeth look common. It is super-rare and super-valuable. When Chris sent me the picture I looked around the internet and saw one for sale on a dealer's site. It had the highest price tag of any Corgi I have ever seen. It was worth more than six times its own weight in gold, seriously.

I don't have a really early flat wheel model, the lilac one on the right is from the early/mid sixties with the turned wheels. The dark red and pale blue ones are later releases with cast wheels. I snapped the three versions of 226 and all my Minis at the time the picture was taken, 31 of them, there are over 100 now. Besides loads of Corgis there are a smattering of Dinkys and a lone Vanguard.


Dark red, cast spoked hubs, yellow seats     Pale lilac, spun hubs, red seats    
Morris Mini-Minor - 226 Morris Mini-Minor - 226 Morris Mini-Minor - 226     Morris Mini-Minor - 226 Morris Mini-Minor - 226 Morris Mini-Minor - 226    
Morris Mini-Minor - 226 Morris Mini-Minor - 226 Morris Mini-Minor - 226     Morris Mini-Minor - 226 Morris Mini-Minor - 226 Morris Mini-Minor - 226    
Morris Mini-Minor - 226 Morris Mini-Minor - 226 Morris Mini-Minor - 226     Morris Mini-Minor - 226 Morris Mini-Minor - 226 Morris Mini-Minor - 226    
Morris Mini-Minor - 226 Morris Mini-Minor - 226 Morris Mini-Minor - 226     Morris Mini-Minor - 226 Morris Mini-Minor - 226 Morris Mini-Minor - 226    
Pale blue, red seats, cast spoked hubs    

Pale blue, red seats, spun hubs

   
Morris Mini-Minor - 226 Morris Mini-Minor - 226 Morris Mini-Minor - 226     Morris Mini-Minor - 226 Morris Mini-Minor - 226 Morris Mini-Minor - 226    
Morris Mini-Minor - 226 Morris Mini-Minor - 226 Morris Mini-Minor - 226     Morris Mini-Minor - 226 Morris Mini-Minor - 226 Morris Mini-Minor - 226    
Morris Mini-Minor - 226 Morris Mini-Minor - 226 Morris Mini-Minor - 226     Morris Mini-Minor - 226 Morris Mini-Minor - 226 Morris Mini-Minor - 226    
Morris Mini-Minor - 226 Morris Mini-Minor - 226 Morris Mini-Minor - 226     Morris Mini-Minor - 226 Morris Mini-Minor - 226 Morris Mini-Minor - 226    
Morris Mini-Minor - 226         Morris Mini-Minor - 226        
Rare 'Jensens' Version                  
                 

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