Thursday 26 January 2023

Mini vans and Mini-vans

[Updated 27 January 2023]

A nice Mini van arrived today and I also noticed someone asking questions about this model in a Facebook Group.

You may well think that there really was just one 450 model in (a very accurate) utilitarian green but it turns out that there are quite a few to collect!

First, there are three grille types: plain, in body colour finish, painted silver and an Austin Countryman style as used for the 485 Surfing model.

Although I do like the look of the Countryman grille and you might think that a silver-painted one makes sense, neither are right. The real vans had no decoration at all, just holes in the front bodywork to let the air through!

Next there is that matter of spelling. It seems that Corgi were quite confused and you will find both AUSTIN MINI VAN and AUSTIN MINI-VAN on the base. Both seem pretty easy to find so I can't say which is the less or more common.

A factory error has also produced a 450 Mini van with a 485 Mini Countryman base but I haven't seen one myself yet.

As for the Austin Mini Countryman, Corgi did, at least settle on dropping the hyphen and every one that I have seen has had AUSTIN MINI COUNTRYMAN. Well, apart from one, that is, which has AUSTIN MINI VAN!!

I have to admit that I have only now noticed that one! I need to change the price for that one quickly before I publish this or someone will get a bargain as I imagine this is quite a scarce one!

Elsewhere with the Countryman you'll find most models have shaped wheels but some less common later issues had cast wheels.

Then there is the last oddity - the Countryman without a fuel filler cap! All but one of the 485 models I have heard about have the correct Austin countryman grille which is painted silver. The one oddity, just advised to me today, is one with shaped wheels, no fuel filler cap and a body-coloured grille! Table updated below.

The Police Mini Van, 448, also has both MINI VAN and MINI-VAN bases and, I believe, there are a few factory error MINI COUNTRYMAN bases out there too. However the grilles are all the same, painted variety and not even silver  painted grilles seem to have appeared - in my experience, at any rate.

You'll find shaped wheels and cast wheels, as for the Austin Mini Countryman.

So if you thought your collection was complete, here's what should be out there . . .

MINI VAN base normal grille
MINI VAN base silver grille
MINI VAN base Countryman grille
MINI-VAN base normal grille
MINI-VAN base silver grille
MINI-VAN base Countryman grille

MINI VAN base shaped wheels
MINI VAN base cast wheels
MINI-VAN base shaped wheels
MINI-VAN base cast wheels
COUNTRYMAN base shaped wheels
COUNTRYMAN base cast wheels

COUNTRYMAN base shaped wheels
COUNTRYMAN base shaped wheels no fuel filler
COUNTRYMAN base shaped wheels no fuel filler, unpainted grille
COUNTRYMAN base cast wheels
COUNTRYMAN base cast wheels no fuel filler?
MINI VAN base shaped wheels
MINI VAN base cast wheels?

The ? indicates that I am not aware of these so someone send me some photos if they have one.

I also think that there may well be 450 models with the Police 448 window unit. Plenty to look out for!

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