MINI Has Made Its Final Clubman (For Now At Least)

Over 550,000 units of this barn-doored long-roofed MINI has been made since its 2007 nameplate revival. 

While news of its imminent demise has long since been foreshadowed already, with MINI even releasing what it dubbed as the Final Editions recently, the day has nevertheless come for the last Clubman to roll off the assembly line at the automaker’s Oxford plant in the UK. 

Now for those MINI nerds out there, the press photos regarding the very final Clubman to be made (thus far anyway) appears to be a regular Cooper S variant finished Indian Summer Red Metallic. This last-of-the-line car sent off in the obligatory group photography session joined by a blue R55 Cooper S Clubman to represent the first generation of this revived MINI nameplate, along with an original brown example from when this model moniker first appeared on a MINI back in 1969. 

MINI notes in its farewell to the Clubman for over 550,000 units of these long-roofed models to have been produced since its reintroduction in 2007, with that total production number to be bumped up to 1.1 million if the original hatchback bearing that moniker were to be included. Two generations of the Clubman was built during this modern era, with the expected multitude of special editions intertwined in between its 17 year production span too. 

Other fun facts to note about this particular model was for it to be the first MINI to ever be offered with four-wheel drive, in the form of the All-4 which debuted back in 2016. The Clubman also the first-ever MINI that was capable of legally seating 5, though there is also two-seat option in the form of the Clubvan (which MINI dubbed as the world’s first premium compact delivery van) that arrived in 2013. 

Of course, any farewell to the Clubman would not be complete without a discussion regarding its signature barn-doors on its rear. Reflecting on the integration of the Clubdoor, Lead Quality Engineer, Guy Elliott, explained that making it work was actually a bit of a farce: “We needed to ensure that both doors would always open fully without obscuring the rear lights, which was a legal requirement. Achieving this required fine tuning and developing the gas strut system to ensure the doors functioned correctly in all climatic conditions”.  

Looking forward, the Countryman will serve as a replacement to the Clubman. This decision on which model to keep by MINI was made rather easier as the automaker sold twice as many of these jacked-up crossover-styled MINIs as its low-slung long-roofed counterparts last year. 

Those who want something slightly more compact meanwhile can await the imminent arrival of the Aceman instead. It has to be noted too that role of this since-retired nameplate to also be superseded somewhat in the past already by the presence of the MINI 5-door, which incidentally will live on in the automaker’s upcoming electrified era.

Just delving back into the MINI lore a bit more here, the Clubman name was originally featured on the facelifted original Mini that came with a squared-off front end, with the traveller or Countryman moniker instead being used to denote the long-roofed versions of the original hatchback. During the initial revival however, BMW did not initially purchase the rights to use those names, and so decided to call its newly-launched long-roof the Clubman, which was a name it did own rights to. 

Joshua Chin

Automotive journalist. Professional work on and Personal writing found at Instagram: @driveeveryday

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