MINI K – A CLASSIC AUSTRALIAN MADE ICON.
By the late 1960s, the Mini had well and truly made its mark on the world. The small car had also won the hearts of many Australians – an impressive feat for a country with a love for bigger cars.
So it made sense that the Mini should get an Australian model.
It was unveiled in 1969 as the Mini K – a model that was built at BMC’s Zetland plant in Sydney from 80% Australian parts, a first for the country.
The Mini K was given its name after the kangaroo, and it’s been rumoured the reason was because of the animal’s ability to go all day without drinking, alluding to the model’s higher fuel capacity and range.
In any case, a kangaroo featured heavily both on the cars, with decals on each side, and in the Mini K’s advertising, which carried the slogan, ‘the great leap forward’.
Offered as both a two-door model and a van, it was the last round-nosed Mini to be produced in Australia.
It was also the first production Mini anywhere in the world with an 1100 engine.
Cam Cresswell owns what is considered by Mini fans to be an example of an extremely well-preserved Mini K van.
From the original factory stickers to the cardboard covers still in place behind the headlights, Cam has tried to keep his car as close as possible to how it would have been decades ago.
“I grabbed it because it was fairly original and I was keen to get my hands on it, because a lot of them have been modified,” Cam says.
“It’s had a few little touch ups over the years…but I have no interest in repainting it or restoring it.
“Anyone can paint [a car] but if you have something that’s original, and the way it was, that to me shows more value.”
Cam, whose love for collecting Minis was fostered by his family, says that while his “quirky” van was manufactured to be used as a commercial vehicle, it was never actually put to work.
It belongs to family of around 20 or so cars that Cam owns – some for parts, and around seven or eight ‘favourites’.
“I think I like [collecting them] because they’re so individual, you can change them to suit your life or your personality,” he says.
“There are so many options in terms of wheels and looks and styles…and I really like the way they drive.
“It’s definitely an addiction.”