Innocenti Mini 0-8 T

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Keywords: Innocenti Mini 0-8 T
Description: There are certain objects so closely associated with a particular nation's character that you simply can't imagine them being produced anywhere else. Corn dogs, for example: I used to think of them

There are certain objects so closely associated with a particular nation's character that you simply can't imagine them being produced anywhere else. Corn dogs, for example: I used to think of them as a purely American affectation, until I was in South Korea and saw a red, robot-shaped vending machine selling them. I was alarmed, but I think in that moment, I grew up a little. Or maybe I lost my innocence. Or I bought my first corndog in Asia. I can't really remember, but something happened.

Today's Spotted in the Wild entry is likely to conjure up similar feelings in most folks. The Mini always sort of looked like a bulldog to me, and, like a bulldog, it's something of a symbol of Britain itself. All of the good things I associate with Britain--a sense of humor, a certain amount of determination and pluck and a somewhat-understated but distinctive style--you can see in any Mini.

When I saw this particular car and pulled over (in my own British car, as luck would have it), I was expecting to find just a nicely maintained BMC Mini. Then I saw the badge, and its distinctively non-British name: Innocenti. Yes, I was lucky enough to stumble upon a very rare (especially here in the United States) Mini built under license by the Italian firm Innocenti.

Innocenti built Minis (and Mini Coopers, like this one) from 1965-1974; starting in 1974, the Innocenti Mini became a BMC-type Mini chassis and drivetrain with an Innocenti-specific hatchback body. This one is, of course, from the earlier batch of normal-bodied Minis, and I'd peg the year at approximately 1972.

If the name Innocenti doesn't give it away as an Italian Mini clone, the olive green paint might. Photo by Jason Torchinsky

There are a few differences setting the Innocenti Minis apart from their Brit cousins. This one has vent quarter windows in the front, which no British Mini had (in the UK I suppose those windows would have mostly served to funnel rain into your face). There are also modified taillights that incorporate reversing lights, a cleaner, simpler grille, front indicator repeaters on the fenders, and a dash with five gauges instead of the Mini's traditional large single gauge. Also, there's the badging (duh), and the fact that it's left-hand drive. Other than that, this little guy seems to be pure Mini.

This particular example is in really remarkably good shape, and it's clear whoever owns it understands the little jewel they've got here. The olive green color is great, and a nice subtle reference to Italy, if you sit and think about it. It's immaculate without being so pristine you'd be afraid to drive it, a state that many folks would consider ideal for a classic car.



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