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About the Innocenti

The following text has been taken from a truly amazing book by John Parnell called "Original Mini Cooper and Cooper S - The restorer's Guide". All credit must go to him and I urge you to purchase this book if you have interest in knowing every- and anything about a Mini Cooper! It is published by Bay View Books  from MBI Publishing Company.

John Parnell covers the Innocenti Mini and gives us a detailed explanation on all the differences and unique features on this Italian Mini. I have not included the entire text but only the first and last parts of his introduction which has the necessary information and covers the most urgent question you might have: What exactly is an Innocenti Mini and why was is so good?

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  "Following the success of the Italian built Innocenti Mini 850, introduced in November 1965, senior management at Innocenti were quick to identify a growing market for small sporting cars in Italy, especially as the competition victories chalked up by Mini Coopers had given the car a following across Europe. However, UK built versions were extremely expensive in Italy compared with home-grown equivalents like the Alfa Romeo 1300GTm so Innocenti decided to build its own Mini Coopers. The decision to make the 998cc Cooper instead of the 1275cc Cooper S was the result of Italy's car taxation structure and the spiralling cost of fuel and insurance premiums, all of which suggested that demand for the larger-engined car would not be strong enough.
  The March 1966 launch date for the new car is easily verified by the UK production records, which show that the first batch of cars left Longbridge on 19 February 1966. These were in the form of Completely Knocked Down (CKD) units which were then assembled under license at Innocenti's enormous plant to the east of Milan. For economic reasons, many of the components used were locally sourced. The most notable were interior and exterior trim, some of the electrical equipment, various body pressings, wheels, tyres and glass. The engines and transmissions all came from the Coventry engine plant, but they were built to Innocenti's specification..."

  "...Having spent so much time studying the Innocenti Mini Coopers, I have become impressed by the styling ingenuity and foresight of those who built them. In terms of build quality and level of equipment, these Mini Coopers were second to none. What is more, each model was noticeably better and more refined than its predecessor. If many of the excellent ideas incorporated in the Innocenti Minis had been adopted on the UK models, there is little doubt that the effects on sales would have been enormous. One can only lament that this did not happen."

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