Mk II Birth Date?

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Mk II Birth Date?

Post  cheleker on Thu Jan 27, 2011 8:40 pm

Some of you may have seen a similar post from me on other forums about other Mini types. Well, here's one for the Elf/Hornet crowd. Who can identify, for certain, when the Mk II Elfs and Hornets were first produced; were first announced; and were first available for sale?
Dates for these three different occurances are oten lost in the literature by such inexact words as, "available." I've seen dates quoted as early as November 1962 and as late as March 1963 with January in the middle.
It is unlikely that November is correct, but it is possible. I'm pretty certain of that month as being when the last of the Mk Is (of both) were produced. (Catmint, can you verify?) Starting Mk II production up the same month doesn't seem likely.
January 1963 may be the correct date for start of production with March being when they first went on sale. Who has the answer?

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Re: Mk II Birth Date?

Post  Alex on Thu Jan 27, 2011 9:06 pm

In true BMC tradition, I would expect the date to be somewhat blurred, inexact and many bitsas produced around that time.
I'd bet that there were a few 850s with twin leading shoe brakes, and 998s with singles for example - look at how many Mk3 Elfs were really 2½s.
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Re: Mk II Birth Date?

Post  cheleker on Thu Jan 27, 2011 9:18 pm

Catmint (Greg) and Lisa made the Gaydon trip, and as I understand it, were able to pin down the Mk I dates and production quantities. They may have the beginning production date from the official records for the Mk IIs, as well. There might be some variation in actual specifications (like the beginning of the Mk Is) but a production beginning date would still be nice.

As you mention, and I've always called them, the Mk IIIs are really more MK II 1/2 and Mk IIIs. The major changes of roll ups and dash ventilation started from the beginning, but because of the Mk IIIs starting before the rest of the Mk II Minis, the first Mk IIIs have some Mk I characteristics and only started to morph into the Mk III characteristics after the Mk II other Minis were in production. It's always interesting to talk with a Mk III owner who's only owned one and not seen (or paid attention) to others. They can be very certain that a Mk III never or always had a certain feature. Depends upon when the Mk III was built!

Let's try to get the Mk II dates pinned down, then we'll work on the much more complicated Mk IIIs!

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Re: Mk II Birth Date?

Post  TONYELF on Thu Jan 27, 2011 9:35 pm

My Mk 2 was built on 21st January 1964 if that helps?


Last edited by TONYELF on Fri Jan 28, 2011 2:13 am; edited 1 time in total

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Re: Mk II Birth Date?

Post  paulsminis on Thu Jan 27, 2011 11:53 pm

Chuck,

I have to presume that I have no sources you don't have. However, on the slim chance that you don't have Chris Rees' book, "Complete Classic Mini, 1959-2000", here's what he has:

For the Hornet:

November 1962: Mk I production ceased (final Chassis number W/A2S1 320621)

January 1963: Hornet Mk II introduced ...Chassis Number W/A2S2 367151

October 1966: Last Hornet MK II produced (Final Chassis Number W/A2S2 927472)... Mk III launched.

For Elf:

November 1962: Mk I production ceased....(final Chassis Number R/A2S1 310706)

January 1963: Elf Mk II introduced (Chassis Number R/A2S2 369601

October 1966: Last Elf Mk II produced (final Chassis Number R/A2S2 930221) Elf Mk III launched


I can see why one might find dates anywhere between November (when Mk I's stopped) and January or later when the Mk II's started. The November to January break between the two models sounds a bit suspicious -- but I would guess to change over from I to II there could have been some time, but the change over from II to III should have been a longer one, I would think.

cheers,

Paul
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Re: Mk II Birth Date?

Post  cheleker on Fri Jan 28, 2011 12:51 am

Paul, thanks.
Rees is one of the many sources I looked through. His November stop date for the Mk I seems good. We'll wait for confirmation from Greg. At least the wording is clear, as is his January 63, Mk II introduction date. But does "introduction" mean announced to the public, or available for the public to buy?
Golding says the Mk II "replaced" the Mk I in November 62, and Presnnell says that needed improvements in the MK I came about "in March 1963 [when] the two cars were ...given a single-carb 999cc engine".
Porter, in the "Production Modifications" section of his book, simply lists the Mk IIs as being in Jan/February 1963 and lists the chassis numbers as 369601/367151. This would support the Mk II as first produced (it's in the "Production" section) in January 1963. Armed with those numbers and knowing a friendly source at Gaydon, it would be nice to confirm those as the first Mk II numbers and to confirm they were produced in Jan/February 1963. Wish I was about nine hours closer.

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Re: Mk II Birth Date?

Post  paulsminis on Fri Jan 28, 2011 1:11 am

Chuck,

With all the "sources" out there, it's good that perhaps an agreement on chassis numbers between two sources points to a true statement. That, however, doesn't help with the dates, unfortunately. I remember talking with John Parnell when I was resident over there and I was fascinated by his stories of actually being able to spend hours/days/weeks pouring over the handwritten production books and all the confusion that resulted. It will take someone to make a similar effort to his with the documents.

Paul
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Re: Mk II Birth Date?

Post  catmint on Fri Jan 28, 2011 10:28 pm

We have had a look through our notes that we took when we spent a couple of days at Gaydon many moons ago, but we only really covered the MKI stuff upto june 62, after which we ran out of time and sanity.(even though I am sure we looked this up) Unfortunately we have never had chance to go back, though that is now on the cards since some family have moved to that area. I would take the dates in the books with a pinch of salt (no offense to the authors), as there have been a lot more info come to light since publication - I know JP was at one point considering a second edition due to the amount of new info that had come to light

Well that is another thing to add onto the list we need to research.

Charles - nine hours over to Gaydon is great - it takes us over four and we are on the same lump of rock !

Gordon (aka Greg)





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Re: Mk II Birth Date?

Post  catmint on Thu Mar 29, 2012 12:09 am

Ok I know it is some time since this subject was first aired, but we finally had chance to spend a bit of time in the archives yesterday. So the definitive answer to when the first MKII rolled off the line is 31 jan 63. it was a hornet (birch grey/yukon grey). It was the only one produced that day and was fitted with "New type engine" quote from the production page. The second car was an elf built on 6 feb 63 (birch grey/OEW), again a single car. The production run started the next day on the 7 feb 63

The chassis number quoted are correct for these two cars

Interestingly, both cars were not dispatched out to dealers until july of that year ?

Unfortunately we did not have time to sit down and look for the MKI end date, or to dig a bit deeper into other areas - yet !

Hope this clears up some myths

Gordon

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Re: Mk II Birth Date?

Post  paulsminis on Thu Mar 29, 2012 2:07 am

Gordon,

Thanks for passing along what you have gleaned from your research. I found it quite interesting the delay between actual production and being dispatched to dealers. Do you figure the reason for this could have been excess inventory of Mk Is? Was this during the time period that registration number changes took place in August every year, or is that before they started on that schedule? Not being a UK native, those facts haven't stuck in my mind.

Paul
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Re: Mk II Birth Date?

Post  catmint on Thu Mar 29, 2012 10:05 am

paulsminis wrote:Gordon,

Thanks for passing along what you have gleaned from your research. I found it quite interesting the delay between actual production and being dispatched to dealers. Do you figure the reason for this could have been excess inventory of Mk Is? Was this during the time period that registration number changes took place in August every year, or is that before they started on that schedule? Not being a UK native, those facts haven't stuck in my mind.

Paul

Not sure of the delay reason as the production run on from the 7th was dispatched within a few days. It could be that they went on display somewhere. I think the delay between the delay between the end of MkI and the start of MkII could have been to clear out excess MkI's as from a production point of view there are not that bigger differences really. The reg number change to a prefix was implemented on different dates in different areas, but it could be a side line to look into to see if there is any correlation

Gordon

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Re: Mk II Birth Date?

Post  cheleker on Thu Mar 29, 2012 6:08 pm

G,
Thanks for the new research! That pins down Mk I and MK II beginning of production dates. When first advertised and when first available for sale are harder to figure...and not as important.
Now, in your spare time, there is the mystery to be solved of the exact dates for beginning of Mk III production!

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Re: Mk II Birth Date?

Post  asahartz on Fri Mar 30, 2012 12:42 am

paulsminis wrote:Gordon,

Thanks for passing along what you have gleaned from your research. I found it quite interesting the delay between actual production and being dispatched to dealers. Do you figure the reason for this could have been excess inventory of Mk Is? Was this during the time period that registration number changes took place in August every year, or is that before they started on that schedule? Not being a UK native, those facts haven't stuck in my mind.

Paul

I couldn't be sure, but I've a feeling that they weren't fast sellers. Especially autos. It would be an explanation of why my 67 wasn't registered until 69 - I've not found any other explanation yet.
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