Eye-catching Miglia racer’s low ride height and super stiff suspension give it incredible cornering ability. Inside, carbon fibre dash and modern race instruments provide a touring car feel.
It may have been conceived as economical and affordable transport, but the Mini’s excellent handling meant it was also a hit in the world of motorsport. The rally exploits of the little Brit are legendary, and it was equally successful on the track.
Despite its tiny power output, the Mini won the British Touring Car Championship in 1961 and 1962. These giant-killing antics made it a favourite with race fans. While it was blown away by bigger cars on the straights, the Mini would out-corner its rivals, to the delight of the crowds.
The fun factor behind the wheel meant amateur competitors flocked to race Minis, too. A one-make Mini Seven Series arrived in 1966, and the more powerful Mini Miglia Series followed in 1970. Today, both these formulas continue to thrive, thanks to their winning combination of great racing and manageable running costs.
The Miglia racer appears to be no more than a sporty version of the other Minis in our line-up. But take a look inside, and the seam-welded roll cage, carbon fibre dash and modern race instruments reveal that it’s more akin to a miniature touring car than an everyday runabout.
Powered by a 1,293cc A-Series engine, it produced around 130bhp, which, allied to a tiny kerbweight of 660kg, means it can blast from 0-60mph in only 4.5 seconds. And despite having four gears, it’s still capable of a 125mph top speed.
The tiny 10-inch wheels are shod in slick Dunlop tyres and sit proud of the bodywork, while bulging plastic wheelarches cover them. And with its ultra-stiff suspension and low ride height, the taut Miglia hops around, carrying huge speed through corners.
The distinctive whine of the straight-cut gears is a famous racing Mini trait, and meant our stunning blue Miglia sounded great as it lapped the track for these pictures.
In this review
- 1IntroductionWe rank and rate the best and worst in exclusive 12-car shoot-out.
- 2Ex-Works Monte Carlo Rally MiniMonte Carlo Cooper was specially kitted out for endurance rallying, and boasts additional dials and controls. It still wears competition stickers with pride.
- 3Original Mini Minor (1959)Superb packaging gives space for four adults, although seats are tiny. Practical touches have become design classics, while on-road experience is sheer fun.
- 4MINI Cooper MkI (2001)With comfortable, well equipped cabin, 2001 car is a world away from original, although its retro styling both inside and out remains faithful to forebear.
- 5MINI JCW World Championship 50Special-edition JCW 50 pays tribute to F1 title-winning team of 1959 and bears the signature of racing legend John Cooper. It also features raft of racy upgrades.
- 6Clubman Mini 1275 GTReworked Mini GT clubman has boxy nose, 1,275cc powerplant, a more luxurious cabin and fresh instruments.
- 7Mini ClubmanFunky Clubman builds on Sixties’ rear barn-door set-up With a unique side arrangement to allow easy access for those in the back. Attention to design and engineering detail is true to original car’s revolutionary concept.
- 8Mini TravellerMinimalist, Colour-coded interior and dependable if diminutive engine give estate all the charm of the standard mini, but Traveller’s larger boot and barn-style rear doors ensure added practicality and versatility.
- 9MINI GP WorksHigh-performance Works gp ensured the first-generation new MINI went out in style, thanks to sporty body mods, stripped-out cabin and potent powerplant.
- 10Mini MkII (1967)It may have been touted as all-new, but 1967 MkII still features spartan principles of its predecessor, including sliding windows, simple door handles and a basic dash
- 11Mini Miglia - currently readingEye-catching Miglia racer’s low ride height and super stiff suspension give it incredible cornering ability. Inside, carbon fibre dash and modern race instruments provide a touring car feel.
- 12Rover Mini CooperModel shares the same cramped driving position as the original, and familiar Cooper badging ensures it looks the part.
- 13ERA Mini TurboWith potent engine and sporty modifications, ERA MINI Turbo had all the ingredients for success, but appeal of fastest classic variant was hit by recession and sold in small numbers.