The Mini Wildgoose.
There have been many unique Minis that have altered the base car in some way, but none more so than the cult classic Mini Wildgoose. This small motorhome gave a new meaning to the phrase “creative use of space” and allowed passengers to experience new horizons.
Although there are many people who may never have heard of the Mini Wildgoose, we believe the campervan deserves to be remembered and celebrated, if only for the sheer audacity of what it accomplished. It highlights why the Mini was voted one of the most influential cars of the 20th century (after the Model T Ford). It’s testament to the fact that the Mini not only changed the game in its original form, but inspired engineers, fans and coachbuilders alike to create their own special versions and interpretations based on the original.
One of the most unique and exciting examples of this is the Wildgoose, which was created by Wildgoose Ltd in the 1960s. The company set about creating a motorhome for adventurers who really wanted to push the envelope when it came to creative use of space. The type of adventurers the retro motorhome was aimed at were not exactly young adults dreaming of a classic 1960s road trip of self-discovery. They were thinking more about British pensioners, or as the brochure at the time put it: “Retired couples, who being freed from business, desire the carefree life. There is no more reasonable way of seeing the country or the Continent or the World in ‘comfort’ than by Wildgoose.”
The company actually sold three different versions of the car, with two featuring pop-up tents in the rear, while the third and most striking – “Brent” – had a telescopic roof that doubled headroom. During its production between 1963 and 1968 only about 60 Wildgooses (or Wildgeese) were produced, of which only about 10 survive to this day. Interestingly, while at the time the price of the complete vehicle was £998, there was also a conversion version available for £601. This less expensive DIY version allowed Mini owners to adapt their existing Mini Vans.
All three versions of the tiny camper are based on the BMC Mini Van – chosen for its reliability and economy – and are powered by its 850 cc 4-cylinder engine that can turn out approximately 34 HP. Now, when you see all the equipment that was put into this car it might come as a surprise that the Wildgoose is capable of reaching a top speed of 112 km/h. Not that you would want to be speeding in it, as the Wildgoose is much more about enjoying the ride and the scenery along the trip.
But what does the vintage motorhome feature exactly? Well, you can tell by simply looking at the car that some radical changes have been made to the classic Mini Van. But even so, you can immediately see why the Mini seemed like a good choice. In contrast with a larger motorhome, the Wildgoose could probably fit in any average-sized garage, and it also promises a max headroom of 218 cm. The “Brent” version of the Mini Wildgoose provides enough space for four people, who can travel and sleep within the car. It also provides a 4-seater dinette, as well as a sink, hot plate, two 2-gallon water carriers, a table, a wardrobe, cupboards and, of course, curtains to keep the morning rays of the sun out, as well as maintain a comfortable level of privacy.
Was the Mini Wildgoose camper always too wild to really catch on? Was it ahead of its time, or behind its stated customers needs? Whatever the case, it is certainly a colourful element of MINI history that proves that with a little ingenuity, even something as crazy as the Wildgoose is possible.
The MINI One-Off Series.
During the 2022 European Championships a number of unique MINI cars can be seen at the Königsplatz in Munich. Whether they were created for movies, noble causes, or designed by celebrities to show the world the many faces of MINI’s personality, we love them all equally.