1972 Mini Outspan Orange, Beaulieu Finds III

This is the third in a series of small bitesize bits of info on interesting cars found at the National Motor Museum at Beaulieu in the Beautiful New Forest National Park. All photos were taken by me and my potato unless otherwise referenced. Now we have that out of the way, sit back and relax children it’s story time.

The Featured car this week is a one of six promotional cars commissioned by South African fruit company Outspan and built by a fairly local company to me, Brain Waite Enterprises in Bodiam, East Sussex. These six vehicles toured Europe and South Africa to boost sales of Outspan’s primary product, Oranges.

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Like a lot of the classic British special builds, the Outspan Orange was built using parts from the ubiquitous Mini, including subframes and powertrain. These parts were connected by a custom 48 inch (122cm) wheelbase chassis. The gave the Orange a turning circle of 17 feet.

Despite the nimble city car underpinnings the Orange was not particularly fast or agile due to the concrete used as ballast in the bottom of the chassis to prevent roll overs, which it didn’t prevent so a limiter stopped the car exceeding 30 MPH.

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The only door on the Orange is at the rear which is quite novel, sort of like a backwards Isetta but it is most definitely easier to drive an Isetta and you’ll go faster too. Given the orange tinted windows and lack of mirrors I imagine it was awful to manoeuvre in traffic, I don’t know if it was trailered to events but considering it’s low top speed I’d imagine it was.

The majority of the six Outspan Mini’s were in service throughout the 70’s and 80’s with one still being used in South Africa until recently, This particular example gets wheeled out every so often for the London To Brighton Historic commercial vehicle runs tackling the 50 mile journey very slowly.

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