The signature rear split doors of the Clubman closes for good
Snap up the Clubmans from Mini Philippines while you still can because the Oxford in the UK plant just announced that the last example of this nameplate rolled off the production line yesterday, February 5, 2024.
This bit of news does not come as a surprise. As early as March 2023, when Mini released the Clubman Final Edition, people knew this model was living on borrowed time.
Is it a sad day for motoring? Maybe not, as the Clubman’s demise signals the introduction of new models and continues Mini's transformation as an all-electric mobility brand.
Before the Clubman is completely gone, let us look back at the 55-year history of the Clubman. It started in 1969 as a product that featured distinct characteristics (Estate-type bodies, long chassis, barn-style rear doors) of four other Mini models - the Austin Seven Countryman, Morris Mini Traveller, the Riley Elf, and Wolseley Hornet.
Production of the Clubman went on a 25-year break after 1982 before returning in 2007 under BMW. It had a more modern aesthetic and advanced features but retained its unique split rear doors, which posed quite a challenge for designers. “We needed to ensure that both doors would always open fully without obscuring the rear lights, which was a legal requirement. Achieving this required fine-tuning and developing the gas strut system to ensure the doors functioned correctly in all climatic conditions,” explained Lead Quality Engineer Guy Elliott.
The Clubman changed the notion that a Mini is not a people mover by offering five seats. But to make ingress easy, it came with a Clubdoor hinged at the rear and asymmetrically positioned on one side of the car.
“The Clubdoor was pillarless, meaning two moving parts were coming together. We had to ensure the front door and Clubdoor were flush to minimise wind noise when driving. The two glass systems had to be carefully controlled and most importantly, it needed to be watertight, which required precise control measures,” added Elliot.
Mini debuted plenty of features you see now in the Clubman, including an electric parking brake, full electric seat adjustment, the optional MINI Yours Interior Styles with backlit door bezels, and the first all-wheel drive model from Mini, the Clubman All-4.
The final Clubman model is The Final Edition, which came out in 2023. It was limited to 1,969 units to mark the year it was launched. It also features an edition-specific Shimmer Copper radiator grille and side scuttles, 18” Final Edition Spoke two-tone alloy wheels, and exclusive ‘Final Edition’ lettering on the rear.
The Philippines is one of 50 countries that get the Clubman, and for those who value the brand and the functionality this nameplate offers, it will feel like the end of an era. But Mini promises that there is more to come.
“We are incredibly proud to have built the MINI Clubman at Plants Oxford and Swindon over the last 18 years for customers all over the world. With its departure, we look ahead to welcoming members of the new MINI family to our Oxford and Swindon lines, including a new convertible model which we will start to produce at the end of this year,” said Dr. Markus Grüneisl, CEO of Plants Oxford and Swindon.