By 1997, Mini was already an ancient vehicle, and still, the British customers loved it, but the sales were stalling, leading the carmaker to create a refreshed version for the old vehicle.
The Mini is one of those iconic vehicles that made history on the rally stages, beating much more powerful competitors. Its underdog status, funny appearance, and excellent fuel efficiency kept it on the assembly lines far more than it was intended to when it was introduced to the UK's market in 1959.
Even after four decades since it was introduced, the Mini kept its original look and size. But it went through some changes that improved its appearance. For starters, it featured new headlights with chromed surroundings and better light bulbs inside. Then, the A-shaped grille was chromed, and so was the bumper, even though most carmakers had already ditched that trend in the early '80s. On the sides, the automaker added some extensions on the wheel arches to prevent wheels from splashing the bodywork. Nevertheless, they were needed for the enlarged tracks.
Inside, at first sight, it was the same old Mini fitted with tiny front bucket seats and a bench for two in the back. And yet, there were some differences, such as the three-spoke steering wheel fitted with an airbag and the wood veneers on the dashboard. Yet, the power windows were nonexistent, and the sound system was there just for fun.
Under the hood, Rover installed an improved, fuel-injected, 1.3-liter engine for the 1997 Mini. It wasn't very powerful, but its 62 hp (63 PS) power was more than enough to easily move around the car inside a city. Unfortunately, the carmaker couldn't fit a five-speed gearbox on this vehicle.