Monday, 25 February 2013

Mystery Mini derivative (30)

Another mysterious Mini based car came to the light while searching for something completely different, last weekend. And it's an intriguing one. Clearly based on an early Mini, perhaps even a 1958 prototype, or an early Van, it's quite heavily modified. The rear is much rounded off, the doors have been cut, the handles lowered, and with what seems to be a Sprite windscreen fitted on the front scuttle must have been altered, too. Interestingly, it was trialed as early as in 1961, by which time the earliest Mini derivative (Butterfield Musketeer - the Deep Sanderson 301 prototype was under construction) hadn't even been made public. 
There is some more information from the magazine (Autosport) in which I found the snippet. The car is called Odnik and was trialed by a man named Jack O'Donoghue who won his class during a Hewison Trophy qualifying trial on 16 December 1961 - supposedly the second trial O'Donoghue tackled with his Mini special. I believe the registration number 'CZA 333' to be Irish but am sure somebody over here will be able to confirm that.

UPDATE 21 September 2017: More pictures found. Here.

UPDATE 8 January 2019: Original sketch found. More here.

Very early Irish (?) Mini based roadster 'Odnik' was trialed by Jack O'Donoghue
Picture courtesy Autosport magazine


  1. That's an interesting one Jeroen. Judging by the grille, it seems to be based on a van - or maybe even a 1958 prototype - that would be a really exciting find.

  2. It is, isn't it?

    Meanwhile, I received some interesting comments. Miguel Plano wrote: This image is interesting, stamped grille, could this be an early prototype Mini? The round back end reminds me of the Early production car, red in color that was customized and is owned by a Japanese collector, can't remember the name of the Mini."

    That was my thought, too, thinking about Donald Healey modified Mini '627 HUE' that's in the Maruyama collection now.

    Bill Bell added: "Looking at the wheel base it looks like its a modified Van. I doubt very much it's a 58 prototype. They were all in such poor state after they had finished testing and as far as we know all were scrapped. We're writing a special page on these 58 van fronted prototypes for the 59 reg site. It should be ready soon."

  3. The Odnik wasbuit by Jack , it was a 4 seater, he worked for the Austin importers/assemblers in Dublin , he competed in it and used it on the road , only today I spoke with a subsequent owner of the car , the car was based on a mini , no connection to prototypes , Eddie Fitzgerald

  4. Can't tell whether it' a C or a G, but CZA333 was a Dublin reg from November 1959. GZA333 was Feb 1960.

  5. This is such a fantastic special, and a shape which really suits the mini round nose.
    Is there any more information, perhaps a link to the Autosport article?