Today Mini celebrates the iconic marque’s 60th anniversary. We wanted to join in with the celebrations by sharing a few fun facts about how the Mini’s tyres have evolved over the last 60 years. In short, it’s not just the car that’s grown.
It is a little-known fact that that the Mini was initially designed to run on 8-inch (204mm) wheels. However, BMC the carmaker behind the Mini, ended up settling on 10-inch (254 mm) wheels for its debut 1959 Morris Mini model.
There were a number of reasons why eight-inch wheels were rejected. Part of the reason was that the firm’s first tyre supplier (Dunlop) didn’t want to go down that route. Therefore, 10-inch wheels were suggested instead and the first Mini tyre size was 132/80 10. See this article for more about reading tyre sizes.
After this, the vast majority of Minis produced before 1984 came with 3.5 x 10-inch wheels and 145/80 10 tyres.
The first major change came in 1984 when the Classic Mini got upgraded to disc brakes as standard across all models. These brought bigger calipers with them and led to the increase of wheel sizes to 12 inches and 145/70 R12 tyres.
Mini enthusiasts also tell of a rare 13-inch Mini fitment – 175/50 R13. Mini blogs and forums tend to recommend classic replacement fitments like Yokohama’s A539. But Falken and Nankang “hobby” fitments are also recommended by Mini officiandos.
Mini tyre size revolution
Mini tyre sizes got smaller at the turn of the millennium. After the production of the classic mini range ceased, the model was reborn into a more modern and larger version.
By 2014 3 million new Minis had been made. That means at least 12 million Mini tyres had been supplied at this point.
This initially came on 175/65 R15 H tyres, but a number of different core fitments are available. While 175/65 R15, 175/60 R16 and 195/55 R16 may be the core Mini fitments, the 2018 Mini Cooper S has the option of 225/35 R19 tyres. These are nine inches bigger than the first edition 59 years earlier!