A prototype version of the MINI which has just been sold online has highlighted just how much of a role Rover played in the carâ€™s development. The pre-production car, believed to have been built in 1998, was sold last week by A1 Car Parts, a Luton-based breaking specialist, to an as yet unknown buyer for Â£1,627. The company was unavailable for comment before this weekâ€™s edition went to press, but it did say in a statement about the car: â€œIt shows that the car was not all BMW designed and Rover had a lot do do with the new MINI. This is probably the only one in the world. â€œThis was built in approx 1998 and as far as I can tell was a running car. It was then stripped and sent to a company to test the door seals.â€ The car, which is a non-runner and was sold without wheels, an interior or running gear, features plenty of details which highlight the role Roverâ€™s engineers played in the modelâ€™s development. As well as featuring headlights and a fuel filler cap which of a different design to the final production version launched in 2001, the carâ€™s windows feature Rover â€“ rather than BMW or MINI â€“ etchings. Both BMW and Rover pitched concepts in the mid 1990s for a Mini replacement, with the British side pushing for a revisit to Alec Issigonisâ€™ principles of innovative engineering and packaging, while BMW favoured a premium hatchback which would cash in on nostalgia for the Miniâ€™s branding, style and image. In the end, it was one of BMWâ€™s proposals, styled by Frank Stephenson, which was selected as the basis for the new MINI, with the new car being confirmed officially for the first time at the 1997 Frankfurt Motor Show. BMW sold The Rover Group in 2000 and kept the rights to the Mini brand and the R50 project, launching the new MINI range the following year. However, it allowed Rover to continue producing the classic Mini model, with the last example rolling off the Longbridge production line in October 2000. Source: Classic Cars For Sale, classifieds for used classic car dealers & private advertisers | ClassicCarsForSale.co.uk Thanks to Firebro for pointing this out to me.