Mini. An icon with sporting aspirations.

Mini. an icon with sporting aspirations.
Beautiful street scene from the sixties with a Morris Mini-Minor Super-de-Luxe in the foreground

On August 26, 1959, the British Motor Corporation (BMC) unveiled a revolutionary compact car. What the public saw then was the start of an icon in the automotive world.

The assignment for Alec Issigonis, the designer of the Mini, was clear: develop a compact car with plenty of interior space, room for four passengers, impeccable driving performance, economical and affordable. He passed with flying colors.

Various variants from the start

It wasn't just the Mini-Minor that attracted attention. The Mini Van and the Mini Estate were launched on the market in the first year of production. It proved a point: a good concept is compelling in many variations.

The brand's relaunch with the MINI in 2001 reinforced this principle. The MINI 3-door, MINI 5-door, MINI Convertible, MINI Clubman and the MINI Countryman: although unique in their kind, they all share the essence of what makes a MINI.

Progressive design and promise

From the start, the Mini promised a look at the future. No one could have predicted how influential this compact design would become. Few car concepts have stood the test of time so much and have been released in so many variants.

The Mini combined functionality with charm. Despite its compact size of just 3,05 meters and a price tag of £496, the Mini appealed to both the frugal and sporty driver.

The evolution: more powerful and more versatile

Under the inspiring leadership of Alec Issigonis, the Mini was continuously improved. Both base models, although different in grille and wheel covers, were equipped with a 34 hp transverse four-cylinder engine.

In 1961, the Mini's potential became even clearer with the introduction of the Mini Pickup, followed by the more luxurious Wolseley Hornet and Riley Elf.

Sporty performance: The Mini Cooper

The sporting potential of the Mini was quickly recognized by John Cooper. Launched in September 1961, the Mini Cooper was an immediate success. With an engine capacity that was eventually increased to 1071 cc and a power output of 70 hp, the Mini Cooper S made a name for itself in motor racing, with three victories in the Monte Carlo Rally in 1964, 1965 and 1967.

From the Mini Moke to the Mini Clubman

The Mini's design and versatility continued to grow. Originally designed for military use, the Mini Moke was introduced in 1964. The Mini Clubman, with a slightly different front and 11 cm longer than the original, was added to the range two years later.

The modern era: rebirth under BMW

With the takeover of the Rover Group by BMW in 1994, the Mini was given new life. In 1997, BMW presented a concept version of the MINI Cooper, and the brand was relaunched in 2001. The new MINI combined the classic values ​​of its predecessor with modern requirements. The result was a car that honored its heritage while remaining modern and innovative.

Photos: BMW AG




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  1. Minis have always been great. There is no car with better space utilization than that old Mini. They also had a prize for it, as I recall. Unfortunately, I was never able to ride one myself because my height simply didn't allow me to fit in it properly without having to rebuild it.
    They were easy to hot rod. An acquaintance managed to boost a 1300 to well over 100 hp. I rode along once as a youth. Unbelievable how that thing ran. The whine of the gearbox was also impressive. Because the original gearbox with helical teeth broke too often, he eventually installed gears with straight teeth. That didn't break down, but it was a pleasure.

  2. Had 3 Minis, great carts..
    Been to England twice (back?) with it, doing well with 100-110 on the clock.
    In my opinion, the BINI (BMW MINI) doesn't really do the design justice, it's too clumsy... but the thing is selling well so it was still a success for BMW.

  3. My first car. A '74 850 with 1 sports seat. Because I didn't have money for 2. This was followed by an 1100 Special, a 1000 automatic and a number of Cooper 1300s from Innocenti. The Pinnacle of course with the super cool dashboard. Never have to get rid of it😎

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