You will undoubtedly have seen the numerous posters that the make has hung in the cities and towns: the Mini is 60 years old this year.
For the occasion Autoworld will, in March and April, be giving top billing to a dozen or so models of this both revolutionary and characterful small car, that was to play a major role in the company’s evolution in the ‘60s.
Worth already noting that on Monday 22nd April a Mini-Parade will be leaving from the museum.
In 1957, Alec Issigonis, who had already made a name for himself with the Morris Minor, is given the assignment to design a prototype vehicle that could accommodate four persons, fitted with one of the existing BMC (British Motor Corporation) engines and would be smaller than what the different companies of the BMC family were offering at that time. Thus, the Mini was born, introduced in 1959. The car was fitted with a 4-cylinder transverse engine, with front-wheel-drive, and notwithstanding a mere length of 3,05 metres able to take four adults on board. It was a car as revolutionary as it was full of character, and it was to play an important role in the company’s evolution in the ‘60s. In 1959, Austin and Morris, the makes that made up BMC in 1952, both launched the car under their own name: the Austin Seven and the Morris Mini Minor. The production factories were based at Longbridge (for Austin) and Cowley (for Morris), where in 1959 some 100 cars per week rolled off the line.
The Mini Cooper was revealed in 1961, having been breathed on by John Cooper. It was soon to make a name for itself in competition. In 1969, Mini became a make in its own right.
Numerous variants existed, but the basic concept remained unmodified. The last Mini based on the concept of Issigonis was produced in 2000.Since 1994 the make is a subsidiary of BMW who initially commercialised the original Mini during several years prior to launching, as from 2001, new models.