From 1959 to Today
A Legendary Brand Continues
Sir Alec Issigonis' original Mini of 1959 set new standards in design and engineering. Issigonis produced his masterpiece as an answer to the European fuel crisis of the late 1950s. Issigonis was challenged to produce a car four feet wide by four feet high and 10 feet long that would seat four adults in comfort and take their luggage to boot.
An automotive icon, his design lasted decades in virtually original form. His revolutionary concept of a transverse engine with submounted transmission allowed compact external dimensions with maximum interior space. Combining economical transport, character and fun, Mini became a car for everyone, from celebrity to the everyday person in the street Mini Austin Seven.
The front‑wheel drive, wheel‑at-each‑corner design was not only space-efficient, but was soon to prove extremely roadworthy. In 1961, the Mini Cooper, engineered by race car constructor the late John Cooper, was launched. This car set new motor sport standards and took triple Monte Carlo rally wins between 1964 and 1967 amongst a host of competitive titles. The Cooper name has been closely associated with performance Minis ever since and appropriately the MINI Cooper, was the first car in the new MINI range to be unveiled.
As Mini gained its extra power it combined its inherent personality with a great driving experience for any motorist. The car became Britain’s best-ever selling vehicle with over 5.3 million produced. The first Morris Mini-Minor was made in Oxford, the home of the new MINI and Minis have been made in Europe, South America and Australia.
Mini, a household name in Europe, was sold in the U.S. between 1960 and 1967, and around 10,000 cars were sold in that time. Over thirty years later, some 12000 cars are on U.S. roads today. (maybe they breed). At the end of its production life in 2000, 5.3 million Minis had been produced and the car was voted ‘European Car of the Century’ by a panel of 130 international journalists.
The MINI Cooper is a modern development of this genuine classic. Building on the classic Mini styling cues, it offers the very latest technology, and is one of the most advanced cars of its size in the world. Designed for handling and performance, great looks and safety, the MINI Cooper, is a real motoring enthusiasts car. Like the original, the new MINI is designed to appeal to all drivers regardless of age or gender. Such is the interest in the new MINI that there were fan‑based U.S. websites for the car well before it hit the streets.