The Mini has been produced under various names and brands from 1959; following the halting of production of the original Mini in 2000 owner BMW relaunched the brand in 2001.
During the mid-1950s the world was plunged into an oil crisis caused by issues in the Gulf of Suez. The British Motor Corporation decided to build a compact sized, fuel efficient car. Sir Alec Issigonis was handed the task of designing the new vehicle, which debuted in 1959. Mini cars were designed to allow seating for four adults, use limited gas, handle well and be available for less than $800.
The Mini brand of compact cars became popular in the 1960s, with racing versions created by British racing driver John Cooper. The engine of the Mini was increased in size by Cooper to become a racing car, winning three Monte Carlo Rally’s. German luxury car manufacturer BMW bought the group responsible for manufacturing Mini’s in 1994. In 2000, BMW ceased production of the Mini Classic and replaced it with the Mini One.
5 Mini Facts
- When first manufactured the Mini was sold as the Austin 850 and the Morris 850. In 1961, the cars began to be sold under the Mini brand name.
- The Mini is the top selling British car of all time with 5.3 million vehicles manufactured. BMW’s redesigned Mini wass o successful the company produced its 1 millionth Mini in April 2007.
- The Mini has featured in a large number of movies from the 1960s onwards. In the 1960s the cars featured in The Pink Panther series of films and the Beatles Magical Mystery Tour. Mini’s featured in a starring role in the U.K. film The Italian Job from 1969; the new Mini featured in the 2003 remake of The Italian Job.
- Although Mini’s were a large success in terms of sales figures BMC failed to make a profit on the vehicle because the sale price was lower than production costs. Some legends about the Mini Classic refer to an accounting miscalculation being the cause of the low sales price.
- Mini’s were sold in the U.S. from 1960 to 1967; in 1968 safety and emissions regulations barred the Mini from being sold in the U.S.
Most popular Mini models
- The Mini Mark 1 is one of the most popular vehicles in the history of the brand with 1.19 million cars produced.
- Mini Countryman models have been produced in the classic design, and in a redesign from BMW.
- The newly designed Mini Cooper is equipped in the 21st century with a 1.6 liter engine.
- BMW’s redesigned Mini One is 21 inches longer and 12 inches wider than the Mini Classic.