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A Brief History of the Mini

The Classic Mini was produced by the British Motor Corporation ( know as BMC) and its successors from 1959 until 2000. It is strongly considered an icon of 1960's British popular culture. Developed around a space-saving transverse engine front-wheel drive layout, allowed around 80% of the car's floorpan to be used for passengers and any luggage. It's said to have been a big influence for a whole new generation of car makers.  So much so that in 1999 it was voted the second most influential car of the 20th century, other iconic cars such are the Ford Model T, Citroën DS and Volkswagen Beetle.

The distinctive two-door was designed for BMC by Sir Alec Issigonis. Proudction took place at the Longbridge and Cowley plants in the UK, the Victoria Park/Zetland British Motor Corporation (Australia) factory in Sydney, Australia, and also in Spain (Authi), Belgium, Chile, Italy (Innocenti), Malta, Portugal, South Africa, Uruguay, Venezuela and Yugoslavia.

The Mini Mark I had three major UK updates – the Mark II, the Clubman and the Mark III. Within these was a series of variations, including an estate car, a pick-up, a van and the Mini Moke.

High performance versions of the Mini Cooper and Cooper "S", were successful as both race and rally cars, winning the Monte Carlo Rally in 1964, 1965, 1966 and 1967, however in 1966, the first-placed Mini was disqualified after the finish, under a controversial decision that the car's headlights were against the rules.

When it came to market in August 1959 the Mini was marketed under the Austin and Morris names, as the Austin Seven and Morris Mini-Minor. The Austin Seven was renamed Austin Mini in January 1962 and Mini became a marque in its own right in 1969. During 1980 it was changed back to the Austin Mini and changed again in 1988 to become the Rover Mini. 

Production came to an end in October 2000, this not only signalled the end of original Mini after an amazing 41 years, but also brought about the demise of the 1275cc engine which powered the Mini for more than 30 years. German cat gaint BMW acquired the Rover Group (formerly British Leyland) in 1994, and went on to sell the greater part of it in 2000, but retained the rights to build cars using the MINI name.

End Of the Iconic Classic Mini

A total of 5,387,862 cars had been manufactured, nearly 1.6 million of which were sold in Britain, although the majority of these were sold at least 20 years before the Mini's demise, meaning that the majority of those sold had been scrapped before the end of the original Mini's production life.

The last Mini to leave the Longbridge plant did so in 2012, when a 1970s 1275GT which was used by staff to travel around the car plant was recovered from disused tunnels under the plant. Damaged by a storage container falling on it, and left without an engine or gearbox for around 30 years before being recovered during work to infill the tunnels. This car was sold at auction in July 2013 for £1400.

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