When the Austin Mini first appeared in 1959, the world would have been far from imagining that that little car would become the second most popular and influential car right after the historic Ford Model T.
The Mini was designed by Sir Alec Issigonis, an Englishman of Greek origin for the manufacturer British Motor Corporation (BMC), and consisted of a small economy two-door car that was notorious for providing 80% of its total floorplan area for luggage and passengers, thanks to its transverse engine and front-wheel-drive layout.
The classic Mini as it is known today for distinguishing itself from the current Mini belonging to the BMW Group was produced for four decades, remaining in production until the turn of the century in 2000, over those years it knew different names, between 1959-1962 it was marketed under the names of Austin and Morris, between 1962-1969 with the name of Austin Mini, between 1969-1980 with the name as we know it today as Mini, but between 1980-1988 it adopted the name of Austin Mini again and in 1988 returned to the Mini designation that remains until today. In 1994, the Rover Group, which owns the Mini brand, was acquired by German BMW, which later sold a large part of it, but kept the rights to the Mini brand, recreating the iconic Mini in a modern version in 2000 that underwent several updates and is still on the market nowadays.
Over 40 years of Mini production, the model has seen several updates, but the three most important were the 1959-1967 Mark I, the 1967-1970 Mark II with the introduction of the Mini Clubman, and the Mark III with the introduction of the Mini’s Moke and Pick-Up.
The Mini soon became a fun car to drive due to its characteristics, whose pleasant driving experience remains to this day, so it was not surprising that high-performance variants such as the Mini Cooper and the Cooper S appeared, which quickly began to compete in racing events, whose heyday was in rally events with the victory of the Monte Carlo Rally in 1964, 65 and 67. The Mini “Cooper” designation originated from its creator John Cooper, a designer of the Formula 1 that created this sporty version in 1961.
In 1959 the Mini started to be sold for around £497 and the number of units produced until its discontinuation amounted to 5,500,000 units.
There are many facts and curiosities about the Mini, we highlight two, the first Minis produced did not come with a radio but in its place was a large ashtray, since Alec Issigonis was a keen smoker and saw a useful accessory in the ashtray while the radio a luxury accessory. Another interesting fact was that the Mini was the source of inspiration for Mary Quant when in 1960 she created the miniskirt.
The quotation of the Mini classic, as well as other classic car models, has been increasing in value in recent years, which makes it incredibly difficult to find one in reasonable condition for an attractive price, however, it is still possible to find today some interesting models between €5,000 and €7,500 with some research work. But, if you are passionate about this classic and have financial availability, we invite you to visit the website of David Brown Automotive and discover the Mini Remastered, which retains the spirit and lines of the original Mini classic, but receives an aesthetic modernization on the outside and interior, but also a new and powerful engine, as well as offering the customer the possibility of customizing some parts of their Mini. According to the brand, each of these Minis receives more than 1,000 hours of labor until it is delivered to the customer. As far as prices go, be prepared that it doesn’t come cheap, starting at £75,000/$100,000 and could go up to a few thousand more if you add a few more extras.
Photos credits: David Brown Automotive.
There is also good news for supporters of sustainable solutions, as London Electric Cars (LEC) has just recently released an electrical conversion kit for the Mini Classic with prices starting at £27,000.
The options are many and almost for all budgets, however, if you don’t have the possibility to purchase one of these vehicles, we challenge you to at least try to drive one as you are sure to have fun and spend a good amount of time behind the wheel of this classic machine.