With 2019 marking the 60th-anniversary of the Mini, it is somewhat of an exciting time for enthusiasts across the country. Many events and commemorations are planned at numerous fairs and rally events – one of the most recent was the BMC’s Mini Fair at Bingley Hall back in January.
Being leading Mini specialists, the team here at Mini Sport are fixtures at such events – and believe us when we say that this automotive marvel still gathers the crowds wherever it drives to!
People of all ages attend these events, often with their Mini’s in tow – whether it’s those who remember the impact that the Mini made on the roads and in culture back in the 1960s’. Those who grew up with the Mini, literally sitting in the backseat of one as they were ferried around Britain’s burgeoning roads, or younger people, who have been attracted by the thrilling racing experience the Mini brings. Even today’s children are keen to learn about the history behind the car and the era it was created in. Through these people, the spirit of the Mini continues to this very day – something well worth celebrating, don’t you think?
Speaking of which, to mark its anniversary and its continuing popularity, we’re going to have a look back at a number of aspects of Mini history that has sealed its reputation – a reputation that has strengthened in those passing six decades.
Celebrating Over 60 Years of Mini Specialists
The Mark I Mini
A limited supply of oil during the 1950’s led to British car manufacturers to think about creating vehicles that were able to run on less petrol. With plans afoot for something called ‘a motorway’, connecting people in different towns and cities quicker than ever, family cars were also primed to do big business. But how to build an economical car that could realistically get the most out of the petrol tank and fit the family in?
Whilst the import of cars was relativity rare in this era, the sight of smaller, economical cars such as those made by Fiat, became common. Not keen on seeing Italian (and other foreign) car markers eat into its market, the British Motor Corporation (formed by a merger of Austin and Morris brands) gave their virtuoso designer, Alec Issigonis the green light to create his design for a ‘town car’
With a front wheel drive, a transverse engine, sump gearbox and 10-inch wheels (all contained within a 4-ft wide, 10ft-long frame), Issigonis’ car became known as ‘The Mini’. With such phenomenal space efficiency and great driving control, the car was an immediate success – going on to sell over 5.3 million units.
The Cooper – Sealing The Mini’s Reputation
It was the natural racing ability of the original Mark I Mini that attracted famed racing car designer John Cooper to this innovative British brand. By chance, he was already aquatinted with Mini specialist, Alec Issigonis, but even his friend was initially unsure on the feasibility of the Mini winning popular racing events, such as the Monte Carlo Rally.
Eventually, John got the go-ahead from the Mini’s owners, the British Motor Corporation, to produce the sportier model, with Alec working alongside him – the Austin Mini Cooper and the Morris Mini Cooper were released in September 1961. Despite being told by many of his fellows that tweaking this small car into one that could compete at the top level of motorsport ‘could not be done’, John and his team successfully upgraded the original Coopers’ engine to a 1071cc – with the ‘Mini Cooper S’ going on sale to great acclaim in 1963. The beginning of a legend
The crowning moment for the Mini Cooper has to be the 1964 Monte Carlo Rally. Up against bad weather, difficult terrain and not to mention, other cars that were as much as FOUR TIMES more powerful than the Cooper’s engine, Paddy Hopkirk piloted his car to victory, sealing the ‘cool’ image that has been part-and-parcel of British culture ever since. Just think, Michael Caine owes his whole image (and possibly, career) to Paddy Hopkirk, John Cooper and Alec Issigonis!
So that was a look back at some of the key moments from the early days of the Mini. If you’re a fellow Mini enthusiast who is looking for parts or spares for your Mini, why not take a look at the extensive range here at Mini Sport?
High Quality Mini Parts and Spares From Mini Sport
As the world’s leading Mini Specialists here at Mini Sport, we are able to supply you with everything you need to repair, restore or even completely reimagine your classic car. No matter the model, we have a vast selection of products that can help you to achieve all of your Mini servicing requirements.
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