The Mini owns a title worth of its form, as it is indeed very small. It was the creation of the British Motor Corporation (BMC), and throughout its history it also went on to be produced by Austin and Morris and had continuous production run of 41 years in total, from 1959 right up until late 2000. This is something that has been achieved by only a handful of other cars such as the VW Beetle and the Citroen 2CV. In 1999 the Mini was voted the 2nd most influential car of the 20th Century.
However, despite being manufactured up until recently it will always remain a throwback to the 1960’s. Back then its front wheel drive design that provided its famous space saving layout was revolutionary, and if left 80% of the car free to be used for passengers and luggage, and this thinking influences car manufacturers to this day.
The standard Mini went almost unchanged for the entire 41 years it was in production, although there were a series of variations including a pickup truck, a van, the clubman estate, and the Mini Moke which actually looked more like a Jeep, but was recognisable as a Mini because it had similar physical dimensions and the classic grill and headlamp shape. There were also some high performance Mini’s produced, namely the Mini Cooper and the Cooper S. The Cooper S was put forward as a rally car, and went on to win the Monte Carlo Rally four times from 1964 through to 1967, and this speaks for itself.
So what made the Mini so successful? When it was first released on the 26th August 1959, although it was praised by the media it took a while to take off. However, its popularity then rocketed and when production finally ended over 5.3 million Minis had been sold worldwide, making it the most popular British car ever made. But what enabled it to survive 41 years in production? This answer may lie behind the wheel, as the Mini had fantastic go-kart like handling despite being cheap to buy and cheap to run, something which is probably still unmatched today. It was also helped along after appearing in Box Office hits such as the Italian job, 101 Dalmatians, Monty Python’s Flying Circus, A View to Kill and the Austin Powers Trilogy to name but a few, and of course it played a leading role in the classic series Mr. Bean.