The Mini has not always been as well known as it is today. At the beginning of its commercialisation, consumers did not have the enthusiasm that was hoped for (and expected). However, today it is a real success!
The original Mini , originally Morris Mini Minor and Austin Seven, was an entry-level model designed for British Motor Corporation by Anglo-Greek engineer Alec Issigonis and manufactured at Longbridge near Birmingham. It was sold under several marques: Austin, Morris, Rover, Wolseley, Riley, Leyland and under Italian licence Innocenti, before becoming its own marque in 1969.
The story of the original Mini begins in 1956. Following the Suez Canal crisis, oil was rationed. Sir Leonard Lord, then the head of BMC, asked Alec Issigonis, Lam and Laurence Pomeroy to create an economical car. Issigonis won the challenge and after eight months of design, the first Mini was produced in October 1957. The car was designed to compete with the leading cars of the day, including the legendary Beetle and the Fiat 500.
With the arrival of the Mini, Alec Issognis signs a multitude of innovations. While the trend was to put everything at the back, Issognis decided to put everything at the front. Very compact transverse engine, very original suspensions, small wheels ... the new car, original for the time, is then marketed in 1959 under the brand Morris and Austin.
Despite these innovations, the car was not popular: too small and too expensive, customers did not want it. But in the 1960s, the car finally became a success. John Cooper fell under its spell and decided to create his own model (the famous Mini Cooper) and enter it in the Monte Carlo Rally. It also becomes the car adopted by celebrities: Brigitte Bardot, the Beatles ... swear by it. The Mini is the talk of the town! Unfortunately, it is not profitable because of the complexity of its manufacture which requires a lot of human resources.
In 1967, BMC, Standard-Triumph and Rover merged to form the British Leyland Group the following year. But then the Mini gradually disappeared. In 1991, Rover decided to resurrect the Mini Cooper, which had disappeared a decade earlier. In 1994, BMW took control of the Rover group (then consisting of the Rover, MG, Mini and Land Rover brands). But six years later, BMW decided to throw in the towel and sold the Rover group, keeping only the Mini brand and the Oxford factory. Since 2001, BMW has been producing a new version of the Mini and the model is now in its third generation.
Thanks to its many variations, BMW has revived the Mini, and it still has many years ahead of it!
Discover TakeAMiniBreak, a new experience in a 1992 Mini Rover!