First built under BMC, then British Leyland, then Rover Group and now BMW, MINI remains a British icon after six decades of motoring. Engineer Alec Issigonis’ economy car for the masses is known for its tight handling, snappy engine and great looks, not to mention its diminutive size. The high maneuverability of this 60-year-old gem makes it oh so fun to drive. Watch “The John Cooper Documentary,” which tells the story of MINI’s motorsport history from those behind the design and the racers behind the wheel.
MINI – A Small Story with Big Personality
For such a cute car, MINI sure has a tall order of name changes. When the distinctive two-door automobile is introduced in 1959, the makers first call it the Austin Seven. Still searching for the right moniker, it’s re-named the Morris Mini-Minor. Three years later in 1962, they get it right: the Austin Mini. However, by 1969 everyone just calls it MINI … before it becomes the Austin Mini again in 1980 … until 1988 when it’s back to being MINI. Until this day. True story.
True 60’s Child
Despite all the name changes, MINI comes to symbolize independence, spontaneity and the youthful spirit of 60’s culture – without turning off the Establishment. From flower-child hipsters to the corner grocer with rock stars and royalty in between, everyone loves MINI. One of the car’s virtues is the ability to express a person’s individuality and become an extension of their personality – power to the people.
Popular Performance Models
Perhaps the most recognized version of the MINI is the performance model MINI Cooper and Cooper “S”, designed as race and rally cars. In 1964, 1965 and 1967, the MINI Cooper takes first place in the Monte Carlo Rally. What happened in 1966, you might ask? After a first place finish, the Cooper is disqualified, along with nine other cars, due to a controversial decision about the headlights. Apparently, they were against the rules. Nonetheless, MINI’s little racing-demon heart beats fast, with the help of a powerful engine, big brakes and British racing legend John Cooper.
Starting in the early 1980’s under the revamped Rover Group, a series of special edition MINI’s are introduced, some only for export: Sprite (1983); Mini 25 (’84); Ritz (’85); Chelsea and Piccadilly (’86); Park Lane and Advantage (’87); Designer, Red Hot, Jet Black, Belfast and Brighton (’88); Racing, Flame, Rose, Sky and 30 (’89); Cooper, Racing Green, Checkmate and Studio 2 (’90); Neon, Cabriolet, After Eight and Twinings (’91); British Open Classic, Italian Job and Woodbury (’92); Rio, Tahiti, Cosmopolitan and Silverstone (’93); Monte Carlo, Cooper Grand Prix and 35 (’94); Sidewalk, Tartan and Silver Bullet (’95); Equinox, Kensington and Blue Star (’96); Cooper S Touring and Sports 5 (’97); Paul Smith, Cooper Sports LE, Monza, Brooklands and Lapagayo (’98); 40, Cooper S Works and John Cooper (’99); Classic Se7en, Classic Cooper, Classic Cooper Sport, Knightsbridge and Cooper Sport 500 (2000).
Collector and Classic Car Insurance for Less
Most collector car insurance companies require that you keep a classic like a MINI in a fully-enclosed locked garage. “Having your vehicle in a garage mitigates spontaneous weather conditions, vehicle theft and things of that nature,” Drew Yagodnik, President of Classic Auto Insurance, says. Let Classic Auto Insurance customize a policy to fit your needs. We offer affordable, Agreed Value coverage for a variety of collector, classic and custom vehicles. Our friendly, knowledgeable staff can answer your questions and give you a quote on the spot. Call 888-901-1338 or get an instant quote onlineand see how we can help safeguard your dream car.