Over the past century, British automakers have built many iconic cars, but few can match the greatness of the Mini. Since its introduction in 1959, the Mini has been one of the best-selling cars in the world, selling over 5.3 million units in its classic form and over 3 million units in its new form. Gearboxes love the Mini for its miniature styling, unique color combinations, efficiency, and the fact that it’s one of the most fun cars to drive despite having a small engine.
There have been several twists and turns in the history of the Mini throughout its six decades of production. Read on to learn ten interesting facts you might not have known about the Mini.
ten The Mini won second place in the 1999 Car of the Century award
In the late 90s, the Global Automotive Elections Foundation held an international awards ceremony to determine the most influential cars of the late 20th century. Seven hundred cars were nominated in 1996, then subjected to a thorough disposal process for three years with the help of renowned automotive experts, journalists and the general public. At the end of it all, five special cars were chosen and announced at the 1999 Frankfurt Motor Show.
The Ford Model T grabbed the top spot because it was the first affordable production car ever to be built. The Mini came in second, beating icons like the Volkswagen Beetle and the Porsche 911.
9 80% of the floor area of the Mini was used for passengers and luggage
One of the main reasons for BMC’s decision to develop the Mini was the Suez fuel crisis in 1956. The idea was to build a small fuel efficient car with enough space for a family of four and their luggage.
The Mini came out as planned. Although it was only 120.2 inches long, 80% of its floor could be used for passengers and luggage. To achieve this, BMC equipped the Mini with a space-saving transverse motor, front-wheel drive and a wheel design in every corner. The result was a small car that comfortably accommodated four adults – or more, as you’ll actually see 10.
8 The Mini has a rich racing history
At first glance, the Mini doesn’t look like a car capable of winning any race. However, John Cooper – a friend of the founder of Mini – saw enormous competitive potential in the Mini and convinced his friend to prepare the Mini for various racing competitions across Europe.
Mini special racing cars were known as Cooper and Cooper S, and they were incredibly successful throughout the 1960s. Some of the competitions the Mini won include the British Saloon Car Championship, the British Rally Championship , the European Rally Championship, the European Touring Car Championship and the Monte Carlo Rally.
7 BMW owns the rights to the Mini name
The Mini was first introduced in 1959 by a company known as the British Motor Corporation. BMC then changed its name to British Leyland in 1968 after various internal changes, then to Rover Group in 1986. The Rover Group eventually ran into financial trouble, opening the door for BMW to acquire it in 1994.
In 2000, BMW sold most of its share of the Rover Group and retained only the rights to the Mini name. BMW created an independent Mini division with one goal; update the design of the Mini and revamp its image into something more modern.
6 The original mini was too fast
The first Mini prototypes were powered by a 946 cc engine developing 37 hp. Fearing that the car would be too powerful to handle, Mini’s engineers reduced the engine displacement to 848cc, reducing the power to 33bhp more acceptable.
The resulting Mini Mk1 took 26.5 slow seconds to go from 0 to 60 mph and had a top speed of 75 mph. It may seem extremely slow by today’s standards, but the Mini was one of the fastest economy cars back then. For example, the Triumph Herald took 31.3 seconds to reach 60 mph, while the Morris Minor 1000 took 36.4 seconds.
5 The Original Mini is Britain’s all-time favorite car
Britain has produced many iconic cars, including the McLaren F1, Jaguar E-Type, Aston Martin DB5 and Range Rover, to name a few. However, none of those icons were good enough to prevent the Mini from being named the best British car of all time in a 2012 survey by the British car magazine. Coach.
The Mini’s victory came as a surprise to many, but it makes perfect sense as the Mini is an icon of British innovation that has enabled millions of people around the world to benefit from an affordable automobile. The fact that there are still over 469 Mini Clubs in the UK shows how popular the small car is.
4 He inspired the miniskirt
Mary Quant was one of the most famous British fashion designers of the 1960s. Quant is widely regarded as one of the designers behind the miniskirt trend, which is still popular to this day.
Quant didn’t invent the short dresses, but it has something to do with the name “miniskirt” given to them, taking inspiration from the Mini car. People associated the miniskirt with the popular vehicle, especially after Quant featured the vehicle in his clothing brand advertisements.
3 The Mini was produced in several variations and body styles
The popularity of the original Mini spawned many variants targeted at different markets. There were several Mini body styles designed to meet various needs. For example, the Wesley Hornet was a longer, more luxurious version of the Mini intended for the wealthy.
There was also a Mini Van designed to transport items for businesses as well as a Mini Pick-up to meet similar needs. BMC also built the Moke – a Mini-based utility vehicle for the British Army. However, it did not have enough ground clearance for military use.
2 The design of the original Mini hasn’t changed for four decades
The designer and the general public loved the original design of the Mini so much that there has been no significant change for over 40 years. It’s almost unheard of in vehicles, but Alec Issigonis insisted it was the right move. As the saying goes, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”
They’ve made a few minor cosmetic changes and improved the powertrain over the years, but the base never received an update. Of course, that changed when BMW took over in 2000 and introduced the new Mini design that we see on the roads today.
1 The world record for the number of people who can enter a mini classic is 23
We have already indicated above that the Mini was intended to be able to accommodate four adult passengers. However, the actual number of people that can fit in a mini is way more than that – 28, to be exact.
In 2012, a group of 28 highly trained gymnasts set a Guinness World Record when they all fit into a modern Mini Cooper, breaking their previous record of 27. The same group also set the record for the classic Mini, with a total of 23 girls. If that isn’t a testament to the Mini’s space-saving excellence, we don’t know what is.
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