Mini Turns 50 – History and Photo Gallery

Sir Alec Issigonis created the Mini in 1959, knighted in 1969The MINI brand turned 50 years old on August 26, 2009. Fifty years ago to the day, the British Motor Corporation (BMC) unveiled the result of its quest to design a new and revolutionary compact car. The very first sales brochures praised the Morris Mini-Minor’s “extraordinary future promise”.

Fifty years later, we know that few vehicle concepts have survived as long or achieved such popularity. No other vehicle has ever spawned such a wide range of variants as the Mini. Last year’s MINI E premiere was definitely one of the highlights of MINI’s long history, fulfilling its future promise in a way that no one could have foreseen 50 years ago.

Reducing fuel consumption was already becoming an important issue for vehicle developers fifty years ago. Back in 1956 the Suez crisis and petrol rationing were major factors for the automobile industry. BMC management gave designer Alec Issigonis the following guidelines: the Mini must make creative use of the limited space available; accommodate four passengers; and guarantee perfect handling and low fuel consumption. By 1962 – within three years of its market launch – Mini production already exceeded 200,000 vehicles a year. Once the world’s rich and famous (Peter Sellers, the Beatles, Brigitte Bardot, Clint Eastwood, Lord Snowdon, Twiggy…) adopted the Mini as their preferred city car, it rapidly became the symbol of an entire generation. Over the next 40 years the Mini became an icon – a brand with a unique tradition and charm that appealed to all ages.

Following its acquisition of Rover in March 1994, the BMW Group decided to revive the MINI brand tradition and continue writing Mini’s history: The new MINI was to create a unique premium brand with unmistakable charisma and excellent product qualities in the compact segment – respecting its history, but at the same time meeting the needs of its present customers. The brand was successfully re-launched thanks to consistent positioning as a premium global brand and a clear focus on its new target customers. The re-launch relied upon excellent product qualities and a modern design that paid tribute to its earlier iconic status. Communications also give the brand a consistent global profile, or to be more precise, a unique MINI feeling: MINI not just as an A-to-B car – but as an expression of an outgoing and spontaneous lifestyle, with “enthusiasm” at the very heart of the MINI brand.

MINI Celebrates 50 Years – Birthday Photo Gallery

Prototype Mini drawings by Alec Issiginos, 1958
Prototype Mini drawings by Alec Issiginos, 1958
Morris Mini-Minor longitudional section, 1959
Morris Mini-Minor longitudional section, 1959
Mini Turns 50
Mini Turns 50
Mini Assembly Line
Mini Assembly Line
Mini 1275 GT, Mini 1000 and Mini Clubman, 1973
Mini 1275 GT, Mini 1000 and Mini Clubman, 1973
Mini Clubman from the 1970s
Mini Clubman from the 1970s
1965 Austin Mini Moke
1965 Austin Mini Moke
Mini Turns 50
Mini Turns 50
Mini Cooper S Mk II in London, 1968
Mini Cooper S Mk II in London, 1968

[Source: BMW Group]

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  1. talking about the forthcoming Goodwood revival meeting and the 50th anniversary parade of Mini`s and Mini derivitves, here in the UK there is a group of enthusiasts who have used the Mini as the basis of an Austin Healey Frogeye (Bugeye) look-a-like. About 10 years ago a certain Paul Banham produced a kit of parts for this convertion. Can you imagine it? The looks of a classic small sports car of the late 50`s mated to the phenonimal handling of a classic Mini. I have one of these which I built, if it is of any interest I will try to send you some photos, (not that I am much good with computors).
    i enjoy the magazine very much.
    Regards Maurice Stacey