MINI: A Brief History

Queen Elizabeth II, John Lennon (and the rest of the Beatles), Paul Newman, Clint Eastwood, Enzo Ferrari, Jackie Stewart, Bruce McLaren… What did they all have in common?

They all owned Mini’s.

In 1956, like today, there was a pressing need for a fuel-efficient car. A political crisis in the Gulf of Suez caused fuel shortages in a number of countries across Europe. Petrol rationing began in the UK and sales of large cars began to slump.  It was then the head of British Motor Corporation, Lord Nuffield, vowed to rid the streets of large cars all together and create a proper miniature car. He charged his Chief Designer Sir Alec Issigonis to create an “orderly saloon” (saloon is ‘British’ for sedan) that could compete with the current small cars on the market, like the Volkswagen Beatle.

By August 1959 the first Mini’s hit the market. After a slow start the Classic Mini became a must have auto. Over the decades the Classic Mini became the most popular British car ever made, with more than 5.3 million sold. However, only around 10,000 Classic Mini’s were sold in the U.S. through a brief time period between 1960 and 1967. U.S. sales were ceased in 1967 due to changing safety regulations by the U.S. Government.

The last Classic Mini’s were manufactured in the year 2000 before being acquired by BMW. The New MINI (now written in capital letters) was born. Redesigned to be much faster, larger and heavier than its predecessor, the new MINI was classified as a compact car, rather than a city car. On April 3rd 2007, the one millionth MINI rolled out of the Oxford Plant after six years of production, just one month longer than it took the Classic Mini to reach the same total in March 1965.

West Coast Auto Enthusiasts carries a number of MINI Cooper models. We love MINI and so does our customers. Check out our website at for the latest MINI Cooper inventory. Thank you for your support.

~ by WestCoastAutoEnthusiasts on March 15, 2012.

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