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Cars & Jets

Not-So-Mini History of the Mini Cooper

By Prakruti Jhaveri posted Sep 23rd 2016 at 6:00AM

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The Mini Cooper will launch the new John Cooper Works Clubman car at the 2016 Paris Motor Show. While this new 2016 version is stylish, smart and speedy, it is a massive leap from the first Mini (earlier spelled in title case) launched in the 1950s. Here we trace the five-decade long journey of the European Car of the Century, the Mini Cooper:

 

It all started in 1957 when the fuel prices were soaring and large, petrol-guzzling cars were losing their glamour. To keep up with the new demand of the elite, Sir Leonard Lord of the Morris Company worked with his engineer Alec Issigonis for creating a small, fuel-efficient car. This led to the birth of the first-ever Mini in 1959. This never-seen-before car in that era featured two important innovations-more room in the cockpit and for passengers, as well as more stability during a steep turn, thanks to the sideway engine. The production of this car was limited to 429,000 pieces.

 

Not-So-Mini History of the Mini Cooper

 

The Mini soon became a youth icon of the 1960s, as almost everyone from George Harrison of the Beatles to Enzo Ferrari, head of the automobile company, drove this compact car. Soon this four-wheeler was tweaked into a sports-style car to match the competence of British racing legend John Cooper. The revamped car was the Classic Mini Cooper 997 and it featured a more powerful engine and enhanced brakes. In fact, it took over the giant racing cars at the prestigious Monte Carlo rally events from 1964 to 1967. As celebrities and sportsmen developed a penchant for the Mini, the company introduced pickup and station wagon versions in 1970. The elite owners even found a way to customise this car to match their personalities with the help of the manufacturer. The Mini went from strength to strength over the next decade.

 

Not-So-Mini History of the Mini Cooper

 

With over five million cars already sold by 1999, a panel of 130 international automotive journalists voted the Mini the ‘European Car of the Century.' But the last year of the last millennium also marked the end of the Classic Mini. Production of the model was stopped, and a new car, the Mini, made its debut at the 1999 Paris Auto Show.

 

After making waves in Europe, in 2003, the MINI won the ‘American Car of the Year' award. The rise of bespoke culture in the country also led to personalisation options offered by the brand. The MINI was available in various versions of Coupe, Convertible, Clubman, Roadster, and John Cooper sports edition. The enhanced sports version even took to the tracks of famous races such as the World Rally Championship and Dakar Challenge in 2000s.

 

Not-So-Mini History of the Mini Cooper

 

The latest 2016 version of the Mini features four doors and a luggage space that has been expanded from 360 litres to 1,250 litres. It is powered by a 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine with MINI Twin Power Turbo technology. The five-decade drive of the Mini has been a legend in itself, but the makers are moving forward. They aim is to make this compact four-wheeler 100 per cent electric with zero emissions and many other luxurious features such as end-to-end digital connectivity from your car to your gadgets. The futuristic MINI may also have separate driver profiles with individual preferences, glass bonnet for better view while driving, and more.

 

Images via Mini USA

 

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