A Small Car's Big Milestone
50 years of MINI
In honor of the half-century's worth of motoring excellence, here are some trivia-worthy facts about MINI:
- Though the brand launched in 1959, Mini didn't become its own marque until a decade later; before that, the British Motor Corp. cars were launched under the Austin or Morris names (e.g. the Morris Mini-Minor and Austin Mini).
- While the low-slung car with the bulldog stance is the most iconic of its lineup, the marque's stable has in the past included a van, a buggy, a station wagon -- even a pickup truck.
- The Mini was designed to cater to the demand for more fuel-efficient vehicles directly caused by the gasoline shortage after the 1956 Suez Crisis.
- The original 1961 Mini Cooper was a collaboration between John Cooper -- owner of the Cooper Car Co. and friend of original Mini designer Sir Alec Issigonis -- and BMC, and was created (despite BMC's early reluctance) as an affordable performance car.
- Issigonis worked for 12 years -- from 1967 to 1979 -- on an experimental replacement for the Mini called the 9X, which, though technologically advanced for its time, never saw the light of day due to infighting within the parent groups
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