The Mini is a small economy car that was made by the British Motor Corporation (BMC) and its successors from 1959 until 2000. The original is considered a British icon of the 1960s, and its space-saving front-wheel drive layout – allowing 80 per cent of the area of the car's floorpan to be used for passengers and luggage – influenced a generation of car makers. The vehicle is in some ways considered the British equivalent of its German contemporary the Volkswagen Beetle, which enjoyed similar popularity in North America. In 1999 the Mini was voted the second most influential car of the 20th century, behind the Ford Model T.
This distinctive two-door car was designed for BMC by Sir Alec Issigonis. It was manufactured at the Longbridge and Cowley plants in England, the Victoria Park / Zetland British Motor Corporation (Australia) factory in Sydney, Australia, and later also in Spain (Authi), Belgium, Chile, Italy (Innocenti), Malta, Portugal, South Africa, Uruguay, Venezuela and Yugoslavia. The Mini Mark I had three major UK updates – the Mark II, the Clubman and the Mark III. Within these was a series of variations, including an estate car, a pick-up truck, a van and the Mini Moke – a jeep-like buggy. The Mini Cooper and Cooper "S" were sportier versions that were successful as rally cars, winning the Monte Carlo Rally four times from 1964 through to 1967, although in 1966 the Mini was disqualified after the finish, along with six other British entrants, which included the first four cars to finish, under a questionable ruling that the cars had used an illegal combination of headlamps and spotlights. Initially Minis were marketed under the Austin and Morris names, as the Austin Seven and Morris Mini Minor, until Mini became a marque in its own right in 1969. The Mini was again marketed under the Austin name in the 1980s.
Read more about Mini Cooper: Design and Development, Mark I Mini: 1959–1967, Mark II Mini: 1967–1970, Mini Cooper and Cooper S: 1961–2000, Mini Clubman and 1275GT: 1969–1980, Mark III and Onwards: 1969–2000, End of Production, Timeline, Limited Editions, Concepts and Unproduced Prototypes, Exotic Minis and Celebrities, Kit Cars and Customisation, Awards, Sales, Safety Record, 50th Anniversary
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“A monarchy is the most expensive of all forms of government, the regal state requiring a costly parade, and he who depends on his own power to rule, must strengthen that power by bribing the active and enterprising whom he cannot intimidate.”
—James Fenimore Cooper (17891851)