What’s Mini and when did it start making cars?
Like many of the world’s biggest car brands these days, Mini was once just a model name. Of course, you already knew that, didn’t you? And you already know the story behind the original Mini’s conception, but we’ll tell it again for posterity.
In the late 1950s, the Suez Crisis had caused a worldwide fuel shortage and small car sales were booming. In response, boss of the British Motor Corporation Leonard Lord ordered one Alec Issigonis to design something small and affordable without compromising on interior space.
Issigonis and his team pushed all four wheels to the far corners of their new design, before fitting a transversely mounted engine and gearbox to drive the front wheels. Oh, and the looks weren’t bad either. The result was a revelation and remained in production with only minor tweaks until 2000 – although throughout its life it was known as the Austin Seven, the Morris Mini-Minor, the Austin Mini, the Mini, then the Austin Mini again and finally back to just the Mini (although V5 documents often said Rover Mini). Ah, the joys of British car manufacturing.
BMW acquired the Rover Group in 1994 and kept the rights to the Mini brand when it sold off others like Land Rover in 2000.