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The daddy (or should that be grandad?) of small cars turns 60 next year.

We take a look at the history of this innovative and timeless design classic

December 13th 2018 info

What immediately springs to mind when you think of the Mini?

Is it The Italian Job? The Swinging Sixties? The fact that, even 60 years later, it's as abundant on Britain's roads as ever?

The fact that the Mini has so many memorable, positive connotations is testament to its truly iconic status. So iconic, in fact, the original Mini was voted the greatest British car of all-time in an poll.

Launched in 1959, the Mini was concepted and created in response to the fuel shortage caused by the 1956 Suez Crisis. With petrol rationed, sales of larger vehicles dipped, whereas the complete opposite happened to the imported car market: sales for German bubble cars soared, as did Italy's Fiat 500.

A fan of neither, however, Leonard Lord - head of The British Motor Corporation at the time - decided that a 'proper miniature car' was needed. Having briefed car designer, Alec Issigonis, and suspension design specialist, Alex Moulton, on his vision - the Mini was unveiled to the public in August 1959.

Despite its distinctive shape and ability to maximise passenger space, initial sales of the Mini were slow. But, when a stream of celebrities were spotted driving the car - not least The Beatles, Peter Sellers and Graham Hill - the rest, as they say, is history.

As a result, the car became a staple of British culture during the Swinging Sixties, typified by 'that' chase scene in 1969's The Italian Job. Two million Minis had been sold by the end of that year, three million by 1972. A hit on home soil and abroad, the Mini's initial and ongoing popularity can be put down to much more than just its cool factor.

Fun to drive, comfortable and compact, the Mini has always managed to prove that good things can come in small packages. The fact that a total of 5,387,862 had been manufactured by the end of production in 2000, suggests a fair few people agreed with this notion.

Initially, it was a quintessentially British feat of design and engineering, one the entire nation could be proud of. It became less British when BMW took over manufacturing of the Mini in 2000; but what they did do was bring the car into the modern era with bigger, bolder, better design and performance.

When it comes to ensuring the Mini's legacy lasts for another 60 years, that's something we should all be thankful for.

If you're in the market for a second hand mini, simply use the Intelligent Search on our homepage for 'second hand mini'

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