The last of the classic Minis will roll off the Rover assembly line at Longbridge near Birmingham, England today (October 4) after 41 years in production. But it doesn't hold the record for the longest UK assembly run. That title is likely to be retained by Morgan, which still has a model that goes back in concept to the 1930s. Its nearest rival in longevity is the extraordinary Reliant Robin, which is due to end its life on December 20 after some six decades since its conception as a three-wheeler which could be driven in the UK by the holder of a motorcycle licence. Also on the list of durable British classics was the Ford Escort, which went out of production in July. The end of three such significant model lines this year marks also the end of the British motor industry as it used to be. Now the country is a manufacturing and marketing base mainly for foreign-owned OEMs building global models with very little English heritage. Today's final total is 5,387,862 units of Sir Alec Issigonis's Mini, which has gone through 137 different versions since being launched under the Austin and Morris brands in August 1959. So, as a single design, it has convincingly outsold as well as outlived Ford's Escort, which was launched eight years after the Mini and sold about 5.2 million UK units. BMW retained ownership of the Mini brand when it sold the Rover Group earlier this year and is now in the pre-launch build-up to a radically different car wearing the Mini badge. You can see much of the brand and model strategy at http://www.mini.com and http://www.mini.co.uk . For more on the classic Mini which ends production today, go to http://www.miniclassic.com BMW's continuation of the Mini heritage in a very different guise will be shown later this month at the Auto Africa and Birmingham motor shows. The Birmingham show will see also the debut of a new Reliant sports car - not in the least like the Robin which is now on run-out.