Top 10 Cultural Moments in Mini History


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  2. 1. Between 1960 and 1967, BMC exported approximately 10,000 left-hand drive BMC Minis to the United States.
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  4. 2. The legacy of the Mini endures. There are some 469 Mini clubs in the UK and at least another 260 world-wide. The car is continually voted one of the most favorite cars of all time and it was recently voted as Britain’s favorite car ever produced.
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  1. 3. Since its inception in 1959, MINI has enjoyed notoriety among celebrities the world over. Perhaps none was more notorious than the legendary Steve McQueen, who had a close personal friendship with Racing Legend John Cooper. During the filming of “The War Lover,” it’s rumored that Cooper ignited McQueen’s interest in the brand, paving the way towards ownership of his Mark II 1967 Cooper S.
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  1. 4. MINI was born to race. Just three years after its unveiling to the public, speed queen Pat Moss and co-driver Ann Wisdom won the Tulip Rally outright in the Netherlands with a classic Morris Mini Cooper 997cc. The landmark win began the legacy for one of the most successful brands in motorsport history.
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  2. 5. On January 24th 1964, Patrick Barron ‘Paddy’ Hopkirk and Henry Liddon shocked the world when they rode their Morris Mini Cooper ‘S’ into the history books at the Monte Carlo Rally. For the first time MINI became the undisputed champion of the most important race on the motorsport calendar, a title that would be achieved again in the 1965 and 1967 Monte Carlo rallies. It was a feat that secured MINI its place among motorsport nobility.
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  2. 6. There wasn't a dry eye in the motoring world when the last original Mini was built on October 4, 2000. The red Cooper Sport model, which was presented to the British Motor Industry Heritage Trust, represented the end of an era after almost 5.5million had been manufactured. The ailing Rover Group had been granted the right to use the Mini name by its new owner, BMW, but it was making huge losses. BMW took the name and attached it to a car that's 58cm longer, 50cm wider and 500kg heavier.
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  2. 7. The Mini made its debut on the big screen in 1964, five years prior to its reputation-making turn in The Italian Job. The car featured in this comedy, which was the second of the Pink Panther series, is best remembered for two reasons. The first is the bizarre wicker side paneling (crafted specially for the film), and the second is a scene in which Inspector Clouseau and his female client escape from a nudist colony and proceed to drive naked through the crowded streets of Paris (it makes a kind of sense within the movie). Sadly, this car meets its demise in the movie's climax, as a bomb intended for Clouseau takes it out.
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  2. 8. You have to believe that, in the late fifties, when the original Mini was simply a sketch on a drawing board somewhere, the designers never stopped to think, "You know, we should really make sure this is small enough to fit in Italian sewers." Yet the car's ability to do just that is what won it the status of pop-culture icon. Now considered a classic, this 1969 film sees a team of British thieves steal a shipment of gold bullion and transfer tonnes of the precious metal into three Minis. Cue an epic chase scene through the streets, sidewalks, staircases and sewers, with a team of Mafia killers close behind. (Just overlook the fact that the Minis wouldn't be able to move, let alone move fast, loaded with more than their weight in gold.) Nearly 50 years later, the imaginative stunts on display here haven't aged a day.
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  2. 9. Back in 1966, The Beatles’ manager, Brian Epstein, gave each of the Fab Four a Mini Cooper S s a gift. In keeping with the zeitgeist of the time, lead guitarist George had his car painted with psychedelic images such as yantras and Sanskrit mantras. In 1967, this legendary Mini starred in The Beatles’ film Magical Mystery Tour. And now, to coincide with its latest landmark anniversary, MINI is dedicating a modern interpretation of George’s car to the man himself. The MINI has been designed according to the wishes of Olivia Harrison and rekindles the look of George’s famous original.
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  4. 10. During its long life, the Mini won many awards. In 1959, Issigonis won the Dewar Cup of the Royal Automobile Society for the car, an award usually given to high-end manufacturers like Rolls-Royce, Daimler, Mercedes, Jaguar and Cadillac. It was selected as “European Car of the Century” and “Car of the Century” as well as “Number One Classic Car of All Time”. It placed second, after the Model T Ford, as “Global Car of the Century” in 1999.