MINI turns 55: a small car with a great history.

Munich. When the first classic Mini, made in
Birmingham, went on the market on August 18th 1959, none of the people
involved at the time are likely to have imagined that the concept of a
revolutionary small car would turn into one of the automotive
industry’s most impressive success stories stretching over a period of
five and half decades. 55 years ago, two models were presented to the
public which differed solely in their radiator grille, hub caps and
paint finishes: the Morris Mini Minor and the Austin Seven. Designer
Alec Issigonis’ concept was both simple and ingenious: lots of
interior space combined with minimum exterior dimensions, four seats,
perfect driving properties, low fuel consumption and a reasonable
price. These brilliant ideas had an impact that was to extend into the
21st century.

The brand’s underlying principle was confirmed once more when it
was restarted with the market launch of the MINI in 2001: a superior
concept gained popularity in a range of different forms and eventually
became firmly established. Since then MINI has combined the classic
values of the early generations with the demands of a modern
automobile. Very few vehicle concepts have survived for such a long
period of time or gained a comparable level of popularity – and no
other concept has been applied to such a wide variety of versions as
is the case with MINI.

Today the range comprises a large number of models: starting
with the classic body variant of the MINI, it includes the MINI
Clubman, the MINI Convertible, the MINI Coupé and the MINI Roadster,
going right through to the MINI Countryman and the MINI Paceman. The
brand began another fresh chapter of its success story in spring 2014
when the new MINI went on the market. An entirely new variant in the
model program follows in autumn 2014 – the
MINI 5 door.

All models share unsurpassed elegance, highly stable value
retention, unbeatable handling, outstanding safety, unrivalled sporty
flair, an expressive and instantly recognisable design and
uncompromising quality at premium level. The combination of different
qualities is as modern today as it was 55 years ago and the concept is
younger than ever.

On the first weekend in August, members of the classic Mini and
the new MINI community met in the county of Kent to celebrate the most
successful and most popular British small car on its 55th anniversary.
MINI enthusiasts were just as impressed by the new generation of the
original in the premium segment of small cars as they were by some of
its ancestors that were to be seen on the grounds. The vehicles on
show ranged from one of the very first cars of the brand dating back
to 1960 to a classic Mini Clubman Estate and a classic 25 Special
Edition Mini from 1984 through to one of the last classic Minis ever
built from the year 2000.

Guests of honour at the anniversary included Paddy Hopkirk, who
achieved the brand’s first win at the Monte Carlo Rally in a Mini
Cooper S 50 years ago and Russ Swift, who demonstrated some of his
unique stunts and tricks.

Fans of the brand traditionally get together at the
International Mini Meeting to demonstrate their passion for the
world’s most famous small car. This year they designed and produced
hundreds of individual stickers featuring messages and pictures. The
best designs will be on show later this year at a big MINI exhibition
at the BMW Museum in Munich.

The International Mini Meeting (IMM) was first held in Germany
in 1978 – at that time it was a relatively small-scale three-day
camping event. Its popularity increased from one year to the next,
however, with fans prepared to travel further and further until the
organisers finally decided to turn it into an international meet-up.
The IMM takes place in a different country every year, but it returns
to the UK every five years to mark the brand’s anniversary in August.

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