One of very few genuinely ground-breaking cars, the Alec Issigonis-designed Mini is rightly praised for its innovative engineering, handsome looks, surprisingly spacious interior, and giant-killing handling.
In family life it provided transport for millions who might not otherwise have been able to afford to run a modern car, and in competition it slew all that was daft enough to compete against it. It won praise from private owners, professional rally drivers, vanquished competitors, pundits, and spectators, all of whom keep it close to their heart, even now more than sixty years after its introduction.
Introduced in 1959 as cheap, stripped-to-the-bones family transport to beat the oil crisis, it started life with an 850cc engine fitted transversely and above the gearbox. Front-wheel-drive, the Mini’s original rubber cone suspension freed up yet more interior space – and endowed the diminutive British car with unholy roadholding and handling.
Still much sought after, a whole new generation of collectors and enthusiasts is flocking to the mighty Mini – and while the Cooper and Cooper S models will always draw a huge crowd, many prefer the simpler and more modern cars which offer a cost-effective antidote to the bloated and depreciation-prone SUVs that clog our roads today.