You’ve seen them driving around and you have to admit you’ve been curious. What’s it like? What kind of fuel mileage does it get? Is it bigger than it looks? There are a lot of questions about the Mini, and Mini Cooper automobiles have been around for a long time. The Mini started as a single model developed all the way back in 1959 by a British auto manufacturer which at the time was called the British Motor Corporation. A major symbol of the 60’s in the UK, as the VW bus was in the United States, the car’s principle design tenant was that it was quite small and agile while not losing performance that a larger car would have. The cars were never officially called Mini until 1969 when Mini became it’s own name for the model, only to be taken away again about eleven years later.
The reason we hear about Mini Cooper automobiles is because of a man named John Cooper who was a race car designer who owned a auto production company bearing his own name. When he saw the mini, he was sure that it would make a fantastic race car, and really wanted to be able to modify it into a performance machine rather than just a low cost alternative to a full sized car. Despite some original objections from people at British Motor Company, Mini Cooper Automobiles were eventually agreed upon and John Cooper took it upon himself to form a race car from the mini. The Mini Cooper was first rolled out in 1961, with an even more powerful model called the Mini Cooper S being rolled out two years later in 1963. Mini Cooper automobiles enjoyed a lot of success, but like a lot of trends, the excitement over the Mini Cooper died down after a few years, and slowed significantly over the 70’s and 80’s.
Then, in 1994, the company to whom Mini belonged at the time was sold to German automaker BMW. BMW held onto the brand for a while, selling a few Mini Cooper automobiles but not really making any sort of big push with the car. But when BMW grew tired of the dead weight assets they had acquired in purchasing the Rover group, they sold off almost all of it, but they could not ignore that close to five and a half million Mini’s had been produced and sold since the car’s creation in 1959. So, BMW got the idea to re-introduce the car, and it came on in a very big way. Popularized by the mediocre yet box office hit film “The Italian Job” the new Mini Cooper automobiles manufactured by BMW, which are actually not legally related to the original Mini Cooper Automobiles, began to sell very well and became very popular in many markets across the world, especially Japan, the United States, and the UK. The new version was faithfully recreated and well marketed by BMW, and the United States actually became the number two market for the Mini. Many versions including a convertible rag top version of the Mini were released, and it continues to sell well today.
Overall, the Mini Cooper is a very cool automobile with a very unique size and shape. It has an interesting body and a high performance engine, as well as great maneuverability and a versatile interior. People really seem to love Mini Cooper automobiles for their distinctive look, great driving, and just cool retro feel with modern comfort and convenience. Some drivers and designers of the original Mini feel that the new Mini is far too large and cumbersome for incorporating modern safety features and a bigger engine, but those people obviously don’t understand that the times they are a’changin. Go, MINI GO!