2014 MINI Cooper: From England with Love

With a new model out this spring, here’s a little look at the brand’s big history

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MINI has come a long way. In fact, it’s barely been a decade since the brand was introduced to the United States. Now, the 2014 MINI Hardtop goes on sale this spring, starting at $21,745. The new car will be welcome in L.A., which is MINI’s biggest market. See how the car went from invention to British invasion:

1959: Engineer Alec Issigonis creates a radical design, with the four-cylinder engine turned sideways in the car’s nose and the output driving the front wheels. (Today, this layout is common throughout the automotive industry.) The tiny, nimble car hits the spot with buyers.

1964: After racing driver John Cooper adapts it for competition, MINI wins the first of four consecutive times in the Monte Carlo Rally. (One title is tossed out on a technicality.)

1967: A MINI wears a psychedelic paint job in the Beatles’ Magical Mystery Tour. George Harrison gives the car to Eric Clapton—but takes it back in the 1970s.

1969: A station wagon variant is selling well, the MINI pickup is cuter than the entire Brady Bunch, and the precious MINI Moke utility vehicle achieves popularity from Barbados to Australia.  

A MINI History 

 
 

 

1977: Over 4 million MINIs have been sold everywhere but the U.S. The car is at first considered too small for American tastes. When fuel efficiency makes it desirable, federal emissions and safety regulations are too tough.  

1999: The last original-generation MINI is produced. Journalists name MINI the second-most influential car of the century, behind the Ford Model T. Meanwhile, the new MINI—which will come to the U.S.—is previewed at the Paris Motor Show.

2002: MINI finally arrives in L.A. showrooms. There follows a bewildering succession of models: convertible, roadster, coupe, station wagon, all-wheel-drive crossover. And batteries power the MINI E.

2012: MINI enters the Dakar rally, the ultimate marathon race held each January in South America—and wins! Monster Energy, of Corona, sponsors the top teams.

2013: U.S. sales of 66,502 cars out of 305,030 produced makes it the world’s largest MINI market, well ahead of the second-place U.K.

2014: After nearly 6,000 miles in this year’s Dakar rally and a one-two-three finish, it’s three championships in a row for MINI.

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Comments

  1. Mary

    March 19, 2014 at 5:10 am

    Wonderful read! Love your comment “the Mini Pickup is cuter than the entire Brady Bunch”! Well done!