Mark I Mini:
The production version of the Mini was demonstrated to the press in
April 1959, and by August several thousand cars had been produced
ready for the first sales.
The name Mini did not appear by itself immediatelyóthe first
models being marketed under two of BMC's brand names, Austin
and Morris. The name Austin Seven (sometimes written as
SE7EN in early publicity material) recalled the popular small
of the 1920s and 1930s. The other name used until 1967 in the United
Kingdom (and in Commonwealth countries such as Australia), Morris
Mini-Minor, seems to have been a play on words. The Morris Minor was
a well known and successful car, with the word minor being
Latin for "smaller"; so an abbreviation of the Latin word for
"smallest"óminimusówas used for the new even smaller car. It
was originally going to be called the Austin Newmarket.
1963 Austin Mini 850 Mark I
Until 1962, the cars appeared as the Austin 850 and Morris
850 in North America and France, and in Denmark as the Austin
Partner (until 1964) and Morris Mascot (until 1981). The
name Mini was first used domestically by BMC for Austin's
version in 1961, when the Austin Seven was rebranded as the
Austin Mini, somewhat to the surprise of the
car company (later known as
Bond Cars Ltd)
who had been using the name
for their three-wheeled vehicles since 1949. However, legal action
was somehow averted, and BMC used the name Mini thereafter.
In 1964, the suspension of the cars was replaced by another Moulton
system. The new suspension gave a softer ride but it also increased
weight and production cost and, in the minds of many enthusiasts,
spoiled the handling characteristics for which the Mini was so
famous. In 1971, the original rubber suspension reappeared and was
retained for the remaining life of the Mini.
Austin Mini Van,
From October 1965 the option of an
(AP) designed four-speed
became available. Cars fitted with this became the Mini-Matic
Slow at the outset, Mark I sales strengthened across most of the
model lines in the 1960s, and production totalled 1,190,000. Sold at
almost below cost, the basic Mini made very little money for its
owners. However, it still did make a small profit.
once took a Mini away and completely dismantled it, possibly to see
if they could offer an alternative. It was their opinion though,
that they could not sell it at BMC's price. Ford determined that the
BMC must have been losing around 30 pounds per car. BMC insisted
that the way company overheads were shared out, the Mini always made
money. Larger profits came from the popular De Luxe models
and from optional extras such as seat belts, door mirrors, a heater
and a radio, which would be considered necessities on modern cars,
as well as the various "Cooper" and "Cooper S" models, to be
The Mini etched its place into popular culture in the 1960s with
well-publicised purchases by film and music stars.
Mark II Mini: 1967Ė1973
The Mark II Mini featured a redesigned grille which remained with
the car from that point on. Also, a larger rear window and numerous
cosmetic changes were introduced. 429,000 Mark II Minis were made.
A bewildering variety of Mini types were made in
Spain, by the
company from 1968 onwards, mostly under the Morris name.
The Mini was arguably the star of the 1969 film
The Italian Job,
which features a car chase in which a gang of thieves drive three
Minis down staircases, through storm drains, over buildings and
finally into the back of a moving bus. This film was
remade in 2003
and Cooper S: 1961Ė2000
owner of the
and designer and builder of
and rally cars, saw the potential of the Mini for competition.
Issigonis was initially reluctant to see the Mini in the role of a
performance car, but after John Cooper appealed to BMC management,
the two men collaborated to create the Mini Cooper, a nimble,
economical and inexpensive car. The Austin Mini Cooper and Morris
Mini Cooper debuted in 1961.
The original 848 cc engine from the Morris Mini-Minor was given a
longer stroke to increase capacity to 997 cc, boosting power from
to 55 bhp (25 to 41 kW).
The car featured a racing-tuned engine, twin
a closer-ratio gearbox and front
uncommon at the time in a small car. One thousand units of this
version were commissioned by management, intended for and designed
to meet the
rally racing. The 997 cc engine was replaced by a shorter stroke 998
cc unit in 1964.
1963 Austin Mini Cooper S
A more powerful Mini Cooper, dubbed the "S", was developed in tandem
and released in 1963. Featuring a 1071 cc engine with a 70.61 mm
bore and nitrided steel crankshaft and strengthened bottom end to
allow further tuning; and larger
disc brakes, 4,030 Cooper S cars were produced and sold until the
model was updated in August 1964. Cooper also produced two S models
specifically for circuit racing in the under 1000cc and under 1300cc
classes respectively, rated at 970 cc and a 1275 cc, both with the
70.61mm bore and both of which were also offered to the public. The
smaller-engine model was not well received, and only 963 had been
built when the model was discontinued in 1965. The 1275 cc Cooper S
models continued in production until 1971.
Sales of the Mini Cooper were as follows: 64,000 Mark I Coopers with
997 cc or 998 cc engines; 19,000 Mark I Cooper S with 970 cc,
1071 cc or 1275 cc engines; 16,000 Mark II Coopers with 998 cc
engines; 6,300 Mark II Cooper S with 1275 cc engines. There were no
Mark III Coopers and just 1,570 Mark III Cooper S's.
The Mini Cooper S earned acclaim with
victories in 1964, 1965 and 1967.
Minis were initially placed first, second and third in the 1966
rally as well, but were disqualified after a controversial decision
by the French judges. The disqualification related to the use of a
dimming circuit in place of a dual-filament lamp. It should be noted
that was eventually awarded first place had illegal white headlamps
but escaped disqualification. The driver of the CitroŽn,
was reluctant to accept the trophy and vowed that he would never
race for CitroŽn again. BMC probably received more publicity from
the disqualification than they would have gained from a victory.
August 1959: Introduction of the Austin
Seven, Morris Mini-Minor and Morris Mini-Minor DL 2-door
saloons, all with transversely mounted 848 cc engine and 4-speed
1960: Introduction of the Austin Seven Countryman and Morris
Mini-Minor Traveller 3-door estates, both with 848 cc engine
from the saloon models.
1961: Introduction of the Austin Seven Super and Morris
Mini-Minor Super 2-door saloons.
1961: Introduction of the Austin Mini Cooper and Morris Mini
Cooper 2-door saloon, both with larger 997 cc 55 bhp (41 kW)
January 1962: All former Austin Seven models now officially
called Austin Mini.
March 1962: pvc seat covers replaced cloth upholstery on entry
level model ("basic Mini").
1962: "De Luxe" and "Super" designations discontinued. "Super de
Luxe" designation introduced. Modified instrument panel now
included oil pressure and water temperature gauges.
March 1963: Introduction of the Austin Mini Cooper 1071 S and
Morris Mini Cooper 1071 S 2-door saloons, both with larger
1071 cc 70 bhp (52 kW) engine.
1964: Introduction of the Mini Moke.
April 1964: Introduction of the Austin and Morris Mini-Cooper
998, Mini-Cooper 970 S and Mini-Cooper 1275 S. 1275 S models
have 1275 cc 76 bhp (57 kW) engine. Automatic transmission
available as an option for the 998 cc Austin Mini-Cooper 998 and
1275 S. Previous Mini-Cooper 997 and 1071 S models dropped.
1965: Mini Cooper 970 S discontinued.
October 1965: Automatic transmission now available as an option
on standard Austin/Morris Mini and Morris Mini SDL.
October 1967: Mark 2 range launched with facelift and upgraded
equipment. Austin Mini range as follows: 850, 1000, Cooper 998
and Cooper 1275 S 2-door saloons and 1000 Countryman 3-door
estate. Morris Mini range as follows: 850, 850 SDL, 1000 SDL,
Cooper 998 and Cooper 1275 S 2-door saloons and 1000 Traveller
3-door estate. Optional automatic transmission available on all
Austin models (except 850) and Morris Mini 1000 SDL saloon.
September 1968: Manual four speed gear box with synchromesh on
all four forward ratios introduced.
March 1969: Launch of the Morris Mini K an Australian-only model
manufactured in the Australian British Motor Corporation factory
at Zetland NSW using 80% local content
October 1969: Separate Austin and Morris
badging now merged into Mini 850/Mini 1000 badging. Range
reduced to: 850, 1000, Clubman, Cooper S and
1275 GT 2-door coupes and Clubman
3-door estate. Optional automatic transmission available on all
except 1275 GT.
April 1974: A heater became standard equipment on the entry
level Mini 850 (having now already been included in the standard
specification of the other models for some time).
When production of the classic Mini ceased in 2000, BMW (the new
owner of the brand) announced the successor to the Miniówhich is
variously called the "BMW MINI" or the "New MINI". The brand name
for the new car is MINI (written in capital letters).
The new MINI is larger than the classic Mini. It is around
55 centimetres (22 in) longer, 30 centimetres (12 in) wider,
weighing 1,050 kg (2,315 lb) rather than 650 kg (1,433 lb). It is
now classified as
On 3 April 2007, the one millionth MINI rolled out of the Oxford
Plant after six years of production, just one month longer than it
took the classic Mini to reach the same total in March 1965.