"Mini" is common slang for miniskirt.

The original Mini was a revolutionary and characterful small car designed for the nationalized British Motor Corporation (BMC) by Alec Issigonis (later Sir) (1906-1988), made in Birmingham and first released in 1959.

The car used a conventional four-cylinder water-cooled engine but it was mounted transversely and drove the front wheels. This innovation allowed much increased passenger space in a small body. The result was nimble, economical and inexpensive. Almost all small cars built since the 1970s have followed this mechanical layout. Another design innovation was the use of exterior welded seams, which permitted the car to be built more cheaply using manual labour. Designed as project ADO15 (ADO indicating Austin Design Office), it was originally called both the Austin Seven (sometimes spelt Se7en) and Morris Mini Minor, but later Mini became a brand in its own right. Between 1961 and 1969 there was also a version of the Mini produced with a more substantial boot (trunk). This was badged as both the Wolseley Hornet (reviving a sports car name from the 1930s) and the Riley Elf. The Mini itself could be bought in a variety of body styles - the standard two-door, an estate (station wagon) version with "barn-door" style rear doors, and a version of this with wooden exterior trim similar to that available on the Morris Minor - this "half timbered" styling is something uniquely (and to some, bizarrely) British.

1968 Austin Mini Cooper

The 1960s saw the heyday of the car, with well-publicised purchases by movie and music stars, Mini Cooper victories in rallies, a starring role in a major film (The Italian Job), spin-off models including commercial vehicles and an estate, and strong sales. However the car never made much money for its makers. Indeed, it is thought that due to an accounting error the car had been incorrectly priced originally and each sale made a loss for the company.

During the 1970s, under the ownership of British Leyland, the Mini was given a more modern, squarer looking face-lift, but later, the design reverted to the more classic and widely recognised rounder 1960s design.

Production of the original Mini outlasted its major competitors -- the VW Beetle (at least in Europe), the CitroŽn 2CV and the Metro, its intended replacement -- running until October 2000 with a total of 5.3 million cars.

In 1994 under Bernd Pischetsrieder, BMW took control of BMC's successor the Rover Group, which included the Mini. But by 2000, Rover was still suffering massive losses. BMW decided to dispose of most of the company: MG and Rover went to Phoenix, a new British consortium; Land Rover went to Ford; BMW kept the Mini brand name and now sells a completely new Mini, techically unrelated to the old car, which the Rover subsidiary had almost finished developing.

Table of contents
1 New Mini
2 External Links
3 Source

New Mini

Launched in 2001, the new Mini (sometimes called BMW Mini) is built in Cowley in Oxford. Historically this was the Morris car plant. The new Mini has a Brazilian-built Chrysler engine. Like the original, this is a transverse four-cylinder unit, driving the front wheels. The styling of the car, like that of the new VW Beetle is deliberately reminiscent of the original. The car has been criticized for its poor space-efficiency compared with the original, but it has quickly become a sales success in Europe and (from 2002) in the USA. It comes in 4 varieties: the Mini One, Mini One D (with a Toyota-built diesel engine), Mini Cooper, Mini Cooper S. In the US market, only the Mini Cooper and Mini Cooper S are currently sold. It is featured in the 2003 remake of The Italian Job.

External Links