When gearheads think about automotive nameplates that have been around for a while, there are a certain few that immediately spring to mind. Beetle, of course; Corolla, if you’re a bit of a nerd; and – without a doubt – MINI.
In fact, the brand is celebrating a huge milestone at its British MINI Plant Oxford where the classic Mini was manufactured from 1959 onwards. How huge? Try ten million.
That’s not a misprint. Ten million machines have been produced by the plant, a number which coincides with the brand’s 60th anniversary. The anniversary vehicle marking the 10,000,000th car rolled off the production line as a model of the MINI 60 Years Edition (those Brits are pretty good planners). It was then parked alongside the first small car ever manufactured in the plant, a classic Mini from 1959.
Both machines, separated by 60 years of history, then joined forces with other vehicles from the brand. To be precise, one from each of the production years. They are all taking part in a road trip travelling to Bristol in convoy, where fans will celebrate the world’s biggest birthday party for the British original at the International Mini Meeting being held on August 11th.
“Seeing the ten-millionth vehicle of our brand come off the production line here in Oxford was a moment of pride for all the employees. Some of them have family members who were already producing the classic Mini at this site,” explained Peter Weber, Head of the MINI Plant Oxford. “This is a wonderful chapter in the history of MINI and proof of the passion that our customers have for this very special British motor car.”
Sixty years of anything – life, marriage, a Stanley Cup drought – is quite an achievement and puts an exclamation point on the uninterrupted popularity of MINI and its brand. In 1959, Alec Issigonis laid down the idea for a vehicle concept with the engine mounted transversely at the front of the car along with the gearbox configured beneath the engine. The wheels were to be positioned at the corners of the car and, together with a tailgate body, provided maximum interior space on a minimum footprint. About 5.3 million units of the classic Mini were sold worldwide up until the year 2000.
Of course, the word MINI re-entered the global lexicon just one year later with a revival of the brand representing the car we recognize today. Since then, the company has produced many variants of the basic shape introduced at the turn of the millennium, from coupes to convertibles to crossovers.