The first Mini was produced by BMC (British Motoring Corporation) in 1959 and, due to its revolutionary minimalist size and revolutionary style, became a huge automotive symbol of the 1960's.
It was the first car ever to be produced with front wheel drive and was designed by Sir Alec Issigonis. His aim was to create an affordable car that was more fuel efficient.
Over the years the Mini has had many faces but always remains instantly recognisable. The Mark I Mini, first produced in 1959, through to the Mark II Mini, produced between 1967 and 1970 and which found fame in the film The Italian Job (1969) with the epic car chases through the streets of Turin.
The Mark II also found fame as a rally car, after the development of the Cooper S by John Cooper, with victories at the Monte Carlo Rally in 1964, 1965 and 1967. Controversy reigned in 1966 when Minis were placed 1st, 2nd and 3rd but were disqualified due to a last minute rule change about the type of headlights used. Even more of a storm was caused by the awarding of first place to a Citroen driver, whose headlights were equally questionable under the amended rules. The driver was reluctant to take the trophy and said he would never race for Citroen again.
Production of the classic Mini continued through to 2000 and saw change of ownership to BMW. Production then ceased in October of that year and saw a total of more than 5.3 million cars manufactured since their launch in 1959.
The new BMW MINI, a more luxurious and sporty car than its scaled back predecessor was launched the following year in 2001 with the Hardtop Hatch reprising the Copper and Cooper S variations. The Mini reprised its on screen role with its appearance in the Italian Job remake in 2003. Business Week reported a 22% increase in sales on the previous year following the film's release.
Numerous models have consistently followed the relaunch, including the MINI Convertible introduced in 2004 and a second generation Hatchback in 2006 - designed to be more cost effective and fuel efficient. 2010 saw the MINI Countryman, a 5 Door SUV Crossover and in 2011 the 2 seater MINI Coupe - both the first of their kind from MINI.
Later in 2013 we are to see the release of the MINI Paceman, a two door version of the Countryman, it was unveiled just last year and goes on sale on March 16 2013.
The MINI maintains its reputation as an icon in motoring and fashion and in August 2012 was voted the greatest British car of all time. We know that, for these reasons, MINI owners are passionate about their car and MINI GAP Insurance from ALA will ensure that you are protecting your investment.