HERE’S OUR STORY.
Our story begins in 1923 in Surrey, England, where a boy named John Cooper was born. John often spent time working at his father’s garage and together they built one-off, single-seat rally racers called “Specials”.
With their limited resources in post-war England, and against the automotive fashion of the time (which tended to favour massive cars), the Coopers commissioned Sir Alec Issigonis to produce a compact vehicle that would be “for the people!” using John Cooper’s rear-engine chassis design to save on space. At the first dinner meeting, Issigonis sketched his ideas on a napkin (That’s right – the first Mini was designed on a napkin, over a dish of Bangers and Mash!). Unbeknownst to them, their new design would become a game changer in the motorsports world. The car drove beautifully; it was fast, agile, compact, and best of all, affordable.
The rest, one could say, is history. But before you dismiss this David and Goliath story, consider this: John Cooper’s Mini would place first in countless prolific races, including the Monte Carlo Rally in 1964, 1965, and 1967, against some of the biggest car manufacturers of the time. And that’s before going on to achieve a revered status around the world – with legions of devoted fans, millions of models on the road, and one European Car of the Century title.
Here’s the short story of how MINI grew from its humble beginnings in Longbridge, England to become one of the most iconic vehicles in the world.