MINI Concept Detroit: In Depth

“Go Sports!” — Sports and Fun with Speed.
Setting the trend in a sporting world — today this means consistently keeping an open mind for new ideas, fast reactions, and spontaneous decisions. And MINI Concept Detroit is the ideal car for this purpose, combining a powerful engine and a sporting ambience inside with the flexible and intelligent use of space. Friends are always welcome on board, space for your sports equipment is more than ample, and innovative roof racks and storage boxes provide lots of additional room. Clearly, this guarantees outdoor fun free-riding in the snow as well as great summer days kite-surfing on the coast.

An Innovative Ambience and Sporting Style Re-Interpreted.
Unusual, agile, clever — from the very beginning Mini was the ideal companion for the genuine trendsetter. And ever since the early ’60s, sporting outdoor activities, the opportunity to drive out to the country together with friends, and the joy of travelling became an increasingly important highlight of modern life. So with its extended wheelbase, the slightly rising roofline, and practical rear doors, the Mini Traveller was exactly the right companion combining the unique style of the chic Mini with extra space and practical value to ensure superior joy of travelling at all times.

Now, entering the year 2006, which also marks the 100th birthday of Sir Alec Issigonis, the inventor of the Mini, MINI is proudly presenting the MINI Concept Detroit at the North American International Auto Show, a design study reinterpreting the fundamental philosophy of the nimble little Traveller from Great Britain in the most emotional style of the early 21st century: “Go Sports” all the way.And indeed, while many features of the car appear familiar, the truth is that everything is new: The unique overall look of the car is typical of MINI in every respect, with its characteristic front end, side view and numerous design features already widely lauded as genuine icons. Various innovations both inside and outside are also typical of MINI, for example the wide-opening doors with their intelligent parallelogram kinematics as well as the coupe-like look of the car without a B-pillar.

A further highlight of Mini Concept Detroit is the new Silver Metallic paintwork further enhanced by exquisite materials inside the car. And last but certainly not least, Mini Concept Detroit pays tribute to its forefather inter alia through its elegant station wagon design featuring a symmetrically split double door at the rear as well as split side windows for the passengers sitting in the second row. A major feature of MINI Concept Detroit is that all the functions presented serve a specific purpose, with all design highlights refined to the last detail. Indeed, even the very name of the car has a special meaning, the roots of MINI lying in an urban lifestyle and with every issue of the MINI International Magazine being dedicated precisely for this reason to an exciting, fast-moving city in our modern world. At the same time Mini Concept Detroit is an homage to the host and venue of the NAIAS, where the MINI Convertible so popular above all in the USA celebrated its world premiere at the 2004 Show.

Go Sports: Travelling in Style and Perfection Wherever You Go.
New Surfaces and Materials for MINI Concept Detroit. Satellite Silver with multi-layer exterior paintwork intermingling in silver and grey, white leather with various surfaces and a unique touch, innovative glass-fibre texture on the interior door linings and panels, as well as a metallic carbon look within the footwells combined with nylon weave blue carpeting also boasted on the seat inserts and armrests — all this clearly bears testimony to travelling in style with MINI in the early 21st century. Indeed, “Go Sports” means an exceptional ambience and clever use of space presented authentically by MINI in the guise of MINI Concept Detroit.

Like the classic Mini Traveller, the MINI Concept on display at the 2006 NAIAS is designed and conceived to offer generous, luxurious and stylish motoring qualities for up to four travellers in their sports and leisure-time activities. This superiority is based on new concepts for the use of space ranging from the Cargobox in the luggage compartment all the way to the free-hanging driver and front passenger seats.

MINI Concept Detroit Exterior: Unmistakable: That Lovable MINI All the Way.

Just one look is sufficient: Like the “regular” model, the Concept Version of the MINI is “as small as possible and as big as necessary”. And particularly this was the special challenge facing the MINI Design Team, with MINI Concept Detroit being a truly unique car all the way from its characteristic hexagon grille to the very functional split-door rear end.

MINI Concept Detroit naturally boasts numerous highlights which have made MINI design a genuine hallmark in the course of many years and decades: These include the straight shoulder and roof lines with the shoulder line rising up gently to the rear to give the car the exciting wedge shape of a genuine MINI further accentuated especially on this model by the extra length of the car. The wheels positioned far to the outside, the very wide (more than 160 cm or 63.0″ long) driver and front passenger doors relative to the overall length of the car, and the characteristic joints around the side direction indicators all bear out the enhanced, upgraded design language so characteristic of MINI Concept Detroit.

The diagonal joint between the side direction indicator and the side door is a genuine icon which has developed consistently over the years, originating from the welding seam of the classic MINI. The glazed window line extending all round the car and the omission of a B-pillar creates the impression of a “free-standing” roof again characterising the Concept Car just like the door handles typical of MINI.

Firm, Sporting, Masculine.
Many features of MINI Concept Detroit are familiar — but in actual fact everything is different: In its overall look and appearance, the car is firm, sleek and smooth, with features such as the wheel arches, the shoulder line and the powerdome standing out as particularly striking details. At very first sight, MINI Concept Detroit makes a clear statement — the car has stance, looks muscular and elegant all in one. This impressive appearance is further accentuated by the headlights integrated directly in the engine compartment lid and by the hexagonal grille sculptured in one single piece to give the Concept Version a particularly alert, performance-oriented, likeable and charming appearance.

Engine Compartment Lid Hinged at the Front.
This sporting look is further enhanced by the engine compartment lid hinged at the front, the wheel arches and radiator grille forming one homogeneous component without any seams or dividing lines in between. And like on a classic sports car, the engine compartment lid swivels to the front and upwards when opening, with only the headlights remaining in their original position, allowing perfect access to the engine compartment itself.

Sophisticated, attractive design and top-quality materials characterise the car also within the engine bay: The wheel arches and all the visible components on and around the engine are finished consistently in Satellite Silver, the exterior colour of the car, with the power unit being presented in almost the same way as in a display cabinet. To ensure maximum fun and driving pleasure also on the way to your destination, MINI Concept Detroit comes with a MINI Cooper S power unit clearly characterised by the additional air intake scoop on the engine compartment lid and dual tailpipes. Further ingredients ensuring that go-kart feeling so typical of MINI are the long wheelbase, the wide track, as well as short overhangs both front and rear. Entering the year 2006, a special signet in the radiator grille reminds the connoisseur that the “inventor” of the Mini was born 100 years ago.

MINI Concept Detroit Opening up at the Left, Right, Rear and Top.
All Doors with Parallelogram Kinematics. Extra space inside naturally calls for good access from outside. Ensuring easy access and loading was therefore one of the fundamental philosophies in developing MINI Concept Detroit. And through the driver and front passenger doors as well as the two rear doors, MINI is introducing a design configuration simply ideal for much easier and more convenient entry to and exit from the car, as well as better loading and unloading even under confined conditions: All four doors run on “intelligent” hinges and pivots in kinematic parallelogram arrangement, the doors swivelling in one single motion with minimum movement to the side and maximum movement to the front. This significantly reduces the space required all around the car when opening the doors while nevertheless offering the user generous access to the interior.

Coupe-Like Appearance for Convenient Access. Long Side Doors, no B-Pillar, Split Side Windows at the Rear.

Through their parallelogram kinematics, the long coupe doors turn the occasional disadvantage of a smaller opening angle into a significant advantage ensured by the concept of the car — especially because the side doors on this design concept are more than 160 centimetres or 63.0″ wide. And a further important point is that the side doors, like on every MINI, come with frameless windows. MINI’s new cosmopolitan athlete takes up the elements of a two-door coupe also in many other respects, at the same time offering particular practical value through easy access and loading. The omission of the B-pillar, for example, is a genuine eye-catcher emphasising the dynamic all-round appearance of MINI Concept Detroit.

A further highlight is the two split side windows at the rear merging directly when closed with the side windows at the front and with the front section moving electrically beneath the rear section when opened. This principle of split windows at the rear incidentally comes straight from the classic Mini Traveller and has been re-interpreted on MINI Concept Detroit.

Without the usual B-pillar and with its windows opened completely at the front and rear, MINI Concept Detroit ensures a particular impression of style and generosity otherwise to be found only on a coupe or convertible. Indeed, the omission of a B-pillar allows much easier and more comfortable access to the rear seats of the car.

Longer Wheelbase for Extra Space Inside.
MINI Concept Detroit quite simply offers more space for spontaneous decisions — for example when quickly stowing away the equipment you require for your favourite sport and setting out for a training session. The long wheelbase guarantees particularly ample space on the rear seats of the car.

An important contribution to the excellent driving characteristics so typical of MINI, on the other hand, is the particular position of the wheels “right at each corner”. Deliberately maintaining this important feature so typical of the brand, MINI Concept Detroit — like all other MINIs — boasts an extra-short and compact body overhang at the rear. And last but certainly not least, the two wide-opening rear doors hinged at the side make loading and unloading very easy and convenient.

The Cargobox — Your Butler inside the Luggage Compartment.
Behind these doors MINI Concept Detroit takes up items loaded into the car on two separate levels. This is made possible by the Cargobox, a very helpful “butler” for handling both small bags and big cases. Just one feature is that the floor cover can be pulled out to the rear, enabling the driver to simply put down his or her bags and smoothly return the floor panel into the car.

A further feature is that the floor of the Cargobox may be swivelled up, serving as a partition between the passenger compartment and the luggage area. With a flick of the hand, you can also pull out the entire Cargobox to the rear and swivel it into the opening on the rear doors, for example to conveniently stow away your wet clothes and shoes after a sports match or training session. Fully retractable, frameless windows in both rear doors serve finally to provide extra fresh air and again allow convenient access to the luggage compartment without requiring the driver to even open the doors. The Sports Utility Box: Take Along Whatever You Need. Skiing, skating, or taking a run on the beach in summer — you always need the right equipment to really enjoy such wonderful opportunities either with friends or on your own. MINI Concept Detroit makes this pleasure really easy: All you have to do is hang the Sports Utility Box tailored to the car into the rear side window opened up in advance, and off you go.

The Sports Utility Box is a multifunctional, add-on interchangeable storage compartment made of specially stamped plastic. Measuring the same in length and height as the rear side window, the Sports Utility Box fits perfectly into position. All you do is open the vertically split window (the front section moves back electrically) and hang in the Utility Box with its lower section in the window opening. The Sports Utility Box comes with flaps on either side for loading and unloading the box both from outside and from the passenger compartment — and also serving to conveniently pass through all kinds of objects, odds and ends. The lower section of the Box, in turn, extends back along the car all the way to the C-pillar.MINI Concept Detroit allows the use of several Sports Utility Boxes all at the same time, giving the user maximum flexibility and convenience.

Open up for Many Options: Sunroof, Loading Hatch, Roof Rack, Roof Box.
The sunroof extending throughout almost the entire roof area from front to rear is a particularly significant fun feature of MINI Concept Detroit, offering the passengers a wonderful feeling of space and generosity with the sun and the lights of the big city brightening up the interior.

Again taking up the philosophy of using space intelligently, the Design Study offers convenient access to the interior also through the sunroof: With the rear section of the roof opening up in full, the occupants of the car enjoy not only fresh air, but also practical qualities, for example when loading a kiteboard with maximum ease from above. Indeed, this not only looks cool, but is also very practical and avoids obstruction in road traffic, with long objects extending out of the roof and not the rear end of the car.

Whenever you’re out with friends and require extra loading space, MINI Concept Detroit offers everything you need through its innovative roof rack system. The “backbone” of this sophisticated storage system is made up of bars on either side serving as support rails taking up two crossbars for individual support mounts safely and securely carrying all kinds of sports equipment — skis in winter or, say, your kite-board in summer. And since the crossbars can be moved freely along the railings throughout the entire length of the roof, adapting the roof rack support to individual transport requirements is particularly convenient. Moved back all the way to the rear, finally, and fastened flush in position, these two components take on the function and design of a rear roof spoiler, further enhancing the sporting look of MINI Concept Detroit.

The philosophy of the Sports Utility Box providing additional loading space by inserting interchangeable storage boxes into openings in the car is taken up and enhanced consistently by Roof Box. While the Sports Utility Box clicks into the open side windows, the Roof Box is intended for the loading hatch above the rear doors. Accordingly, the Roof Box extends throughout the entire width of the car and at the outside reaches all the way to the front up to the sunroof. Inside the car, in turn, the Roof Box occupies the upper section of the loading compartment. Like the Sports Utility Box, the Roof Box is accessible both from inside and outside, and is also made of a special, stamped plastic material.

Multifunctional Wheel Rims in Twin-Colour Look.
Wheels with many facets: Featuring multifunctional wheel rims, MINI Concept Detroit gives the driver the option to personalise the design and expression of his — or her — car, without having to change the complete set of wheels in a tedious, elaborate process.

The Concept Car on show in Detroit comes with wheels in discreet grey reminiscent of high-quality castings. The wheels themselves comprise five trapezoid-shaped inserts finished in blue and giving MINI Concept Detroit a particularly technical, dynamic look.

The multifunctional wheel rims on MINI Concept Detroit are made up of a lightweight carrier wheel together with the basic rims and tyres. The carrier wheel features numerous bolting points and connection flanges for fastening easily exchangeable, personalised design elements. With the wheels of each car being a significant design feature, the focus with MINI is not just on the particular position of the wheels right at each corner, but also on the sheer size of the wheels acting as particular highlights.

Purist Looks with a Unique “Chameleon” Effect: Surface Trim in the MINI Concept Detroit.
MINI Concept Detroit takes a new approach not only in its technical and functional highlights, but also through the design of its trim surfaces specially created by the MINI Design Team: In all, the exclusive combination of white and silver surfaces emanates a touch of modern elegance without in any way appearing overdone or let alone obtrusive, since the emphasis remains on those specific qualities so typical of MINI.

This intentionally minimalist understatement and neutral style is enhanced, first, by the exceptional quality and innovative character of the materials used and, second, by the exterior colour changing with the perspective of the beholder and reflecting the surrounding area around the car. As a result,

MINI Concept Detroit is almost like a chameleon, acting as both an element and the highlight of the colourful world typically surrounding every MINI.

Satellite Silver Paintwork Colour in a Winter Wonderworld.
The paintwork of the MINI Concept Study offers an entirely new rendition of aesthetic looks, an exciting duality of non-metallic and metallic paint: Satellite Silver comes with a brilliant silver look in the light, while all points not directly illuminated from the perspective of the beholder come out in refined matt silver. MINI achieves this special effect by way of the Silver Metallic paintwork applied in two layers, the colours of each layer varying slightly from one another.

Fire Red and Sky Blue as Active Contrasting Colours on the Sports Utility Box, Bonnet Stripes, and Mirror Caps. MINI Concept Detroit emphasises its individual, sporting performance and takes up another design feature typical of MINI through particularly bright and conspicuous contrasting colours: This is the availability of numerous features and items of equipment, such as stripes on the engine compartment lid, the mirror caps or roof paintwork in constrasting colour all available on the series production model.

On MINI Concept Detroit the Sports Utility Box in Sky Blue on the passenger’s side provides precisely this kind of contrast, lines in blue and individual stars presenting discreet variations of the “Stars and Stripes” theme. Standing out in particular through the material used on the Box, these design elements are three-dimensional just like the bonnet stripes on the engine compartment lid which, like a high-class label, add particular volume and generate a very sophisticated effect.

An indispensable highlight of every particularly sporting MINI is formed by the mirror caps in different, distinctive colours, standing out in powerful Sky Blue on MINI Concept Detroit.

A design feature characteristic of MINI is the area around the side direction indicators with a diagonal seam and air intake, where MINI Concept Detroit boasts a special segment made of polished aluminium.

Black Neoprene Contours.
Surfers and sailors often wear neoprene suits to protect themselves from cold temperatures. MINI Concept Detroit, in turn, uses neoprene to maintain the special touch and feeling of its surfaces also on the exterior.

Through its special qualities and properties, neoprene offers several exciting effects all in one: The first point is that the sophisticated, silken-matt surface contrasts beautifully with the high-gloss Satellite Silver of the car’s body, with similar, distinctive contrasts between the hard surface of the doors and wheel arches, on the one hand, and the soft structure of the neoprene contours, on the other: After being pressed in or touched hard, neoprene returns to its original shape, at the same time offering a unique feel never experienced before in the world of motoring. So choosing this material clearly dedicated to active outdoor sports, the designers creating MINI Concept Detroit are again able to accentuate the car’s sporting appeal.

Aluminium Adding a Touch of Lightness and Sophisticated Style.
Glossy and matt aluminium accentuates the exterior look of MINI Concept Detroit, conveying a very special message in the process. This applies particularly to all sections and components of the body taking over design features from the classic Mini Traveller. As an example, the C-pillars in striking aluminium look at the rear bear testimony to the car’s great heritage. The radiator grille, the light surrounds at the front as well as the exhaust tailpipes are also finished in aluminium, emanating a touch of high performance combined with sheer luxury.

Floating Elements: MINI Concept Detroit Interior.
MINI All the Day and for Every Purpose. “Floating Elements” Characterising the Car’s Interior Design.

Querying the conventional and offering unconventional answers — proceeding from a high level of technology and emotion, MINI Concept Detroit reflects precisely these expectations. And this also applies to the interior design of the MINI Concept Car. Offering ergonomics at ist best, MINI Concept Detroit provides an entirely new experience of space with clever solutions for constantly new ideas to be experienced and enjoyed with MINI at all times and wherever you go.

The car’s concept of colours and materials consistently continues the exterior message within the interior, focusing on function, practical use of space and genuine value. Clearly, this makes MINI the small and fresh luxury experience for the whole day giving each and every day that special something.

Precisely this is why many features of MINI’s interior design are also to be found in the Concept Car, from the evolutionary enhancement of the large central instrument through paddle switches so typical of MINI all the way to the far larger door panels on the driver’s and front passenger’s doors in their characteristic, elliptic shape: The joy of detail remains clearly in focus, with new features borne out time and again.

“Hovering” Seats for the Driver and Front Passenger. Free-Standing Suspension and Integrated Belt System. Opening the driver’s and front passenger’s doors, the enthusiast enjoying MINI Concept Detroit will immediately experience a truly generous and open impression: The seats for both the driver and passenger appear to hover in space, being mounted directly on the front centre console by means of special load-bearing extensions. This not only offers additional footroom for the passengers at the rear, but also provides particular benefits in terms of open space along the floor of the car. This impression is further enhanced by the slender construction of the seats basically reduced to two buckets similar to an open shell. To make access to the car as easy and convenient as possible also for the passengers at the rear, the front seats come with an unprecedented, truly unique Easy-Entry System, the seats moving forward with the help of an electric motor and at the same time rotating inwards. Turning away (but not folding down) the backrest on the driver’s and front passenger’s seats, this provides much more room and freedom in entering the rear. Then, once the passengers have taken their seats at the back, the front seats automatically return to their original position.

As a further feature the driver’s and front passenger’s seats come with a fully integrated seat belt system, consistently keeping the belts exactly where they are needed and avoiding any obstruction when entering the rear.

Room for Sitting Comfortably and Loading Conveniently also at the Rear.
The long wheelbase of the car gives two passengers at the rear adequate space in every respect, making MINI Concept Detroit pleasantly spacious inside. The rear-seat backrests fold down individually to form a flat surface flush with the floor of the luggage compartment. This facilitates the process of loading the car from all sides, either through the rear doors or the driver/front passenger door, with the further advantage of being able to conveniently move around and place bags and objects in position.

The extra-large and flat loading area also provides ample space for large and bulky objects, the centre armrest between the two seats being fully integrated in the flat surface and offering additional storage space. Opening up extra-wide, the two rear doors provide convenient access to almost the complete cross-section of the interior, with the loading sill kept particularly low, again in the interest of extra convenience. And even with the two rear-seat backrests in their upright position, the passengers enjoy a loading capacity most acceptable for a car of this size.

The Cupholders: Everything in Easy Reach and at a Pleasant Temperature.
Two things which certainly would not mean “Go Sports!” are luke-warm Coke after a hot day on the beach and luke-warm tea after a day out skiing — which is precisely why MINI Concept Detroit offers the right solution also for ideal “on-board service”: The chrome surrounds on the side air vents fold down to form cupholders at exactly the right point in the car: First, this keeps drinks within very convenient reach at all times. Second, this keeps your Coke cool on a hot day with fresh air from the air conditioning flowing straight to the cupholders. And on cold winter days the warm air coming out of the nozzles serves not only to de-mist the side windows, but also to keep your tea at a pleasantly warm temperature.

Revolving Center Speedo with Digital Display and Classic Sports Instruments.
The large central instrument on the MINI’s dashboard enjoys special status among the design icons of this fresh young athlete from England — indeed, it is an absolute cult item. So it is in this meaning, as the focal point of all action, that the central instrument console in MINI Concept Detroit truly stands out as a revolving Center Speedo featuring displays on both sides: The digital side highlights the Cruise Mate incorporating an Info Display for the navigation system and a Tuner quite conceivable in future for masterminding numerous functions within the car.

Turned round vertically by 180°, the Center Speedo highlights all the classic instruments on the back so characteristic of a sports car or coupe — a water and engine oil temperature gauge, as well as an engine oil pressure meter. And to turn around the Center Speedo, all you do is press a button on the centre tunnel.

Over and above the usual features of a multifunction steering wheel, MINI Concept Detroit offers an additional highlight: A third steering wheel spoke in six o’clock position accommodates an additional, retrofittable temperature/altitude meter complete with an analogue display.

Only the Best Inside. Leather, Chrome, Aluminium — the Principal Materials.
Inside the car, white leather enhances the flair of modern style and the ample space available, creating a sophisticated ambience at the same time. Indeed, the colour white quite generally accentuates the clear lines of MINI Concept Detroit throughout, from front to rear and right to left. Top-quality leather is used on three diffferent surfaces: Grained cowhide accentuates the headrests as well as the inner lining on the side and rear doors. Through its clear surface structure, this special leather conveys a feeling of lasting, sporting quality and contrasts convincingly with the soft leather featured on the seat backrests and the steering wheel. And last but not least, the roof lining comes in extra-soft alcantara providing a feeling of smooth silk. Particularly soft and “velvety” leather featured on the dashboard almost hovering in position and on the armrests on the side doors is highly attractive in terms of both its looks and surface touch, its white colour once again conveying a feeling of luxury and imagination.

The soft and natural surfaces in pure white are supplemented by cool-looking, metallic surface trim. One example is the aluminium-coated glass-fibre structure on the oval lining within the doors, carbon-fibre in the same look accentuating the footwells. The inserts in the interior carpeting are made of woven nylon, an innovative material so far only used in the production of expensive furniture. Many other features within the interior are made of solid aluminium, while the circular instruments and air vents are adorned by high-gloss chrome rings. The load-bearing arms on the seats, finally, come with a matt-brushed surface providing a particularly stylish touch.

Driving Tomorrow: the Car Key Serving as a Multifunctional Man/MINI Interface.
Conceived and designed as a kind of “island”, the centre console between the front seats forms what you might call the “backbone” of MINI Concept Detroit: This is where the driver’s and front passenger’s seats are held in position, white china-look highlights creating an exceptional touch also in visual terms.

This is also where all the “nerves” of the car come together, one of the conceivable features on MINI Concept Detroit being a start/stop key unit complete with an integrated clock acting as a multifunctional interface between the user and the car fitting perfectly into the driver’s hand. Then all the driver has to do is place this very special key on to an element in the front section of the centre console, using it as a push button.

Ranging from an engine start/stop function of this kind through individual car settings (seats, air conditioning, audio system) all the way to the operation of the MP3 player, the MINI Design Team could well imagine numerous functions integrated conveniently into this small “genius”.

The 1960 Mini Traveller: The Expression of a New, Mobile and Active Lifestyle.
The four-seater Mini Estate offering an enlarged luggage compartment made its debut in September 1960 as the Austin Seven Countryman and the Morris Mini Traveller. The term “Traveller” used in conjunction with the Mini clearly indicates that this model was targeted at a group of customers enjoying an active lifestyle quite new and unprecedented at the time.

Apart from the typical elements and highlights of Mini design as well as the two doors at the rear, these special versions of the Mini remain in our memory to this day through their wooden sideboards extending all the way back at the outside from the B-pillar. Starting in 1961, the Morris Mini Traveller was also available without this woodwork in foreign markets outside of Great Britain, with this “no-wood” option being introduced in the Mini Traveller’s home market in 1962. In 1969 the Mini Clubman Estate replaced the Traveller and Countryman, total production of the Mini Estate under all model designations amounting to more than 400,000 units between 1960 and 1982. In technical terms the Mini Estate was based on the two-seater Mini Van launched in January 1960. Compared with the Mini Saloon, that is the original Mini, exterior length was up from 3,050 to 3,300 mm (120.1″ to 129.9″), with the car’s wheelbase extended by 110 mm or 4.33″ to 2,140 mm or 84.3″, while the roofline was 10 mm or almost 0.4″ higher. With its reinforced suspension and higher loading capacity, the Mini Traveller met all the demands made of an elegant transporter at the time, with go-kart-like driving characteristics ensuring the highest conceivable standard of agility in the market. Starting in 1961, finally, a Mini Pick-Up was also offered on the same technical basis.

Happy Birthday, Sir Alec.
2006: Celebrating the 100th Birthday of Alec Issigonis, the Inventor of Mini. Forty-seven years after the world debut of the very first Mini, this sporting performer from England has become a great success the world over in almost 80 countries. And indeed, the “inventor” of the “classic” Mini was just as cosmopolitan as MINI is today: Alexander Arnold Constantine Issigonis was born on 18 November 1906 as the son of a Greek father and a Geman mother in a region which now belongs to Turkey. Later on in life he moved to London for his schooling and technical studies, where he subsequently became one of the most successful automotive designers and engineers in Great Britain.

Not only numerous technical innovations already featured in the first Mini prove that Issigonis was a man who even back then saw the subject of “mobility” from a very different perspective — rather, his irresistible style and philosophy of life were just as convincing: “Mathematics is the enemy of the really creative individual” — this is how Alec Issigonis once summed up his creed in life.

Precisely this is why the Mini, right from the start, was in particular an emotional car, chic and urban, and, above all, a truly talented performer even in the toughest races. Only seven months elapsed from the initial drawings all the way to the first ready-to-go prototypes, Mini celebrating its world premiere in 1959. And in the process, Issigonis’ ingenious design anticipated the principle of front-wheel drive with the engine fitted crosswise at the front, destined to become the benchmark for the compact automobile as of the ’70s in the 20th century.

By 1965 Mini sales already amounted to one million units, with the Mini in racing trim bringing home victory not only in the Monte Carlo Rally, but also in gruelling races such as the event at Green Valley Raceway in Texas. In consideration of this outstanding success, Alec Issigonis was knighted by the Queen in 1969. Then Sir Alec, as he was now called, retired step-by-step from routine business. And with more than four million Minis having been built in the meantime, Sir Alec Issigonis died in 1988 at the age of 82.

MINI USA Press

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