Official news from MINI: Hall 12 will once again play host to BMW, MINI and Rolls-Royce at the Techno Classica show held in Essen from 10 – 14 April 2013. The world’s largest classic vehicle exhibition is marking its 25-year anniversary this year, and BMW Group Classic – custodian of the BMW Group heritage – will be adding extra fizz to the occasion with a handful of landmarks of its own. Indeed, the 2013 edition of Techno Classica sees the company in the midst of celebrations marking 90 years of BMW Motorrad, 50 years of the Mini Cooper S, 40 years of the BMW 3.0 CSL in motor sport and 80 years of the BMW “double-kidney” front grille. Rolls-Royce, meanwhile, is lighting the metaphorical candles for a very special birthday: Sir Frederick Henry Royce, one of the company’s co-founders, would have turned 150 this year. The luxury vehicle manufacturer is greeting visitors to Essen with both a genuine rarity from its past and a glittering example of its present. “It’s a nice coincidence that so many landmark anniversaries have come together this year,” notes Ulrich Knieps, Head of BMW Group Classic. “And it brings home to the Techno Classica visitors once again the rich and fascinating heritage of all the BMW Group brands.”
50 years of the Mini Cooper S
Half a century has elapsed since the sportiest version of the classic Mini took the world’s roads by storm. Legendary sports car designer John Cooper had soon spotted the inherent sporting talent of the small car created by Alec Issigonis and launched by the British Motor Corporation (BMC). Front-wheel drive and a four-cylinder engine mounted transversely at the front above the gearbox were central to the blueprint of a car that maximised interior space but kept its exterior dimensions as compact as possible. Its wide track, short overhangs and a sophisticated suspension design imbued the Mini with stand-out handling properties. John Cooper convinced Issigonis of his plan to take the driving fun offered by the basic car to even higher levels – first with the 55 hp Mini Cooper and then, in 1963, in the shape of the 70 hp Mini Cooper S. That same year, Finnish driver Rauno Aaltonen posted Mini’s maiden class victory in the Monte Carlo Rally.
Innocenti Mini: 20 years after a final “ciao”
Among the rather special models on display at Techno Classica 2013 is a Mini conceived in “bella Italia” by Milan-based company Innocenti. The Innocenti Mini was purpose-built for the Italian market from 1965 to 1975, yet its engineering and looks strayed but little from the classic Mini. A round of revisions in 1974 resulted in the Innocenti Mini 90 and Innocenti Mini 120, which remained on the menu for Italian customers until 1993. That makes it exactly 20 years since the Innocenti Mini bade a fond farewell.