Dec 9th, 2013
Given the launch of the new MINI and the recent pre-production shell that popped up on eBay, we’ve been digging into our archives a bit and thinking about how the modern MINI came about. Over the past ten years MotoringFile has written much about Mini, Rover and BMW in the 1990s but it’s such a good story it’s always worth a revisit. So with that in mind we wanted to go back and take look at the concepts from that time period that help guide us to the R50 which set the tone for all modern MINI’s to come.
The idea of a modern MINI had been floating around since the late 60’s. But the Mini’s appeal and subsequent sales success kept it in production for two decades longer than originally anticipated. However the various government backed companies that manufactured the Mini through the years were less than successful on the business side of things. In fact British Leyland, Rover, etc tried to kill the Mini more than once (first to avoid converting the engine to run on unleaded, then to avoid increasing safety requirements) but English public opinion was too negative. So when BMW bought Rover and the Mini there was quite a bit of hope for the future. continued →
Dec 3rd, 2013
Want an early look at MINI development? This prototype shell found on eBay gives us an interesting window into that time period where Rover still had some control over engineering and BMW was guiding the ship from afar.
Nov 11th, 2013
Car number 983 is back on the road, heralding a revival of MINI production in the Netherlands in the near future. A 54-year-old classic Mini has been fully restored at the VDL Nedcar car manufacturing plant in the town of Born, the precision work lasting around six months. The historic Austin Seven with production number 983 dates back to 1959 and was one of the first examples of the classic Mini to be assembled in the Netherlands. The car was unearthed last year in an old barn in Groningen, ravaged by the passage of time and as such an ideal candidate for the “reBorn” mission. The classic machine has since been imbued with a fresh injection of sparkle, making it the perfect scene-setter for a new chapter in Dutch-British car making relations. Next year VDL Nedcar will begin production of MINI models under contract; MINI will be the only manufacturer having vehicles series-produced in the Netherlands.
Oct 20th, 2013
The chaps at Jalopnik shared a story this week so improbable and wonderful that we just had to share it here. Apparently an Australian company (read family of Australian Mini Moke fans) have gotten the ball rolling to produce reproduction Mini Mokes in China. continued →
Sep 26th, 2013
Official Release: Automotive legends from the 1970s and 1980s will line up for the start of the twelfth ‘Creme 21 Youngtimer Rally’ in Spa, Belgium on 25 September 2013. Taking central stage will be BMW Group Classic’s classic Mini Mark III, conspicuous not just because of its vibrant ‘Citron’ yellow paintwork but also because of its colourful TV history. It is one of the classic Minis driven by actor and car enthusiast Rowan Atkinson in his role as Mr. Bean in the British comedy series of the same name. continued →
Sep 24th, 2013
We can’t imagine something more fun… three of the most ecentric Mini variants ever produced traveling through Germany in the late summer. If you just click through for the photos it’s worth it.
Official Release: Joining the sixth “Hamburg-Berlin Classic” 2013 rally for vintage and classic cars organised by “Auto Bild Klassik” magazine, will be three of BMW Group Classic’s more unusual representatives from the small British car collection: a 1981 Mini Clubman Estate, a Riley Elf, first registered in 1969, and a Mini Wildgoose “Brent” Super V. E. B., one of the few surviving Mini-based campers, developed in the 1960’s. continued →
Sep 4th, 2013
Take a classic motoring journey with John Quirk, a vintage Mini owner, as he goes from selling yard rescue, to restoration, to weekend motoring nirvana in his Paul Smith special edition Mini. What I especially appreciate about John’s description is his acknowledgement of the car’s imperfections — those things he’s willing to “forgive” because the car is so brilliant in so many other ways. I can definitely relate to that in my R53 Cooper S.