Let the celebration begin. The London Times a closer look at what made the Mini special. Here’s an excerpt:

>The car was a design classic almost from birth and, of course, in 1969 became a film star, wriggling in a cheeky convoy through the streets of Turin in The Italian Job – the producers were offered as many free Fiat 500s as they could write off but preferred to pay hard cash for British steel. Hey, that’s showbiz.

>Accordingly, the real mystery of the Mini is not how many elephants you can get into one (two in the front and two in the back, according to every joke book published since 1959); it’s how a car so freighted with mythology could still move forwards under its own momentum. The buzz and froth created by the Mini would not have impressed Sir Alec Issigonis, its designer, whose original mission was not to build a snazzy runabout for Mary Quant but to produce a practical, affordable city car for a Britain still finding petrol hard to come by after Suez. In any case, Issigonis frowned on frippery. Aged 53 when the Mini went into production, he couldn’t see why a car needed a radio, and refrained from smoking while at the wheel, believing that driving should occupy a person entirely.

+ The Mini at 50: why we’ll never tire of these wheels / London Times