Shockingly it’s been nearly 20 years since the R50 MINI was introduced at the Paris motor show in the fall of 2000. Two decades and three generations on the original “new” MINI still appeals like few cars. But what’s often forgotten is how incredibly well received it was from the start.

There was considerable excitement for the concept, and once it was shown, massive public interest worldwide. But it was when the motoring press got their hands on the new MINI that things really took off.

We particularly enjoy a young Richard Hammond gushing over the then all new MINI.

Then there’s the Detroit Motor Show debut where everyone asked the question – will the MINI sell in America?

Here we see a young Frank Stephenson talking about what turned out to be his most iconic design.

And then there’s the old Top Gear and everyone’s favorite Tiff testing the R50.

And now for fun, more Richard Hammond.