The Mini is an icon of British culture, as much a thread of the national fabric as cups of tea, red phone boxes and delicious, room-temperature ale with twigs floating in it.
When Alec Issigonis was requested by the British Motor Corporation (BMC) in late 1956 to develop an economical but nevertheless fully-fledged small car with four seats, it quickly became clear that this new model would be truly innovative and, indeed, revolutionary in every respect.
“Front-wheel drive, extremely short body overhangs, a wide track, a low centre of gravity, optimum use of space and low weight were defined right from the start” The Guardian. These were elementary features of the new model.
Sports car wizard John Cooper noticed yet another significant quality right from the beginning. He recognized that this ingenious concept for an economical compact car also provided the ideal starting point for a most promising sports model, setting out on the process of tuning the Mini even before the car had entered the market place.
This set the starting point for an unprecedented story of success in motorsport, closely connecting the name John Cooper with the sporting myth of the Mini to this very day. Outstanding victories in the Monte Carlo Rally are just as much part of this common history as the successful production cars proudly bearing the name Cooper.
Fast forward 50 years and the classic Mini is still well represented in most Hillclimb and Sprint events across the UK.The name may have stayed the same but that little Mini has grown and developed to one of the most versatile beasts to take on the hills.
Imagination and engineering skill are the limitations, think of the many possibilities as John Cooper once did, a blank canvas to develop as you please.
All in all this little car has done us proud with no sign of letting up.