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Mini Cooper S 1968 posters

Mini Cooper S

The Mini was a small car produced by the British Motor Corporation (BMC) and its successors from 1959 to 2000. Loved across Great Britain, it has since been replaced by the New MINI which entered the market in 2001. The classic Mini is considered an icon of the 1960s and has influenced many future car designs due to its space-saving front-wheel-drive layout. It also placed second, behind the Ford Model T, in an international poll for the world's most influential car of the twentieth century.

The innovative two-door vehicle was designed for BMC by Sir Alec Issigonis (1906-88). Longbridge and Cowley plants in the United Kingdom were the primary manufacturing facilities, but it was also produced in Australia, Belgium, Chile, Italy, Portugal, South Africa, Spain, Uruguay, Venezuela and Yugoslavia. While the Mini Mk I featured three major updates – the Mk II, the Clubman, and the Mk III – there were also variations, including the estate car, pickup truck, van, and the unforgettable Mini Moke, a jeep-like buggy. Even more desirable for their superior performance were the Mini Cooper and Cooper "S", which were repeatedly victorious in rally car races – even taking first place in the Monte Carlo Rally three times.

Design and development

Initiated as project ADO15 (Austin Drawing Office project number 15), the Mini was designed in response to the fuel crisis spurred by the Suez Crisis of 1956. This crisis caused petrol rationing in the United Kingdom, leading to the decline of large car sales and high demand for small German-made bubble cars. Responding to this, BMC's head, Leonard Lord, ordered the production of a compact car that could adhere to specific design requirements. This included a box-shaped frame of 10 × 4 × 4 feet (3 × 1.2 × 1.2 m) that allowed for six feet (1.8 m) of passenger accommodation, and the use of an existing engine for cost-efficiency. Thus, the design team, headed by Issigonis and including Jack Daniels, Chris Kingham, two engineering students, and four draughtsmen, created the prototype – affectionately named 'The Orange Box' – by October 1957.

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