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Classic Minis: special things about them

Many people learned to drive in a Mini as it was both an affordable vehicle and a cult icon. Everyone recognises a Mini, from the young to the elderly. You’ll have seen it in popular TV and movies such as the comedy series Mr Bean or The Italian Job, while the older generation might remember its associations with hippie culture and The Beatles music. That recognisability in part comes from the fact it was ubiquitous in the UK throughout the last half of the Twentieth Century. But do you know everything about them? Let’s have a look at facts you’ve probably never heard before:

Why Mini was designed? The Mini was designed because of the fuel crisis in 1956. As Britain at the time had a fuel shortage, the British Motor Corporation came up with an idea to create a new, innovative car which would be small, economical and at the same time comfortable. The company decided to turn the engine sideways to save more space. That was important as it allowed the car to be made as compact as possible, and with a wheel at each corner, interior space remained reasonable.

How many classic Minis are there in the world? It’s hard to say the exact number of Minis currently in the world. It is estimated that there were 5.3 million Minis produced in more than forty years (from 1959 to 2000). The vast majority will have rusted away, been damaged in crashes or wrecked because they became uneconomical to fix, so, the exact number remains difficult to calculate. Some countries do have registers that keep a count, but they are voluntary and run by clubs (only the government register will know exactly how many, but as the Mini went by around 10 different names, such as Austin 850, calculating the definitive number would take some work).

Who designed the Mini? Alec Issigonis was the one who made this great car which easily conquered millions of hearts all over the world. His work became the best-selling car model in Britain.

Rover Mini with rally headlights

Door pockets. The size of the door pockets in the Mini is not accidental. These dimensions conveniently placed the designer’s own favourite drinks: Gordon’s gin, dry martini and vermouth.

The most expensive Mini. The Radford de Ville Cooper S was bought for £182,000. The price went up mostly because it was owned by Paul McCartney for some time. John Cooper ran a racing team and applied his know-how alongside Issignois to make a more sporting Mini. If you would also want to own a Mini Cooper one day, just at a more affordable price, you can check Mini Coopers on Dyler.com.

How long did it take to construct one Mini? Today the construction of a first-generation Mini car usually takes about a day. Enthusiasts of Minis say that the production of newer models takes even less time: just 20 hours, while sixty years ago the production of each model took about 30 hours. Of course, it should also be noted that there were differences in both productivity and the number of automated jobs and the number of products per year.

Darren has owned several companies in the automotive, advertising and education industries. He has run driving theory educational websites since 2010.

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