The year is 1959, and the world was about to witness the launch of a car that would define the economy car. It's the Mini, and it is celebrating its 60th birthday this year. It is also one of the few cars in the world which has been using the nameplate for that long.
Released to the British public in August of 1959, the original Mini was a response to the demand for a small, fuel-efficient vehicle. The brainchild of Sir Alec Issigonis, the car would lay the foundations of the modern economy car of today. It featured front-wheel drive, a transverse engine, and a shape that maximizes interior room; commonplace these days but revolutionary 60 years ago. To this day, the modern Mini follows the same formula, albeit with turbocharged engines.
To commemorate that milestone, Mini has launched the 60 Years Edition. It gets smatterings of '60' badges at the front, side and rear. The car also gets stripes on the hood and unique wheels to go along with it. This limited edition model can be specified in either classic three-door form, or the more practical five-door body. It can even be had with two turbocharged gas engines, or two turbodiesels.
The interior on the other hand is a tribute to days gone by. Seats, for example, are trimmed in brown leather. Green stitching is then featured on all seats. There are more 60th anniversary badges in the cabin, from the door sills, seats, and pins at the back.
As for the original Mini, it retained its basic shape for the 41 years from 1959 to 2000. During that time, the engines became more powerful, there were different body styles and variants, as well as race and rally versions. It would also prove to be a hit with the masses with common folks as well as celebrities. Famous owners include all members of The Beatles (John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Ringo Starr), Steve McQueen, Clint Eastwood, just to name a few. Enzo Ferrari even owned three. And of course, who can forget the green on black example of Rowan Atkinson's character, Mr. Bean.
After being acquired by BMW in 2000, the new generation of Minis rolled out of the production line. These days, there are more engine choices, variations, and body styles for the small car. Millions have been sold in the past 60 years and like the car itself, Mini, as a brand, just keeps on getting bigger.