It was the first mass produced car to feature front wheel drive, and while it wasn't very powerful, its size and weight helped it achieve great success in the world of motorsports.
However, racing was not what its designer - Alec Issigonis – had in mind when he originally penned the MINI, he wanted to create an affordable, practical family vehicle that drove better than that other people's car, the Volkswagen Beetle.
The original MINI, stayed in production into the year 2000 under the Rover banner, which was bought out by BMW in 1994. For some time, it wasn't clear what the new German owners had in mind for the MINI, but then a few concept cars started emerging, which certainly helped peak enthusiasts interest for a new model, which eventual lead to the release of the all-new MINI Cooper in 2001.
Over the last decade, the MINI brand has grown to offer a convertible, a coupe, a roadster, a small wagon, SUV-like models such as the Countryman and Paceman, on top of the original three-door hatchback model. There is also a new 2015 MINI Cooper, which went on sale a few months ago.
So, the MINI brand is alive and well, and it looks stronger than ever at age 55. To celebrate this milestone, MINI held an enthusiasts gathering earlier this month in Kent, UK.
The event brought honorees such as Paddy Hopkirk, winner of the 1964, 1965 and 1967 Monte Carlo Rally in a MINI, and Russ Swift – who is famous for performing driving stunts.
So, Happy Birthday MINI, wishing you many more years of success ahead.