Mini: The Car of the People
23 May 2014|Added Value
It is with little surprise the original mini has been crowned the best British car in a recent top 100 survey to celebrate the British car industry. So why is the original Mini still so loved after all these years?
The Mini was rooted in cultural times from the outset with its development being driven by the fuel rationing during the Suez Crisis in the 1950’s. Launched in 1959 as the Morris Mini Minor and the Austen Seven, it was renamed the Austin Mini in 1961. As we know it today, Mini eventually became a name in its own right. With its style benchmark it has changed the face of the automotive industry, significantly influencing the making of small cars over the past decades since its release.
The original mini had bags of character
The Mini was a small car but its character far surpassed its size. It brought a sense of fun and mischief to the automotive world with its sparky, bright, cheerful personality. You couldn’t help but connect to the brand through its unique quirky British style, and its ability to put a smile on your face. The front exterior design even resembled a smiley face! It didn’t take itself too seriously and was rooted in fun, excitement and ‘something a bit different’. It wasn’t trying to be like anyone else, it was confidently creating its own path whilst everyone else copied each other. It was a distinctive car with a distinctive brand.
The ultimate in cultural cool of Great British style
Mini was the epitome of cool and was an automotive representation of the culture into which it was released. It embodied everything that was cool about Britain in the swinging 1960s; optimism, pride, music and mods, fashion and film. It was a car with a sense of adventure. It resonated with a young British audience who were driving a massive cultural shift in Britain at the time. One that was about letting go, being free and enjoying a fun life. This was an era of radical change in style and fashion. Mini tapped into this, being at the forefront of transformation with its novel shape and innovative compact design.
It was the ‘car of the people’; the ultimate in democratic, affordable design that brought the fun of driving to the masses. Building on its racing heritage it essentially became a thrilling ‘Go Kart’ experience for suburban Brits. The Mini gave meaning to the word ‘cool’. Adopted by celebrities and featuring heavily in films, particularly the iconic thrilling car chases in The Italian Job, its popularity grew and grew.
It not only personified what was happening in culture and so easily became rooted in that culture, it also influenced culture. The brand helped to shape the culture of Britain as we know it, and will always be a cool, iconic brand because of this.
Mini wasn’t just a new car it was totally exciting and extreme fun. Something that hadn’t really been achieved prior to that. One of its biggest draws was its accessibility to the mass market. It was affordable. To buy and to run. It was small but didn’t lack performance. Mini was at the forefront of design and engineering innovation. With inventive architecture that saved space and a traverse engine that allowed a reasonable size engine to fit in a small engine cavity, the Mini was a good value car.
Its iconic status has taken on an evolution of its own
Mini was and still is a true and honest brand. It entered the world with exuberance and has continued to stay true to its roots. Throughout the years it has not changed significantly, it has simply evolved and for the better. Just when we thought it was the end of its era they launched a brand new model with the same level of impact yet again. It is a brand that has successfully reinvented itself while sticking close to its iconic status.
It landed in the hearts of the people in the 1960’s and continues to play a prominent role in everything we love about our Great British culture today.
Image credit: The Telegraphprev next