BBC Top Gear Magazine
Mini’s greatest hits
01 1959 Morris Mini-Minor
One of the most recognisable and influential cars of all time, as significant culturally as, erm, engineering-ally. The earliest Minis, called either the Morris Mini-Minor or Austin Seven (Mini wasn’t a brand until ‘69), were powered by an 848cc A-series engine making just 34bhp.
02 1961 Morris Mini Cooper
John Cooper’s F1 cars won the F1 World Championship in 1959 and ‘60. He was good mates with Mr Mini, Alec Issigonis. And lo, the Mini Cooper was born, a more powerful, better handling Mini designed to go racing. Which it did, with much success...
03 Paddy Hopkirk’s 1964 Mini Cooper S
The further upgraded Mini Cooper S landed in 1963, and almost immediately won its class at the Monte Carlo Rally. In ‘64 Hopkirk famously drove a Mini to the first of its three overall victories at the Monte. He and his car became heroes in Britain quite literally overnight.
04 1964 Morris Mini-Moke
Designed for the military, but they didn’t want it. So the Moke was put on general sale. This was a Mini distilled to its component parts. No doors, no roof to speak of and as little bodywork as possible. Proved more popular than you’d think, especially in sunnier climes.
05 2002 Mini Cooper S
BMW relaunched Mini in 2001 with the release of the all-new, erm, Mini, which looked the business and drove incredibly well. A year later the Cooper S landed with a superb 163bhp supercharged 1.6-litre engine. Two decades later, it’s still one of the best modern era Minis.
06 2006 Mini Cooper S Works GP
Like the Cooper S, only more hardcore. The first ever limited edition Mini GP junked the rear seats (useless, anyway) to save weight, had lower/ stiffer suspension and 218bhp. A proper bit of kit, with a kerbweight of a little over a tonne. Turn to p138 to see how you can buy your own.
07 2012 Mini All4 Racing
Since 2012 Mini has forged an unlikely path as a regular competitor at the Dakar Rally. The All4 Racing, built by partner X-Raid, won the endurance rally four times in a row beginning in 2012. Overall Mini has won the Dakar no fewer than six times, most recently this year.
08 2013 Mini John Cooper Works GP
Another specialist, limited edition model with no rear seats, many stickers and spoilers. The second-gen GP, now turbo’d instead of supercharged, was a more sophisticated car than the first, but a less fizzy, less exciting one. Still a very capable, enjoyable thing.
09 2019 Mini Electric
Mini’s future is, no doubt, electric. Its first crack at a commercially available EV borrows much tech from the BMW i3, cleverly packaged into a platform never designed to accommodate it. Doesn’t have masses of range, but it’s efficient, quick and actually quite fun. Success.