The victory in World War II cost Britain too dearly. And the point here is not only in human losses - the country's economy was completely destroyed, if not destroyed. German submarines, methodically destroying the Royal Navy, and Luftwaffe aircraft with their devastating raids, almost managed to complete their mission to destroy the country that Hitler considered the main enemy of Germany. And only the intervention of the United States and the successes of the USSR on the eastern front saved Great Britain from collapse. But the country's economy was reviving with difficulty, the post-war years were very difficult. The same Germany and the Soviet Union managed to recover much faster.
Against the background of all of the above, it seems very strange that a miniature and affordable car for an ordinary poor consumer appeared in Britain only in 1959. The British, although they carefully studied the trophy Volkswagen Beetle, but they considered this little car frankly ugly, indistinct and unnecessary (naturally, no one asked ordinary consumers anything).
|First sketches by Alec Issigonis (image from official website)|
But the Suez crisis of 1956, which made gasoline an excessively expensive pleasure, nevertheless forced us to think about creating a compact, cheap and economical car. The case was entrusted to Alec Issigonis (Alec Issigonis) - engineer and designer british motor corporation (BMC). A talented designer, he coped with the task by applying many unconventional solutions, thanks to which the prefix “for the first time in history” is repeatedly applied to his creation. So, in 1959, the birth of a future legend took place - Austin MINI. Ten years will pass and the Queen of England will knight Alec, precisely for the creation MINI.
The car turned out not only pretty, but also very hardy and reliable. And with the advent of the sports version in 1961 MINI Cooper (its creator was John Cooper, a Formula 1 designer), the seemingly impossible happened - the car, which was originally developed "for the poor", began to be bought with pleasure by the elite of English society. It was then that the two-tone coloring, which later became a classic, appears. MINI.
MINI comes to motorsport. Moreover, he not only comes, but also wins repeated victories in prestigious competitions, bypassing much more impressive-looking competitors. In 1969, MINI becomes a screen star after starring in the film "The Italian Job" ("The Italian Job"; in 2003 a remake of this film appeared, but this time with a new version MINI). And this is not the only film debut - Mr. Bean, the character of the English comedian Rowan Atkinson, drives around in a pretty little car, with doors locked with bolts and barn locks.
Most people associate MINI with one appearance, believing that he never changed. In fact, there were several modifications that were very different from the original model. The most famous of them are Clubman (1969) and Mark III Riley Elf (1968). There were various variations of the classic body - pickups, vans, beach cars *. And then SUVs. As a result, by the early 1970s, MINI becomes the best-selling car in Europe.
Over the years of its existence, the Mini brand has repeatedly changed owners. As a result, the name has also changed. Austin MINI, Morris MINI, Rover MINI. Today the brand is owned by bmw. By this time, the existing modification of the car was already completely outdated. **. The Germans were forced to develop a new version of the legend. And engineers bmw with honor coped with such a difficult task. They have succeeded in the almost impossible MINI, which appeared in April 2001, not only turned out to be a successful replacement, it became a cult itself. For example, experts from Volkswagen failed to create a worthy replacement for the "Beetle" - Beetle II not even close to the glory of his legendary predecessor.
German version MINI looks quite aggressive and fits perfectly in line with much larger prestige models. True, experts say that the first version still surpasses it in handling. bmw continues to delight fans of the brand by presenting even more attractive models and concepts. For example, the modification was revived Clubman.
*) Actually, MINI Moke (1964) was developed as a vehicle for the military - a miniature car was perfect for parachute landing. But the military was not interested in her. But lovers of outdoor activities drew attention to it.
**) Release of the classic MINI stopped in 2000. Shortly before this, the Germans announced that they were accepting orders from everyone who wanted to buy a unique car for themselves. The number of applications was in the thousands.