Mini History

The original Mini was built by British Motor Corporation from 1959 until 2000, and it was voted 2nd-most influential car of all time, after the Ford Model T. It was an iconic car, changing lives as much as its German counterpart the VW Beetle. This was mainly thanks to the vision of its designer Alec Issigonis. The story goes that he sat four people in chairs and drew a line around them. This became the car’s outer dimensions, and forced engineers to “think small” as well, by mounting the engine sideways, rather than longitudinally in the car’s nose. The little car also enjoyed much success in rallying, especially in the 1960’s.

The new Mini company is owned by BMW, with the first cars sold in 2001 and immediately winning high praise for staying faithful to the original Mini spirit. Although much larger than the original, the new Mini is still a goggle-eyed small car with wheels pushed to the furthest edges of the car, which endows it with superb, go-kart like handling. It also features an innovative interior, with the large tachometer placed in the centre of the dashboard and an aircon controller in the shape of the Mini logo. The Mini is a rare example of a truly classless car- owners range from music superstar Madonna, to housewives, to students, to everyday office workers.

Mini Models

In New Zealand the Mini range is made up of 3 vehicles. There's the base ‘One’ model, which comes with a little 1.4-litre engine and choice of 6-speed manual or Steptronic transmission borrowed from parent BMW. Or you can get your hands on the more exciting Cooper, with a 1.6 petrol or diesel, or 1.6 turbo, and also with the 6-speed transmissions. Each of these has variants, for example the Cooper can be bought in John Cooper Works trim. And then there's the Mini Clubman - a kind of hearse for the small of stature.

Looking at buying a Mini? Check the vehicle history of any Mini by entering its number plate in the field above.