15 Sep: Rebirth of the MINI

BMW unveiled its redesigned MINI for the first time on 15th September, 1997; the eve of the Frankfurt Motor Show. Its predecessor had been in production for 41 years.

Reborn as a ‘city’ car, rather than a micro compact, and with Union flags painted on its roof, this was the moment the iconic brand became seen as cheeky, sporty and British – but not, actually, especially small. 

In this episode, Arion, Rebecca and Olly explain how the MINI has its roots in the Suez Crisis; ask why the similar VW Beetle reboot was discontinued in 2019; and reveal how many people can officially squeeze into a ‘new’ Mini…

Further Reading:

• ‘ROVER SHOWS NEW MINI; LAUNCH IS 2000’ (Automotive News Europe, 1997): https://europe.autonews.com/article/19970915/ANE/709150811/rover-shows-new-mini-launch-is-2000

• How the BBC covered the launch (1997):

• ‘The history of the Mini in pictures’ (Daily Telegraph, 2013): https://www.telegraph.co.uk/motoring/picturegalleries/10457166/The-history-of-the-Mini-in-pictures.html?frame=2737732