While I owned a MKI in my youth, I never really appreciated this marvelous package of engineering until I began illustrating the MKI and MKII. The young man in me just knew it was a whole lot of fun to drive and easy to work on, being equipped with a version of the Austin motor that I was very familiar with from previous British cars I’d owned. From the hydrolastic suspension to the transverse mounted motor and gearbox, the Mini-Cooper was quite a revolutionary little car, and what would turn out to be one of the British motorcar industry’s best selling and most iconic vehicles. And did I already say it was a ton of fun to drive?
In 1994, Mini was acquired by BMW from the then owner, Rover Group. The iconic brand went through a lengthy period of redevelopment, and was relaunched in 2001. Over the past nearly two decades, BMW has continued to expand the model line to include the Countryman, Clubman, Roadster, and Paceman in addition to its standard hatchback. And even though I now drive a Generation 3 Clubman, the original 1963 MKI that I owned will be forever etched in my heart as the one, true Mini.