Heritage

MINI celebrates 60 years of iconic style

MINI is celebrating its 60th birthday in 2019.

Photo courtesy of MINI

McCartney. Sellers. Statham. Madonna. McQueen. The names that have driven them are as iconic in their industry as the name MINI is in its.

This year, MINI turned 60. It was on August 26, 1959 that the car made its debut in Oxford, England following the design charge of creating a competitor to German and French micro-cars.

Over the years, MINI has hit a number of milestones, but aside from the overall launch, perhaps the brand's most influential moment is when John Cooper got involved. His development of the Mini Cooper gave the brand stronger performance chops, strengthened by the car's in at the Monte Carlo Rally in 1964, 1965, and 1967.

1964 MINI rally Paddy Hopkirk Paddy Hopkirk won the 1964 Monte Carlo Rally. Photo courtesy of MINI

In 1967, the car took center stage on the silver screen alongside Michael Caine in "The Italian Job." The MINI became a status symbol as owners including George Harrison from The Beatles and legendary actor and motoring enthusiast Steve McQueen purchased one for themselves. After a seven-year run, the first-generation MINI's tenure came to an end.

The Italian Job 1969 Cars racing down staircase in a scene from the film "The Italian Job", 1969. Photo by Getty Images

In 1999, MINI celebrated its 40th anniversary and was named the "European Car of the Century by 130 international automotive journalists. MINI sold 5.3 million cars in its first 40 years in business.

With great privilege comes great responsibility. By 2000, MINI had became part of the BMW family and the company tasked its employees with redesigning the vehicle while maintaining the hallmark equipment and branding MINI enthusiasts had come to know and love.

BMW introduced a new generation of MINI Cooper models in 2001. Cooper, Cooper S, and One models were available. The John Cooper Works range of tuning options quickly followed.

Jason Statham, Seth Green, Mark Wahlberg, Charlize Theron, and Mos Def brought the MINI back to the tip of American tongues when they starred in the 2003 remake of "The Italian Job."

The Italian Job 2003 The entrance at the premiere after-party for "The Italian Job" on May 27, 2003 in Los Angeles, California. Photo by Getty Images

MINI owners were able to have the wind in their hair beginning in 2005 when the company introduced their first convertible. The model, with a full automatic roof, came in Cooper, Cooper S, and One variants. In 2007, the company followed up with MINI Hardtop convertible models and a John Cooper Works grade arrived in 2008.

In the last decade, the company has introduced Coupe, Roadster, and Paceman models, which have since bid "cheerio," but the fresh Countryman and Clubman MINIs are still on sale today.

This year, the company debuted a new all-electric MINI, dubbed the MINI Cooper SE. The model delivers around 125 miles of range and shares components with the BMW i3. The new vehicle will reach dealerships later this year.

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The MINI Electric Pacesetter pushes the limits of what in means to be part of the John Cooper Works family.

Photo courtesy of MINI

The stage is set. On April 10, 2021 the new season of the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship race series will have its third race of the year in Rome. Leading the pack will be none other than the MINI Electric Pacesetter. The car was created as part of a partnership between MINI Design, BMW Motorsport, the FIA, and the Formula E.

The electric MINI on the market today isn't a sporty version of the car. Instead, the most performance-focused MINIs are gas-powered John Cooper Works models. The MINI Electric Pacesetter combines the electric powertrain of production cars with the sports car-like dynamics of the JCW cars.

"We have already shown how well driving fun and electric mobility go together with the MINI Electric," says Bernd Körber, Head of MINI. "However, the MINI Electric Pacesetter inspired by JCW goes at least a step further and blends the performance character of the John Cooper Works brand with electric mobility.

MINI Electric Pacesetter The MINI Electric has gotten a track-ready makeover.Photo courtesy of MINI

The model is the Safety Car for Formula E and not intended to be driven on public roads.

The exterior of the car has been purpose-built for life on the track. Engineers and designers from BMW Motorsport worked to develop the form to the wheel arches and front and rear aprons, and initiated weight-saving measures. Still, the MINI is a MINI. There's circular headlights and a hexagonal grille though the grille has been blanked off and the MINI Electric logo been added.

Below the grille are apertures for brake cooling. The Safety Car's white flashing lights are integrated harmoniously into the hood. Classic hood stripes extends from front to back over the roof.

More sport scar-like details include accentuated spats and sporty side skirts. The car's larger wheels nearly fill the arches. The spats and spoilers have been 3D printed from recycled carbon fiber. Yellow accent lines showcase the car's aerodynamic edges.

MINI Electric Pacesetter

Photo courtesy of MINI

It wears a matte silver body color that extends from the center point to the rear. The front is covered in a high-gloss wrap with a two-stage colour gradient – from Highspeed Orange to Curbside Red metallic – that covers the rest of the body to the rear. The car's flanks are adorned with a checkered flag-inspired pattern design.

Because it is a Safety Car, the model also sports regulations-specific and sponsor-related graphics.

The whole rig rides on lightweight 18-inch forged wheels in bi-colour black-neon/orange design.

MINI has stripped the car's interior down to its essentials with only the front seats remaining. The driver's area features a six-point safety harness, minimalist steering wheel, and a digital instrument cluster. Carbon fiber appointments anoint the area replacing heavier materials traditionally found on MINI passenger cars.

Pared-back carbon-fibre door panels with window and door openers contain cloth straps to make closing the doors easier. There's also a welded-in roll cage.

The drive system of the car is the same as what is in the MINI electric. It produces 135 kilowatts of horsepower and 206 pound-feet of torque. It can get from zero to 62 mph in 6.7 seconds and zero to 37 mph in 3.6 seconds. There's race-spec suspension control arm mountings, four-piston brakes and wheels from the MINI John Cooper Works GP, and Michelin Pilot Sport tires as well.

This may be more than just a concept car. MINI has been teasing its future with forward looking statements regarding going all-electric but promising to not lose the JCW identity along the way.

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The 2022 MINI Countryman Boardwalk Edition is a special edition offering.

Photo courtesy of MINI

MINI is all about the special editions these days. From the Mini Cooper Paddy Hopkirk Edition to the MINI Cooper 1499 GT Special Edition and MINI Countryman Oxford Edition, to the new 2022 Mini Countryman Boardwalk Edition.

The 2022 Countryman Boardwalk Edition builds on the Countryman Cooper S, the company's highest horsepower variant. It gets 189 horsepower and tops out at 140 mph. A Cooper S ALL4 variant is also available adding all-wheel drive to the model.

The new special edition model takes its name from the strips of wood that create a walking path to and from beaches, lakes, swamps, and oceans. It wears a Deep Laguna Metallic body color that is complemented by the black contrast finish on the roof and matching exterior mirror caps. It rides on black 18-inch Pin Spoke wheels and wears Piano Black Exterior Trim.

2022 MINI Countryman Boardwalk Edition

Photo courtesy of MINI

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Standard features on the model include LED fog lights and headlights, keyless entry, power-folding mirrors, auto-dimming interior and exterior mirrors, satellite radio, navigation, heated front seats, and automatic climate control.

Inside the cabin, the Boardwalk Edition gets a Leather Cross Punch Black scheme, a Harman/Kardon Premium Sound System, and MINI's Touchscreen Navigation Package. The Boardwalk Edition also comes equipped with door sills, roof and dashboard graphics, as well as special Boardwalk side scuttles. It also includes the Storage Pack, which adds a folding cargo floor and two additional USB-C ports for second-row passengers.

MINI has upgraded many models for the 2022 model year but the Countryman is not one of them. It received its latest refresh last year.

The 2022 Mini Countryman Boardwalk Edition will be available in all 116 of MINI's U.S. dealerships in April. It was a starting MSRP of $38,365. All-wheel drive models start at $40,365. All vehicles are subject to a $850 handling charge.

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