MINI is nothing if not ‘iconic’. We cannot resist but mention the impact the Classic Mini had on the 1969 cult flick ‘The Italian Job’ and then again in the 2003 version of the movie, which was again a fantastic watch, thanks to the cast which included the MINI Coopers. Starting out its life on a napkin, the first Mini was envisioned by Alec Issigonis as a compact car that made the most efficient utilization of space. The engine was mounted sideways to make more space for the occupants. Since its debut on 26 August 1959 with the classic Mini, the brand has come a long way and over the course of the journey has evolved with the times, but retained a number of distinct design elements, that are signature MINI.
The face of MINI is defined by the elliptical headlights set into its bonnet. The contemporary interpretation of the classic hexagonal radiator grille and a pair of “beauty spots” in the form of circular foglamps, complete the MINI identity.
A shoulderline rising from front to rear and windows tapering towards the rear produce the hallmark MINI dynamic wedge shape.
An array of chrome highlights and beautifully worked details are integrated like gems into the design of the car.
Roof resting on top
The DLO ( Day Light Opening) or the greenhouse, the glazed section of the passenger compartment, creates the impression of a band of glass wrapped around the car. The high-gloss black A, B and C-pillars are integrated into the glass surfaces. The contrast between the colour of the greenhouse and roof creates the impression of a floating roof resting on top of the greenhouse.
This design cue can trace its roots back to the very beginning; it follows the line of the welding seam sloping down the front side panel of the classic Mini.
Chromed door handles
The chromed door handles of the classic Mini have since been revisited repeatedly, ensuring iconic status. MIN says that the opening the door of a MINI represents the initial physical introduction between the car and its driver, not unlike a handshake.
Stance on the wheels
The go-kart handling for which MINI is famed is the product of having its wheels mounted at the extreme corners of the car – similarly to a go-kart. This is essentially thanks to the very little front and rear overhang. The mass-increasing “cascading” effect of the body as it heads down towards the wheels gives the car its essential roadholding, says MINI.
Vertically stacked rear lights
The unmistakable, vertically stacked rear lights represent another nostalgic nod to the classic Mini. They are bordered by an elegant chrome surround sealed against the body without any direct connection to joins and seams.
Elliptical forms carry over the style defined in the circular exterior elements to the interiors.
Controls like the distinctive toggle switches add an extra flourish to the centre stack and even the roof liner.