Mini Cooper History
The original Mini appeared in 1959 and produced by the British Motor Corporation (BMC). The Mini Cooper was conceived largely in response to a fuel shortage caused by the 1956 Suez Crisis. With gas being rationed in the U.K. for the first time since the end of World War II, there was a demand for a reliable, lightweight car that offers excellent fuel economy.
The name Mini wasn't actually used until 1961. Until then, Minis were originally sold under BMC's imprint brands: Austin and Morris. While the Mini, with its 34 hp engine, was never the most powerful car on the road, it proved ideal for driving on the compact streets of European cities. However, the Mini proved it was also capable of providing performance when it was redesigned by John Cooper in the early 1960s.
Cooper, a designer and builder of Formula One race cars, revamped the Mini to feature a 76 hp engine and a more sporty suspension. Regardless, the Mini became enormously popular in Britain and Europe during the 1960s. The car's compact style, fuel economy, and entry-level price made it particularly popular with young people during the heyday of Britain's swinging 1960s era.
Minis remained in production in the U.K. and Europe throughout the 1970s and 1980s. In 1994, the Mini Cooper brand was acquired by BMW who continued to produce the cars until 2000 when it was put on hiatus for a couple of years.
Mini Cooper in America
The Mini was first made available in the U.S. back in 1962. However, the brand largely failed to catch on at the time. Stringent emissions regulations in the U.S. forced the manufacturers to end the Mini's initial run on the American market in 1968.
BMW revamped and re-launched Mini Cooper in 2002 when it released the Mini Cooper hatchback in the U.S. The "new" brand was spelled in all caps MINI brand refers to the brand as well as all new models. With front-wheel drive and a suspension engineered by BMW, the Mini Cooper showed itself to have a diverse appeal with the American auto-buying public. Also, its retro-cool style makes the Mini Cooper popular with celebrities while its affordability also makes it a reasonable option for entry-level buyers.
In the decade since the brand was reintroduced to American drivers, Mini Cooper also diversified its offerings to include performance models and even a crossover SUV.
Mini Cooper Models
The Mini Cooper, which was initially released in the U.S. in 2002, is currently available as either a two-door hatchback or as a convertible. Although both models are capable of seating four people, the back seat is rather on the cramped side. While the base model Mini Cooper may be fairly demure, it makes up for this by being stylish, relatively decent fuel economy, and fun to drive.
Drivers looking for a boost in athleticism might consider the high performance Mini Cooper 5, which boasts 181 hp. The John Cooper Works model, which boasts 208 hp, is available for those wanting even more power.
If added interior space is what you're looking for, you'll find it in the form of the Mini Cooper Clubman. The Clubman is a two-door Mini Cooper that's been elongated and outfitted with added space in back, courtesy of a station wagon-like hatchback body design. Like the standard Mini Cooper, the Clubman is available in a base model, the Mini Cooper 5, and the more powerful John Cooper Works version.
The Mini Cooper Countryman is a four-door model that's longer than any previous models of Mini Cooper. With added space for cargo and a backseat that's actually capable of accommodating adults, the Countryman may just be the most practical Mini Cooper yet introduced to the U.S. market.
The most recent addition to the Mini Cooper vehicle lineup is the Mini Cooper Coupe. The Coupe is a sporty 2-seater and the fastest Mini Cooper to be produced commercially.
The Mini Cooper continues to endure and attract new drivers for its retro-style, BMW suspension, relatively decent fuel economy, and because it's a fun compact car.