The rest of the world was more fortunate, and the Mini continued to be manufactured and marketed. As a small right-hand drive car, it was especially popular in Japan. As a result, U.S. owners continued to be able to get parts for their Minis. A trickle of slightly-illegal gray-market cars also found their way across the borders from Canada.
By 1996 the Rover Group, recently acquired by BMW had become the successor to British Motor Corporation. BMW product planners decided that forty years was enough for one design, even if it was so good that it would later be anointed the European Car of the Century. Nevertheless, the designers at the Rover Group knew they had to find a way of preserving not only the design concepts, but also the fun and games quotient of the original Mini.
Development goals were obvious: the new MINI should be small, cheap, practical, fast, and fun. As you will soon find out, if you haven’t already made your pilgrimage to the MINI dealer near you, BMW designers succeeded beyond anyone’s expectations. As a result, today you can buy a car that is a direct beneficiary of the heritage that dates back to 1959. The new MINI in the showroom is everything the old Mini was, and more.
The ultimate test of whether the new MINI should be considered a legitimate heir to the classic Mini traditions was passed when the established Mini clubs and their diehard enthusiast members adopted the new MINI into their clubs. So when you choose a MINI for your own fun and games, you’ll find a ready-made group of like-minded friends to play with.
But enough of history. Let’s talk about tomorrow and your own trip to the MINI dealer.