BMW Drivers Club Melbourne

PART 5: 1959 – 2019. SIXTY YEARS OF MINI

26 Aug 2019 8:05 PM | Anonymous

The original in the premium segment of small cars has reached its 60th birthday – but it is even younger than ever. It was sixty years ago, to be precise on 26 August 1959, that British Motor Corporation (BMC) proudly revealed the result of their development activities in creating a new, revolutionary compact car.

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12. Inspiring Character. 
MINI Lifestyle and Special Editions. 51

13. A Question of Style. 
The MINI Lifestyle Collection. 54

12. Inspiring Character.
MINI Lifestyle and special editions.

Creating something very special on the basis of a car already very special – this is the hallmark of the special editions, limited editions and one-off showpieces built time and again in the last sixty years first on the basis of the classic Mini and then on the basis of the new MINI. This is not surprising, considering that this unique small car has fascinated and inspired artists in all disciplines time and again, fashion designers and painters as well as actors and musicians showing their creativity in designing and creating very special versions of the brand.

No other car has become the object of art and fashion as often and in the same diversity as the classic Mini and the MINI. Indeed, specialists discovered the potential of the classic Mini very early on, adorning the car both outside and inside with exclusive special features tailored to individual customer requests.  On behalf of affluent and prominent customers, they therefore created spectacular special models enhancing the cult status of the Mini to an even higher level.

Mini in noble style: the Wickerwork Look.

British actor Peter Sellers was one of the first celebrities thrilled by the Mini and seeking to live out their sense for exclusive style. So giving the originally rather spartan small car particular sophisticated features within the interior and finishing the body in wickerwork design, Sellers promptly started a new trend. Indeed, this design later thrilled Rainier of Monaco to such an extent that he also had a classic Mini built in wickerwork trim as his own very special toy.

Other special versions of the classic Mini likewise remained unique, one-off models being built for many years to the individual taste of their future owners. In fact, it was only in the 1970s that Mini had the idea to offer Special Editions straight from the factory in response to frequent requests for a truly exclusive model. The first car of this kind, the Mini Limited Edition 1000, immediately proved a success in 1976. On its 25th birthday in 1984, the Mini for the first time appeared as an Anniversary Model, with further Anniversary Models then following every five years until production of the classic Mini finally ceased in 
the year 2000.

Silver and gold on the car’s 40th birthday.

In the last few years of its production life, the classic Mini again attracted great attention on the part of creative artists. In 1997, for example, British fashion designer Paul Smith created a one-off model boasting unmistakable stripe livery.

A year later Smith designed a Special Edition Mini standing out both through its brilliant blue paintwork and straightforward elegance within the interior.

Celebrating its 40th birthday, the Mini became the subject of passion among an illustrious group of artists, each giving this forever-young small performer their very own, truly unique design look. Super-model Kate Moss, for example, who had already been driving a classic Mini in London for a long time, opted for a cobweb motif, while pop icon Davie Bowie had a Mini manufactured all in chrome and with reflecting glass surfaces. On the road, however, Bowie decided to stick to his regular production model he had bought only recently: “When it comes to parking the Mini is like a sandwich when you feel hungry – it is a perfectly designed classic”. Actor Michael Caine, to quote another example, gave his black Mini a gold bar look alluding to the successful film “The Italian Job” in which Caine was involved in three Mini Coopers used to transport gold in one of the most spectacular pursuits in the history of the cinema.

A hit right from the start: the new MINI inspires pop musicians.

After the re-launch of the brand, the MINI again attracted the attention of fashion designers and many other artists almost over night. Celebrating the market launch of the MINI, the musicians of Jamiroquai created a one-off showpiece of the new MINI, Jay Kay, the group’s singer and a thrilled fan of stylish cars, adorning the MINI, among other features, with the group’s logo on its doors and bonnet as well as the name “Jamiromini”.

In one of her music videos, Madonna had a MINI Cooper converted for offroad use, the car giving up its doors but instead receiving offroad tyres and camouflage paintwork. Highlighting the start of sales of the first-generation MINI Convertible in 2004, designers at Bisazza, the Italian lifestyle label, had the idea to present this open four-seater in a dress made of tiny mosaic stones. Indeed, no less than three MINI Cooper S Convertibles as well as two fixed-roof models received this magnificent look in individual style and colours, with more than 30,000 glass stones used on each car.

MINI, fashion, and charity: showing social commitment at the Life Ball.

Joining forces with renowned artists, MINI has been committed for twelve years to the largest charity event in Europe, the Life Ball held annually in Vienna and generating revenues for national and international aids care projects. The event thus serves to support projects committed to enlightenment, medical research, and the treatment of HIV patients. Contributing to these projects, every year MINI has presented a special one-off model from the current portfolio finished in unique style by fashion designers.

The succession of Life Ball cars started just a few months after the official market launch of the new MINI with a car covered entirely by red fabric. A year later a MINI One proudly bearing the autographs of numerous celebrities made its appearance at the Life Ball. Since 2003, major fashion designers have given the MINI their special touch. The first of these designers was Angelo Missoni adorning a MINI Cooper with countless flower motifs. In 2004 Gianfranco Ferré gave a red MINI Convertible a truly impressive crocodile look, with a MINI Cooper Convertible in Donatella Versace’s exclusive blossom look following in 2005, its interior also highlighting that typical Versace style, with gold-coloured seams on the black leather seats and Swarovski crystals on the gearshift lever.

In 2006 another MINI Cooper Convertible made its appearance on stage at the Life Ball Gala in Vienna, this time in the trendy jeans look of the Diesel fashion label. And the 2008 Life Ball MINI, finally, proudly came in the provocative pin-up look of lingerie label Agent Provocateur. In 2013, Roberto and Eva Cavalli unveiled the Life Ball MINI 2013 refined by fashion designer Cavalli. Since 2002 the cars provided by MINI have been auctioned after the Life Ball Gala, with proceeds going to aids projects.

Architectural solutions for urban worlds of living: MINI defines life in the city.

“Creative Use of Space” lies at the core of the MINI brand. As early as 1959, the classic Mini offered an ingenious solution for one of the most pressing problems of that era – urban mobility at an affordable price. The solution was a vehicle that made the most of its potential and provided maximum driving fun on a minimal traffic footprint. The classic Mini demonstrated that even a small car can be exceptionally exciting and it went on to influence urban mobility for generations to come. Today, one of the biggest challenges in major cities is finding attractive and affordable living space. Once again, the solution here is: “Creative Use of Space”. Since 2016, the brand has used its initiative MINI LIVING to demonstrate how this principle can be transferred to urban living space. MINI LIVING adopts a creative approach to the challenge in large cities – and presents architectural solutions for urban living worlds of the future.

MINI has joined forces with Chinese property developer NOVA Property Investment Co. to create the world’s first MINI LIVING building in Shanghai. The project is based on an innovative co-living concept. MINI is creating a vibrant urban neighbourhood out of a group of six buildings right at the centre of the city. This was previously a disused industrial complex in an upcoming part of the city’s famous Jing’An district. An urban hotspot is rising out of a former paint factory with lots of space for working, networking and living. The project is developing apartments of different sizes for singles, flat shares or families to rent on a short, medium or long-term basis. Anything that does not fit into the apartments themselves, whether this relates to activities or facilities, can take place or be accommodated in the community spaces. Generous lobbies, exhibition areas and a food court are an invitation to linger and spend time relaxing. The package is completed by gardens, play areas, shops and restaurants that will also be accessible to the general public. The idea of MINI LIVING is that sharers will get more out of life – to the advantage of the residents and the entire city. Digital booking of services complements the package. For example, the residents can make restaurant reservations, order food, or call up room cleaning and service, and book vehicles for shared use. MINI LIVING is demonstrating an intelligent approach to space and is also developing new opportunities for individual and at the same time communal life in the city.

13. A Question of Style.
THE MINI Lifestyle collection.

Driving fun in the MINI is fascinating. But the unique feeling so typical of the MINI goes much, much further. And to express his or her passion for unmistakable style also off the road, the genuine enthusiast will find lots of options in the MINI Lifestyle Collection. This unique Collection comprises fashion, jewellery, accessories and lots of lifestyle products which make it easier not only for the MINI driver to clearly express his or her individual style. Technology, innovation, fun and quality are the primary features offered by the MINI Lifestyle Collection. And like the MINI model range, the MINI Lifestyle Collection is constantly growing and becoming increasingly versatile. New models and new lifestyle products, therefore, enable the connoisseur to enjoy the typical feeling of MINI in a growing number of situations.

On its route in becoming an international best seller in all classes and on all levels of society, the classic Mini in its day already inspired the world of fashion time and again. Renowned designers created individual, one-off models with exceptional body paintwork and interior features. In the 1970s the Mini finally proceeded from the garage to the houses of its fans everywhere – as a miniature model for the children’s room or as a collector’s item for the display cabinet.

Introducing the MINI, the Company also decided to start the unique MINI Lifestyle Collection. And from the beginning, this exclusive line-up of outstanding products was characterised by stylish, cosmopolitan and highly appealing as well as truly surprising details. The MINI Lifestyle Collection takes up the latest exciting trends time and again, continuing and enhancing these trends in the typical style of the brand.

MINI all the way: imaginative, versatile, unmistakable.

In their drafts for the MINI Lifestyle Collection, the most outstanding designers focus not only on the latest fashion trends, but also on the design language and lines of the various MINI models. Indeed, the cars also set the foundation for the various products through their colours and materials, helping to create a product portfolio typical of the brand and truly versatile in every respect, and constantly introducing new ideas to remain absolutely unique. Yet a further highlight in the current range is the John Cooper Works Collection comprising both fashion products and accessories as an expression of the brand’s sporting spirit also beyond the race track.

The MINI Lifestyle Collection: starring at fashion events and on the cinema screen.

The MINI Lifestyle Collection has already become a highlight in the fashion scene and is to be admired regularly at the most outstanding fashion events. One of these events is the renowned BREAD & BUTTER fashion show in Barcelona, where the MINI Lifestyle Collection has already been presented on various occasions. Other, comparable events likewise provide the ideal setting time and again for the MINI brand. Like the MINI itself, the products in the MINI Lifestyle Collection have also made it to the cinema screen, with numerous performances in many productions. The MINI Cuckoo Clock and the MINI Baby Racer, for example, played important roles in the Disney production Lily the Witch – the Dragon and the Magical Book. Together with the leading female star Alina Freund, the animated dragon Hector showed his great interest in the MINI Lifestyle Collection in this cinema production of the famous children’s book. In particular he loved the MINI Baby Racer that enabled him to get around in fast and furious style.

MINI Feeling everywhere – the current MINI Lifestyle Collection.

A clearly defined language of form, inimitable design and high-quality materials are the hallmark of the current MINI Lifestyle Collection 2018–2020. It offers a diverse selection of products that make the complex everyday routine simpler, more enriched or enhanced, and they embody the essence of the MINI brand – even beyond the vehicles themselves. The collection includes more than 100 items and encompasses clothing through accessories, bags and luggage to articles for children and mobility products.

The visual profile of the MINI Lifestyle Collection 2018-2020 features two new impressive accent colours “Island” and “Coral”. The contemporary shade of blue “Island” melds with the exterior colour of “Island Blue” from the current MINI Countryman. The bright shade of red “Coral” provides the ideal hue to complement this livery and defines a fresh accent. The two accent colours are a perfect foil in interplay with the basic colours of Black, White and Grey.

The product selection of the current MINI Lifestyle Collection ranges from the popular logo T-shirts, polo shirts and sweatshirts, through the MINI Logo Patch Sweatshirt Kids with practical kangaroo pocket and caps, to bags and suitcases of different sizes. Then there are also stylish accessories such as umbrellas, Bluetooth Speakers, watches, sunglasses and travel mugs, the MINI Cloth-Bound Notebook, the MINI Fountain Pen and the MINI Tea Maker. The range for younger MINI fans includes the MINI Bulldog and the MINI Puzzle Set. Juniors can experience different versions of driving fun with the MINI Pull Toy Car, the remote-controlled MINI Countryman RC and the MINI Tricycle. In addition, the MINI 60 Years Lifestyle Collection was created in celebration of the landmark anniversary, including special designer items in the style of the British brand.

All products in the MINI Lifestyle Collection are marketed worldwide through the MINI dealer network.


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