How do you make an object that changes the way people think about travel, a small metal box that inspires huge devotion in those who own it, a car that continues to make headlines fifty years after its launch? This is the real story of the Mini, published to celebrate the 50th anniversary of this design classic.
In May 1959, the first Mini was produced on an assembly line at Cowley, near Oxford. It would take a team of supremely talented designers, draftsmen, engineers and production-line workers to build a car that was unique in appearance and construction. They would clash frequently over an uncomfortable and unsafe prototype, and the public had to be convinced to buy a car that let in two inches of water when it rained. But somehow the Mini became an icon. Originally designed for austerity and efficiency, the car soon came to represent individuality and classlessness. Today, the car is still produced at Cowley - it is now owned by BMW and called the MINI. A great British manufacturing story, it is more popular throughout the world than it has ever been, a symbol of the age that created it. But who makes these things, and what do they think about their work? By meeting the people behind the MINI, Simon Garfield uncovers a fascinating story of British endeavour, ingenuity and masterful marketing. The modern MINI has come a long way from the leaky floor and sliding windows. But throughout its history, the people behind it have always known that they have been making something rare - a car with soul.
Publication date: 01/07/2010
Publisher: Faber and Faber
|Publication date:||1st July 2010|
|Publisher:||Faber and Faber|
|Genres:||Biography / Autobiography, The Real World,|
|Categories:||Motor cars: general interest,|
Simon Garfield was our Guest Editor in October 2012 - click here - to see the books that inspired his writing. Simon Garfield is the author of fourteen acclaimed books of non-fiction including On the Map, Just My Type and The Wrestling. His edited diaries from the Mass Observation Archive, Our Hidden Lives, We Are At War and Private Battles, were bestsellers, and his study of AIDS in Britain, The End of Innocence, won the Somerset Maugham prize. He lives in London and St Ives, Cornwall. Author photo © Sarah LeeMore About Simon Garfield