What do Austin, Morris, British Motor Corporation, British Motor Holdings, British Leyland, Rover Group, and BMW all have in common? Each company has had a hand in bringing the world a sprightly, fuel-efficient, front-wheel-drive fun box on wheels – the Mini.

The Sir Alec Issigonis-designed car has been sold under more brand names and with more model designations than most of us would guess. For seven generations of the classic Mini, from 1959 to 2000, the car carried a bewildering number of model names as well. (Note that's even before BMW took over the nameplate, and starting building cars styled as "MINI" rather than "Mini" in 2001.)

As is its wont, Hemmings Daily has taken the time to break down the complex lineage of the car, with a kind of model etymology that makes for a pretty entertaining read. Click over to the site to give it a go; but check out our gallery of classic Mini pictures before you jump.


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  • 19 Comments
      diffrunt
      • 1 Year Ago
      One hasn't lived until one has driven the original version..
      visconti24
      • 1 Year Ago
      Well, the Innocenti Mini was left out, as was the Innocenti Leyland Mini and the Innocenti Leyland Mini with the 3 cylinder Daihatsu motor. And there was the one styled by Bertone and another with the interior by Missoni. My sister had one which we used to take her back to her boarding school from Rome to Switzerland under constant rain. When we arrived in Geneva, the floor in front of the rear seat had a huge puddle. Later I appropriated one that a renter of one of our properties abandoned. I loved it and drove it in Rome for a year. When I spotted the owner at the Gregorian University I told him I had been driving his car. He said: " Is the motor still attached? Keep it. Please." I did until the entire rear suspension detached itself from the shell in the middle of traffic. Not to worry. Our wonderful mechanic cut out the rear bottom of the car and welded in an entire rear transplanted from another Mini. There were so many rust holes on the floor that when my mother had no choice but to accept a ride she complained of the fumes seeping into the car. "You'll end up killing me in this car!" But what she hated the most was to look through the holes and see the cobble stones passing by as we drove though the city. "Never again!" she proclaimed. Still I loved the car. My brother later got one with a Daihatsu 3 cylinder motor. It had been in an accident and the passenger side was more or less gone. Parts had been ordered, like a front fender and a door. My mother was offered a ride. She called a taxi. "A door in a car is a minimum requirement," she said.
      eeenok
      • 1 Year Ago
      "as is its want" ... the word is "wont"
      Narom
      • 1 Year Ago
      Bought one for my first car at 16, still own her.
      icemilkcoffee
      • 1 Year Ago
      adding to the complication- a lot of the classic Minis imported into the US of A have a bogus pre 1975 year attached to it. So if you are lucky, you would find one that has fuel injection, but registered as a 75.
        aatbloke1967
        • 1 Year Ago
        @icemilkcoffee
        Actually the chassis has to be at least 25 years old, to escape all import regulations under DOT. So what you'll find is the older chassis, but the bodyshell, engine and all the rest of it often grafted from later models.
      GeeDavy
      • 1 Year Ago
      Regardless of their larger size, today's MINI is lacking the proper proportions that made the earliest Minis so attractive.
      TangoR34
      • 1 Year Ago
      Ingenuity at its best and worst. On one hand it is extremely compact, fun to drive, easy to park and the way it revolutionized the FWD cars nowadays. But on the other hand it rusts and leaks water like there's no tomorrow.
      Steve Mulcahy
      • 1 Year Ago
      Wow, You had an opportunity to show that there were Clubmans, Estates, vans and mokes back in the good old days, but you just concentrated on the regular one.
      Teleny411
      • 1 Year Ago
      One of the all time great "cute" designs. Between the Mini, Fiat Topolino & Nuevo 500s, and VW Beetle, I doubt if their cuteness will ever be outdone!
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Teleny411
        [blocked]
      • 1 Year Ago
      [blocked]
        aatbloke1967
        • 1 Year Ago
        "the only decent FWD car the UK ever had" There's an understatement. It pioneered the FWD/transverse engine layout in small cars and shaped the small car market for decades to come.
      johnnythemoney
      • 1 Year Ago
      The BMW's Minis are a lot of things, but not so fuel-efficient given the size of the cars. Especially the first series.
      Nick Allain
      • 1 Year Ago
      I saw a BL Mini parked in SOMA yesterday when a friend and I went for a burger. It was RHD and looked factory fresh - just incredible.Sometimes I just love living in California.
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