The late Sir Alexander Arnold Constantine Issigonis, Alec Issignonis to his Internet friends, designed a car that was sold as the Morris Mini-Minor, the Austin Seven and later the Austin Mini. Go to the Mini USA website and check out the models, though, and every one of them is called a Cooper of some sort, e.g., Mini Cooper Paceman or Mini Cooper S Roadster. So who is Cooper?

It's probably obvious that it's the same Cooper we get in "John Cooper Works," those JCW Minis that always make up the top of the line. But many probably don't know that that John Cooper, founder of John Cooper Cars, is the same man who accidentally got the motorsports world to switch to rear-engined race cars and the same Formula One constructor who won two titles in 1959 and 1960 and who fielded drivers like Bruce McLaren and Stirling Moss.

On its way to driving the Mini John Cooper Works GP II, XCAR goes back to the beginning to find out when Alec met John, and how the first Mini Cooper came out in 1961, two years after the first Mini. You can watch the story and the car review in the video below.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 4 Comments
      Ric J
      • 10 Months Ago
      The Cooper variants of the Mini and MINI have always been a higher performance model. On the newer MINIs it's just that they don't import the more basic, non-Cooper models sold elsewhere in the world so everything here is at least a Cooper now, with the Cooper S and JCW being the top two performance steps.