On this day in auto history - October 4th

Mon 4th Oct 2021

It was the end of an era for British motoring on this day in the year 2000 when the last “classic” Mini rolled off a production line at the firm’s Longbridge plant in Birmingham.

Fittingly, for a car which came to symbolise the ‘swinging sixties’, a well-received publicity stunt saw 1960’s pop star Lulu drive the final Mini off the line to the theme music from The Italian Job - the cult 1960’s film that helped the Mini establish its reputation within popular culture.

Designed by the legendary Alec Issigonis - chief engineer at Morris Motors - the original 1959 Mini was a distinctive, diminutive two-door car produced as a response to fuel shortages brought about by the 1956 Suez Crisis.

Though slow at the outset, Mini sales strengthened across all of its model lines throughout the 1960’s and it finished its production run as easily best-selling British-made car of all time with well over 5 million units sold.

Though the end of production at Longbridge marked a sad day, it was softened by the fact that BMW had acquired the Mini marque (now stylised as MINI) and were close to relaunching a re-styled version of the vehicle which would go on to prove a staggering success.

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