Currently reading: BMW opens ‘The Mini Story’ in Munich - picture special
History of the iconic brand detailed in new exhibition with concepts and production cars

BMW has opened an exhibition at its Munich-based museum celebrating 55 years of ‘The Mini Story’. Running until 31 January 2016, it features "30 original vehicles, exhibits and accessories" from the brand’s history. 

As well a number of historic and unusual classic Minis, BMW is exhibiting a range of Mini concepts, including the two concepts that preceded the launch of the all-new BMW Mini in 2001.

The AVC 30 concept, which was based on the MGF, was an interpretation of Mini’s racing heritage and was designed by BMW’s now design boss Adrian van Hooydonk. The two-door Spiritual concept was generated by Rover Group designers, led by David Saddington.

Both concepts were used by BMW and its Rover Group subsidiary to help define the direction for a reinvented Mini. The AVC30 was inspired by the Mini’s reputation for driving dynamics and its competition history. The Spirtual (which was also produced in five-door form) was rear-engined and inspired by the original Mini’s landmark use of internal space.

As part of the exhibition, BMW has also built a replica of an experimental four-door Mini that was constructed by Austin-Morris in the early 1960s. Based on period photos, the new car is based on a later-model Mini Classic. 

BMW design sources say the original four-door was built on the same stretched wheelbase as the Mini Van, which was launched in 1960. One version used standard Mini front doors, which were flipped and rear-hinged, while nother version used a bespoke door design. Neither prototype survived when the company decided not to pursue the idea.

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RPrior 2 December 2014

The Issigonis Mini spawned so many independent developments.....

My first car was a 2nd hand1965 Mini Van (tuned by Taurus) - Followed by a New Mk II (Tuned by Oselli) and followed by a Pristine Mk I Mini Cooper in the Iconic Red/Black Livery equipped with MiniLite Mag Wheels & Reccaro seats.

The "Mini" as created by Issigonis spawned so many independent creations from the single theme & fostered an aftermarket industry that has never been surpassed.

The depth of the aftermarket is the greatest omission in this potted history of one of the greatest engineering icons of the 20th Century.

The Customised Mini Industry, significantly supplemented the original factory models included Tuning companies and Body shops that sprouted to create not just "Go Faster" packages but also a range of low volume variously desirable Products.

For those of you not in their 60s, the best way to get an idea of the Mini is to look up "mk1-performance-conversions" on Google.

If I was to attempt to cross the country at the same speeds that I travelled in the 60s, I would be arrested today.

Norma Smellons 2 December 2014

The inclusion of a 1999 press

The inclusion of a 1999 press cutting about Rover's impending doom is a bit bizarre. As this had little to do with the "Mini Story" which had been moved to Munich by then. The 75 debacle cost BMW billions and I would hardly expect them to start reminiscing over it, even now. Perhaps it's for the local audience, a reminder of how they saved Mini from those funny Englanders.
Norma Smellons 2 December 2014


Depends what you mean by "functional". People care more about style, quality and a good drive. They don't want to drive around in some egghead designer's wet dream of space efficiency. Not only did Spiritual look weird and cheap, with the Mini lights and grille crudely grafted on, it was unsuited to the times. The car was unbalanced, in the pursuit of internal space, and had BMW chosen Spiritual then it is unlikely the Cowley plant would exist today.
hardshoulder 3 December 2014

@ Norma Smellons

Functional is perhaps the wrong word, of course what I meant was a more efficient practical approach to city car design as opposed to the inverse tardis effect of the current range. I'm not sure I agree with you on the styling issue of the spiritual but that's a matter of taste as is the approach, the Spiritual concept appeals more to me than the BINI (I'm not using this as an insult to the car it's just a lazy way of distinguishing them) which not my thing. However as you've rightly pointed out the BINI does appeal to the buying public which is why it's been such a success and why the Cowley factory continues to be busy. You've got me thinking on the unbalance look though, do you not think that the BINI looks a bit unbalanced, a bit too squared off at the back, like the car suddenly comes to an abrupt halt? I've always thought that but I've never heard anyone else point it out, probably just me who thinks that then.