The original Mini has ranked fourth in a poll of British design icons organised by BBC Two’s The Culture Show and the Design Museum.
The nationwide poll invited people to vote for their favourite example of British design conceived since 1900. Winning honours went to Concorde, followed by the London Underground Map and the legendary Supermarine Spitfire.
The Mini was the only car inside the top 10 results; the E-Type Jaguar was voted 11th, just ahead of the Aston Martin DB5 in 12th.
The Alec Issigonis-designed Mini was designed as a cheap, fuel-efficient four-seater, and it revolutionised the way small cars were built. The engine was turned sideways to provide more cabin space, and powered the front wheels, negating the need for a bulky transmission tunnel. Every nook and cranny in the car is utilised to perfection - leaving 80% of the three metre-long Mini to be devoted to its occupants.
When released it instantly appealed to a huge spectrum of the population, regardless of their wealth. Celebrity owners like the Beatles only added to the Mini’s kudos, and helped it to achieve five million sales over a period of 40 years.