Within a few days, the robots and humans in the vast production halls at Mini Plant Oxford will burst into life and start creating third-generation Minis for the first time.

It’s somehow fitting that such an important new car should begin rolling off the line in the same year that 100 years of car production at Oxford is being celebrated. 

A static presentation outside of this week’s launch at Mini’s Oxford facility hammered home the rich heritage of the site.

On display were some examples of cars that carried the hopes of British car manufacturing when they emerged from the Oxford plant, among them a pristine Austin Princess owned by Autocar’s Richard Bremner.

Oxford turned out its first car, a Bullnose Morris Oxford, on 28 March 1913, not long after William Morris had converted a derelict military college into an assembly facility.

In the early days, about 20 cars per week were built, but this rapidly grew and in 1919 the allotments adjacent to the bustling factory were turned into a body shop. A few years later, there was further expansion and the plant’s workforce swelled beyond 10,000.