Light, simple, reliable, agile – the original Mini. The British flea was able to do it on race tracks even in tough competition, this year he is celebrating the anniversary of his victory at the famous Monte.

Stacks of papers have already been written about the genius concept of Alec Issigonis – he designed a miniature car with maximum interior space, a skillfully used floor plan and an attractive price. But the successful Mini also rolled in motorsport, thanks to the efforts of John Cooper, who became famous for his single-seaters with rear engines. When he saw the car, he said to Issigonis: “He’s a hell of a racer! Give it more power, better brakes and start making it.”

And so, a year after the premiere of the first Mini version (1959) with an 848 cc engine and 25 kW power, the Mini Cooper version was created, which, thanks to the higher lift and bore of its four-cylinder, offers 997 cc and 40 kW, compared to the original model, it also has two carburetors instead one. This allows the car with a weight of 645 kilograms to burn at a speed of up to 138 km/h. Furthermore, the car had shorter gears and what was unusual for this size category – front disc brakes.

The Mini Countryman gets a two-liter with four-wheel drive.  The new S ALL4 is not as aggressive as the JCW, but it will drive decently

This racing version first competed in an international rally in 1962 when Pat Moss (sister of Stirling Moss) and navigator Ann Wisdom-Riley won the 14th Internationale Tulpenrallye. Two years earlier, however, Sheila O’Clery had won the Cork 20 Rally with an Austin 7 Mini, which had not yet made its mark in world motorsport.

However, the car began to see a lot on the racetracks, competition models were created in a special department in Oxfordshire under the direction of Stuart Turner. He also engaged Timo Mäkinen and Rauno Aaltonen in 1962, Tony Fall and Paddy Hopkirk were also behind the wheel. Each rally special was prepared from the ground up by just one mechanic, who “tailored” the car to a specific competitor – a funny example is the lighter for heavy smoker Mäkinen.

With the legendary Škoda 130 RS on the Monte Carlo Rally track!  Back then in Czechoslovakia, she didn't give anything a chance

At the famous Monte Carlo in 1963, Aaltonen and navigator Tony Ambrose won their class, they were third overall. Hopkirk with co-pilot Jack Scott finished sixth – this year, by the way, eight crews started with Minis. A great success came in 1964. 277 cars lined up for the start, there was a lot of snow and ice on the track, which was said to suit the Mini cars and put the larger and heavier competition at a disadvantage.

In addition, the team chose the right tires and had trained, Paddy Hopkirk reached the finish line in the penultimate special stage on the Col de Turini 17 seconds behind Bo Ljungfeldt in a much more powerful eight-cylinder Ford Falcon, but thanks to the then valid recalculation of the handicap through power and weight, he got into the lead. And he maintained that even in the final drive through the streets of Monte Carlo. Mini cars also won here in 1965 and 1967.

Mini

The original Mini was a British icon of the 1960s. In the eighties, the production of the original Mini was discontinued, and in 1994, the brand belonging to the Rover Group came under BMW.

In 2001, a new generation appeared in the form of the Mini One and sporty versions of the Cooper.

Mini Cooper • Mini Cabrio • Mini Clubman • Mini Countryman