Brit Book Reviews: A Short History of the Mini from Shire Books by Gillian Bardsley

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As a fan of all things British, of course I also have a soft spot for British Cars, even though I’m not much of a car guy.

One of my favorites cars is of course the classic Mini (and I rather like the new ones as well). Britain feels the same way, it was recently voted their most favorite car of all time.

So, I was really interested to learn more about the history of this iconic car. Mini by Gillian Bardsley is an excellent primer on all things Mini.

This short book traces the entire history of the classic Mini from its beginning as a concept car all the way to the end of its production in 2000 (I had no idea they were in production for so long!).

The book goes into detail on how it was the brainchild of Alec Issigonis, who the book calls Britain’s first and only car industry celebrity. The book not only traces the Mini’s development but also what happened once consumers got their hands on the car.

It really goes a good job covering the impact it had on the British motoring industry. It became a very popular car – but its success was not written in the stars. The book has ample pictures and illustrations.

I think perhaps my only complaint about the book is that it can get rather technical. This will suit readers who want to know the technical things, but as I know almost nothing about cars, much of it was lost on me.

Another interesting aspect is that the car was not simply one model – there were seemingly hundreds of variations of the Mini released and under different badges and brands. So, it can get quite confusing to say “I really want a Mini Cooper” well it turns out that’s a very specific kind of Mini among hundreds of others.

I also wish the book went a bit into the history and development of the New Mini that’s now made by BMW. They talk about it briefly but I guess it makes sense to keep the book solely focused on the original.

Overall, a rather interesting book.

Comments

  1. avatarJohn Evans says

    The modern BMW minis are probably best left out of it. Have you seen how downright ugly some of the new model variants are? I can’t believe that a car which has always been loved for its friendly, non-threatening appearance has been turned into such an unappealing mess. What are BMW thinking of? But then they are a German car maker – and a good few German cars, whilst well-engineered and reliable are, well… just ugly.

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