The first Mini was produced by the British Motor Company (BMC) in 1959 and went on to become an icon of the 1960s. The collaboration with Formula 1 designer, John Cooper, saw the Mini used in racing as early as 1961: the Mini Cooper S won the Monte Carlo Rally three times.

BMW bought the remnants of BMC in 1994, and the last classic Mini was made in October 2000. The following year, BMW starting production of the new MINI - a completely new "retro" design, faithful to the original's razor-sharp handling characteristics and its unique styling.