Situated about ninety minutes northwest of New York City in the Catskills is a private racetrack for car enthusiasts called the Monticello Motor Club. Lined up trackside is a row of Minis, including a tiny powderkeg called the Mini John Cooper Works GP. Also present is the new electric Mini Cooper SE sporting a kicky yellow trim and wheels patterns that emulates British electrical outlets.
sight in its entirety speaks to the enduring charm and mystique of this
BMW-owned brand, and both vehicles, on either end of the spectrum, bring the
brand full circle to its birth as a world-changing automobile.
1957, with Britain roiled by the Suez Crisis, threatening fuel supplies and
sparking an invasion of Egypt, Turkish-born designer Alec Issigonis (later “Sir
Alex”) had his breakthrough with the Mini: A car as small as possible on the
outside, as big as possible inside, with thrifty fuel economy and a modest
1959 Mini created a sensation and a driving cult, including among the nascent
“youth culture.” The tiny machine also became the Adam for tens of millions of
cars that imitated its then-novel front-wheel-drive, engine-turned-sideways
approach. Today, that describes the vast majority of small-to-midsize cars in showrooms
around the world; including crossovers and SUVs that start with a front-drive
platform but add AWD, either standard or as an option.
it took a Formula One racing owner, the late John Cooper, to recognize the