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History of the Mini Cooper

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The MINI Cooper has had an interesting and diverse history. Originally designed with fuel economy as its primary objective, the little car has become a cultural icon. They have been used as street cars that appeal to all age groups and economic levels and have also been used as rally cars, including being three time winners at the Monte Carlo Rally.

The Vision and Origin

In 1957 England, post-World War II, fuel prices were rapidly rising due to the Suez Crisis, making fuel-efficient vehicles more appealing. In response, the Morris Company's Sir Leonard Lord tasked his number one engineer, Alec Issigonis, with designing and building a car that was fuel efficient, small but able to carry four adults, and affordable for nearly every demographic.

Issigonis took the challenge seriously and made some innovative design changes that were unheard of at the time. He turned the engine sideways allowing for more room on the inside as well as providing more stability for tight turns. He also pushed the wheels out to the very corners of the body which also give it increased stability and interior spaciousness. The world had never seen anything like the Mini and it wasn't prepared for it. British Motor Corporation's (BMC) 1959 launch of the first Mini left much of the public scratching their heads.

It didn't take long, though, for the perky, fun, nimble little car to catch on. It fit right in with the fun and free culture of the 1960s, and the low cost helped, too. The appeal was widespread and diverse, it transcended the barriers of class and culture. The veritable masses became enamored with the little car, whether they were British royalty (Prince Andrew's daughters, Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie, among others) or too-cool-for-everything hipsters - and everyone in between. And just like that, an icon was born.

The Mark I

The first Mini was unveiled to the press in April 1959. By August, the company had produced several thousand of the little cars and they were ready to start selling. The now beloved and widely recognized moniker, "Mini", had not yet been introduced. There was some word play that indicated a "smaller" vehicle, but the actual term Mini had yet to arrive on the scene. The Morris version was referred to as the Morris Mini-Minor and the Austin version was referred to as the Austin Seven (or SE7EN).

Specs on the Mark I include:

  • Wheelbase - 80.2 inches for the saloon and 84.2 inches for the estate
  • Length - 120.2 for the saloon, 129.9 for the estate, and 130 inches for the Wolseley Hornet
  • Width - 55 inches
  • Height - 53 inches
  • Curb Weight - 1,360 - 1,512 pounds
  • Transmission - 4 speed manual, 4 speed automatic (introduced in October 1965), and 5 speed manual
  • Engine - 848 cc, 970 cc, 997 cc, 998 cc, 1,071 cc, 1,098 cc, 1,275 cc I4(A-series)
  • MPG - 43.5 miles per imperial gallon (36 miles per US gallon)

A whopping 1,190,000 Mark I's were produced throughout the 1960s. There were rumors that the Mark I did not garner a profit for BMC because the production costs for the car exceeded the sales price - a maneuver the company reportedly made to remain competitive in the market. Other rumors attributed it to an accounting error. Regardless of the truth behind the gossip, one thing was certain, the Mini (or rather Mark I) definitely made its mark in the 60s culture. Production of the Mark I ended in 1967.

Mini versions created during this time included:

  • Morris Mini Cooper S
  • Morris Mini Moke
  • Austin Mini Countryman
  • Austin Se7en Pick Up
  • Morris Minivan

Mark II

As the 1960s wound to a close, Issigonis was diligently working on ways to improve the Mark I. His intention was to shorten the body and soup up the engine, moving away from the Mark I and gravitating more toward the Mini. However, Issignois and BMC did not see eye-to-eye on this matter and the Mark II was released instead. There were a couple of cosmetic adjustments including a redesign of the front grill that has stuck with the little car ever since, and an increase in the size of the rear window. There were other minor tweaks, but these were the most noticeable. In just three years, BMC sold 429,000 Mark II Minis. There were four body styles available including the saloon, estate, van, and a 2 door truck. Production of the Mark II Mini ended in 1970.

Mini versions created during this time included:

  • Mini 1000
  • Mini 1275 GT
  • Mini GT
  • Mini Clubman Estate
  • Mini Clubman

In 1968 the Mini was bought by the British Leyland Motor Corporation

Mark III

This version of the Mini went through some fairly major modifications. The most significant changes were made to the doors.They were made larger and the hinges were concealed. In a cost saving move, the Hydrolastic suspension was changed to a rubber system and the boot (trunk) lid received a large rear lamp that was color coded to replace the hinged number plate that originally took that spot. Also, the side windows in the rear were enlarged. At this point, the Austin and Morris brands were dropped and the name became, simply, Mini. In 1974, the entry level Mini 850 added heating to its standard equipment package, although competitor models had been including it for quite some time. In 1976 production of the Mark III Mini ended.

Mark IV

The year 1976 witnessed the unveiling of the Mark IV. There were some structural changes including single tower bolts on the front rubber mounted subframe and larger bushes on the rear frame. There were also larger foot pedals. Beginning in 1977, the indicator lamps in the rear incorporated reverse lights to create a single unit. The engine went from the Metro to the better APlus in 1980. The 80s proved to be a rather tumultuous time for the Mini as other brands like Ford and Volkswagen introduced more modern and practical designs that could easily compete with the Mini in fuel efficiency and other major areas. In 1981, the Mini celebrated being among the top ten selling cars in Britain for the final time, ranking number 9.

The Mark V, Mark VI, and Mark VII came and went with little fanfare.

The Mark V was produced from 1984 until 1989 and featured plastic wheel arches and 8.4-inch brake discs. The Mark IV body shell shape remained, though.

The Rover Group owned the Mini brand from 1986 until 1988 and then it went to British Aerospace.

The Mark VI was produced from 1990 until 1995 and featured an internal bonnet (hood) released that was introduced in 1993. The engine mounting points were moved forward so better accommodate 1275 cc power units. The updated horizontal integral float version of the Skinners Union carb was also added.

The Mini Cooper enjoyed a surge in popularity in 1991 when it was named "The Greatest Car of all Time" by Autocar and Motor Magazine.

Mini versions created during this time included:

  • Equinox
  • Sidewalk
  • Cooper Grand Prix
  • Mini Clubman Estate
  • Mini 35
  • Monte Carlo
  • Tahiti
  • Rio
  • Maybair
  • Sprite
  • Italian Job
  • British Open Classic
  • Neon
  • Cabriolet
  • Studio 2
  • Mini Check Mate

In 1994 BMW bought the Mini brand when it purchased the Rover Group. BMW introduced airbags to the Mini's construction in order to comply with safety legislation in Europe.

The Mark VII was produced from 1996 until 2000.

A New Leaf - The BMW Mini

When the classic Mini ceased production in 2000, BMW announced its successor, the MINI (same name, all caps).

While the "new" MINI has retained the front wheel drive of earlier versions, the relative low cost of the vehicle has become a thing of the past. The premium brand of the BMW has seeped into the MINI's genetics, giving it a luxurious and sporty boost. It now sports the latest technology for its vehicle class and has become more of a fashion statement than an economic necessity.

The MINI has also enjoyed a number of changes from its classic predecessor, including a 21-inch increase to its body length and a 12-inch increase to its body width. Additionally, it has gone from a svelte 1,450 pounds to a bulkier 2,300 pounds. Most of that additional weight is attributed to the introduction of a fuel injected twin point engine. Safety features were added, too, including driver's side air bag and side door impact beams.

Some Mini purists have objected to these changes claiming that it departs from the original minimalistic essence of the classic version. However, sales figures show that the market has responded positively to the numerous updates to meet the harsher, more demanding, and stringent environment, safety, and comfort needs of the 21st century.

Mini Cooper Awards

Over the years the Mini Cooper has receives a number of prestigious awards including:

  • Highest in Sales Satisfaction among Mass Market Brands - J.D. Power - 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013
  • Top Safety Pick - IIHS - 2015 (5 years in a row)
  • Best Social Performance - Automotive Science Group - 2015
  • Best All-Around Performance - Automotive Science Group - 2015
  • 10 Coolest New Cars under $25,000 - Kelley Blue Book's - 2014
  • Intellichoice Best Overall Vehicle of the Year in the Convertible Class - Motor Trend/Wright's Media - 2013
  • Among the Top 3 for Best Resale Value in its Class - Kelley Blue Book's - 2012
  • Best Resale Value: Compact Car - Kelley Blue Book's - 2011 (7 years in a row)
  • Top 10 Road Trip Cars - Kelley Blue Book's - 2010
  • Top 10 Green Cars - Kelley Blue Book's - 2010, 2009
  • Top 10 Best Resale Value - Kelley Blue Book's - 2007 (5 years in a row)
  • Best Resale Value: Hatchback - Kelley Blue Book's - 2007
  • Best Resale Value: Brand - Kelley Blue Book's - 2007
  • North American Car of the Year - North American International Auto Show - 2003

The MINI in the United States

Approximately 10,000 Minis (left hand drive) were exported to the United States by BMC from 1960 through 1967. When the U.S. federal government passed stricter safety standards for vehicles in 1968, sales were discontinued. The Mini's successor in the states was the larger Austin America. Technically not a Mini, the America was discontinued in the United States in 1972, citing sluggish sales.

In January 2001, the MINI resurfaced at the Detroit Motor Show where BMW ushered in its debut. Oxford was the building site for the early pre-production MINI. On March 22, 2002, the MINI went on sale in the United States. MINI sales hit the 50,000 mark in the U.S. in October of the next year.

How much does it cost to replace glass on a Mini Cooper?

The cost of replacing your Mini Cooper's Auto Glass depends on a number of factors, including:

Model year

Glass Opening:

Windshield Replacement

  • Side Glass (Door Glass, Vent Glass, Quarter Glass)
  • Back Glass (Also called, Rear Windshield or Rear Glass)
  • Technology Options on your glass, such as rain sensors, adaptive cruise control, etc.

Windshield Repair

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Customer Reviews of Glass.Net Windshield Repair Shops in Cooper

Below you'll find the latest ratings and reviews of local Cooper automobile glass shops from real Glass.Net customers like you. Glass.Net partner shops consistently receive remarkable ratings for quality service, affordable pricing and fast repair speed.

4.62 | 45 Reviews

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Customer Reviews
Mini Cooper Windshield Replacement
5 5 1

Great service! He was on time, patient, thorough and polite. 2003 Mini Cooper | 2 Door Hatchback

2020-05-10 – Reading, PA
Mini Cooper Windshield Replacement
5 5 1

Great work and reliable service. Service technician was helpful and we are very appreciative for the kind actions of his work. 2005 Mini Cooper | 2 Door Hatchback

2019-10-29 – Coral Springs, FL
Mini Cooper Windshield Replacement
5 5 1

very efficient 2003 Mini Cooper | 2 Door Hatchback

david m.
2018-08-03 – Irvine, CA
Mini Cooper Windshield Replacement
5 5 1

Great service. Great price 2013 Mini Cooper | 2 Door Convertible

2018-06-15 – Tomball, TX
Mini Cooper Windshield Replacement
5 5 1

Prompt arrival, very good service, great price 2007 Mini Cooper | 2 Door Convertible

2018-03-21 – Dundalk, MD
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