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Top 15: Minis through the years

In a few weeks' time you'll be able to buy a brand new MINI, the fourth entirely new generation of car to wear this badge. Here are 15 of the classics to remind you just how far they've come since 26 August 1959. The first Mini was offered as an Austin or Morris, but throughout the years, the Cooper, Riley and Wolseley versions added names, and much appeal to Sir Alec Issigonis' brilliant baby car concept.

We take a look at some of the most basic, sporting and luxurious Minis sold officially by BMC, Leyland and Rover dealers between 1959 and 2000. The shape may have stayed roughly the same over the years, but the marketing, prices, colours and performance, all perfectly reflect the times they were produced. Follow the progress of the Mini between 1959 and 2000 - which is your favourite?

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1959: Morris Mini-Minor

On 26 August 1959, the Morris Mini-Minor was launched for the princely sum of £496. It was a basic little thing, lacking even interior door handles, but the engineering was absolutely incredible, with rubber suspension, transverse engine with gearbox in the sump, and rack and pinion steering. Thanks to clever packaging, this 10ft and a quarter inch car could safely accommodate four and easily exceed 70mph.

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