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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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1961 Riley Elf and Wolseley Hornet

Booted luxury versions of the Mini arrived in October 1961, and were good examples of when badge engineering could answer a question that very few people asked. Distinguished by their small boot and upright grilles, the 'Shelf' twins were actually more practical than the car they were based on. LJK Setright said they were designed, ‘…to appeal to those small minded snobs who found the idea of a Mini intriguing but the name of Austin or Morris offensive and the evidence of austerity.’ 


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