Mini Madness as Heritage Motor Centre celebrates the Mini's 50th birthday

By Culture24 Staff | 04 August 2009
a red car and a white car in a museum display

New shape BMW Mini and last Classic Mini to be produced in UK. Picture courtesy Heritage Motor Centre

Exhibition preview: 50 years of the Mini at the Heritage Motor Centre until December 23 2009.

The Heritage Motor Centre in Warwickshire is holding a special exhibition to celebrate the 50th birthday of the iconic British Car the Mini.

Designed by Alec Issigonis, the first Mini rolled off the production line in 1959 and has gone on to become one of the most successful cars of all time.

The exhibition tells the story of the Mini's design, production and development and shows how the car has become part of our social history as a nation.

'50 years of the Mini' features some of the best-known examples of the vehicle including the first Morris Mini produced at Cowley in 1959, the last classic Mini to be manufactured in 2000, Paddy Hopkirk's 1964 Monte Carlo-winning Mini 33EJB and the BMC 9X hatchback – a unique prototype designed by Sir Alec Issigonis as a possible replacement for the Mini.

the inside of a 1960s car that has been cut in half

Promotional Mini used in the 60s to highlight the amount of space the classic shaped Mini had. Picture courtesy Heritage Motor Centre

In conjunction with the exhibition, Mini Fortnight is taking place now until August 15 2009 with a series of events to entertain all ages, whether you own a Mini or not.

Museum curator Stephen Laing said: "We look forward to celebrating this momentous occasion by showcasing the Museum's fantastic collection of artefacts that are sure to be of great interest to anyone who has a soft spot for this iconic car."

Some highlights of the events programme will include a visit from world famous rally drivers Paddy Hopkirk, Wilf Ashman and Bryan Moyland, who will all be recounting their own Mini stories.

As a further bonus for Mini fans there will be the chance to see enthusiast Mark Feetham's Mini Sprint in action, as well as a demonstration of the light weight special, a unique racing car built by Alec Issigonis.

a car body shell hanging from a ceiling and the corner of a blue car

Inside the Mini 50 exhibition, in the background is a body shell of a Mini. Picture courtesy Heritage Motor Centre

HMC archivist, author and Alec Issigonis fan, Gillian Bardsley, will be taking visitors through some of the treasures from the archives, including original documents and personal reminiscences from Issigonis himself.

Members of the 1959 Register will also be bringing along some of the earliest Minis and will be on hand to answer any questions you may have about their classics.

If you have a Mini and you're battling to keep it on the road then John Yea, managing director of British Motor Heritage Limited will be holding a talk on August 12 to give guidance in making the right choices when maintaining a Mini.

For more information on the exhibition or any of the Heritage Motor Centre's Mini events visit the Mini Festival website.

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