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  • In the August issue of Best of British…
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Best of British is the UK’s premier nostalgia magazine covering every aspect of life from the 1930s to today.

Each issue encourages you to:

  • Explore readers’ own recollections and memories in our Yesterday Remembered section
  • Discover more about days gone past with stories on everything from vintage transport to great Britons and from Christmas traditions to great days out
  • Enjoy regular reader favourites such as Treasures in the Attic, 1940s Post, Postcard from… and of course our Puzzle Page and Crossword

We hope you like reading our magazine as much as we love compiling it. In the meantime here is this month’s letter from our Editor, Simon Stabler

Sixty Not Out

Given what a style icon it became, it’s surprising that looks were not the driving force behind the Mini. Economy was the chief motivation for its design and, launched three years after the Suez crisis, it was certainly a product of its time. Not only was the car fuel efficient, but its designer, Sir Alec Issigonis, used many neat tricks to keep costs down and ensure that 80% of the car’s internal space could be used by its inhabitants.

It’s rubber cone suspension, another space-saving development, meant the Mini boasted excellent road handling, which gave John Cooper the idea to create a racing version of the car, leading to Pat Moss (sister of Sir Stirling) and Ann Riley winning the Dutch Tulip Rally in 1962 and Paddy Hopkirk – a great friend of this magazine – and Henry Liddon’s glorious triumph at the 1964 Monte Carlo Rally.

By the time the last of the original Minis was built in 2000, around 5.3m of these little classics had rolled off the production line. Over the years, the Mini has attracted a loyal fanbase, providing cut-priced motoring to first-time drivers and offering fashion designers, pop stars and even royalty a stylish and anonymous way of zipping around town.

When the new Mini was launched in 2001, some believed the car was no longer British. It had, after all, been designed by an American for German firm BMW. However, the new car offered more than a nod to the original, while its main factory is on the site of the former
Morris factory in Cowley, Oxfordshire, where more than half a million Morris Mini-Minors were built between 1959 and 1968.

Employing 4,500 people, approximately a quarter of Cowley’s population, more than 3.5m Minis have been built there since 2001, with 80% going overseas. The factory has been given a further boost with the news that the all-electric Mini will be assembled there from November. And given that BMW continues to acknowledge the Mini’s past, while adapting it for the future, then it’s entirely possible that the Mini will still be rolling off the production line in another 60 years’ time.