Different Roads 
Mini Millennium Concept. 1997.
Mini Millennium Concept. 1997.
Courtesy Rover/ BMW
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The Mini, produced originally by BMC (British Motor Corporation) in 1959, is an archetypal example of the small, economical car. Developed to fulfill the growing need for basic affordable transportation in postwar Europe, especially following the 1956 Suez Crisis that necessitated gasoline rationing throughout England, the Mini in one form or another has been in continuous production ever since. Originally designed by Sir Alex Issigonis, who intended it as a sporty and affordable form of transportation for four passengers, the car allows for the greatest interior space with the smallest exterior dimensions. This was achieved by placing the small engine horizontally in the front and providing the car with front-wheel drive. Its popularity is attested to by the fact that over 5 million have been sold internationally.
Built on an existing mechanical platform used for the current MG, the new Mini features a steel frame with lightweight, aluminum body panels. Its shape represents an updating of the traditionally functional and boxy Mini form–more rounded, sportier, and with softer edges than its predecessors–producing a less awkward and more purely functional look than the original. The BMW/Rover Group’s new Mini Millennium Concept Car represents a return to a classic people car and confirms the growing need for these kinds of cars in the coming century.



© 1999  The Museum of Modern Art, New York