The Cooper Hardtop was an engineering marvel when it arrived in 1959 because of its compact powertrain packaging that used a transverse engine layout and front-wheel drive. This layout allowed for four passengers in the cabin, despite the tiny overall footprint.
Gallery: Mini Cooper Generation
While originally meant to be inexpensive transportation, the Mini turned out to be a fantastic performance car, too. Racer and auto manufacturer John Cooper saw the possibilities, and the Mini Cooper was born. A larger displacement engine and better brakes made for a potent competition machine for rallying and on circuits.
The Mini was a huge success in the 1960s, but it stuck around for a lot longer. Tiny design evolutions continued through 2000, but the tweaks never altered the model's classic shape. The first big change happened when BMW took over Rover Group and decided to rejuvenate the vehicle by launching Mini as a separate brand.
The original Mini became an automotive icon of 1960s Britain both in the streets and on the track. Even after that initial heyday, the little vehicle managed to stick around with only minor changes until 2000. Then BMW revived the model a few years later and built a whole brand around it.
The talented artists from Budget Direct Car Insurance created these images that chronicle the Mini's changing interior over the years. Things started quite basic with just a single, circular gauge on the bare dashboard. For many years, the Mini used center-mounted gauges, and BMW revived this look when it revived the brand.