There's a new Mini? Groovy, Baby!

In 1957, auto engineer Alec Issigonis sketched a rough design on a restaurant tablecloth of a car destined to become a British motoring icon. That doodle was the prototype for the Mini, the 3m-long, 1.2m-wide engineering feat that became — along with the Volkswagen Beetle and Citröen's 2CV — one of those small cars that inspire both devotion and ridicule. After its 1959 launch, the Mini went on to sell more than 5 million cars over the next four decades, until it became clear the car could not meet stiffened European safety regulations.

Now, nine months after the last of...

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