Episode 1: Inside London’s Most Exclusive Classic Car Restoration Garage - Rust To Riches 
Wednesday, July 13, 2016, 02:53 PM
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The Iconic Mini Cooper 
Wednesday, July 13, 2016, 02:50 PM
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Its popularity may have waned since its peak years during the 1960s, but the Mini Cooper is unquestionably one of the most iconic vehicles to ever come from the British Isles. Here is a brief history lesson on one of Britain's most famous exports.

The Mini has won countless awards from the automotive industry over the years, including the 'Car of the Century' by the influential Autocar magazine in 1995 and was named 'European Car of the Century' in an internet poll run by the Global Automotive Elections Foundation.

The Mini Cooper has come a long way from its racing car origins, becoming an iconic status symbol in the 60s. Famous Mini owners include the legendary late John Lennon, the former Manchester United and Ireland footballer, George Best, Kate Moss and Prince Harry.

The car's iconic status was no doubt elevated by its starring role in the now classic British heist movie, the Italian Job, featuring a young, suave Sir Michael Caine. The movie's slick chase scenes featuring a whole fleet of Mini Coopers added an edge to a vehicle that was already stylish in its own right.

The first Mini Cooper was launched by the British Motor Corporation in 1959 and featured the world's first ever front-wheel-drive steering system. This innovation influenced the entire industry, and today front-wheel-drive is the most common drive-train layout of motor vehicles.

The Mini Cooper saw strong sales in most of the countries where it was sold, but it was in the UK where it performed strongest. For four years the Mini was the dominant force in the mini-car market until the Hiltman Imp arrived in 1963, opening the door for further competition.

Despite the increased competition, the Mini Cooper continued to see strong sales until the arrival of the Metro in the 1980s, which toppled the Mini as the most popular car in the mini-car market. Whilst not the dominant force it once was, the Mini Cooper refused to go away and the Mini Cooper was re-introduced in 1989.

This helped Mini throughout the early 90s, and in 1994 the Rover Group was acquired by the German automotive giant, BMW. BMW recognized the iconic status of the Mini brand, but decided that it was necessary to take the Mini back to the drawing board, and into the modern age.

The German Giant decided to end production of the classic Mini, and in 2000 the very last Mini was presented to the British Motor Industry Heritage Trust. The old Mini was put to rest, but the all new BMW Mini was born.

Whilst bulkier than the Mini of old, the BMW Mini retained the classic transverse four-cylinder, front-wheel-drive configuration and iconic "bulldog" design of the original model. To date, the Mini Cooper has sold over five million cars worldwide, proving without any doubt that it is a true British icon.
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Living with a Classic Car as a Daily Driver 
Wednesday, July 13, 2016, 02:45 PM
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