Big celebration of the little Mini at Lakeland Motor Museum

Big celebration of the little Mini at Lakeland Motor Museum

It may be a tiny little car but the iconic Mini has made a big impression on British motoring and the Lakeland Motor Museum is celebrating the 65th anniversary of the famous vehicles launch.

It’s urging visitors to come and see its two prime examples of the much loved vehicle which have pride of place in the museum.

The star of the show is a 34-year-old special edition Mini Cooper RSP which has only 8 miles on its clock since new!

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Curator at the Lakeland Motor Museum, Chris Lowe, says: “The Mini has to be one of the most iconic British vehicles ever made and we are lucky to have two prime examples including the classic Mini Cooper.

“The Mini was first launched back in 1959 so this year marks its 65th anniversary and we feel that is definitely worth celebrating.”

Also on show at the Lakeland Motor Museum is a 1978 British Leyland Mini Clubman in Pageant Blue. It is 46 years old and has 55,000 miles on its clock.

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More than five million minis were produced by the British Motor Corporation (BMC) and its successors between 1959 and 2000. The original is viewed as an icon of Swinging Sixties popular culture.

Designed by Sir Alec Issigonis, its space saving transverse engine and front wheel drive layout would go on to influence a generation of car makers.

The RSP was launched in 1990 to reintroduce the Mini Cooper to the range (it had originally featured in the Mini range from 1961 to 1971). Both the original and the RSP were the brainchild of the original creator of the Mini Cooper, John Cooper. 1650 RSP Coopers were built, with 600 exported to places including Japan, Germany and South Africa. About 1050 stayed in Britain.

BBC Radio Cumbria's Jennie Dennett with the mini before the interview.

BBC Radio Cumbria's Jennie Dennett interviewed our Curator Chris Lowe the Mini and what made the car so special. This interview and feature aired on 13 February 2024.

🎧 Listen again here (Thanks to BBC Radio Cumbria)

Unusually for a small car, the 1978 Mini Clubman at the museum is an automatic. Many drivers passed their test in automatics to avoid the complications of clutch control and gear changing but that meant they were limited to driving automatics on their licence. It made economic sense for large companies to make automatic vehicles to satisfy this demand.

Chris Lowe says: “As it marks its 65th anniversary we hope people will come along and have a look at our two prime examples of the iconic Mini brand.

“They spark so many nostalgic motoring memories for visitors – everyone of a certain age has a motoring memory about the Mini! We would love them to come down to the museum and share those memories with us!”

The museum, housed in a converted mill in the heart of the Lake District at Backbarrow, has a collection of over 30,000 exhibits tracing the development of road transport throughout the twentieth century.

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