Day May 13, 2011
Every generation seems to produce some high-profile individual who mourns to the masses that there was once a simpler and better time in America. You know the drill: People knew their neighbors, morality reigned and most everyone knew right from wrong. These elegies always end with the premise that somehow we as a nation have lost our way. Of course the simpler times that everyone seems to think we’ve gotten away from are nothing more than our childhood memories. As children, we perceived and remembered everything far more simplistically – without the freight of context surrounding situations we encounter as adults.
Still, it’s those wistful thoughts of innocent bygone days that drive the automotive styling designs we know today as retro-cars. The BMW-designed and British-built Mini is a perfect example. This modern automobile seems made to bring back fond memories of the British Invasion and the Swinging 60s. It seems to exemplify the days when Carnaby Street, the Stones, Donovan, the Beatles, Twiggy, white plastic go-go boots and all other things British were new and groovy.
Of course the original Mini was far more and much less than that. Introduced in 1959, the Mini was the British Motor Corporation’s answer to the long and successful sales career of the Volkswagen Beetle.
What is less well remembered is that the Mini’s creation in the late 50s was a direct response to a major oil crisis for the Brits. What caused it? England’s foolish war against Egypt’s Gamal Nasser, in which England tried and failed to regain control of the Suez Canal.