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50 years of the Mini; 8-PAGE SOUVENIR PULLOUT.

Byline: Jon Griffin

IT'S a motoring legend - and as much a part of Birmingham's history as the Bull Ring and HP Sauce.

In October 2000, 60s pop star Lulu drove the 5,387,862nd and final classic Mini off the Longbridge production line, bringing to an end manufacture of the world's most famous small car in Birmingham.

Production of the new BMW Mini switched to Cowley, in Oxford - but there was hardly a dry eye in the house as Longbridge bade farewell to one of its most popular sons.

The Mini was launched by the British Motor Corporation - forerunner to British Leyland - in 1959; the car was not an instant success, with the first year's production less than 20,000.

But by 1962, annual production had reached more than 200,000 and remained at that level for 15 years, helped by famous Mini drivers such as Peter Sellers, Peter Ustinov, Princess Margaret and Lord Snowdon.

Over 40 years and nearly five-anda-half million cars later, the Mini left Longbridge for the last time and entered a brand new era under BM W.

The last Longbridge Mini went into retirement alongside the first, dating back to 1959, at the Heritage Motor Museum in Gaydon..
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Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Date:May 2, 2009
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