In 1959, the release of the Mini came as a welcome answer to the British fuel shortage and economic hardship that ensued shortly after the Suez Crisis. Created by engineer Alec Issigonis, who aimed to produce a compact car with greater fuel efficiency, Mini is reputed for its recognizable design that made it a world-class cultural icon in the UK among target groups crossing gender, age, and socioeconomic class lines. Since its merger with BMW in 1994, Mini has maintained its position in the premium compact car market, all while strengthening its fervent fanbase with innovations that carry on the Mini tradition, discovering even more paths that will lead to a bright, urban life.

Welcome to the 79th issue of B.

Biannually, B publishes a bound issue for two months, and after wrapping up one of these issues, our editorial team gets to push pause on the usual mettle-testing grind. Some vacation with family or friends, while others spend their time envisioning content for the next issues. These brief interludes make us realize that reflecting on the past is just as important as moving forward at full throttle. However, this past summer, things were quite different—our team forfeited that precious break time and continued working without intermission. The reason is because we jumpstarted a new publishing project aside from our periodicals, B and F. The first edition of this special book series, titled Jobs, released in mid-August, examines jobs, professionals, and what constitutes their mindsets in the world today, as suggested in the title. The series was conceived to redefine the concept of “profession” as we move toward an era with blurred boundaries between industries and sectors, one in which specialists and novices are increasingly being given equal opportunity to work side by side. As I mention in the introduction of this new series, “A profession is an extension of a brand story.” In other words, the unique philosophy and attitude of a professional is what evolves into a celebrated brand. Perhaps, in this light, it might be said that B has been an extended prequel to Jobs.

It was precisely the spirit of two such professionals that laid the groundwork for the Mini car brand in 1959. Today, many find it unfitting to think of Mini as just a car brand because it has risen as an emblem of design, culture, and lifestyle. The brand’s 60-year iconic mien is still rooted deeply in the very first automobile prototype. Sir Alec Issigonis, the inventor of Mini, was an engineer who considered himself a designer. Thoroughly exhausting his dual expertise in terms of aesthetics and mechanics, the Mini was born as a highly competitive car that was not just small in size, but also beautifully optimized vis-à-vis the limited space. The collaborating engineer, John Cooper, brought to the table his experience in car racing and contributed significantly to making Mini a high-performing racing car. Together, this duo demonstrated how approaching a profession with flexibility can result in significant achievement.

Personally, I am drawn to Minis because they look like faces with various expressions and emotions. A few years ago, I went to Edinburgh, Scotland on business, and seeing fleets of colorful Minis zip down cobblestone roads on an overcast day left quite an impression on me. And their agile maneuvers stood out even more against the backdrop of the dreary, dark-toned Gothic architecture. Driving alongside German cars with virtually perfect mechanical prowess, Minis were bringing color and life to the city. This effect is not because of its size, though. It’s about the overall stylish image—even with its many curvy lines, Minis have an undeniably vivid personality whether parked or on the move, so much so that the tiny machines almost look human. In 1960s-era London, a common saying was “If you can afford a Rolls-Royce, you must drive a Mini Cooper, too.” I can only assume that this joke came about because people felt that no other car could mimic Mini’s distinctive, lively energy.

Another aspect worth mentioning is that Mini’s lively spirit was actually a product of harsh limitations and circumstances. The British oil shock triggered high demand for small economy vehicles—a history that ironically turned out to add immense positive energy to the Mini. The rather cute face we see today is deceivingly, in fact, because the car was a solution to a national crisis and not a product of prosperity. The Mini story illustrates how everything in business—not art—is contingent on being able to recognize and work within limitations whether the constraint is about money, time, physical limitations, human power, or any other resource. As we enter a new social milieu, more obstacles manifesting in countless forms will engage us. To be certain, they will encompass legislation, political and social issues that will go viral on social media, and environmental issues like the question of sustainability. They will loom large and squeeze the scope of creative endeavors. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Overcoming such deficiencies generates ideas that make objects and spaces effuse with humanity—the strongest force that can be overpowered by nothing else. After all, humanity is the only element that can embrace anything and everything, and Mini’s success story evinces this most authentically.

Eunsung Park
Content & Editorial Director

Intro


Editor’s Letter


Rules of the Road

Etiquette for Mini drivers to follow when spotting another Mini on the road


Perspectives

Four creators talk about Mini design and value


Museum

A curator at the British Motor Museum explains the history of the British auto industry and the legacy of Mini through the collections


Opinion

Michael and Charlie Cooper, son and grandson of John Cooper, the man behind Mini’s racing genes and engineering


Restorer

A restoration shop shines light on how popular classic Minis are globally


In London

A travel agency that started with the idea of London city tours in Minis


With Minis

Classic Mini lovers encountered in London


Opinion

Christoph Gontard, Head of Classic Brand Management, Mini and Rolls-Royce


Milestones

Classic Mini milestone marker models of the past 60 years


Buzzing

Mini owners share their thoughts on new Mini and classic models online


Engine Rooms

A look under the hoods of a classic Mini and a new Mini


Versus

Comparison and analysis of classic Mini and new Mini


In the Making

Mini lineups under BMW, scenes of the Oxford plant, and interview with Oliver Heilmer, Head of Mini Design


Minimizers

Mini owners from three cities talk about their lifestyles and mobility in each city


Signal


Brand Story

The story of the car born out of a socioeconomic crisis to present a new solution for mobility


Interviews

Bernd Körber, Head of Min

Esther Bahne, Head of Mini Strategy and Innovation


Expansion

Mini explores new frontiers under the “creative use of space” motto


One Century

Historical vicissitudes of the British auto industry and Mini, a formidable pop culture icon today


British Cars

British car brands with unique identities, principles, and ample charm


Figures

Mini’s history and growth in numbers


References


Outro


PUBLICATION RIGHT

Publisher Suyong Joh
Executive Director Myungsoo Kim
Content & Editorial Director Eunsung Park
Lead Editor Jean Kim, Chanyong Park, Hyun Son
Editors Jaewoo Seo, Narae Kim, Sol Lyu
Photographer Miyeon Yoon
Managing & Editing (English Edition) Jean Kim
Translation (English Edition) Rancy Kim, Bongah Shin, Hyejoo Lee, Seongae Yang, Soonok Hwang
Copy Editing (English Edition) Sarah Kessler-Jang
Correspondents Mihye Nam (Tokyo), Lena Shin (LA), Alex Seo (London), Sanghyeok Lee (Berlin), Hyeseon Jeong (Paris), Mark Carter (Bangkok)
Art Direction & Design Gyeongtak Kang
Marketing Hyunjoo Kim, Yeubin Kim
Sales & Distribution Suyeon Kim, Kiran Kim
Publishing JOH

REFERENCES

Mini: 60 Years
Building a Mini
My Car Mini
Mini
Clever
Dakar Rally
Hammer & Coop
John Cooper Works : The Faith of a Few
John Cooper Works : Rallye Monte Carlo Historique 2017