In 1959, a ground breaking car design rolled off the production line in Cowley, Oxfordshire – Sir Alec Issigonis’s Mini. Sixty years later, the ten millionth Mini has just been made in the very same factory and we were invited to take Morris there to celebrate this iconic car’s 60th birthday. We set off from home on Wednesday evening, heading west with headlights only slightly more powerful than candles in jam jars illuminating our way.
After staying overnight with friends nearby we arrived at the Mini factory in Cowley at lunchtime and found ourselves surrounded by Minis of all vintages. The plan was to hold a photoshoot, featuring a Mini from every year of production, with Morris representing 1965. Given that so many Minis have been made it felt a real honour to be there as one of just sixty vehicles. We waited patiently to join the other cars in Q Gardens, a grassy area in the centre of the factory, overlooked by a massive Mini mural.
Finally, Morris’s moment came and we took up our spot on the back row. Before the photoshoot took place we had a little time to look around the other cars, which included 621AOK, the very first Mini, lined up alongside the ten millionth car.
The photographer for the birthday photoshoot was Amy Shore. I’ve liked Amy’s work for a while now and met her when she gave a talk at the Photography Show last year. Finally, it was time for us to get into the photos so we all joined our cars and obligingly waved at Amy’s camera as she shot from the dizzy heights of a scissor lift. If you’d like to see Amy’s photos of the assembled cars you can find them here, on the BMW press page. You can even download high res images to see if you can spot us!
On Friday morning we gathered at the Mini factory once again, for more celebrations, including Mini cupcakes, before heading back to Q Gardens. As we mingled among the cars we were joined by a film crew, who busied themselves capturing video of individual cars. Morris had his film star moment so I made sure I captured the team in action.
Finally, it was time to leave – a convoy of Minis to celebrate six decades. Once we’d all lined up in the road we were off, onto the open road. Many of the cars were heading for the International Mini Meeting in Bristol but we had a different destination in mind.
Our ultimate destination was Goodwood, for a mini photoshoot of our own at the motor circuit – our first opportunity since we got Morris, three and a half years ago. Naturally this included a picture by the Goodwood sign, as well as a number of shots around the paddocks.
Finally, we made our way to stay with Kevin’s Dad. En-route we met yet another Mini, so naturally a photo had to be taken, and the day’s Mini adventure finished with a picture of Kevin and his Dad with Morris.
9 August 2019