When the first Mini, made in Birmingham, went on the market on August 18, 1959, none of the people involved at the time are likely to have imagined that the concept of a revolutionary small car would turn into one of the automotive industry's most impressive success stories stretching over a period of five and a half decades.
Fifty-five years ago, two models were presented to the public which differed solely in their radiator grille, hub caps and paint finishes: the Morris Mini Minor and the Austin Seven.
Designer Alec Issigonis' concept was both simple and ingenious: lots of interior space combined with minimum exterior dimensions, four seats, perfect driving properties, low fuel consumption and a reasonable price. These brilliant ideas had an impact that was to extend into the 21st century.
The brand's underlying principle was confirmed once more when it was restarted with the market launch of the Mini by new owners BMW in 2001: a superior concept gained popularity in a range of different forms and eventually became firmly established.
Since then Mini has combined the classic values of the early generations with the demands of a modern automobile.
Very few vehicle concepts have survived for such a long period of time or gained a comparable level of popularity - and no other concept has been applied to such a wide variety of versions as is the case with Mini.
The Mini brand has turned 55 this year.
Today the range comprises a large number of models, starting with the classic body variant of the Mini, going right through to the Countryman and the Paceman. An entirely new variant is set to follow later this year - the 5-door.
The combination of different qualities is as modern today as it was 55 years ago and the concept is younger than ever.
Recently members of the classic Mini and the new Mini community met to celebrate the most successful and most popular British small car on its 55th anniversary. Enthusiasts were just as impressed by the new generation of the original in the premium segment of small cars as they were by some of its ancestors that were to be seen.
The vehicles on show included one of the very first cars of the brand dating back to 1960.