The humble Mini first entered the British consciousness in 1959. Throughout the 60s, this stylish, compact motor was the epitome of cool – it even won the Monte Carlo Rally
three times in that decade.
On top of that, it starred in the 1969 Michael Caine crime caper The Italian Job. As you can see, by the age of just ten, it had already had a more interesting life than most humans ever get to experience.
Its longevity is one of the most impressive things about the Mini. Production continued up until 2000, and more than 1.5 million of them were sold in Britain alone during those 40 years.
In 2000, BMW redesigned the car and rebranded it as the MINI (capitals letters, see). The original design is, however, still recognisable in the modern day MINI and the new look sells well all over the world.
These days, the old Mini enjoys a quieter existence, tootling about town, running little shopping errands and sitting on the driveway, enjoying quiet moments in the sun.
But once a year it comes out to catch up with its old buddies, meeting up in London before sauntering down to the seaside in Brighton for the day.
The event revs up in Crystal Palace Park at 8.30am before roaring (in a Mini kind of way) down the A23 to Brighton, parking up between the Palace Pier and Brighton Marina.
The number of official participants is limited to 2,100 (cars), though of course, these are public roads so many more Minis are guaranteed to take the same journey and join in the fun – although parking down at the seafront may not be possible for these unofficial drivers.
All official participating Minis will be on show at the seafront until around five o'clock. There'll be all kinds of Minis there - classics, pimped up rides, even the modern day MINI is welcome.
The sight of so many of them parked up by the beach is, it has to be said, a rather endearing spectacle. They may not make the Mini anymore, but their proud owners will ensure that this true British icon will never be forgotten.