Who'd have thought that such a mini little car would take off the way it has? It looks like something a child would drive, has about as much spare room as you need to fit your handbag in and has the appearance of a car that needs dragging backwards just to get some welly behind it.
However, the humble Mini has taken off beyond Cooper's wildest dreams and has become a veritable icon in the motoring world. I personally aspired to a mini in bright pink metal flake when I was a teenager but thankfully common sense kicked in before I could afford my own car.
Nowadays, the Mini has a worldwide fan club all its own. Organisations abound for Mini owners to get together and compare storage capacity, or whatever it is they do. There's even a stretch Mini available for occasions. Would they be the occasions when you want to get a normal weeks shopping in the back, or take both the kids out at once, just for a treat?
I suppose the one thing that Mini has that appeals to people is its uniqueness. Yes, there are other small cars on the market but they look silly when compared to the classic cuteness of the Mini. With its individual paint jobs and squat baby looks, how can a comparison be made?
Some of the world's bigger celebrities have been proud Mini owners. The Beatles all owned a Mini each, Steve McQueen and Clint Eastwood also managed to get their lanky frames behind the wheel of one of these cars and have been joined by Paul Newman, Charlotte Church and Sharon Osborne. Not physically of course because that would just be silly and downright impossible, but as Mini owners.
Even the advertising of the Mini has been completely different to what we are used to for your average product. A series of small, movie like clips have been televised and a whole series of action packed mini films have been played over the web in their advertising campaign.
So, what makes it as great as the Americans seem to think it is, because it seems the Mini has truly found a home in the US. Well, as small as it is, the placing of the wheels in the far corners gives it the appearance of the Great British bulldog. Sturdy, strong and powerful. The superb handling, surprising power and excellent running costs make this a car to be reckoned with, along with the numerous ways you can customise it to your own specifications. There are, in fact, over 10,000,000 possible combinations of accessories so the chances of you meeting up with someone who has picked the same are pretty slim.
Although the makers of Mini like to largely stay with the original design, some subtle changes have been made over the years. It is now slightly larger than it used to be and also comes in a convertible design. It is also more powerful than it was originally with the Mini Cooper S reaching 172 horsepower. Other options include being able to choose heated seats, cruise control, air conditioning, sports suspension and top of the range stereo system.
Mini cars are a bit like Marmite - you either love them or hate them. There is no middle of the road for these cars. But however you feel about them they are here to stay and take the lead in the way all small cars should look.
Car expert Catherine Harvey looks at the reasons why the Mini is so popular.