Simon Garfield writes a book on the Mini — and finds the car’s ‘soul’


Not many cars command the instant recognition of the Mini but, 50 years since it first appeared, the little motor is as popular as ever.

What has made the car so iconic? Writer Simon Garfield attempts to answer just this in his book, Mini: The True and Secret History of the Making of a Motor-car.

Published to coincide with the Mini’s 50th anniversary, it is a social history of the car, told through people’s lives. Mr Garfield, 49, was approached by the BMW Group, owners of the Mini, to write the book.

He tells People: “They said they didn’t want a ‘petrol-head’ to write it. The thinking was: talk to the engineers, managers and marketing people, and I might get quite close to the soul of the car.” He adds: “It was interesting to see how fanatical people are about their Mini. They treat it like a loved one,” says Mr Garfield, who drives a Saab estate. “I would love a Mini but I am quite tall, as are my two sons. It wouldn’t be very practical.”

This is his 12th book, having previously written the award-winning The End of Innocence. He divides his time between London and Cornwall.

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