The Mini Cooper was first developed and built by BMW. The car, known for its compact size and sporty appeal, was the inspiration of Sir Alec Issigonis, the British Motor Corporation's chief designer, and made its first appearance in 1959.
During the Gulf of Suez oil crisis in 1956, the BMC in the United Kingdom looked for a way to build a fuel-efficient car. First known just as the Mini, the Mini Cooper got its last name from race car driver John Cooper. Cooper redesigned the car in 1961 for racing. The car was not available in the United States from 1968 through 2002 due to safety and emissions regulations.