A Double Celebration By Mini Honored Its Innovative Cars And The Movie That Helped Make Them A Global Success
This is a big year for Mini as it celebrates 60 years since the very first models rolled off the production line. The Sir Alec Issigonis-designed city car was built in a variety of body styles right up until 2000 and its many innovative engineering solutions made a lasting impact on the motoring industry. The Italian Job did much the same in the film industry when it was released 10 years later, it remains an eminently exciting movie to watch to this day and its three central automotive protagonists are a big part of its enduring charm.
In a joint celebration which took place on the 19th June in Oxford, a charity screening of the Italian Job was shown in front of 300 guests including staff from the manufacturing plant, classic Mini owners and film fans. Notable guests included Oscar-winning producer Michael Deeley, actor John Morris, who played one of Charlie Croker’s mob, stunt driver and actor David Salamone, who drove the red Mini in the film, as well as crew members Terry Apsey and David Wynn-Jones. Welcomed by a message from Sir Michael Caine, the guests were treated to some skilful driving by stunt driver Paul Swift as he recreated some of the iconic stunts from the film around the Mini plant.
Not many vehicles survived the filming process but an authentic trio of replica Mark I Minis were on hand to represent the original ones that were destroyed after filming. The organizers also tracked down the original Jaguar E-type, Aston Martin DB4 Convertible and Lamborghini Miura that appeared in the film and which have not been displayed together since then. The Miura will be heading to the Pebble Beach Concours in California in August.
A new book titled ‘The Self Preservation Society: 50 Years of The Italian Job’ was also launched at the event and features an in-depth look in to the film by author Matthew Field who spent years researching every detail and assembling a unique collection of images from the original print and from behind-the-scenes on set. The money raised form the event will go to support the Alzheimer’s Society, which is the UK BMW Group’s house charity, and the Italian Job Charity which was started 30 years ago and focuses around an annual rally to Italy which in turn supports a variety of children’s charities across Europe.
Images courtesy of the BMW Group