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The Mini: A Century in the Making

The Mini – A Century in the Making

In March 2023, the Mini Plant in Oxford UK will celebrate 100 years of manufacturing this iconic car. Production continues to increase as does investment and expansion of the company.

Up to 900 Minis are manufactured every day by the 3700 associates that make up Plant Oxford, continuing to add to the total of 11.65 million cars that have been produced since the very beginning. 

The first car to be built at the factory was a Bullnose Morris Oxford, which was later followed by a wide range of other British brands including MG, Riley, Austin, Austin Healey, Mini, Triumph, and Rover, to name just a few.

Several famous cars have emerged from the Oxford Plant including the Bullnose, the Morris Minor, the Mini and of course, today's MINI.

William Morris was the founder of Plant Oxford 100 years ago and since then, there have been a further seven custodians. When Morris Motors merged with Austin in 1952, a former rival, William Morris remained as chairman for six months before finally retiring, by which time he was known as Lord Nuffield. He passed away in 1963.

There have been many mergers and name changes over the years with the British Leyland Motor Corporation remaining as the name until nationalization took place in 1974. Further name changes happened until 1986 when it became known as the Rover Group.

The privatizing of the company occurred in 1988 and by 1994, BMW was the new owner. Land Rover and Rover were still being produced and BMW had great plans for these, but by 2000 they had sold both. The Mini brand then became their priority once again.


Today, Plant Oxford is flourishing as they manufacture the MINI Hatchback, Convertible, Clubman, Clubvan, Roadster and Coupe. Investment continues to flood in with the installation of new robots and technology to produce the next generation of MINI.

From the early days of the Bullnose Morris Oxford, the production timeline has seen the likes of the Morris Minor, Morris Eight, the Morris Oxford III, the BMC Mini, the BMC 1100/1300, the all-new MINI from 2001 and then the second generation of MINI from 2006 all emerge from the Oxford Plant.

Plant Oxford is today central to BMW Group's UK production, which also includes the Hams Hall engine factory in Birmingham and the Swindon pressings plant.


The future and road ahead look very bright with the new generation of cars being produced to meet the growing demand for exports and the continuing rise in sales.

If you are looking to buy a classic Mini then take a look at our website for a great selection from dealers around the UK and overseas. 

If you are a dealer with vehicles for sale then contact us to find out about our latest marketing and advertising packages that will enable your stock to gain maximum exposure.

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Ralph Lauren: The Automotive Collection

Think of fashion and designer clothes and the name of Ralph Lauren is almost certain to crop up, but not everyone is aware of his interest in and indeed his collection of classic and supercars.

His car collection is now valued at more than 350 million USD and currently contains over 70 cars, some of them very rare models indeed, but how did his love of collecting cars all start?

His collection started back in the 70s when he bought a 1971 Mercedes 280SE. He began buying cars as he saw them as art and mainly because he really wanted to drive them. When he saw another eye-catching car he wanted to drive that one as well but was reluctant to sell what he already had, and so the collection began.

With over 70 cars in his collection, there are far too many to list here but we will take a random look at just a small selection of his vast collection.

Possibly one of his finest treasures is a 1964 Ferrari 250 GTO which he bought in the 1980s. Another model of this same car recently sold for in the region of 70 million USD, a record sales figure for any car worldwide.

Lauren also owns a Porsche 918 Spyder, but not just one, he has two! This hypercar can go from 0 to 60 mph in just 2.5 seconds and is capable of a top speed of over 217 mph.

LaFerrari in his collection was the first built by Ferrari that features the HY-KERS system and is a rare model due to its shiny black exterior.

One of the vintage vehicles in his collection is a Jaguar XK120 Alloy Roadster. With a top speed back in the day of 120 mph and only 120 made, this classic once held the honour of being the fastest production car on the market.

Two classics from the 1950s also sit proudly in the collection, these being a 1958 Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa Spyder and a 1955 Jaguar XKD. Only 34 of the Ferrari 250 were ever made, so are extremely rare and very expensive, while the Jaguar XKD was most notable for claiming 5 spots out of the top 6 during the 1957 Le Mans.

A Bugatti Type 57SC Atlantic Coupe has to be one of the rarest cars in the collection as only 4 were ever made and it is believed that only 3 still exist. Back in 2010, one of these sold at auction for 40 million USD!

A 1930 Mercedes-Benz SSK "Count Trossi" is another rare example in his collection, with less than 40 of these built after being commissioned by Count Trossi himself.

Unsurprisingly, the McLaren F1 sits in his collection but again, he does have two of them! Only 106 of these were built between 1992 and 1998, and back in 1998, it was the world's fastest production car.

A McLaren F1 LM also resides proudly in the collection, this being one of only 6 that were made in recognition of their success at the 1995 24-Hour Le Mans endurance race.

To conclude our brief look at what is a very impressive collection we finish with his Lamborghini Reventon. This ultra-rare vehicle design was inspired by fighter jets, with only 20 made plus an additional model that is kept in the Lamborghini museum.

It is only fitting that we end this review with a car that Lauren himself compared to incredible sleek sculpture or explosive modern architecture, befitting of a man renowned the world over for his designs and fashion statements.


The classic and supercar have become very popular investment options over the last 20 years, particularly as inflation has affected cash investment in many other areas, so alternative investment opportunities in areas such as classic cars, art and wine have seen major growth.

But why invest in a classic or supercar, surely this is a physical asset and something that depreciates in value every year and is difficult to maintain? The evidence, however, would suggest otherwise.

Taking the Ferrari 250 GTO as a prime example, in 2002, a model that had been owned by Sir Stirling Moss sold for $8.5 million, then just 10 years later it was sold for $35 million. In more recent years, other models of this classic have been sold for prices ranging from $38 million to a rumoured $60 million!

The classic car market tends to run in cycles of 5-6 years, just like any other capital market. The last peak was in 2015, and after a relatively quiet couple of years, the market is on the up once again, so expect some high yields over the next 2-3 years.

Over a 5-year period, classic and collectable cars have seen investment returns in excess of 125%, and over a 10-year span this figure rises to an incredible 400% in investment returns (as quoted by the KFLII). Classic and supercars are clearly well ahead of their investment rivals such as wine, art and jewellery. Over a similar decade, wine had investment returns of 200% (still very good), art 150%, and gold at 100%.

Over the past 5-10 years, classic cars have consistently topped the list of performing luxury assets, leaving the alternative options in their wake. Ferrari, Mercedes-Benz, Porsche, Jaguar, and Aston Martin continue to be the best-selling models at auction in the key collectors’ marques.

But just what vehicles are performing well right now in the investment market? Classics from the 80s and 90s are doing very well, particularly those with a low production number. In recent years, vehicles such as the Porsche 944 and the BMW 3 Series E46 – both produced in the 80s and 90s – have seen significant increases in their sales values.

Having the right insurance, storage, and maintaining the mechanical parts are all needed for the value of the vehicle to appreciate, so this needs to be taken into account when investing in a classic car.

What should you look for when trying to identify a classic of the future? A very difficult question but you should certainly be looking for styling, desirability and rarity – together with any significant tech features.

Before investing, we strongly recommend that you get some independent advice about a particular model, its price, investment potential, and do your research on the model in question. Ideally, whether buying or selling, please contact us here at Classic Motors For Sale for expert investment guidance.

You don't have to spend hundreds of thousands now to obtain a potential classic of the future either. Vehicles such as the Toyota MR2, BMW M5, Honda S2000, and the Jaguar XJ are all potential great investments if available for the right price and in good condition.

Above all, enjoy your classic car not just as an appreciating asset but out on the road too.

Nick Aylieff: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Owner & CEO, Classic Motors For Sale

+44(0) 2392 160 809 | +66(0) 864 054 536

Pony Cars and their endless popularity!

The Pony is an American car classification that came about in the mid-1960s, after the launch of the Ford Mustang in 1964.
Pony cars are usually affordable, compact and highly styled coupes or convertibles that have a sports or performance-based image. Rear wheel drive, long hoods, wide ranges of individual customization and the use of mass-produced parts from other models are all classic features that can be found on the pony car.

At the present time, the Mustang, Chevrolet Camaro and Dodge Challenger are the main produced pony cars, but how did it all start?

The Plymouth Barracuda was actually the first pony car – released two weeks before the Ford Mustang – but due to a limited budget the design, and ultimately its popularity, was compromised. On 17 April 1964, the Ford Motor Company released the Mustang, which was to be an affordable yet sporty-looking two-door coupe and convertible (available in 1964 for just under 2,500 USD) and the popularity was spectacular.

Orders for 22,000 vehicles were seen on the very first day alone, with over 600,000 models sold within a year, resulting in the Mustang breaking all post-world war 2 sales records and thus beginning the craze of the pony car, which was soon to be copied by competitors too.

In the next few years, a number of models entered the pony market, such as the Chevrolet Camaro, Pontiac Firebird, AMC Javelin and the Dodge Challenger. The Mustang itself was redesigned in 1967 and evolved into the Mercury Cougar.

All four domestic US car manufacturers were producing pony cars, with factory supported racing also adding further competition that even resulted in “The Pony Car Wars” during the Trans-Am Series from 1966 to 1972.

Brand loyalty was the main focus, particularly with the younger buyers, but when the early 70s arrived, this coincided with a decline in sales for the pony cars. Redesigns were getting larger, heavier, and more expensive, so buyers started looking elsewhere in the market. By the mid-70s, a number of pony cars were no longer in production.

The late 70s and early 80s did see a revival though, mainly due to the appearance of pony cars in movies and TV shows, with the Ford Mustang being redesigned as a third generation vehicle in 1979.

By 2005 however, the Ford Mustang (fifth generation) was the only pony car still in production but it still proved to be a popular car amongst enthusiasts of this genre, so much so that a third generation Dodge Challenger came out in 2008, closely followed in 2010 by a fifth generation Chevrolet Camaro.

By 2016 both the Mustang and Chevrolet had been updated again, with the Mustang becoming the first globally developed pony car. In 2017, the Dodge Challenger became the first all-wheel drive pony car.

So what could be next for this still popular trend? The current cost of a Ford Mustang is in the region of 50,000 – 75,000 USD – depending on actual model and type of transmission. Currently, new 2020 models have been released and popular buys are the Ford Mustang Shelby GT500, the Chevrolet Camaro ZL 1, the Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye, and the Dodge Charger.

The pony is still alive and kicking, so if you are a US dealer and have pony cars for sale (or indeed any other classic or supercar) then why not reach a greater market through advertising on our website? Please contact us using the details below so we can discuss the best options available for you.

Nick: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Rowan Atkinson: Celebrity Car Junkie!

When the name Rowan Atkinson comes up most people usually think of the character "Mr Bean" and his citron-green British Leyland Mini 1000 Mark 4. In reality, the automobile world of the actor and Oxford University graduate who played Mr Bean, and several other notable characters, is somewhat different indeed!

Over the years, Rowan Atkinson has become a very serious classic and supercar enthusiast, driving most of the cars he owns (or has owned) and also participating in club track days and major events such as the Goodwood Revival.

In this article, we take a brief look at just a few of the cars he has owned and some of the history behind them.

Probably his most famous acquisition was the McLaren F1 that he bought in 1997. Despite crashing this car on two occasions, with the latter smash resulting in Britain's largest-ever insurance payout for car repairs at just over 900,000 GBP, he was still able to sell it for 8 Million GBP in 2015.

Another vehicle he owned and later sold, again after crashing it and spending a fortune on repairs, was a very rare Italian-styled V8 Zagato Aston Martin. However, this classic was sold at a loss at auction after all of the repair work!

One car that he has bought and sold on more than one occasion is the Mercedes 500 E. He bought his first in 1993 but sold it a year later, then in 2017 he purchased another only to sell that one too in 2018.

He was also the proud owner of a 1964 Ford Falcon Sprint but crashed this one during the 2014 Shelby Cup race at the Goodwood Revival.

One of his more recent buys was a limited edition 2014 Bentley Mulsanne Birkin, a car named after a famous straight on the Le Mans circuit.

Other classics that are, or have been, in his collection include a 2011 Rolls-Royce Phantom Drophead (with a special nine-litre V16 engine installed), a 1989 Lancia Delta HF Integrale, a 1989 Lancia Thema 8.32, and a 2002 Honda NSX.

One of the oldest cars in the collection is quite possibly his 1939 BMW 328, a very significant car from that era and winner of the Mille Miglia road race, which he has had meticulously restored to perfection.

The oldest car in his collection, in terms of personal ownership, must certainly be his 1977 Aston Martin V8 Vantage which he bought in 1984 and has kept ever since (and even used it in one of his Johnny English movies too!).

Quite surprisingly he has never owned a Porsche and has no desire to. Even though he likes these cars, he feels that he is not quite the "right kind of person" to own one.

So as you can see, Rowan Atkinson is indeed a classic and supercar enthusiast with very diverse taste, and a person that truly likes to drive the cars he owns rather than just store and display them. He will no doubt buy and sell many more in the coming years so his collection will constantly be in a state of coming and going, never remaining static – just like his character Mr Bean all those years ago.