The original Mini was as far from today’s ultra-cute, luxury’d up entry-level BMW as it possibly could have been. Alec Issigonis designed it to be a cheap, utilitarian, fuel-efficient family car with a lot of interior space. So how did it end up doing so well at racing?

This leads into our question of the day: What car ended up doing great at a role it was never intended for?

Issigonis and BMC were happy to keep the Mini in its original role indefinitely, until his pal and racing mogul John Cooper convinced him to make a sportier version suited for competition. Amazingly, the Mini Cooper’s unique attributes meant it excelled at touring car racing and rally, winning the Monte Carlo Rally in 1964, 1965 and 1967—and depending on who you ask, they should have won in ‘66, too.

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Not a bad showing for a humble city car. What other cars did amazing at things they weren’t designed or built for?

Photo credit Getty Images


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