IT'S 50 years since the first ever Mini rolled off the production line at Cowley.
Now thousands of Mini fans from across the globe are preparing to celebrate the iconic little car's 50th anniversary at MINI United—a special automotive music festival staged at Silverstone between May 22 and 24.
The festival welcomes non-owners to see a host of acts including Paul Weller, Calvin Harris and Twisted Wheel while those who make the trip in their prized Mini will be treated to laps of the former Grand Prix circuit.
This year's 50 year celebration's got under way last week when the very first Mini made its return to Cowley, now called Plant Oxford, 50 years to the day since it was last there.
Last Friday (8) the Mini Minor, finished in Old English White and carrying the registration number 621 AOK, returned for the day to mark its birthday in style.
Plant Oxford built 602,817 Minis from 1959 to 1968, before production was moved to Longbridge.
Since 2001 more than 1.4 million new MINIs have been built at the production facility and in total, more than six million classic and new MINIs have been sold since the car first went on sale in 1959.
Dr Jürgen Hedrich, Plant Oxford's managing director, said: "Little did anyone know just how popular Sir Alec Issigonis's car for the people would be or that half a century later it would be reborn as the MINI and once again be built in Oxford.
"This is a momentous day in the plant and car's history. Everyone at the plant is proud to be part of both the heritage and the future of this car."
qTickets for the MINI United evnet are priced at £35 for the full festival weekend with children under 14 admitted free. For more information visit www.miniunited.com