Like many car manufacturers in the 90s, Rover found that the best way to go forward was, counter-intuitively, to look back. Retro was all the rage, and for Rover, what better platform to go on than the Mini? Thus was (re)born the 1991 Rover Mini Cooper. Getting the Mini ready for the 90s was deceptively simple. The Mini was still in production, after all, and had changed very little since its beginnings in 1959. Rover slapped on some nice, modern graphic elements on the car, updated the look with stunning alloy wheels and increased power – not too much, but enough- and voila, the Mini Cooper is reborn, and still fabulous!
What was really needed for the 90s, and to distinguish this Mini Cooper from others, was a little power tweak, which was easily done. It pushed power to 61 horsepower from 50, using the same 1.3-liter, pushrod four-cylinder. A single-point injection was added later in 1991 to comply with catalytic converter and clean air regulations, with no loss in power. The extra 11 horsepower on such a tiny car made a huge difference, and combined with the kart-like ride, made for a really, really exciting drive.
The 1991 Rover Mini Cooper heralded the takeover by BMW of the Rover Group in the next few years, which led to an entirely new Mini brand to be developed, and sold around the world through BMW dealerships, with great success.