Manual Mini Cooper dead as new model only to be sold as automatic

Manual Mini Cooper is dead as model of car made famous by The Italian Job will now only to be sold with automatic gearboxes

  • Manual Mini Coopers will no longer be made, boss Stephani Wurst confirmed
  • Car was made famous by heist Film The Italian job which starred Michael Caine

Manual Mini Coopers are officially dead as the car manufacturer has revealed they will only be selling models with automatic gearboxes in the future.

The small car gained fame as star of the 1960s heist classic The Italian Job alongside Michael Caine and his criminal gang trying to steal mountains of gold.

In the film the robbers were seen rapidly changing gears as they zipped through the streets of Turin, Italy.

But Mini boss Stefanie Wurst told Top Gear this week that they would no longer manufacture manual versions of the Mini Cooper.

Talking about the announcement of their new electric model, the boss of the car company, which is owned by BMW, said: ‘We won’t have a manual unfortunately.’

The Mini Cooper gained fame as star of the 1960s heist classic The Italian Job alongside Michael Caine and his criminal gang trying to steal mountains of gold

Classic Mini Coopers pictured alongside Cooper Car Company Founder Charles Cooper

The Cooper was released in 1961 and was developed by the Cooper Car Company, founded by Charles Cooper and son John.

The car was a key symbol of British popular culture, being featured in notable films including The Italian Job and spy-spoof Austin Powers.

After being produced with a gear stick for 62 years, the world’s last manual version of the Mini Cooper will come off the assembly line early next year.

Several car firms are switching to just producing automatic cars as more Britons buy electric vehicles and have less desire to drive a manual.

But auto expert Stuart Masson told The Telegraph that the end of the manual Mini Cooper will be a big loss for car fans – with the car often being called the ‘driver’s car’ because of how fun it is to drive.

The editorial director of The Car Expert website told the paper that ‘it was a brilliant car to drive because it was so small, nice and so agile’.

The car also won the Monte Carlo rally three times.

A 1966 Austin Mini Cooper S owned by Beatle guitarist George Harrison

The new all-electric Mini Cooper was announced by the brand at a trade show this week

However, more recently, the speedy pedigree of the Mini Cooper has been less of a unique selling point, as drivers are more taken in by the car’s design and brand.

Auto analyst at the University of bath Andrew Graves added that decisions over commercial costs seemed to have won out against the Mini Cooper’s branding of motorsport success, saying he was surprised by the move.

Mr Masson also said that this was another step along the road to the ‘extinction of the manual car’ as carmakers make supply chains more efficient.

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