David Bowie and the Mini

Way before the fame – the glam rock image, flamboyance, Space Oddity and Ziggy Stardust – David Bowie was a creative teenager with a plastic saxophone and a love for the Mini.  Having grown up with a penchant for music, his enthusiasm for players such as Charles Mingus and John Coltrane paved an early road for his transition to fame at an early age.  At 15 years old, Bowie formed his first band, the Konrads, playing mostly at family gatherings and weddings.

David Bowie on the BMC Mark-I MINI assembly line, some time in the mid-1960s. Photo credit MOTORGRAPHS and classic1275cc.tumblr.com

David Bowie on the BMC Mark-I MINI assembly line, sometime in the mid-1960s. Photo credit MOTORGRAPHS and classic1275cc.tumblr.com

During this time, though specifics are unclear, Bowie was seen as an assembly line worker at the British Motor Corporation (BMC)’s plant, building Mark-I (1959-1967) Minis.  Characterized by sliding windows, external door hinges and a “moustache” grille, the Mark-I kicked off an automotive revolution proving that, indeed, less can be more.

Conceptualized and created in 1999 for the brand’s 40th Birthday, the David Bowie Art Mini remains an eccentric reflection of both the musician and brand’s tie-in with modern music culture. Photo credit: autocar.co.uk

Conceptualized and created in 1999 for the brand’s 40th Birthday, the David Bowie Art Mini remains an eccentric reflection of both the musician and brand’s tie-in with modern music culture. Photo credit: autocar.co.uk

Though details of David Bowie’s love for all things Mini are scarce, his employment at the BMC factory, along with his chrome-plated contribution to the brand’s 40th birthday gala in 1999, assure us that he at the very least had a passion for the cars.  David, you will be missed,  and your impact on music and culture will be everlasting.

Note: Credit for this information goes to our good friend Gordon King and also the Vancouver Mini Cooper Club via Facebook.

Staff

3 Comments on David Bowie and the Mini

  1. He looks quite old for a 12 year old kid. Not sure even Cowley employed child labour on the line in 1959 when this was taken.

  2. This picture isn’t David Bowie. It is a press photograph taken in 1959 and part of the British Motor Heritage archive. David Bowie was 12 in 1959.

  3. Don’t believe all you see. This is not David Bowie!

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