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The Legendary Mini Cooper

         If you know about cars, the "Mini" is a legend; and in that legend there is one very special type of Mini that is an even bigger legend; the Mini Cooper.
Original Mini ooper
An original Mini Cooper
    The original "Mini", which first came out in 1959, remained in production for over 40 years - an incredible success story in the rather unsuccessful modern British car industry. And for most of that time, the most exciting Mini of them all was the Cooper.
    During the 1960's in particular, the Mini Cooper was the car of the stars. Mini Coopers won the Monte Carlo Rally four times in a row, from 1964 to 1967 (though the 1966 result was contested); they also won races and other rallies throughout the world. Everyone, film stars, pop stars, sports stars, wanted to have a Mini - preferably a Mini Cooper. 
    The production of Mini Coopers ceased in the 1970's, but people kept wanting them; so the Cooper Car Company - who designed and made Cooper engines for the Mini - sold conversion kits, to change ordinary Minis into Mini Coopers.
    In the 1990's - after 17 years - Rover (who then owned the Mini marque) brought back the Mini Cooper , and new Mini Coopers again rolled off the production line. As before, they were all quickly snapped up by keen buyers - proving that the legend was still very much alive!
    Nevertheless, when production of the old Mini came to a stop, that meant the end of the line for the original Mini Cooper; but not for long!
Legendary Mini Cooper    BMW, who had taken over Rover, had already decided to bring out a new Mini, and with it a new Mini Cooper... designed in Germany!
    The new Mini Cooper was thus launched on 1st December 2001, and within a few days all the original batch of cars had been sold! All over the world, racing teams were desperate to get hold of one of the new cars, and to be the first to revive a great legend on the race track or in rallies. And the new Mini Cooper has played a big role in some recent films, such as the remake of the "Italian Job".     The new ordinary Mini has certainly achieved the same commercial and popular success as its ancestor; there are waiting lists for the new cars in many countries, including the USA! The legend of the Mini is now over fifty years old; and it is still going strong !

Why Cooper?

    The Cooper Works is one of several small British companies, which have a high reputation in the world of motor engineering.
    Other similar companies include MacLaren and Williams (for Formula 1 cars), or Morgan and Lotus for sports cars.
    The Cooper Car Company was started by Charles Cooper and his son John, just after the Second World War. Coopers specialised in building high performance cars for racing and motor sport - from Formula 1 to rally cars. They were in fact the biggest of the post-war "privateers", small companies who designed and built racing cars for private individuals. One of their customers was Stirling Moss, the great F1 champion.
    Today both John and Charles Cooper are dead; but Michael Cooper, John's son, is still in the company, helping to keep up its long reputation.

Word guide
achieve: obtain - batch: group - cease: stop - customer: client - event: special occasion - for long: for a long time - get hold of - obtain - in a row: in succession, one after the other - keen: avid, very determined - kit: equipment - launch: bring out -  marque: name, brand - preferably: and they preferred to have - remain: continue - snap up: buy very quickly -

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Student Worksheet

The Legendary Mini Cooper

Four interactive exercises - to be done on screen or on paper:

To save your answers, take a screenshot when you have finished.

1. Irregular verbs:  

Find the preterite form of the following verbs in the text:


2. Phrasal verbs:  

Pay attention to the verbs below, which are used in the article. ....Do you know, or can you guess, the meanings of each of these?

Came out  
Bring back  
Snap up  
Take over  
Bring out  
Get hold of  
Find out  
Keep up.  

3. Definite articles:

In the following extract from the article, replace the definite articles where they are needed.... but do not replace them where they are not possible!! If no article is needed, write 0
   Remember, you NEED a definite article with a singular count noun (countable item), you do NOT NEED one with generalisations. You also need an article in cases of normal apposition.
  To save your answers, take a screenshot when you have finished.

 Cooper Works is one of several small British companies, which have a high reputation in  world of  motor engineering.

Other similar companies include MacLaren and Williams (for Formula 1 cars), or Morgan and Lotus for  sports cars.

 Cooper Car Company was started by Charles Cooper and his son John, just after  Second World War. Coopers specialised in building  high performance cars for  racing and motor sport - from Formula 1 to  rally cars. They were in fact  biggest of  post-war "privateers", small companies who designed and built  racing cars for  private individuals. One of their customers was Stirling Moss,  great F1 champion.

Today both John and Charles Cooper are dead; but Michael Cooper,  John's son, is still in  company, helping to keep up its long reputation.

4. Comprehension questions:

Here are some answers: Make up appropriate questions to which they could correspond.

a)   When 

Answer in 1959

b)   How 

Answer : For over 40 years

c)   Which

Answer : The Monte Carlo

d)  Why  

Answer : Because production of the Mini Cooper ceased.

e)    Why 

Answer : Because production of all Minis was stopped.

f)      When 

Answer : On 1st December.

g)  Who were
Answer : Charles and John Cooper.

Ideas for teachers

For a short general guide to using reading texts in class, see ► Reading texts - a model lesson plan

Simple technical English.
There should be plenty in this text, and the accompanying worksheet, to keep students busy.
One point not exploited in the worksheet is the use of compound nouns in technical English.
  The English language is very flexible when it comes to making compound nouns. And it's easy too. Just stick two nouns together, and you have a compound. No need for endings, no need for prepositions. All that is needed is to make sure that the nouns are in the right order! The main noun last.
   Look for compounds in this article, and have students try and explain what they mean.
   Here are a couple of examples:
the British car industry : the people and companies who manufacture / make cars.
the Monte Carlo rally : a rally that finishes at Monte Carlo.
film stars : actors who are very famous
and so on....

Click here for a guide to using definite articles in English


Other ideas?
EFL teachers: Help develop this resource by contributing extra teaching materials or exercises.
To contribute click here for further details

This teaching resource is © copyright Linguapress - renewed 2020
Originally published in Freeway, the intermediate level English newsmagazine.
Republication on other websites or in print is not authorised

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Intermediate level EFL resource
Level -  Intermediate.
IELTS Level :  4 - 5
Flesch-Kincaid  scores
Reading ease level:
60 - Plain English
Grade level: 10

Reading resources in graded English
from Linguapress
Selected pages
Intermediate resources (B1 - B2) :
The legendary Mini Cooper
Is Britain really different ?
Life in the Scottish Highlands
Who is James Bond ?
USA: Alcohol, prohibition and Al Capone
USA: Who was Buffalo Bill?
USA: Close encounters with a Twister  
More: More intermediate reading texts  
Advanced level reading  (B2+ -  C1) :
Charles Babbage, the father of the computer
Who killed Martin Luther King?
The story of the jet plane
Tolkien - the man who gave us the Hobbit
More: More advanced reading texts  
Selected grammar pages
Verbs in English
Noun groups in English
Word order in English
Reported questions in English
Language and style 
Word stress in English
The short story of English

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