Added: 23 November 2016
The Mini that we all know and love today is seen as a symbol of British culture all over the world, but did you know that the brand is in fact 57 years old. Designed by Sir Alec Issigonis and produced by an English based automotive company called British Motor Corporation, the first ever Mini was officially announced to the press on 18th August 1959 in Cobham, Surrey, with the launch date itself happening the following week on 26th August 1959.
This announcement came three years after initial production of the original “Mark I Mini” and soon became an icon of the 1960s. Issigonis wanted to produce an affordable, small and fuel efficient vehicle as a response to the oil crisis that was taking place over in the Middle East at the time.
The Mark I Mini was an instant hit with the critics in the automotive industry and was soon under production not only here in England but in many other countries around the world such as Australia and in later years Spain, Belgium, Chile, Italy, Portugal, South Africa, Uruguay, Venezuela and Yugoslavia.
Mark I Mini Specification Points:
- 2 doors
- The first front-wheel drive car
- Top speed of 72mph
- Weight = 625kg
- Sliding windows in the doors
- External door and boot hinges
Many of the specification points of the original Mini back in 1959 were actually designed to Alec Issigonis’ personal driving style. Issigonis didn’t wear a seatbelt whilst driving (as this didn’t become law until 1983) and he wasn’t interest in listening to the radio whilst in the car. As a result, neither components were included in the original Mini. However, Alex Issigonis was a smoker so he made sure there was an ashtray included in his original design. Some even say that he sized the pockets in the doors to perfectly fit a bottle of his favourite gin!
Where did the “MINI” name come from? Many assume that it is just simply a shortened version of the words ‘minimum or miniature’. British Motor Manufacturer, Lord Nuffield was so impressed with the Mark I Mini that he stated, “I have a hunch that ‘Mini’ may well prove to be the catchword of the next decade”. And that hunch he had proved to be correct with over 5 million units of the original design were built in the period between 1959-2000.
Here at Canterbury Motoring World we love the MINI brand! So much so, that our Prestige site based on Broad Oak Road specialises in them, with other 50 different MINIs in stock at all times. From Countryman’s to Roadsters, Canterbury Motoring World stock all different models of MINIs that you certainly won’t be disappointed with the level of choice.
Author: Rebecca McGinty