Thursday, August 28, 2014
August 26: The first Mini was unveiled on this date in 1959
What makes one small car an icon and another a dud? Those were the questions the small team of designers at British Motor Corp. needed to solve in 1959.
Ordered by management to design a workable microcar like the VW Beetle in response to fuel shortages, BMC engineer Alec Issigonis made saving space a priority — for example, turning the engine sideways and powering the front wheels for a larger passenger compartment.
On this day, BMC revealed what it called the Austin Seven and Morris Mini-Minor. Within a few years, success renamed the cars the Mini, and decades of popularity along with rallying victories made it a piece of automotive history.
Here's a look at the Mini production line, featuring Britain's finest assembly techniques of the 1960s:
Photo: Peter Saunders Photography via Motoramic/Flickr