Wednesday, March 18, 2009

BMC Mini

Today's post is about an English icon the Mini which has been produced in England and other countries around the world since 1959. British Motor Corporation (BMC) and its successors produced the original Mini from 1959 to 2000. Shown above is 1959 British Motor Corporation Mini.

The Mini was created due to the fuel shortage caused by the 1956 Suez Canal Crisis. Petrol (gasoline) actually was rationed in the U.K., sales of large cars plummeted. During that period of time the German Bubble Cars soared, the President of BMC Leonard Lord said "God damn these bloody awful Bubble Cars. We must drive them off the road by designing a proper miniature car." The rest is English automotive history. Shown below is a BMW Bubble Car, note that it is a three wheel vehicle.

The Mini is considered the British equivalent of the Volkswagen Beetle. In 1999, the Mini was voted the second most influential car of the 20th century behind the Ford Model T.

One of the interesting features of the original Mini was mounting the engine transversely with front wheel drive. This feature has become the standard powertrain configuration for small front wheel drive cars today. The suspension system used compact rubber cones instead of conventional springs. The rubber cone system gives the Mini a hard and bumpy ride. But the wheels pushed out to the corners gave the Mini go-kart like handling that has became famous.

Minis were marked under the under the Austin and Morris names until Mini became a brand in 1969, see Austin 7 post dated March 11th. Minis were produced in a number of configurations. A prime example of a 1964 Austin Mini is shown below.

Most Americans are familiar with the new Mini which has been produced since 2001. The Mini brand is owned by the BMW Automotive Group. I will do a post on the new Mini in the future. Enclosed below are pictures of a 2006 and 2007 Minis.


  1. Hi Pete .. I learnt to drive on a mini .. in 1963, aged 15, in the drive at home .. we had a decent length of drive (not a mansion!) .. so had 1.5 years of practice before I hit the road. I went backwards & forwards hundreds of times .. & up and down the length, up and down through the gears .. 3 point turns in microscopic distances!! & lots of reversing ..

    I had another experience, which allowed me to be fully experienced at emergency stops, but I'll leave that for another post when I can back link ...

    So I think your red 1964 .. is probably 'ours' & the one I learnt on!! .. nostalgic days ..

    Thanks - I'll show it to Mum .. and perhaps she'll have some other ideas .. Hilary: Be Positive Be Happy

    PS - did you mean to put Bubble Cars .. or did you mean Beetle? - in the quote ..... The Bubble car is also German - and we did have them in England & had some friends who had one ..with only a single back wheel ...

  2. Hilary,

    Thanks for your suggestion on the Mini! It is always fun to go back and revisit the cars of our past.

    The classic Mini was such an important automobile in automotive history. I checked into it and your correct! The Bubble Cars were not Beetles, so I have changed the post to correct.

    Hope your mom enjoys the post!

    Best Regards


  3. Hi Pete
    The mini looks cute, but I think I need more space for my stuff. My friend tells me that they are bigger than it look, I have BMW Z3 and I think that is already too small.
    Thank you,
    Giovanna Garcia
    Imperfect Action is better than No Action

  4. Hello Giovanna,

    Thank you for commenting on my blog! The Mini is a cute car also it small. Your Z3 is also a fun car but I would recommend going to a BMW 3-series since you have a family. That way you still can enjoy your BMW and have fun driving.

    When my kids were born we went from sports cars to suvs!

    Best Regards