Designed by British Motor Corporation’s Alec Issigonis, the 1959 Mini Minor, better known as simply ‘the Mini‘, is one of the most loved and recognizable cars ever built, just as much as the VW Beetle, or perhaps even more so. Brought from the drawing board to full production in only 2 years, the Mini was built on a sub-frame system that allowed for a great number of derivatives to be easily built, and was all about using every single cubic inch of space constructively. Thanks to its front wheel drive, and small, un-intruding wheels, the Mini is a relatively spacious car, considering its very minimal size.
Beyond its tiny size, the most incredible thing about the Mini was its handling; to say that is was a cut above the competition is a gross understatement. Its racing achievements are legion, not only in Britain but internationally.
The Mini was powered by four-cylinder engine, ranging in displacement from 848 to 1275cc, and from 33 to 76 horsepower. The figures are deceiving; the Mini is so small and light that even the least powerful of them was an absolute pleasure to drive, although the 848cc model was a bit slow on the acceleration! The fastest of them, the Mini Cooper S, could accelerate to 60 in 10 seconds and reach a top speed of 96 miles per hour.
The 1959 Mini Minor was but the first in a long line of successful Mini cars, many of which are still with us today. It’s always a joy whenever I see one on the road.