Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Classic Euro Economy Cars: Austin Mini

The Mini is a small car that was produced by the British Motor Corporation (BMC) and its successors from 1959 until 2000. The most popular British-made car ever, it was superseded by the New MINI, which was launched in April 2001. The original is considered an icon of the 1960s, and its space-saving front-wheel-drive layout (that allowed 80% of the area of the car's floor span to be used for passengers and luggage) influenced a generation of car-makers. The vehicle is in some ways considered the British equivalent to its German contemporary, the Volkswagen Beetle, which enjoyed similar popularity in North America.

This distinctive two-door car was designed for BMC by Sir Alec Issigonis. It was manufactured at the Longbridge and Cowley plants in the United Kingdom, the Victoria Park / Zetland British Motor Corporation (Australia) factory in Sydney, Australia, and later also in Spain (Authi), Belgium, Chile, Italy, Portugal, South Africa, Uruguay, Venezuela and Yugoslavia. The Mini Mark I had three major UK updates: the Mark II, the Clubman and the Mark III. Within these was a series of variations including an estate car, a pick-up truck, a van, and the Mini Moke— a jeep-like buggy. The Mini Cooper and Cooper "S" were sportier versions that were successful as rally cars, winning the Monte Carlo Rally three times. Minis were marketed under the Austin and Morris names until Mini became a marquee in its own right in 1969.

Designed as project ADO15 (Austin Drawing Office project number 15), the Mini came about because of a fuel shortage. In 1956, as a result of the Suez Crisis which reduced oil supplies, the United Kingdom saw the re-introduction of petrol (gasoline) rationing. Sales of large cars slumped, and there was a boom in the market for so called Bubble cars, which were mainly German in origin.

The production version of the Mini was demonstrated to the press in April 1959, and by August several thousand cars had been produced ready for the first sales. The name Mini was first used domestically by BMC for Austin's version in 1961, when the Austin Seven was remaketed as the Austin Mini, somewhat to the surprise of the Sharps Commercials car company (later known as Bond Cars Ltd) who had been using the name Minicar for their three-wheeled vehicles since 1949. Slow at the outset, Mark I sales strengthened across most of the model lines in the 1960s, and production totaled 1,190,000.

The Austin Mini Cooper and Morris Mini Cooper debuted in 1961. The original 848 cc engine from the Morris Mini-Minor was increased to 997 cc, boosting power from 34 bhp to 55 bhp (25 to 41 kW). The car featured a racing-tuned engine, twin SU carburetors, a closer-ratio gearbox and front disc brakes, uncommon at the time in a small car. One thousand units of this version were commissioned by management, intended for and designed to meet the homologation rules of Group 2 rally racing. The 997 cc engine was replaced by a shorter stroke 998 cc unit in 1964. The Mini would become the only car in history to be placed in the top three on the Monte Carlo Rally for six consecutive years. Find out more at: http://www.austinmemories.com/

Research info gathered at: www.wikipedia.org

Now, here’s one of my poems that speaks Olde English:


Ignoring The Super-Crazy-Ultra-Wide

OK. OK.

If I had my rathers I'd prefer a steamy attic
with a razor's edge view. The wooden beams
would have nothing left to say & the winter
isolation would be pilfered in the prettier way.
There would be no mirrors & the stylize fuzz
might be mistaken for dust bunnies. O yeah,
& the old trunk in the corner would become
extremely talkative after a few drinks but most
of all would be well-known for its slick handling
of a deck of cards.


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javieth said...

The mini cars are very comfortable for me specially when i need to park in a small place, they can go fast when there are traffic jump that is why I love the mini cars, they are really beautiful Actually i think to approach costa rica investment opportunities and a mini car there would help me a lot.

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this car look like the car that appeared in Austin Powers jajajaja, what is the next? Dr Evil and Mini Me band? I just kidding, but seriously how many people can enter to this car?

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