Conceived as an alternative to the “bubble cars” popular at the time of the 1956 Suez Crisis, the Mini revolutionized small-
THE MINI’S appeal did not rest just on its small size and trim, functional lines. Above all it had astonishing packaging; its body was 10 feet (3 meters) long and accommodated four people and their luggage as well as an orthodox four-
Austin Mini Mk1, 1959–67
Model Austin Mini MkI, 1959–67
Assembly Mainly Longbridge, UK
Construction Steel monocoque (separate subframes)
Engine 848 cc, ohv straight-
Power 34 bhp at 5,500 rpm
Suspension Rubber cone or hydrolastic
Brakes Drums front and rear
Maximum speed 72.4 mph (117 km/h)
Form follows function
The Mini’s austere appearance was marked by a distinct lack of embellishment. Its creator, Sir Alec Issigonis, affected a disdain for styling, but he had a fine eye for line.
The Mini in its original form was largely his work, refined by his body draftsman, with limited involvement from BMC’s styling chief.
Ironically, its simple functionality was what would ultimately establish the Mini as a fashion icon.
A touch of tradition
The Austin logo, shared by BMC’s other Longbridge models, features a script evolved from that used since the 1920s-