this year is the 50th anniversary of…

a revolution. no, i’m not referring to that revolution. although it’s been 50 years since it as well.

the revolution i’m referring to is the Mini.


launched in August of 1959 as the Austin Seven and Morris Mini-Minor, project ADO15 was the first modern economy car. it was the first water-cooled, transverse-engine, front-wheel drive production car and it had unibody construction with a powertrain subframe assembly – both design elements that happen to dominate the modern automotive industry.

while a Mini is certainly somewhat spartan by today’s standards (power windows? climate control?), it’s still amazing how forward thinking Alec Issigonis and his team were. the Mk I Golf and Honda Civic of the 1970s are obvious direct descendants of the little wonder, as are the newest Toyota Prius and Ford Focus – even down to their two-box body designs.


fantastic, indeed.

quote of the day:

“If you build bloody good cars, they’ll sell themselves.” – Leonard Percy Lord, 1st Baron Lambury, KBE


3 Responses to “this year is the 50th anniversary of…”

  1. Perakath Says:

    How were engines cooled before that? Not air-cooled, surely?

  2. jhota Says:

    the Mini wasn’t the first water-cooled car. but the first front-wheel-drive car with water cooling and a transverse engine.

    the key with the Mini (as with most major advances, really) is that it combined a lot of things that had been around previously into a cohesive whole.

  3. much has been made… « i’m not drunk enough for this. Says:

    […] for those who don’t know, Mary Quant (OBE FCSD) is one of the three designers who has best claim to creating the miniskirt (the other two being John Bates and André Courrèges). in a somewhat interesting twist, Ms. Quant claimed to have named the fabric-saving dress after the Mini (her favourite car), which also has an important anniversary this year. […]

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