Midweek Icon - Classic Mini
Best car in the world. Fact. Not in any way influenced by the fact that I own one.
Now, you may think 'Oh it's just a mini, they all look the same', Well, Heeeeellllll no.
Bit of history? Yeah?
Come 1959 and a BMC employee by the name of Alec Issigonis designed the first ever Mini. The Suez crisis (google it, no idea how to explain it) caused petrol to be rationed in the UK. This obviously slashed large engine car sales and small car sales shot up. The head of BMC, however, hated the fact that the german vehicles were becoming top of the league. He then therefore gave Alec the task of designing a "Proper miniature car".
The design of the Mini, for its day and age, was profound. Using the existing A series engines (not enough money to develop a new one..) the engineering was changed to allow the engine to sit across the front of the car (or transverse), with the gearbox in the sump. This then allowed for the interior compartment to be made bigger, without the actual body being so. This layout has been used ever since, except with the main difference of the gearbox being mounted as a seperate unit. So if you're wondering how your limited edition Corsa came about, here ya go!
The Mini has become one of the most iconic cars of its time. Selling millions worldwide and running from '59 all the way up to 2000, with companies like Morris, Austin and Rover claming ownership. Many celebrities become owners, including the Beatles, who each had one specifically designed for them. Fashion designer Paul Smith had his very own multicoloured mini. We obviously cannot forget Mr. Bean, the Mini man himself. The Mini's cute looks, incredible handling, and general popular status was loved by everyone. Various versions were made, apart from the usual Mk1/2/3 minis, there was also the clubman, like a standard mini but with a different front end. There was a Clubman Estate, pickups, vans, loads of stuff!.
The Mini's small and compact design also paid off in racing. The sportier Mini Cooper S took the rally championships by storm and stamped its name in the history books as one of the greatest cars of all time.
In todays time, the Mini is still one of the most iconic cars, with hundreds of thousands of owners still sprawled across the world. The little gem has become a hit within the mod and stance scene, with people doing some real... well.. crazy shit. VTEC honda engine swaps are slowly becoming the norm, as are Starlet 1.3T's, Suzuki swift engines and even Yamaha R1 Bike engines. With the handling characteristics and an engine plant like that they become the recipe for a road weapon, well capable of handling 200+bhp.
Prices on the other hand is where the Mini becomes a true classic. The good ones are expensive. An all original, Mk1 unmolested Mini can fetch anywhere up and beyond of £20-25,000. A project can set you back at least £2,000, which may be alot, but fear not (ha, rhymed) Parts are incredibly widely available, and reasonably priced, some parts even with modern day technology included so you can make a classic mini even better! As a learner car, (this is from experience, this.) it's amazing. Me personally, using a Mini as a base for learning how an engine works and general mechanical skills is awesome. The simple engineering really gets your head around the basics and lets you work your mind.
An old interior, simple, yet really classy.
A Mk1 mini, with the "moustache" grill. Looks like its doing 50mph, it's probably doing like..10.
Ah! Paul Smith and the Smith Mini. Probably the coolest rolling advert ever?
Now if you know your Minis, you know about the Mclean Brothers. Bloody hell they can make a Mini look cool.
An original Clubman Estate variant. May be based off the Mini, but it was deemed fit to be a workehorse, and it was!
*Please note the pictures in these blogs are taken off the internet and no copyright infringement is intended.