Mini Cooper Foundation and Development Story
Mini is a true British classic. Standing out in the automotive world with its distinctive and interesting design, Mini Cooper is the best-selling British car ever. Sold more than 5.5 million units in 43 years, the Mini is a vehicle that represents simplicity, elegance and self-confidence.
The Mini, which serves as a lesson on how to get full efficiency from a small area, is truly an iconic vehicle in the automobile world.
In this article, we will share with you the establishment of Mini step by step.
Why Was Mini Cooper Founded?
We can say that the Mini was born from the depression of the British economy in the 1950s. Due to the oil embargo imposed on Britain, there was a shortage of gasoline in the country.
During this period, people turned to fuel stingy cars called Bubble Cars. The motorcycle engine was used in this automobile imported from Germany and it burned very little.
This vehicle was the Messerschmitt Kabinroller, which was launched by the company that produced German warplanes during World War II. Fritz Fend, the famous aviation engineer of that time, designed the engine of the car, which had three wheels.
Leonard Lord, managing director of the British Motor Corporation (BMC), was concerned that the public was favoring these cheap, unsafe and uncomfortable vehicles. Even though these micro vehicles were very economical in terms of fuel, they were making a lot of noise. It was also very insecure and there were only 2 seats.
We also need to look at the oil crisis to understand the current situation.
In 1955, the oil requirement of 2/3 of Europe was supplied from the Suez Canal. Middle East's oil was coming to the Mediterranean via the Suez Canal. In 1956, the Egyptian government declared the canal as its national property and started to apply strict controls on the oil passing through the canal.
Four months later, Britain, France and Israel tried to gain control of the canal by declaring war on Egypt.
This intervention of the West was not welcomed by the USA and the Soviet Union. Britain and France, who tried to start a war with the Saudi embargo, were punished in a sense.
When the fuel crisis occurred in England, gasoline started to be distributed by rationing. Maximum 15 liters of gasoline per person per month was granted
British Motor Corporation Foundation
British Motor Corporation was founded in 1952 by the merger of two rival companies Austin and Morris. BMC found that the British people needed a cheap, safe and comfortable car. The newly designed vehicle would be small and only have a passenger capacity of 4 people. Leonard Lord, the company's managing director, requested it to measure a maximum of 3 meters x 1.2 meters x 1.2 meters. It was also stipulated that the vehicle should have 4 wheels and 4 cylinders.
Alec Issigonis was the person who brought the Mini to life. Issigonis' task was very difficult, as serious work was required to meet the requirements demanded from him. Designing a 4-seat vehicle with a maximum length of 3 meters was a difficult task, but still Issigonis was the best name for the job.
Issigonis, who previously designed Morris's more than 1 million sold models, called Morris Minor, was an expert in designing compact, well-driven vehicles.
"People don't know what they want and it's my duty to tell them what they want."
Issigonis started to set up the team with which it will work. They got to work with two successful engineers named Jack Daniels and Chris Kingham and a few young engineers.
It is a legend that Issigonis made the first drawing of the mini on a napkin.
The design that Issigonis put forward was quite innovative. Thanks to a cross engine, the team managed to turn the engine block 90 degrees, thus saving space. Driving performance was improved by using the front-wheel drive system, and there was no need for a shaft that had to cross the vehicle. Of course, this situation reduced the cost and weight of the vehicle. In addition, the 4-cylinder engine had 4 gear shifts.
The engine with a capacity of 848cc could reach a speed of 115 km / h. The vehicle, which consumed approximately 6.2 liters of gasoline per 100 kilometers, was very close to Bubble vehicles in this regard. In addition, the road holding was good and the ride was enjoyable.
Because of this successful handling, the auto racer and vehicle manufacturer John Cooper wanted to cooperate with Mini.
Green Light is Given
In June 1957, BMC managing director Leonard Lord tested the first Mini prototype and requested mass production.
In 1960, two models were produced, namely Austin Seven Mini and Morris Mini Minor. With the title of the world's first "Mini", these two vehicles were exactly the same except for a few differences. The reason for using two different names was to attract the customers of the two brands that were rivals for a period. In other words, it was a marketing tactic for two different customer groups using Austin or Morris.
The Mini is Born
Thanks to a compact engine, 80% of the vehicle was left to passengers and luggage. The hinge of the trunk openly allowed traveling, so large items could also be placed in the trunk. Issigonis even convinced tire manufacturer Dunlop to produce 10-inch tires. Thus, the tires would take up less space in the vehicle.
Issigonis, which placed all 4 tires in the corner of the vehicle, prevented the tires from being too involved in the overall design of the vehicle. In order to save weight, the vehicle did not even have a radio, window opening lever and seat belt. However, Issigonis was a heavy smoker, so there was an ashtray.
Great attention was paid to even the smallest details and care was taken to ensure that the vehicle has the maximum load capacity. The first mass production model was launched in early 1959. This vehicle, called the Mark 1 Mini, was produced until 1967. In fact, this model even disrupted the Morris Mini model produced before.
People Couldn't Believe
The revolution initiated by the Mini in the motor industry was visible, but it took the British people a while to get used to it. A great love was born, but the Mark 1 model was not adopted overnight. Looking at the available vehicles, the Mini was found to be very small. People could not believe that such a small vehicle had 4 passenger seats. This vehicle, which was offered for sale at £ 500, led people to the idea that "this quality at this price is not possible in life".
And Her Mini Passion Has Begun ...
However, the suspicion in the minds of the people who bought the vehicle soon disappeared. It was noticed that the vehicle had excellent road handling and it was easy to use. In addition, driving pleasure was also an important bonus. Word of mouth spread about how good the vehicle was and the manufacturer BMC started to be pleased with this. A total of 116,000 Mini were sold in 1960 and 157,000 Mini in 1961.
Mini was evident from the day she was born that she would become a cult. Artists and movie stars could not remain indifferent to the Mini, and they bought it. There was a Mini of names like The Beatles, Mick Jagger, Steve McQueen, and Bridget Bardot. Even King Hussein of Jordan, Princess Grace of Monaco, and Prince Charles were all royals who bought the Mini. In other words, everyone, from workers to movie actors, royalty to footballers, could buy and use the Mini.
Mini Cooper's Cooper Takes the Stage
John Cooper was the owner of the automotive company named Cooper at that time. Cooper, who also designed racing cars, saw good racing car potential in the Mini. Cooper was seen as a veteran in the field of automobile racing with his innovative approaches. He was a name that attracted attention with his engine design in many areas from Indianapolis 500 to Formula 1.
Issigonis thought the Mini was a vehicle for everyday use, while Cooper saw racing potential in this vehicle. Issigonis, who was initially unwilling to collaborate with Cooper, was finally convinced. Cooper explained his vision for this car to Issigonis and together they decided to create the Mini Cooper.
Models named Austin Mini Cooper and Morris Mini Cooper were produced in September 1961. The vehicle, enriched with a 997 cc engine, 7-inch brake discs and double carburetors, was made to compete in the Group 2 class.
The 1071 cc S model went into production in 1963. Special models with the necessary modifications for different races were also produced. In 1962, John Love won the British Saloon Car Championship with Mini Cooper.
The modest appearance and tight performance of the vehicle also caught the attention of police forces. British and Australian police agencies bought a substantial amount of the Mini Cooper.
Why Was Mini So Successful?
Why has the Mini been so successful? Why was 5.5 million sold in 43 years? Why did it become an icon?
The main reasons for the success of the Mini are that it is extremely pleasant to drive and its price is affordable. Created by Alec Issigonis, the Mini has been a British classic ever since.
Although there have been many name changes and engine innovations since the first production, the basic logic of the Mini has always remained constant. No exorbitant changes were made in the specific design of the vehicle.
In summary, the Mini was a revolutionary car, especially for small segment vehicles, and continues to be one of the most unique vehicles of the automotive world today.