History page expanded

MkI 850  Super Deluxe

In the year 3BM ( Before Mini 1956 to us) England was in a sorry state. The Suez Canal was closed to shipping by President Nasser. Oil and other supplies were in short supply. Petrol was to be rationed. This brought about the need for cars with good miles per gallon (mpg.). The cars on the road at the time were mainly large thirsty. The alternative to these were Bubble cars and other cheep three wheeled vehicles, not proper cars, from Italy and Germany. There was a need for a safe economic British small car.

The British Motor Corporation were at this time one of the fourth largest car manufacture in the world. Today after lots of takeovers it is owned by Phoenix as Rover MG. In the past these takeovers were good for the Mini, as each new owner continued to make the car, the MINI name is owned by BMW. Working at B.M.C. in 1956 as chief design engineer was Alec Issigonis. He had already had one good design to his credit in the form of the Morris Minor, so the task of making this British small car, code name ADO 15, came to him and his team. The brief was to build a small car with good mpg, room for four adult and use an engine that was in production, to save on development cost.

If the ADO15 ( ADO stands for Austin Design Office ) was to be as small as possible were do put the engine? What engine do you use? The one that Alec and Jack Daniels, Daniels was Alec's right-hand man, chose was the A-series from the Morris Minor. To gain more passenger room the only way to mount the engine was across the car. The logical place for gearbox was to build it into the sump of the engine and run both in the same oil. Differential was moved from its normal position at the rear, and fix it to the gearbox, removing the need for a long prop-shaft. Drive want to the front wheels though two drive shafts, then to a constant velocity joint on each hub.

The flywheel and clutch closed the package when they were fitted to the engine and gearbox. This self-contained transverse engine, front wheel drive unit was a complete brake from tradition