From The Times 26th August, 1959
B.M.C. BABY CARS SET UP A NEW STANDARD IN CHEAP MOTORING PERFORMANCE AND COMFORT RETAINED
FROM OUR MOTORING CORRESPONDENT
The British Motor Corporation officially announce today the entirely new small cars that – unofficially – have been described, illustrated and discussed for many months past. Although there are two cars, called the Austin Seven and the Morris Mini-Minor respectively, they are in fact identical except for the radiator grille and, during their development, they have been known by the single code name of Project ADO 15. It can be asserted that these B.M.C. cars set an entirely new standard in low-priced motoring because they make no sacrifices in the way of performance and comfort.
AIR COOLING REJECTED
The B.M.C. engineers tested experimental twin-cylinder air-cooled engines but they decided that they were not satisfactory in terms of economy, noise level, smoothness and life. They have therefore used the four-cylinder A-series engine of the Minor 1000 and A35 with a shortened stroke, giving it a cubic capacity of 850c.c. and a power output of 34 b.h.p. at 5,500 r.p.m. The engine is mounted transversely in front of the car with the gearbox and final drive to the front wheels below it, making an extremely compact power pack that gives more room for the driver and passengers. The floor is practically flat, and the body is built out to the full length and width with a wheel at each corner.
3,000 A WEEK
The B.M.C. small car is obviously destined to meet with world-wide success, and the corporation have long since laid their plans to meet the expected demand.
The initial production target is 3,000 vehicles a week, divided equally between the Longbridge and Cowley plants, but this figure could well be exceeded. The Fisher and Ludlow plant is already geared to produce 4,000 bodies a week.
In the important European market ,where there is considerable scope for improvement in British exports, the Austin Seven and Morris Mini-Minor should have nothing to fear because they are superior to the three best-selling cars in France, Germany, and Italy in their average figures for fuel economy, top-gear hill-climbing ability, and acceleration when making the best use of the gears. They offer the same seat width (but more leg room), yet are smaller and lighter – 10 of them can be parked in the space occupied by eight of the most popular Continental cars.
Preliminary plans have been made for the cars to be constructed by the Innocenti firm in Milan. Some 2,000 of the new cars have already been sent abroad and they will be displayed today in motor showrooms in nearly 100 countries.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY MINI AND THANKS FOR 50 YEARS OF FUN !
Is the Editor of the Parkers website and price guide, formerly editor of Classic Car Weekly, and launch editor/creator of Modern Classics magazine. Has contributed to various motoring titles including Octane, Practical Classics, Evo, Honest John, CAR magazine, Autocar, Pistonheads, Diesel Car, Practical Performance Car, Performance French Car, Car Mechanics, Jaguar World Monthly, MG Enthusiast, Modern MINI, Practical Classics, Fifth Gear Website, Radio 4, and the the Motoring Independent...
Likes 'conditionally challenged' motors and taking them on unfeasible adventures all across Europe.