Archive : Issigonis writes to Day

Rover Group consultant Sir Alec Issigonis writes to chairman Graham Day.

Dear Mr Day

I have not met you but I feel I must write to explain a few points. A reversion to the original model names of Mini and Mini de luxe instead of Mini City and Mini Mayfair would be preferable. To change the Mini body shape would be fatal as it is known worldwide, to do so would make it just another car.

Your secretary has been informed about the gearless Mini which I am sure you will find appealing as a ‘town’ car. It has a proven, smooth, stepless transmission which is cheap to make. Apart from eliminating the the expensive Automotive Products automatic box that is fitted to the Mini, it would with the exception of two components be made ‘in house’.

This car is 10 feet long, the same as the current Mini but has four inches more leg room which is a considerable gain within so small an overall dimension. It is over two cwt lighter than the present version of the automatic Mini due to the elimination of subframes and rubber suspension. A large part of the weight reduction is due to the use of a derivative of the 9X power unit, which is 140 lbs lighter than its aged A-series counterpart.

If we are to remain in the small car market a new lightweight compact power unit is essential. To this end the 9X range of engines, all with the transmission located below the crankshaft have been developed over the past 18 years and are ready for tooling. It is as modern as any power unit of today without the need for electronic complication. The design allows the use of low C.O. levels, essential considering legislative requirements and it toxicity to animal life.

Yours Sincerely
Sir Alec Issigonis

P.S I do not approve of electronics in cars or the design of cars by computer. It is preferable to have the latter conducted by draughtsmen and slide rules

Issigonis recieved a reply via his solicitor. Rover terminated his consultancy forcing Issigonis into financially straitened circumstances.

Keith Adams


  1. Indeed what on earth possessed him? He was on a nice little earner drawing a pension and a retainer for “consultancy work”, why would he put his head above the parapet like this? A genius no doubt, but very flawed!

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