Cars are a funny thing. They are the reason that you’re here reading this article, they’re probably the catalyst for a number of your friendships, they often motivate our actions and influence our decisions, and on one particular morning, cars were the reason that my alarm had gone off far too early. I found myself sitting on the tarmac as the pilot awaited permission to be the first plane to take off that morning.
Though the Mini came to life under the guise of an affordable economy car, the influence of a few determined enthusiasts gave birth to what would become a long history of motorsport wins. The small stature, light weight, and revolutionary suspension came together to win races on long distance rallies and short circuit sprints alike.
Sir Alec Issigonis never dreamed that the small little car that he sketched on a napkin would go on to dominate races and rallies throughout Europe. Throughout the Mini’s design process, decisions were made solely out of utility. Issigonis was tasked with building a car that could transport four grown adults and offer fuel efficiency that could compete with the German bubble cars that were gaining in popularity following the Suez Crisis.
The legacy started decades ago in the United Kingdom. The Suez Crisis left the UK to ration fuel once again, and sales of large vehicles began to plummet. In response to the fuel shortage, Sir Alec Issigonis was tasked with the challenge of developing a small, efficient car that was still capable of transporting 4 adults and their luggage.
It’s been almost a year since I first found the little car in a classified ad, sitting somewhere in the middle of Kentucky just waiting for me. The Classic Mini I had always wanted was finally mine and it was time to enjoy it. As the months ticked by, I took it out on the weekends to get a feel for it, and I’d browse through magazines, forging plans for the inevitable build that would ensue.