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 web of history that lies behind race cars is one of a particular complexity, often interspersed with gaping holes of missing information. In a looser era of racing, on-track accidents forced chassis exchanges, while lengthy customs forms shuffled classification numbers. As cars changed owners, retired to the back of dark shops, or fell into disrepair, their histories grew foggier.
The year is 1924, and if you remember your world history, you’ll recall that it’s a relatively important year. The International Business Machines Corporation, the multinational technology company later known as “IBM,” is formed. Russian communist, political theorist, and revolutionary Vladimir Lenin has died and Joseph Stalin has begun to purge his rivals on his rise to power.