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October 4, 2000

Discussion in '"Today in History", Literature & Media Review' started by Martin Rohmann, Oct 3, 2021.

  1. Martin Rohmann A Fixture

    Country:
    Germany
    End Of A Legend!


    On October 4th, 2000, after 41 years, production of the famous "Mini" is stopped at the British car plant at Longbridge!

    The last one to roll off the line is a red "Cooper", a version with a heavily tuned machine - almost a street racing car ...:

    [IMG]

    [IMG]

    The Mini has been around since 1959 - here the very first ...

    [IMG]

    ... has been built in an almost infinite variety of models and under more than a dozen names at home and abroad.

    Here the first and the very last Mini together in one picture ...:

    [IMG]

    The car was developed by the British engineer Alec Issigonis ...

    [IMG]

    ... who was the first who dared to install an extremely compact engine he had developed in a mass-produced car, not longitudinally but instead transversely, which directly drove the front wheels ...:

    [IMG]

    The front-wheel drive eliminated the cardan tunnel running through the middle of the passenger compartment for the rear-wheel drive that was common at the time and cost a lot of space!

    The transversely installed engine also made it possible to build the car very short - and to give it four full seats on the way despite its very small external dimensions ...:

    [IMG]

    In the interior, of course, very British design elements dominated ...:

    [IMG]

    For the development of his revolutionary car concept, Alec Issigonis was later elevated to the nobility by the Queen!

    The - in its own opinion - "world-leading" German automotive industry needed until 1972 to adapt the now 13-year-old mini concept with the "Audi 50" (which then became the Volkswagen "Polo") ...:

    [IMG]

    During its production time, the small and light - and despite its only 1,365 ccm large engine, highly agile Mini (extremely short-stroke!) Was built under a wide variety of production names, which was due to the fact that the company was almost constantly in financial difficulties and was sold back and forth .

    Here are just a few of the production names ...:

    Austin Mini, Austin Se7en, AUTHI Mini, Innocenti Mini Minor, Innocenti Mini t, Leyland Mini, Leyland Mini Clubman, Morris Mini, Riley Elf, Rover Mini, Wolseley 1000, Wolseley Hornet.

    In addition, a number of companies abroad manufactured the small car as a licensed product, such as Innocenti (Italy), Authi (Spain) and IMA (Portugal), which in turn constantly changed names and owners!

    [IMG]

    Due to the confusion of names and production, the Mini is the only classic for which it is absolutely impossible to determine the true total number of pieces.

    In principle, however, the following applies:

    There was - with a short wheelbase - the Standard Mini ...

    [IMG]

    ... and the fun mobile "Moke" ...

    [IMG]

    ... a variant originally developed for the Royal Army (here one of the test cars in the museum) ...

    [IMG]

    ... but failed there because it could only carry too little load ...:

    [IMG]

    But when the "Moke" was seen in a few sequences of the James Bond film "You Only Live Twice" ...

    [IMG]

    [IMG]

    ... this resulted in an immediate and considerable sales success as a cult car of the young generation!

    And there were the "Cooper" models with souped-up engines, which you could recognize by their characteristic plastic fender flares ...:

    [IMG]

    Many drivers of normal mini limousines got these plastic parts for optical tuning, screwed them onto their standard limousines and then happily run around as "sheep in wolf's clothing" ...!


    **continued next post**
  2. Martin Rohmann A Fixture

    Country:
    Germany
    Part II


    With a long wheelbase, the car was als station wagon ...

    [IMG]

    ... and with decorative wood decorations and better equipment under the name "Countrymaster" for the country gentleman ...

    [IMG]

    ... as well as produced as a pickup ...:

    [IMG]

    And then there was a luxury version with a clunky front grille and a notchback, which was never sold as a "Mini", but as a "Wolesley" or a "Riley" (there is also a mix of names!) ...:

    [IMG]

    [IMG]

    The oldest (and most valuable) vehicles can be recognized by their door hinges, which are initially attached to the outside ...:

    [IMG]

    Although (or maybe because of it), the Mini-Cooper models were downright the Holy Grail for gifted car tuners! There was nothing that wasn't there!

    Here a machine has been installed in a Mini Cooper, which delivers a whopping 465 hp, which makes the car a low-flyer ...:

    [IMG]

    But also with normal "Cooper" models ...

    [IMG]

    ... you could blow pretty much everything on racing and rally tracks that was otherwise driving around - the unbeatable weight / performance ratio made it possible ...:

    [IMG]

    Here the Cooper who won the "Rallye Monte Carlo" in 1964 ...:

    [IMG]

    [IMG]

    Those were the days when the focus was on the design, beauty and performance of cars, and not the third digit behind the decimal point when it came to particle or NoX or Co2 emissions.

    In terms of car technology, we classic car fans have somehow fallen out of time, one might think ...

    But when I see the shining eyes of children and adults at old car meetings, who look at the old things devoutly and immediately go into raptures when you talk to them, then I notice again and again:

    Humans - especially automakers - are still enthusiastic creatures, although every day attempts are made to stifle precisely this enthusiasm under tons of paper regulations ...!

    Unfortunately, there are quite a few ideologues who work hard to ensure that Kaiser Wilhelm II is still right in the end!

    Majesty's popular note in 1902:

    [IMG]

    "I believe in the horse! The automobile is a temporary phenomenon."
    oldtrousers, Airkid, OldTaff and 2 others like this.
  3. Airkid PlanetFigure Supporter

    Country:
    England
    You want stories about the Mini? I worked for British Motor Corporation, Morris Motors, British Motor Holdings, British Leyland (all names of successive companies that were floated to keep the Longbridge and Cowley factories alive). I never owned a Mini but I have driven many at work. I was actively banned from parking my 1970 VW Beetle 1300 in the works car park at one time! Mini bodies were pressed at Cowley and shipped by road and rail to Longbridge for assembly. Engines were built at Bell Green, Coventry. The Cooper units were rebuilt and tuned at the MG factory in Abingdon, where Paddy Hopkirk's Monte Carlo car was prepped.
    The clever Mini suspension was designed by Alex Moulton, who also designed the Moulton bicycle, which also had suspension.
    Did I like the Mini - in a word No. The early ones were dreadful, tinny, uncomfortable things with an awful gearbox and no brakes to speak of. The later ones just papered over the cracks. The latest breed, of BMW heritage, were actually Rover designs. The new "Mini" Countryman is bigger than my Kia Soul!

    Good post Martin - brought back lots of memories(y)

    Phil
  4. Martin Rohmann A Fixture

    Country:
    Germany


    On the roof there was a lot of place... :joyful:


    And if you think it was uncomfortable, then you've never sat in an East German "Trabant"!

    You could cover your ears with your knees while driving ... :ROFLMAO:

    [IMG]

    [IMG]
  5. Dr Bison Active Member

    Country:
    Germany
    Phil's post
    brought back memories to me too: While I was hitchhiking around the west coast of Ireland in the 1980s, my friend and I were given a lift by an older lady in a Countrymaster. I can't remember the name of our destination, but there were a number of streets leading downhill from the town's main square. The lady wanted to know, where we would like to be dropped off, and I told her, next to the square would be fine for us. She didn't stop there, though, but some 100 yards into one of those downhill streets. When I asked her, why she hadn't stopped further up, nearer the square, she looked at me and answered: "But that's where I started to brake."

    Ah, those were the days...

    Karl
    Martin Rohmann and Airkid like this.
  6. Airkid PlanetFigure Supporter

    Country:
    England
    Oh yes I have! A guy my brother worked with (as a motor mechanic) brought a Trabi back to the UK in the late 90s' We had a couple of runs in it. The column gearchange was diabolical and yes, the seats were weird too. I liked the smoke screens it used to lay. Back in the day, I owned a couple of SAAB 96 2-strokes but they were like Rolls-Royces compared to the Trabi. For the record I also owned a Moskvich and a Lada Niva - the Moskvich was RH drive so made for the UK market. Boy, did I buy some "sheds" when I was young and daft:rolleyes:

    Phil
  7. Martin Rohmann A Fixture

    Country:
    Germany
    When I studied journalism in Göttingen many years ago, I brought an almost new "Trabant" with me to West Germany from an internship abroad at the - then - Hungarian party newspaper "Népszabadzag" in the early 1980s, which I bought against my old "Renault" ( with electric window regulators, a sensation in Hungary at the time!).

    The small car was cheap, easy to repair, needed motorcycle gasoline (dirt cheap at the time) - and you could use the freewheel function downhill.
    In a traffic jam, I turned off the engine, got out and pushed the car ...!

    One night friends put the "Trabant" in a deep excavation pit (you could carry the thing with four people!) - and I had to buy a case of beer so that they could lift it out again.

    I've driven around with this thing for half my student life - and long before the fall of the Berlin Wall, you noticed more with it in West Germany than with a Porsche.

    At some point I had enough money to buy a new Citroen 2 CV. After the years with the "Trabant", the Citroen with its 34 hp seemed like a racing car ...

    Unfortunately, it was never enough for a "Mini" (preferably in "British Racing Green"), although I would have loved to have one!
    The ones I could pay for back then were junk ...
    Airkid likes this.
  8. Nap A Fixture

    Country:
    England
    Ah the Mini ...Iconic car indeed

    Trabant ........a legend in engineering .....of sorts !

    Fun thread Martín

    Nap
    Martin Rohmann likes this.
  9. Airkid PlanetFigure Supporter

    Country:
    England
    Ahh. I forgot to mention the 2CV - had one of those too! You could tell when it was raining 'cos you not only got wet through the roller-blind roof, but water splashed your feet through holes in the floor! I loved it but I sold it to a guy who lived right next door to the MG factory in Abingdon - he had a love affair with the 2CV - he owned five when he bought mine. The factory is long gone (it's now a police headquarters) but he still lives there. I've owned loads of cars in my 55+ years of motoring - best was a 2004 Saab 9-5 - most enjoyable a Ford Escort RS2000 droop snoot (stolen:cry:) - worst, a Morris Marina TC (I only bought it 'cos I got an employee discount). Now I've got a South Korean masterpiece:LOL:

    Phil
    Nap likes this.

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