The 1965 Austin Mini Super Deluxe at Haynes International Motor Museum can be found in the Minis and Micros exhibition. The car has recently received a light service and is running very nicely. First manufactured by British Motor Corporation (BMC) in 1959, the ‘classic’ Mini enjoyed a long and popular life until it went out of production in late 2000 (by then made by MG Rover Group). The impact of this little car on motoring history cannot be underestimated.
Alec Issigonis was given the task of creating an all-new small car. Sales of large, heavy and thirsty cars were declining as the cost of fuel spiralled as a result of the Suez Crisis of 1956. It might well have also had something to do with the then head of BMC, Leonard Lord, taking a dislike to the quirky European micro or ‘bubble’ cars being seen on the roads of Great Britain in increasing numbers. With reference to a very tight design brief, Issigonis cleverly moved the engine to a transverse position (this position subsequently became the norm for most car manufacturers), placed the gearbox under it and allowed both to share the same lubricating oil. The front wheels were driven instead of the rear, rubber cones used instead of springs and the cooling fan placed at the side of the engine rather than the front. Basically speaking, he created a car that appeared small on the outside but which was relatively large on the inside; indeed, 80% of the floor pan area could be used for passengers and their luggage.
When first introduced the Mini was justly promoted as ‘wizardry on wheels’. Interestingly, the car was not always called ‘Mini’ and was first introduced as both the Austin Seven and Morris Mini-Minor. ‘Mini’ became a marque in its own right in 1969 but the name would change back to Austin Mini and latterly Rover Mini before the car was no more.
Come and see this classic Mini and many more micro-cars; the Museum is open seven days a week and tickets can be purchased at reception on arrival or you can book tickets online in advance.