The History Of The

Automobiles An engineer with the British Motor Corporation (BMC) in the 1950s had a dream that a small car would be put outside the house of every working person. The car that Alec Issigonis designed eventually stood outside everything from a palace to a hovel. With a limited budget, he often sketched engineering plans on the back of envelopes, Issigonis and his team worked against the clock to get the car into production. Sir Alec died in 1988, but his car lives on. The task of finding a new car was eventually given to Issigonis in 1957; BMC wanted him to produce a smaller version of the same vehicle, but Issigonis had his own ideas. He knew that if he were to build the best small car he would have to do better than copy others on the market. The goal was to have a car about ten feet long. However, in a car only four feet two inches wide the engine with its attendant gearbox is too long to fit in the space available, Issigonis took the decision, with time running out, to mount the gearbox under the engine, which had never been tried before. It worked. The car launched on 26 August 1959. It was priced at 496, which was roughly the price of the wrongly named Ford Popular, and nearly 100 cheaper than the Ford Anglia. At that price BMC were not just cutting their own throats, they were taking a hot bath and opening every vein in their corporate body. The Mini was attractive to both tuners and racers. Leading this group was John Cooper. In 1959 and 1960 he was the World Champion Formula One racing car constructor and had had personal success in his 500cc special. Cooper felt strongly enough to go to the chairman of BMC, to ask if he could build a run of four seater GTs, after a brief meeting the chairman said yes, go away and do it. They planned to make 1000, but eventually made 150000. They altered and strengthened the engines and changed the gear ratios. The first Mini Cooper came out in October 1961. The Mini and Cooper became inseparable, even though there was never any official agreement between the two and Cooper only received a 2 royalty on every car for the research & development. The little car drove into a revolution. Driven by Princesses and harlots, pop stars and baronets, the car became a vital fashion accessory in the style capital of the world. The Mini was perfect, it was cheeky, and it was fun. The Mini was one of the earliest cars to appeal strongly to women, who found the dumpy little thing friendly and accessible. There was obviously a danger of falling between the twin demands of women drivers and male boy racers, but the image of Fun satisfied both parties. The Mini, the sixties icon, passed two million sales in 1969 and survived them all. A low centre of gravity and a wheel at each corner meant that fine handling was the Minis greatest asset. Enthusiastic drivers soon discovered that hammering into a corner started to push the front wheels out, towards the traffic or the far verge. Until the advent of the Mini, people were used to oversteer building up, with the tail of the car .ing round if too much enthusiasm overcame too little rubber. It was a new problem in rallying as well as on the road, but on the off tracks Scandinavian drivers provided a new answer – left foot braking. While the rally cars were slaying Goliaths in the dirt, other Minis were slaughtering the .petition on tarmac. John Surtees sat behind the wheel of an 850 Mini as early as 1960, and Minis continued to win saloon car races in later years. As in rallying, the .petition caught up, even though the Minis kept getting faster. The A series engine could just about manage 140bhp, but the power train was fairly antique and absorbed a lot of power. Despite the problems, Minis simply refused to give up. Alec Poole took the RAC saloon car championship in 1969 with his Arden prepared 1 litre Mini, the same year that Richard Longman beat off a huge Ford Falcon to take his Mini Cooper S over the line in the first ever race televised in colour. Longman and his Minis went on winning for some time, even securing the Group 1 RAC saloon car championship in 1978, when Group 1 was hardly the normal preserve of tiddlers like the Mini. It seemed frankly beyond belief that the little box scuttling around between all the big boys could possibly win, but Longman proved once again, nearly 20 years after it was established for the first time, that you should never under estimate the Mini. It seems absurd that a car as popular as the Mini, which passed five million sales in 1986, could not have made a fortune, but the problems go back to the launch in 1959. It seems probable that the Mini was priced at its launch value of 496 simply to undercut the Ford Anglia. At first that cheap price actually put some people off since they imagined anything the cost of a Ford Popular would have the same level of primitive engineering, little realising that they were ignoring the bargain of the century. It was not until 1977 that a .puter accounting system told the management that the Mini was making a loss. During the following years, painful battles with the unions and the .panys own improved methods of production and accountancy slowly started to turn things around. The Mini should really have faded into glorious obscurity after the arrival of the Metro in 1980. The sales halved when the Metro was launched, but, there were enough sales to make it worth continuing to build them. The number of options and models declined, until there were just two main models left, the city and the Mayfair. The Mini is a cultural icon and shows up in movies such as The Italian Job (1969), The Bourne Identity (2002) as a beat-up but surprisingly capable vehicle for a car chase; Goodbye Pork Pie (1981) where a yellow Mini 1000 is used to travel the length of New Zealand, and in Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (2001) as a collectible fashion icon garaged alongside other classic sports cars. It has also featured in television shows such as Mr Bean and (as the Mini Moke) in The Prisoner. Madeline Zimmer, in Jean-Luc Godard’s Masculin fminin (1966), said she hoped her new single would be a big hit so she could buy a Cooper. In the 1980s a very exclusive mini was available with only 3 being made. This was the BAC-M30 mini. The BAC-M30 featured a 1380 avonbar modified engine, was fitted with Recaro seats and a custom dashboard, with a price tag of 30,000. In 1994, under Bernd Pischetsrieder, a first cousin once removed of Issigonis, BMW took control of the Rover Group, which included the Mini, fitting an airbag to .ply with European legislation. By March 2000, Rover was still suffering massive losses, and BMW decided to dispose of most of the .panies. The sell-off was .pleted in May that year. MG and Rover went to Phoenix, a new British consortium; and Land Rover was sold to Ford Motor .pany. BMW retained the Mini name and the planned new model, granting Rover temporary rights to the brand and allowing it to manufacture and sell the run-out model of the old Mini. By April 2000, the range consisted of four versions: the Mini Classic Seven, the Mini Classic Cooper, the Mini Classic Cooper Sport andfor overseas European marketsthe Mini Knightsbridge. The last Mini (a red Cooper Sport) was built on 4 October 2000 and presented to the British Motor Industry Heritage Trust in December of that year. A total of 5,387,862 cars had been manufactured. After the last of the Mini production had been sold, the ‘Mini’ name reverted to BMW ownership. The new ‘BMW’ Mini is technically unrelated to the old car but retains the classic transverse 4-cylinder, front-wheel-drive configuration and iconic "bulldog" stance of the original. About the Author: 相关的主题文章: