Mini Turns 50
50 years ago this week the Austin Mini went on sale. It had been designed in reaction to the fuel shortages caused by the Suez crisis of 1956; little German bubblecars were selling like hotcakes, and the head of the British Motor Company said "God damn these bloody awful Bubble Cars. We must drive them off the road by designing a proper miniature car". Three designers, two engineering students and four draughtsmen pulled it together in a year, and it was full of innovations that are still used, like the sideways mounted engine and a monocoque frame. It got between 40 and 48 miles per gallon with an 850 cc engine.