Mini Seven alternatives

Latest model: Mini Seven 2000
Mini Seven 2000The Mini is a small vehicle that was manufactured by the British Motor Corporation (BMC) and its successors from 1959 to 2000. The most well-known British-made vehicle, it has since been replaced by the New Mini which was launched in 2001. The original is considered an icon of the 1960s, and its space-saving front-wheel-drive design influenced a generation of car-makers. In the international poll for the award of the world's most influential vehicle of the twentieth century the Mini came second after the Ford Model T.

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This revolutionary and distinctive two-door vehicle was developed for BMC by Sir Alec Issigonis (1906–88). It was produced at the Longbridge and Cowley plants in the United Kingdom, and later in Australia, Belgium, Chile, Italy, Portugal, South Africa, Spain, Uruguay, Venezuela and Yugoslavia. The Mini Mk I had three major updates: The Mk II, the Clubman, and the Mk III, within which were a series of variations including an estate vehicle, a pickup truck, a van, and the Mini Moke — a jeep-like buggy. The Mini Cooper and Cooper "s" were sportier versions that were successful as rally vehicles — winning the Monte Carlo Rally three times.

Developed as project ADO15 (austin Drawing Office project number 15), the Mini came about because of a fuel crisis. In 1956 as a result of the Suez Crisis, which reduced oil supplies, the United Kingdom saw the re-introduction of petrol rationing. Sales of big vehicles slumped, and there was a boom in the sphere for so named bubble vehicles, which were mainly German in origin. Leonard Lord, the somewhat autocratic head of BMC, decreed that something had to be done and rapidly. He laid down some general layout requirements: the vehicle should be contained within a box that measured 10 × 4 × 4 feet (3 × 1. 2 × 1. 2 m); and the passenger accommodation should occupy six feet (1. 8 m) of the 10 foot (3 m) length; and the motor, for reasons of cost, should be an existing unit. Issigonis, who had been working for Alvis, had been recruited rear to BMC in 1955 and, with his skills in designing small vehicles, was a natural for the task. The team that developed the Mini was remarkably small; as well as Issigonis, there was Slot Daniels, who had worked with him on the Morris Minor, Chris Kingham, who had been with him at Alvis, two engineering students and four draughtsmen. Together, by October 1957 they had developed and built the original prototype, which was affectionately called 'the Orange Box' because of its colour.

The ADO15 used a traditional BMC A-series four-cylinder water-cooled motor, but departed from tradition by having it mounted transversely, placing the motor oil lubricated, four-speed transmission in the sump, and by employing front-wheel drive. Almost all small front-wheel-drive vehicles designed since the 1970s have used a alike customization. The radiator was mounted at the left side of the vehicle so that the engine-mounted fan could be retained, but with reversed pitch so it blew air into the natural low pressure space under the front wing. This location saved precious car length, but had the disadvantage of feeding the radiator with air that had been heated by passing over the motor.