Austin Mini

by Peter
Categories: Austin, BMC, Cars, Corgi, Corgi Juniors, Diecast models, Matchbox, Mattel, Mini
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Today I am looking at the popular Austin Mini in it’s various guises, well in my collection anyway, I’m starting with a late Matchbox model from 2008 as this one is what inspired this article, I actually bought this because I used to own one just like it, same colour too.

This is from the ‘Best of British’ series, 1965 Austin Mini van, scaled at 1:51, and made in Thailand, the number I have for it is BB09, this is still in production and has been produced in many colours and liveries and probably better known as MB713, MB7 or MB53.

Next is the Matchbox racing Mini, No29, this one was released about 1970.

Next is the stange looking Matchbox Mini Ha Ha, No14 and released about 1975, it has what looks like an aeroplane engine sticking out of the bonnet, large rear drag wheels and an overscaled driver sticking out of the roof.

Corgi Juniors answer to the ‘hot’ Mini was this BVRT Vita-Min 1300 Mini Cooper S, it would of had racing decals too, the number 73 and a Castrol logo.

Corgi Junior No21, only ever seen in metallic purple.

Lastly two late Corgi Mini’s, don’t have much Information on these but they were popular as give away cars in a ‘Fina’ petrol station box among other cars.

They do have a 1991 copyright on one of the boxes I have so that would make these a Mattel release.

Related articles;

Atlas editions, Dinky Mini Traveller

The real cars

The Mini is a small car that was made by the British Motor Corporation (BMC) and its successors from 1959 until 2000. The original is considered a British icon of the 1960s, and its space-saving front-wheel-drive layout (which allowed 80% of the area of the car’s floorpan to be used for passengers and luggage) influenced a generation of car-makers. The vehicle is in some ways considered the British equivalent to its German contemporary, the Volkswagen Beetle, which enjoyed similar popularity in North America. In 1999 the Mini was voted the second most influential car of the 20th century, behind the Ford Model T. This distinctive two-door car was designed for BMC by Sir Alec Issigonis.

Designed as project ADO15 (Austin Drawing Office project number 15), the Mini came about because of a fuel shortage caused by the 1956 Suez Crisis. Petrol was once again rationed in the UK, sales of large cars slumped, the market for German bubble cars boomed. Leonard Lord, the somewhat autocratic head of BMC, reportedly detested these cars so much that he vowed to rid the streets of them and design a ‘proper miniature car’. He laid down some basic design requirements: the car should be contained within a box that measured 10 × 4 × 4 ft (3 × 1.2 × 1.2 m); and the passenger accommodation should occupy 6 ft (1.8 m) of the 10 ft (3 m) length; and the engine, for reasons of cost, should be an existing unit. Issigonis, who had been working for Alvis, had been recruited back to BMC in 1955 and, with his skills in designing small cars, was a natural for the task. The team that designed the Mini was remarkably small: as well as Issigonis, there was Jack 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 designed and built the original prototype, which was affectionately named “The Orange Box” because of its colour

For a history of the Mini Click Here


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