Another look at the Issigonis Minis

Author

Bill Boddy

View profile
Browse pages
Current page

1

Current page

2

Current page

3

Current page

4

Current page

5

Current page

6

Current page

7

Current page

8

Current page

9

Current page

10

Current page

11

Current page

12

Current page

13

Current page

14

Current page

15

Current page

16

Current page

17

Current page

18

Current page

19

Current page

20

Current page

21

Current page

22

Current page

23

Current page

24

Current page

25

Current page

26

Current page

27

Current page

28

Current page

29

Current page

30

Current page

31

Current page

32

Current page

33

Current page

34

Current page

35

Current page

36

Current page

37

Current page

38

Current page

39

Current page

40

Current page

41

Current page

42

Current page

43

Current page

44

Current page

45

Current page

46

Current page

47

Current page

48

Current page

49

Current page

50

Current page

51

Current page

52

Current page

53

Current page

54

Current page

55

Current page

56

Current page

57

Current page

58

Current page

59

Current page

60

Current page

61

Current page

62

Current page

63

Current page

64

Current page

65

Current page

66

Current page

67

Current page

68

Current page

69

Current page

70

Current page

71

Current page

72

Current page

73

Current page

74

Current page

75

Current page

76

Current page

77

Current page

78

Current page

79

Current page

80

Current page

81

Current page

82

Current page

83

Current page

84

Current page

85

Current page

86

Current page

87

Current page

88

Current page

89

Current page

90

Current page

91

The British Motor Corporation’s Mini Minors need no introduction, for they are as much a part of the British motoring scene today as was the original Austin 7 in the mid-‘twenties and ‘thirties. They have evolved along sound lines and MOTOR SPORT has been taking another look at them.

First we tried a 998-c.c. Austin-Cooper (£590), in which the Editor drove 620 miles. It had very useful acceleration, excellent manners but such a horrid driving seat that both he and a colleague thought after a few days in the car that they had slipped a disc. No fuel consumption check was made, but the range was a mere 152 miles, suggesting a m.p.g. figure inferior to that of the “big” Cooper-Mini.

Next a Morris Mini de luxe (£515) came along for test. It had a much more tolerable driver’s seat—I could never have endured the one in the Cooper, even if the car had been purchased—but we were back to that dreadful too-short gear lever, resulting in an unpalatable gear change, the clutch was very fierce, but this one was quieter, naturally, than the Cooper version and a spot check showed a remarkable 48.3 m.p.g. of premium petrol on a run in which speed, admittedly, was somewhat subdued by the streams of traffic on the Henley-Oxford road on a Sunday evening. The spaciousness within and the generous stowage space impressed as much as when the first Minibric came our way for road-test.

Finally, there were 1,200 satisfactory and fast miles in a 1,275-c.c. Austin-Cooper “S” (£778), which has exceptional performance without being in any way intractable or temperamental, although the throttles opened with unnecessary suddenness on this particular car. Fuel consumption of super-grade petrol averaged 34.6 m.p.g. and was better than 35 m.p.g. for much of the test. The range was a pathetic 166 miles, suggesting that the maker’s tank capacity of 5.5 gallons is optimistic. In a total of 1,500 miles only 1 1/2 pints of oil were required to keep the sump/gearbox full, which suggests that the once-notorious oil-thirst of these Cooper-Minis has been cured. The car is extremely good fun to drive and ideal for traffic negotiation and what a relief to get back to the remote gear lever! But, when idling, the vibration was on a par with that of a badly-balanced Edwardian car. There was considerable noise as speed rose and rough roads made the little thing buck about, but in general the Hydrolastic suspension now used on all these Minis gives a high standard of ride for such compact cars, although the precision of control has suffered, but almost imperceptibly. All three Minis were on Dunlop tyres, the excellent Dunlop SP41s on the Coopers, Gold Seal C41s on the de luxe Mini. Those who tried them spoke enthusiastically of real-tyre B.M.C. Safety Belts.

I do not think I would want to return to regular Mini motoring, splendid as these cars are, although I would welcome a 1275 “S” in the garage. But I am glad Issigonis thought up his ingenious little cars, because from them evolved the B.M.C. 1100s, and I enjoy going back to the Editorial Morris 1100 after driving more expensive or competitive cars. It is such a comfortable small car-of-character, with good seats, light steering and impeccable manners. But I wish it were more dependable—330 miles after having its transmission repaired (see last month) the throttle spring broke—although the Rivermead Service Station in Sunbury very obligingly fitted a new one at once, although they were very busy, charging a mere couple of bob,—but I got wet and dirty getting there.—W. B.

Related articles

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consetetur sadipscing elitr, sed diam nonumy eirmod tempor invidunt ut labore et dolore

Related products

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consetetur sadipscing elitr, sed diam nonumy eirmod tempor invidunt ut labore et dolore