From time to time we email people who have registered their cars for invites to shows etc.
Unfortunately we receive a lot of "bounced" emails.
Would you be sure to send us an update if you change your email address via the contact form please?
This is the only way we can communicate with you.

No MOT for our 1959 Minis

As from the 18th November 2012 it will not be necessary to MOT pre 1960 cars.

For full details please read this letter recently sent to us by the DVLA.

Mini History

Mini History

The conception, design and launch of ADO15 is well documented so we will not write an exhaustive article regurgitating old information but hope to write a brief resume of the story.

XC9003 was the smallest of the trio of cars being conceived by Sir Alec Issigonis in the mid-50s. In March 1957 it became the basis of ADO 15. The brief from Sir Leonard Lord, as a consequence of the 1956 Suez crisis, was to design a proper small family car to “drive those bloody bubble car off the road”.

Thus the XC9003 proposal became the main focus of attention. Issigonis’s vision was for a box 10 feet by 4 feet by 4 feet of which 6’ 6” would be given over to passenger space, 1’ 6” to luggage leaving not more than 2’ in which to mount the engine. The only restriction on the design team was the insistence that an engine be used that was currently in production. This was to be the A-Series engine which measured 3’ 2” from the radiator to the back face of the gearbox. One of the key features of gaining maximum space was the adoption of 10 inch wheels to reduce the intrusion into the passenger space for the wheel arches. These were far smaller than the any wheel and tyre used at the time and required cooperation from Dunlop to develop a small enough tyre for the job.

The obvious way to save space lengthways was to place the engine in a transverse position, but experimental Morris Minors had highlighted big problems accommodating the engine and gearbox in a track contemporary with a small car. A two cylinder engine based on the 950cc A series was conceived. At least one test engine was fitted to an Austin A35 driving the rear wheels but while the engine proved smooth enough and produced the required power it was less economical than the 4 cylinder engine and the added costs of producing the new castings made the 2 cylinder engine a non starter. So it was back to the 4 pot and the now simple sounding solution of placing the gearbox underneath the engine was born. At least one 2 cylinder engine was completed after the decision was made to go with the 4 pot with gearbox in sump as this 2 pot also had the gearbox underneath.

Thus the 948cc 4 cylinder A-Series engine found its way into these early prototypes. By October 1957 the Orange Box prototype (so called because of its colour) had started testing with a West-East engine configuration putting the carburettor at the front of the car and the plugs and distributor at the back by the bulk head. This was a mere 100 days after the wooden mock-ups were completed themselves produced only 120 days after the original March 1957 start of the project. The 2 cars built ( the second with a slightly narrower rear track was black over dark red with a cream band ) wore Austin A35-type front ends and 14inch wheels as a disguise and usually ran at night in the Cotswolds (as the early testing was done by Cowley). This was done to fool the public into thinking they were a new version of the A35.

Sir Leonard Lord’s now famous July 1958 five minute run round the Longbridge site lead to an historic decision, with Sir Leonard stepping out of the car exclaiming “this is it, I want it in production within twelve months”, to which Issigonis replied, “Sir Leonard, this will cost many millions of pounds”. Sir Leonard rebutted, “Don’t you worry about that, I shall sign the cheques, you just get on with getting the thing to work”.

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