Craig Wilson reveals his passion for the Mini
On 10 Sept 2019, we discovered our own Craig Wilson is an expert on the mini.! He took us through the development, from the original design by Alex Issigonis, who started the project in 1956. His brief was to design a car with just 160 cubic feet, the dimensions being 10 ft by 4 ft by 4 ft.
The first mini went into production in 1959 but didn’t instantly take off. It quickly proved itself however on the race track, and in particular, rallying with the Mini winning the Monte Carlo rally several years in a row.
The success of the Mini was largely dependent on two things – one was front wheel drive, which was revolutionary at the time using a transverse engine configuration with a sump gearbox, and secondly its small size making for ease of parking.
Craig then ran through the many variants of the mini, not only produced by Austin / Morris, but also by a plethora of specialist conversion companies.
The mini became a sixties icon and was owned by the rich and famous including George Harrison, Paul McCartney and Mary Quant amongst many other. Mary of course was famous for her own mini – the miniskirt!
The car has now been around for sixty years and has grown considerably in size. Craig has owned three of the original design and three of the more recent BMW series. His enthusiasm for the Mini was evident and it was a really interesting talk not just for motoring aficionados but also those who simply fondly remember the Mini in its many guises. John Dunlop give a worthy vote of thanks, recalling the many benefits of having a company car, but what he really wanted was a sunroof!