Designed as project ADO15 (Austin Drawing Office project number 15), the Mini came about because of the fuel shortage caused by the 1956 Suez Crisis. Petrol was once again rationed in the UK, sales of large cars slumped, but 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’.
Alec Issigonis, had been working for Alvis, but had now been recruited back to BMC in 1955. So with his skills in designing small cars, he was a natural for the task. The team that designed the Mini was remarkably small: along with Alec 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.
This beautiful little Mini has been restored and is in excellent condition. Finished in Snowberry White with a red vinyl interior, a showing 75,000 miles from new, this is a wonderful example of one of the finest automotive designs of the last century.