From the very beginning of its production, Mini was an unquestionable motoring icon. This little car helped many Britons squeeze through the narrow streets of congested London. Every onlooker could enjoy its charming looks whenever it drove by. The Mini came second in an international poll to pick the “Car of the 20th Century”, being beaten only by the Ford model T. The reason why the Mini was created was the oil crisis posing a threat to post-war Europe. Development began in 1956 as a response to the works of other European manufacturers who came up with small and fuel-efficient vehicles. Main design principle of the British “People’s Car” were its dimensions of 10 x 4 x 4 feet (3 x 1.2 x 1.2 metres). Engineers were forced to use an existing engine as a cost-saving measure. Project ADO15 (internal designation of the preproduction model) was powered by a four-cylinder, water-cooled BMC engine. It was mounted in the front and transferred its power to the front wheels via a four-speed gearbox. Press launch took place in April 1959. By the second half of the year, first batch of cars for sale was ready. The car was available under Austin or Morris brand – both of which belonged to the BMC consortium. In the 80s and 90s the spirit of Mini was still alive. The car once again became an icon, only this time its popularity lied in its retro style. Limited editions gained a cult following, including Mini 25, Mini Red Flame, Mini Red Hot, Mini Check Mate, Mini Studio 2, Mini Piccadilly or Mini Tahiti. Over the years the Mini was updated seven times, making it difficult to describe each update in detail. The last version called VII was launched in 1996. The main change compared to its predecessors was the use of a 1275 cc engine with twin fuel injections and a front-mounted radiator. Some versions also featured airbags (mandatory according to European safety norms). In 2000 Mini officially went out of production after 41 years. It became an inherent part of London’s urban landscape, but was also loved in Europe. Legendary rally “Cooper S” versions are fetching higher and higher prices on auctions, but more common models are also sought after by collectors. Without doubt, every version of this little city car with a huge heart brings a smile to faces of people passing by.
The Austin, or simply Mini, offered in the 1 July auction sale was made in 1968. The car was used for daily commuting in a small town in the region of Greater Poland. When purchased by the current lady owner, the car was in need of renovation. The engine and interior were replaced by parts from a newer model. The Austin found its way to a repair shop in Wroclaw that specialises in servicing and restoration of vintage models. The auto body was repaired and repainted in effective cherry red. Thanks to a full mechanical inspection, the car then served the owner flawlessly for many years. After a few years, some scratches appeared on the paint, but they do not affect the charming style of the Mini, which is now ready even for a long drive or a vintage car show.