The family history is some kind of mystery.
Father - Alec Issigonis - is Greek; Mother - the British Motor Corporation - is British. Both of the twins were called "Austin 850" and "Morris 850". Shortly later they became the nickname "Mini". Normally they are stepbrothers, because mother Austin and mother live apart, but in the big BMC family. Father Issigonis, worked at technical director for BMC, had give his child's so many top details, that the Mini is the successfully car out of Great Britain: at the 2nd February came the millionth Mini from the BMC factor at Longbridge.
In his original form has the front transverse water-cooled 4 cylinder engine 850cc and exactly 34,bhp (the Englishman is here very exact). With the nearly synchronised gearbox (no first gear), and the differential compact build, is the Cpl. unit so at the front and between the front wheels , that's enough power on the front wheels through the weight and you have on 3.05m length the biggest room inside.
At the 4 corners of the running shoe box, are the only 10inch wheels, so that the biggest possible wheel distance from 2.03 (VW 2.40) and the astonish wheel width of 1.21m front (VW 1.30m) and rear 1.16m (VW 1.28m) is on these car and - much important - the inside width (1.13m) although for the rear seats without any impairments of the rear wheel arches
Actually is the car inside bigger than outside. Place for 4 person and a lot of other stuff.
A typical English, because underdog car. Nearly unknown here; heard yes, but knowing not really.
Only the motor sport friends knowing the special sport edition, the Mini-Cooper.
John Cooper, former racing car driver, and now constructor, tuned the Mini together with BMC. Not only tuning, he does it great and usable that now are 42000 (!) of these Mini Cooper with much enthusiasm and satisfaction of his owners are running around. An success, which in nearly the same form (to the pleasure of both partners) at the British Ford and Lotus, in Italy Fiat and Abarth, in France Renault and Gordini and in the USA Ford and Shelby. Only in Germany nothing. But perhaps it comes here too, if the find a way between the series production and motor sport use.
Mostly the construction department s of the factories haven't the special race experience and time to look for sport edition Small, race proven shops with the unbelievable tuning experience, haven't enough money. So a marriage between both are the way to do.
But the sport are only outside the same with the family. To make a good car, they must have some good points from home, if they will get special treatment.
So has - here begins the story - the here shown Mini-Cooper only very little with the 850 together. I drive very hard the maximum prepared Monte-Carlo- Mobil: the original car of the winning team Makinen Easter of the Rally Monte Carlo these January. (last year it although won by a Mini-Cooper).
BMC gave us the car in exact the condition after the Monte, in (street-) mud and (oil-) bacon. They were truly sure about here car, and they could. The thing has so outstanding driving speed and experience. that you must be an Nihilist (or a typical no speeker) to say to these car: No. On these special experience of driving didn't change the point, that the on the motorway around Mannheim it gave a big bang and the ventilator broke and hit the heater.
If these coming some hundred miles earlier, the Cooper wasn't winner of the Monte.
Yes - so is in the technical sport with sporting technique.
When you talk about sport and technique, you are interest in the hp, but sorry, the British doesn't tell it me.
Normally these flying car has 78hp at 5800rpm, but I'm really sure these one has much more.
Sadly we haven't time to make a rolling road to see how much hp the Cooper has. So have a look through the dates we get on the streets on the road. The dates to the other sporting cars speak his own clearly words:
The expert knew from these table, that the Monte-Mini is running on the shortest axle. His acceleration is nearly like the new 6cylinder Porsche 911, which we will look for in the next issue.
The date (8,2 sec) is only to reach, when you overrev the engine shortly in second gear.
During the measurements for 1km standing start, has the Cooper his top speed after 550m, after it you can (should) only drive these speed, because you stay at rev limit.
The Speedo is very accurate, as on every workscar. 100 exact Hundred, 110 are 109.7, 120 means 120.2, 130 are 130.4 and 140 are truly 140.
On these old type of engine you can reach without problems the 7000 rpm easily. If you don't tell it further: I drove the testing km (so called overlook) in 22,3sec, which means 159.3km/h and revving up to ca 7800 rpm!!
Through the trouble of the tin ventilator (why not a plastic one?) I wasn't drove with fuel throttle at the speedtest. Ideal will be a full synchro 5 speed gearbox. Although the rally drivers like to drive on the connection streets with speed from 170 on more km/h - which these Mini easily reaches.
On the rev. counter is the red line at 7200 rpm, which means 146.2km/h. There is no motorway gradient, which gives the little giant problems.
You can thinking , how the other drivers look through the power of these little car. If there isn't the (normally disagreeable fall) original "war painting" like the starting numbers and rally plates, I would be jailed by the police more than once.
I couldn't go round to say, although for an older family father, to perplex the brave folk;
naturally with a harmless face.
It wasn't always easy, than all the new impressions makes me not untouchable. Specially prepared only for the rally's , gives these small car all back, like direct steering (2 ¼ turns), over the direct engine noise, the direct (hard) suspension to the direct enjoyment of the exhaust fumes (and CO2) at the throttle off.
First was the LH gearchanging very special, whereas the RH steering is nearly ideal for my mind to learn the right driving again. How about all German cars Right Hand Drive!!
The seat position in the good cushioned, wool racingseats are very good, the leather steering wheel (size 38cm) lay good in the hands (steering is put down 5cm). The look to the front is great. All the instruments in the dull black panel looks like a aerospace rocket (from the 27 buttons, switches instruments I only find one, which I don't knew). But shortly after driving you feel that you only need the revcounter to drive out. For the racedrivers are all the other useful, sure.
The windscreen is electrical heated in three steps (1/4, driverside, full) and you have two different windscreenwashers (alcohol and water).
The handbrake is the flyoff type, pushing down means braking. Ideal to make a U-turn without the problem to lock the lever. During these action you can hold the engine at speed, very useful because the engine is revving from 3500 best. Of course you can drive the Mini in 4th gear at 2000 rpm but you need a very feeling right foot.
That's the only point to be carefully with the right foot. Out of driver, car or traffic reason
you mustn't be careful with the performance. These little car has driving speed as an true race car.
They fit the special wide 4 ½ wheels with 145/10 Dunlop SP tyres, so you have a wide of 1,24m front and 1,21 rear. With these tyres running the car were you want. It's driving - equal slow or fast, good or bad roads - exactly to the point you like. Only at very high speed you feel the typical frontwheel drive understeering.
It is fact, that you are driving faster in the normal traffic through these good drivable function.
That's the only point, where the mini is dangerous and nothing more.
The brakes (front disc, rear drums with brakeservo) are good enough for these light car. The weight (incl. 50 l patrol), with all special equipment and 7 (12 V 55W Jod) lamps 665 kg!
Now to the costs for these fun. The petrol consumption was on the motorway (300km with a 122,6 km/h) 11,4 l/100km, altogether 12,6 l / 100km.
And the prize of the car himself? The normal 78PS 1275cc Mini Cooper S cost DM 10275. The Monte a little more, surely.
Jochen Springer for the ADAC Motorwelt May1965
The original story is quite interesting to read and written in very nice words. I try to translate these accurate to give you a feeling of all the small jokes inside.