|One of Sir Alec's "Fag-Packet" Sketches|
Readers of Autocar, one of Britain's oldest and most respected motoring journals were asked to name the greatest British car ever made. They chose the classic Mini in a surprising vote.
Sir Alec Issigonis' revolutionary small car design set the formula that is still followed today: efficient interior packaging, transversely mounted engine in front and front wheel drive. Compared to modern cars the classic Mini is spartan. Sir Alec deemed radios an unnecessary distraction, but he made sure that the storage pockets in the doors were designed to be large enough to accept a bottle of his favorite gin.
These days, MINI is the direct descendant of the classic, but safety requirements dictated a much larger and complex car, as all modern cars must be. Indeed, the Mini "Spiritual" concept was put forward as a design proposal that closely followed Sir Alec's original guidelines of maximum space inside a minimal footprint but the BMW directors decided that the car should be more a fashion statement than super efficient transportation. Judging by the MINI's success, they were correct in their choice.