|1959 Austin Seven|
Photo by Kate Tompkins
Continuing with the cars that caught my eye at Beaulieu, here’s an Austin Seven from 1959, built by the British Motor Corporation. While there have been a lot of Austin Sevens over the years, the 1959 version was actually the first Mini (it was also sold as the Morris Mini-Minor). This particular model is one of the oldest Austin Minis still in existence.
Under the hood is an 848 cc four cylinder capable of 70 mp, that put out 34 bhp at 5,500 rpm. New, it would have run you around 540 pounds. Unlike today’s MINI, it was an economical car to buy, at least if you bought the base version (mirrors, radio, heater and seat belts were all extra). It was also quite innovative in its day. Designer Sir Alec Issigonis used a front-wheel drive layout that opened up space in the interior compared to other cars of the same size.
My dad owned a couple of Minis when I was little, a Mini Cooper, and later a Mini wagon, so I’m rather partial to them. Don’t know what model year his first was, but there are photos of it from 1964 so it has to be a Mark I.
[SOURCES: http://www.beaulieu.co.uk/, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mini]