So you think you know the Mini

British Motor Heritage offers ‘quiz’ to test your knowledge

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Mini quiz
Do you know why engineer/designer Alec Issigonis made the door pockets in the Mini so large?

Although it is labeled as a “quiz,” what the British Motor Heritage has done as part of the 60th anniversary celebration of the Mini is to compile 60 “Mini facts and figures” to see if you know as much about the iconic car as you think you do.

You can download the entire list from a special website. And to spark your interest, the heritage team offers a dozen fun facts, which we’re presenting in quiz format:

What was 10x4x4 feet in dimensions?

The box into which Leonard Lord, the head of BMC, insisted the Mini should fit. It ultimately exceeded the prescribed length by a quarter of an inch!

What was the “Orange Box”?

The first Mini prototype Mini was nicknamed the “Orange Box” because of its paint color. The second prototype was more sedate, though its camouflage included the grille from an Austin A35.

Why were the original Mini’s door pockets so large?

To accommodate the ingredients of designer Alec Issigonis’ favorite drink of dry martini – bottles of Gordon’s gin and vermouth.

Where was the famous scene from the original The Italian Job, of Mini Coopers outrunning police in Alfa Romeos, filmed?

It wasn’t filmed in Italy but in Coventry, England.

Duckhams turned Mini into rolling oil can

Identify two of the many “weird and wonderful” versions of the Mini used for corporate marketing.

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Outspan oranges and Duckhams oil cans were among the companies that turned Minis into rolling billboards for their products.

Mary Quant and her Mini

What item of clothing was named for the car?

The miniskirt, and designer Mary Quant noted that “neither (the car nor the skirt) is any longer than necessary.

Paul McCartney and his Mini

Why has the Mini been described as being “classless”?

Though clearly aimed at the lower end of the market, the Mini found favor with film stars, sports idols and pop icons, including the four Beatles.

The CV joints on the driveshafts of the original Mini trace to what object?

They were adapted from a Czech design used in submarine periscopes.

Issigonis wasn’t his family’s only famous automotive engineer. Who was the other one?

Alexander Arnold Constantine Issigonis was born in 1906 in Smyrna, Asia Minor, of a Greek father and German mother. His first cousin, Bernd Pischetsrieder, would become a key executive first at BMW and then at Volkswagen. Born in 1948, Pischetsrieder was chairman of BMW in 1994 when it purchased Rover Group, which included Mini and Land Rover.

What pop icon’s mirror-plated Mini was entered in the London Design Museum’s Celebrity Design Contest in 1999?

It was David Bowie’s.

Mini Moke

What was the original purpose of the Mini Moke?

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It was designed for military use but proved unsuitable. However, around 50,000 were produced and became popular as recreational vehicles for use at resorts and on beaches.

Mini on track

Surely, a car such as the Mini could never be successful in racing, right?

Wrong. Minis won 5 British touring car championships, 2 European touring car titles, 3 British rally championships and twice were crowned European Rally champions.

The British Motor Heritage was founded in 1975 to provide “genuine components” for historic British vehicles, using the original tools whenever possible. It has produced more than 6,000 replacement body shells for such vehicles as the MGB and Midget, Austin Healey Sprite, Triumph TR6, and the original Mini. 

For more information, visit the BMH website.

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A former daily newspaper sports editor, Larry Edsall spent a dozen years as an editor at AutoWeek magazine before making the transition to writing for the web and becoming the author of more than 15 automotive books. In addition to being founding editor at ClassicCars.com, Larry has written for The New York Times and The Detroit News and was an adjunct honors professor at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.

6 COMMENTS

  1. I own a 2009 Mini Clubman Base with the performance and appearance package. This has to be my favorite vehicle of all I’ve owned.To won a Mini is to love a Mini.

  2. The Mini that Paul is standing by is not a UK market mini.
    Note door hinges external type plus wind up side window
    plus 1/4 vent. This is like Australian market mini

    • UK Minis had external hinges. Whilst I can see the logic behind putting wind-up windows in a more luxurious export model, I cannot see why they would make the hinges external when they were concealed on a cheaper model.

      • Internal hinges did not appear ’til the Mklll. Or should I say: “disappear”? The Mini in the photo was heavily modified at Harold Radford Coachbuilders, Ltd. That’s where it got the electrically-operated roll-up windows.

  3. Hey Guys…you talk about a quiz and that it’s on a special website…How about a link…Already went to BMH and there’s nothing there.

    • In the second paragraph, the words “a special website” should appear to be in a different color. Click on them and you get the link to the website with the quiz, which will download to your computer.

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