Minis and the Month of October
Significant events in the life of the Mini from the month of October.
1893, October. Charles Newton Cooper (John Cooper’s father) was born in Paris to an English father and Spanish mother on Saturday the 14th. The family moved to England (Malden) when Charles was a child.
Might Have Been October?
1955, Fall. Alex Issigonis was asked by Leonard Lord to go to work in the BMC design headquarters as Chief Engineer.
The Sputnik Connection
1957, October. On a trip to the Paris Motor Show, Alex Issigonis, Jack Daniels, John Sheppard and Dick Burzi became interested in the recent launch of the first man made satellite, Sputnik. They wondered whether their car would have the same “around the world” impact and picked up on the Sputnik name. The future Mini became known as the Sputnik to the insiders.
To Spain and Back
1958, October. The preproduction Minis made an extended testing trip to Spain.
First Coopers for Sale
1961, October. The 997 Cooper went on sale. (Some sources say September.) By stroking the 848cc Mini engine and reducing the bore slightly, 997cc was achieved. The long stroke engine with a good cam, twin HS2 carbs, and other modifications produced 62% more horsepower (55) than the 848. A remote gear change was added and 7” disc brakes were fitted. Of the first 500 cars built (through the 11th): Austin 269, Morris 231.
Up Market and a Bigger Bum
1961, October. The Riley Elf and Wolseley Hornet went on sale. Mechanically, they were the same as the Austin/Morris Minis. They had the same wheelbase as the Austin/Morris Mini saloon, too; i.e., they were NOT a long wheel based Mini. With the extended boot they were 8.5” longer than the saloon and just shorter than the Vans and Estates. Weight for the Elf was 114 pounds more than the standard saloon with the Hornet a little less. They came with an extended boot and traditional Riley/Wolseley grille. The Elf had a full width wood dash and the Hornet just a center pod wood dash. Leather faced seats (not on the earliest cars), different bumpers and exterior trim also differentiated these cars from the Austin/Morris Mini. Whitewall tires were optional!
Name Change and the Super is Gone Already
1962, October. The Super (and the De-Luxe) were dropped and replaced by the Super De-Luxe, rightly regarded by many as a step back from the Super in trim level.
Tinny for the U.K.
1962, October. The Countryman and Traveller were offered for sale in the U.K. without the wood trim. This version had been originally announced at the March 1961 Geneva Auto Show and was available outside of the U.K. prior to October 1962.
Cooper in Australia
1962, October. The 997 Cooper went on sale in Australia.
Clutch Pedal Optional
1965, October. The automatic transmission was introduced to the Mini range.
Roll-ups Continue Rolling Out
1965, October. The Australian roll-up window doors were now in use across the entire line in Australia, and would soon appear on South African Minis.
Aaltonen Conquers M-V-B
1965, October. Aaltonen, in CRX89B, won the Munich-Vienna-Budapest Rally.
1275 Cooper S in South Africa
1965, October. Although October date is not for certain, most likely this was the month the Cooper S (1275) went on sale in South Africa.
Minis and the Month of October
Article Date: Oct 03, 2011