2020 Shannons Winter Timed Online Auction
1963 Morris Mini 850 Saloon
Bids Close: Wednesday 26 August 8.45pm AEST*
|Engine||In-line 4-cylinder, 848cc|
|Interior||Red & Black|
This lot is no longer available
The Mini is a design icon, as much a part of the Swinging Sixties as The Beatles and Carnaby Street. No other small car has managed to capture the public imagination in quite the same way, nor revolutionise motoring to the extent that the Mini managed. The brilliant designer Alec Issigonis conceived a car that was both diminutive on the outside, roomy on the inside and – just as importantly – great fun to drive. Front-wheel drive, Hydrolastic suspension and wheel-at-each-corner layout conspired to give great handling and road holding while the A-Series engines provided plenty of zip for city driving. Pretty soon, the Mini was the car of choice for everyone, from the average punter to numerous celebrities, while racing drivers busy were unleashing the giant-killing potential of the Mini on the racetrack before long. Wearing either Austin or Morris badges, the Mini first hit the streets in 1959 and sold strongly for eight years before BMC felt any freshening up was required. The early sliding window 850s have a charm lost on later models, from the floor-mounted starter button to the minimalist interior. Local production commenced in January 1961 using Completely Knocked Down (CKD) kits from the UK, albeit with local content. Badged only as Morris 850 (no Austin variant was sold here), the earliest Mini was sold in both sedan and van models before the Deluxe arrived in 1965. The Mini proved a huge hit here and a total of 60,888 were assembled at BMC’s Zetland facility at a rate of approximately 1200 cars per month. Enjoying a loyal following and thriving club scene around Australia, values of early Minis have been climbing steadily in recent years, reflecting not only the enduring popularity of Issigonis’ design but the rarity of these early models.