2022 Shannons Spring Timed Online Auction
1964 Morris Mini 850 Saloon
This lot is no longer available
The Mini is a design icon, as much a part of the Swinging ‘60s 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 did. 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 a wheel-at-each-corner layout conspired to give great handling and roadholding 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 person to many celebrities, while racing drivers were also busy unleashing the giant-killing potential of the Mini on the racetrack. 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 needed. The early sliding window 850s have a charm lost on later models, from the floor-mounted starter button to the minimalist interior. Local production began 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 (NSW) 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 climbed steadily, reflecting not only the enduring popularity of Issigonis’ design but the rarity of these early models.