Home / Auto News / News article: Top 10 Most Important Cars of All Time - AutoGuide.com News
 |  Nov 12 2012, 12:02 PM

BMC Mini

It seems every country has its an iconic vehicle. Germany’s got the beetle, France has Citroen’s 2CV, and America the Model T. For our friends across the Atlantic it’s the BMC Mini.

British Motor Corporation introduced this iconic passenger car in 1959. Initially it was sold under the Morris and Austin brands but Mini would eventually become its own marque a decade later.

The aptly named vehicle was brought to market as the result of a fuel shortage. Britain and France’s involvement in the Suez Crisis of 1956 irked the king of Saudi Arabia and he suspended petroleum shipments to the European countries.  Understandably this resulted in gas rationing, which put a serious damper on motoring in the U.K.

Fortunately, driving enthusiasts and the general public were soon treated to a revolutionary new car that put the wasteful consumption on notice.

Responding to the situation at hand, the folks at BMC conceived of the Mini. At just 10 feet in length it had a tiny footprint but it could still seat four adults. Fuel efficiency was equally remarkable.

It delivered these virtues thanks to some clever innovations. Like many cars before the Mini was front-wheel drive, but BMC’s big improvement to this layout had to do with how the engine was mounted. It was positioned transversely under the hood, meaning side to side rather than front to back. This allowed for as much interior room possible. It’s the same engine layout almost all front-wheel-drive vehicles use today.

Engineers also pushed the Mini’s suspension out to the corners of the vehicle, which further maximized interior volume. The result of the lightweight, low-slung design was go-kart handling, another virtue that helped cement its place in the automotive history books.

  • http://www.facebook.com/kostas.kritsilas.1 Kostas Kritsilas

    The Veyron was included as one of the 10 most important cars? I don’t understand that. It is such a limited production vehicle, and the technologies used in it are nowhere near usable on any other vehicle. If you want an important sports car that has had significant influence on the cars of today, how about the Lamborghini Muira, the first mid-engined volume production car? Its influence can be seen in cars from any number of manufacturers from Ferrari (many), Audi (R8), Pontiac (Fiero), Ford (Pantera and GT40), almost all Lamborghinis since the Muira), Maserati (Bora and Merak), and on and on. The Veyron itself uses the same layout.

    Kostas

  • Urbanwheelman

    How can the title have the most obvious of spelling errors. Importat?  Tsk. Tsk.

  • Rod

    “The Bugatti Veyron is none of this…”
    Yeah, and it’s damn ugly, too.

  • Guest

    Most disappointing list ever.

  • prius04

    The $250 price you quote for the Model T has no context.   In 1927 the average weekly wage was $30 a week or so.  Thus it took about 8 weeks to afford the car.  Today the average weekly wage is about $800 so after 8 weeks you would have about $6500.  This shows it would still be quite cheap but you would have better context.

  • Calvin_guest

    Worst list of anything that Ive ever seen ever. die. die slowly.

  • Op Industries_1

    How did the Volvo 240 “brick” not make this list??

  • Mick

    To add to the Airflow’s importance, the first car Toyota ever made was basically a copy of the Chrysler: the Toyota AA.