On this day in auto history - October 1st

Fri 1st Oct 2021

It was on this day in 1988 that the death was announced of the celebrated car designer Alec Issigonis - the inspiration behind both the Morris Minor and the Mini - at the age of 81.

Born to British subjects in modern day Greece, Issigonis moved to the UK in his teens and learnt his craft engineering cars for Humber initially before joining Morris Motors in 1936.

Having worked on various projects throughout the war, Issigonis became a huge name in motoring when he was revealed as the design brains behind the hugely popular Morris Minor - the first British vehicle to sell over one million units during a production run which lasted from 1948 to 1972.

Following the 1952 merger of Morris and Austin into BMC, Issigonis had a short spell at Alvis Cars but he was recruited back to BMC in 1955 to work on what would become his masterpiece - the Mini - which went on to become the best-selling British-made car in history, shifting over 5.3 million units.

Nicknamed the “Greek God” by contemporaries after the Mini’s record-breaking feats, Issigonis went on to enjoy further success with his next major creation, the Austin Maxi, but he became a victim of British Leyland cost-cutting in the late 1960’s and retired from the industry in 1971 shortly after being knighted.