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The Galician Job

THE GALICIAN JOB

 

As you may have seen in our articles, most important thing is not power, size or performance. We look for vehicles with identity and history as demonstrated by the small Seat 600. Today we present a car that, despite sharing nationality with brands like Jaguar or Aston Martin, is the one that best represents the history of the United Kingdom. The humble utilitarian was made with the hearts not only of the British but of users from all over the globe becoming a global icon together with the Fiat 500 or the VW Beetle.

Although the birth of this car comes from a mixture of need and the anger of a man, called Leonard Lord, president of British Motor Company, who did not like the way his country’s industry was taking , with the Suez crisis of 1956 when the United Kingdom limited gasoline supplies which completely paralyzed the sale of large cars. The trend in the British Isles was to buy the famous German bubble cars like the BMW Isetta that were small and with very low consumption. In addition in 1957, the Fiat 500 was launched, which was also a success in the United Kingdom, but Leonard Lord did not like the idea and wanted to have a purely British vehicle that solved all those problems caused by the fuel crisis. Lord ordered the project to Alec Issigonis, a former engineer from BMC, whom he reassigned for this project. He told him that he had to make a car that measured no more than a box of 3m x 1.2m x 1.2m and that the space for passengers had to occupy 1.8m of the 3m length of the car. Lord approved the design of the car in 1957.

This vehicle has a very long history of manufacturing, in which are 7 generations of the original Mini, far is the first generation mini manufactured in the United Kingdom in 1959 and the last unit of the seventh generation that left production in the year 2000. After being the protagonist of the change of industries in half the world after almost half a century. Our three Minis today are included in the third generation produced between 1969 and 1976.

The passion for this small British vehicle crossed the borders of the isle and reached half the world, our three protagonists are the clear example, these are David, Suso and José Manuel, whose three vehicles are from the year 1973. David bought his in 2002 what sweetened the view of Suso and José Manuel and would lead them to acquire theirs near 2013. The three cars would end up being restored in Porriño by a good friend of them.

The acquisition as it usually happens in these cases was not easy. David, the owner of what is as he says “more Racing”, the orange, perhaps with the longest history, was decommissioned, was abandoned for about 20 years. It got rehabilitated in traffic and repainted in its original green with which it came. All this in its first restoration, then it would be taken to its current excellent state along with the other two, José Manuel obtained his Blue Mini in Carballeda de Avia in abandoned state and as a result of years in a driving school. Finally Suso, the owner of the classic red and the most serial, was acquired in A Coruña with the body exposed and owned by a rally driver of the area.

None of them regrets the purchase, today they would buy it anyways because, although the purchase of parts has not been a problem since there still companies who continue to manufacture spare parts for these vehicles, decisions making and restoration times have been the biggest headaches.

When the engine that this car would take was thought, the condition of BMC was that the engine used had to be one of an existing Morris Minor model that had 948cc, but they decided to reduce it to 840cc because they considered that the largest one had too many specs for the concept of vehicle they had in mind. This left the first mini with 33CV. Although, more engines would be added, the most outstanding ones were the 998cc and the 1275cc. Regarding to suspension, as a method of space saving instead of conventional springs they used compact rubber cones, which also absorbed a bit to help cushioning, in turn, the car was widened to give it more stability, all this gave the car its characteristic behavior similar to a Go Kart, which gave it fame at the sport level. Tuner “GLD” was hired to prepare the 3 engines, what made restorations much easier.

The mini demonstrated its ability to race in several levels, but the Monte Carlo Rally was the one that gave this icon real fame. In fact, the agility of the Cooper S led him to win in 64 ‘, 65’ and 67 ‘against infinitely more powerful rivals. However, the victories were not the only highlight, in 66’ three Minis reached the end of the rally occupying the three podium places. But a questionable disqualification for the type of lamps that rode left them out of the competition. On the other hand, Pat Moss and Ann Wisdom in 1962 took the female victory at the controls of one of these models.

A friend of Alec Issigonis was John Cooper, the now legend of Formula 1 who decided to squeeze the full potential of the Mini and designed a car that could be approved for the Rally Group 2, this was a resounding success, up to the present day where those two names. They remain united and mean a lot to any fan of this motorsport world.

In a total of 41 years and under a lot of brand names, were sold almost 5 and a half million Minis, a car that conquered the world with its humble appearance. There are endless versions with their respective stories with this car. Those of our three protagonists are stories with a happy ending since both David, Suso and José Manuel can be happy with the cars they love. After all the headaches that a restoration ever gives, everything is worthy, as they have been able to tell us. From our part we can only say that the three Minis are in an enviable state and we would like any owner of a classic treat yourself as well as the three of you treat yours.

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