On this day- 26th of August- in 1959 the British Motor Corporation (BMC) launched the Mini Cooper, which was revealed by British Greek motor vehicle designer and the man behind the look of the car- Alec Issigonis (Αλέξανδρος Ισιγώνης).
Issigonis was born in Smyrni on November 18th 1906 to father Konstantinos, whose birthplace was on the island of Paros and mother Hilda who was German but of Smyrnian descent.
In 1922 his father passed away and in 1923 he relocated to London with his mother and began studying mechanics. Issigonis failed miserably at mathematics but excelled in design, he was famously quoted as saying “Maths are an enemy to anyone with a creative mind.”
He finished his studies at the University of London and later began working for British motor vehicle companies Humber and Morris Motor Company. In 1948, after World War II he designed the “Moskito”, which was a small and low budget vehicle.
In 1955 the international crisis that led to fuel shortages and gasoline rationing across Europe prompted the need for another small car, that was fuel efficient and cheap- that is when Issigonis really got to work and created the now famous “Mini Cooper” which was launched in August.
The small, affordable car went on to become one of the best-selling British cars in history and still famous all around the world as one of the greatest small vehicles of all time. He also later designed the popular “Morris 1100” and “Austin 1100”, which are also popular vehicles.
The “Greek God” as he was referred to by many, was honoured and given the title of “Sir” by Queen Elizabeth in 1969 and died in October of 1988.