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Alec Issigonis

(1906—1988) motor engineer and designer


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(1906–1988)

British car designer, who was responsible for both the Morris Minor and the Mini. He was knighted in 1969.

Of Greek descent (his father was a naturalized Briton), Issigonis came to England in 1918 when, with his parents, he left his home in Smyrna to escape the impending Turkish invasion. Educated at the Battersea Polytechnic, Issigonis began his working life in 1933 as a draughtsman at Rootes, the Coventry car manufacturer. In 1936 he moved to Morris Motors at Cowley and stayed with them throughout their later transformations into the British Motor Corporation and British Leyland, serving variously as chief engineer (1957–61), technical director (1961–72), and as advanced design consultant (since 1972).

Issigonis's first major triumph came with his Morris Minor in 1948. Starkly functional, it was greeted with little enthusiasm by the Morris sales staff. It went on, however, to sell 1 293 331 models before it was withdrawn in 1971. Issigonis took his ideas further in 1959 with his most famous design, the Mini Minor. Despite some initial design faults there was never any doubt that Issigonis's model would sweep the world.

Subjects: Industrial and Commercial Art.


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