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In the late fifties, Leonard Lord, chairman of British Motor Corporation (BMC), had a vision that the market needed a new type of car, one that was small on the outside and big on the inside.
In 1957, Alec Issigonis, who had already achieved fame with the Morris Minor, was appointed to develop a prototype car for four people, with an existing engine from BMC, which was smaller than the current cars from the BMC companies. In July 1958, Alec Issigonis invited his client to test one of the two prototypes. Leonard Lord was surprised by the car's combination of speed and handling and immediately gave the go-ahead for the project to proceed. The next step was to deliver a production version; For this, they were given a 12-month deadline. Austin and Morris, the brands that had co-founded BMC in 1952, each launched a model under their own name in August 1959: the Austin Seven and the Morris Mini Minor. Production facilities were set up at Longbridge (Austin factory) and Cowley (Morris factory), where by June 1959 about 100 cars a week rolled off the production line. The Mini could be largely adapted to the taste of the user with all sorts of colors, mirrors, flags and lamps so that you almost never see two identical copies. As for the Countryman Woody, it was produced just a year after the Mini and it was very popular with those who wanted a bit more space, both independents and families. It was 25 cm longer, and had a flat floor, which gave it exemplary modularity. Significant advantage today: produced in much fewer copies, it is highly sought.