Motors with the mostest – the fourth in a series by Dave Moss celebrating more than 60 years since the BMC Mini made its debut.
Today, with newspapers, magazines, websites, and blogs and more covering every aspect of modern life, material appears every day written by ladies with a female audience in mind…. but back in the Mini’s early days, when the reading choice was between newspapers or magazines, most of what was to be found written about cars was written by men for men… from a distinctly male perspective.
Well, from deep in the archives, unseen for almost 60 years, and reproduced here unedited and in its entirety, we can now get a ladies’ view and thoughts on the earliest and then highly unconventional Austin Se7en and Morris Mini-Minor. Hand on heart, you’ll need to make up your own mind on whether its entirely objective in outlook… as it did emerge from the British Motor Corporation’s press office… and though titled “A Woman Driver’s View,” we’ll now never know who actually wrote it, since the author’s name is not stated. As with many press releases from the period, BMC also rather inconveniently chose not to date the feature, but references to “export only Austin and Morris 850 models” and “patriotic colours of red white and blue” help to date it to the first 3 years of production – and certainly before 1963, when more colours became available and “Mini” badging began appearing across the board.
Around 60 years on, its an interesting if now slightly quaint read – and worth remembering as you go that innovations like seat belts and childproof door locks were still years away from making an appearance…….
“A Woman Driver’s View…
Women of the world rejoice. In a men’s world a car has been designed with women in mind.
These new revolutionary models combine more stowage space and passenger room with manoeuvrability in a small car than has ever been achieved before.
These are cars which will make every shopping expedition a joy – because they have a place for everything. Deep pockets on passenger and driver doors and two spacious and handy open glove trays provide plenty of easy to get at room in front. Similar pockets on each side at the back, a wide shelf above the back seat and additional space for parcels under the rear seat allow for lots of overflow. No more splitting seams as one twists under the steering wheel to get at something on the back seat. No more worrying about parcels which persistently slide to the floor.
Parking is no problem. The cars are so compact they can be parked in the smallest space in the busiest of towns. Sliding windows open in a second so that one can get one’s head out while reversing without the risk of being choked on a hurriedly, half opened window. There is no overhang, which makes for ease of judgement in parking and reversing. Good acceleration and general manoeuvrability make it easy to sneak to the top in traffic queues.
These new models seat four adults, which in terms of children means there is room for yourself, several children and their seemingly endless and vital (to them) bits and pieces. As the cars are two-door models, once the children are in the back there is no fear they can open doors and fall out. The boot is remarkably capacious for such a small car, and opens downwards. When used as a platform it will accommodate that awkward school trunk which never wants to fit in anywhere. Even the number plate has been made to hinge downwards when the boot is open.
A centre handbrake obviates the risk of getting skirts snarled up as one gets out of the driving seat. The cars are simple in design , thoroughly reliable and very easy to drive. All round independent suspension and small wheels make for comfortable motoring on even the roughest roads.
Attractive to look at and produced in highly patriotic colours (red, white or blue) the Austin Seven and Morris Mini-Minor at 50 mph do 50 mpg, which should be economical enough to interest any husband. These are cars which wives should persuade their husbands to buy – for them, or if not for them, then certainly for the family. They are all purpose cars with universal appeal, the best all round value for a reasonable capital outlay on the market today In fact, these two new British Motor Corporation cars are beyond doubt the motors with the mostest…”