Mini and Cheltenham Spa Express…

Posted: February 22, 2015 in Fotos, Obscurities
Tags: , ,

mini paddo

The Mini photographed in the year of its launch, 1959, at Paddington Station by Henry Manney of ‘Road & Track’ fame…

The Mini was launched to the press in April 1959, this photo taken by Henry Manney at Paddington Station. Maybe one of our British readers can tell us if this is the site of the cars launch?

Leonard Lord, the head of British Motor Corporation, laid down the design parameters for a small fuel efficient car during the Suez Crisis, which spiked the price of oil and caused its rationing in the UK. Alec Issigonis and his small team at Morris created a design icon which was voted the second most influential car of the last century after Henry Fords Model T.

The Cheltenham Spa Express or ‘Cheltenham Flyer’ is a train service from Paddington to Cheltenham Spa in Gloucestershire. Rivalry between railway companies in the 1920’s increased speeds, the ‘Cheltenham Flyer’ so named as trains on this route were the fastest in the world at various times…Train Driver Harry Rudduck, the Tazio Nuvolari of steam ! pushed his ‘Castle Class 5006 Treganna’ train to a record of an 81.6 mph average for the 77 mile trip in 1932.

Steam hasn’t survived nor has the ‘A Series’ powered Mini but it’s comforting that both forms of transport are as contemporary now as they were in 1959…

(Henry Manney)

  1. Stephen Dalton says:

    Hi guys, just found out about this site. Looks like another place I can ‘waste’ hours.
    The Paddington Mini photo appears in Automobile Year #7, exact date taken unknown. But probably October 59 promoting Earls Court MS. There was actually about a dozen various cars present.

    Also the press release for the Mini-Minor & it’s twin Austin Seven (as the Mini was first known) was held at Chobham military test track one week prior to August 26, 1959 public release of the cars.

    • markbisset says:

      thanks stephen, and yep Auto Year is where i scanned the shot from but there were no details about it, so your history of the launch is interesting to know…enjoy your TNF posts BTW! mark

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