Issigonis – The Official Biography

This book tells the story of Alec Issigonis, the man who designed two of the UK’s most important cars of the 20th century: the Morris Minor and the iconic Mini.

ISSIGONIS — THE OFFICIAL BIOGRAPHY

Gillian Beardsley

Icon Books/£16.99

This is the story of Alec Issigonis, the man who designed two of the UK’s most important cars of the 20th century: the Morris Minor and the iconic Mini.

Beardsley charts Issigonis’ journey from his colourful childhood home of Smyrna, in present-day Turkey, through his flight to Malta at the outbreak of World War I, to his arrival in England, where he developed his skills as a designer through building and racing cars.

Throughout the book we are treated to the story of an enigmatic man who was utterly devoted to his cars. From Issigonis’ experiences with cycle-cars and Austin Sevens to his tireless efforts to get his design for a replacement Mini into production, Beardsley gives the reader a detailed analysis of his design career and the workings of his close-knit team set against the backdrop of the Morris Minor and Mini projects.

We learn, for instance, that on its initial launch, the Mini was given the rather less inspiring title of Morris Mini-Minor.

Finally, Beardsley describes Issigonis’s fall from grace in the British Leyland era, when his more individualistic approach contrasted with the design philosophy of the day.

With numerous original sketches and archive photographs Beardsley has produced a rich and detailed biography of the man who is hailed by many as the UK motor industry’s most famous designer.

Christopher Sell