The Mini's creator Sir Alec Issigonis, was a genius. He designed the Mini to be a small, economic car with safe handling. He was able to visualise the completed car during its design. It was revolutionary - with front wheel drive, gears mounted in the sump and a transverse engine. The whole engine and transmission was fitted on subframes to fit compactly under the Mini's tiny bonnet. It was just over 10 feet long, its wheels were 10 inches high, yet it could take 4 people and luggage. It has been available as a saloon, station wagon, pick-up, van, cabriolet, utility vehicle – the Mini Moke and has had many ‘Special Edition’ models launched. It first appeared on the UK roads in August 1959, during the fuel crises caused by the Suez Canal blockade. It was not immediately successful until the Queen was seen driving in one, since then it became a fashion accessory of the swinging 60’s, with everyone who was anyone owing a Mini. Once its incredible handling and performance was proved in rallies and circuit races, eg. the Monte Carlo Rally being the most famous, John Cooper Racing became interested and the Mini Cooper was launched. There were many attempts to replace the Mini but none really succeeded. The Austin Mini Metro and Rover Metro 100 were the most successful and lasted from 1981 to 1997. The last Minis were produced in October 2000 after 41 years of production with essentially the same road holding, handling and style as the original Mini in 1959.