BMC and the Mini

In 1956, Dr Alex Moulton formed the consultancy company Moulton Developments, through which he would do most of his design work on both bicycles and automotive suspensions.

Alex Moulton had met Alec Issigonis in the early 1950s, when they worked together on the Alvis motor car. When Issigonis began working at BMC (British Motor Corporation), his cars incorporated Alex Moulton’s suspension designs.

The first BMC car to feature the Moulton suspension was the iconic Mini. The brief was to produce a car that was compact and efficient. The space saving suspension used simple, compact rubber cones rather than conventional springs.

The Hydrolastic suspension appeared in the BMC project ADO16 cars such as the 1100, 1300, Allegro and others. It was also fitted to the Mini from 1964.

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  • One thought on “BMC and the Mini

    1. Paul Copeland

      I hate to be a pedant but if the page is going to chronicle Alex Moulton’s fine suspensions, then details should be correct. First BMC stands for British Motor Corporation.

      The Mini (ADO15) was originally to be fitted with Hydrolastic suspension but the system was not complete so the iconic rubber springs were used. Some Minis did indeed receive Hydrolastic suspension from 1964 onwards, however after the British Leyland takeover nearly all Minis reverted to the rubber cone springing.

      The ADO16 which was the BMC 1100 and 1300 was the first car fitted with Hydrolastic. This was followed by the ADO17 (BMC1800) which again used Hydrolastic but was much larger and arranged the front and rear suspension differently. Hydrolastic was also fitted to the Austin 3 Litre (this included a complex self levelling system) and finally to the Maxi.

      The Allegro (ADO67) replaced the BMC 1100 and was fitted with Hydragas which replaced the rubber spring (acted on by fluid) of Hydrolastic with a Nitrogen gas spring. This was followed by the replacement to the 1800, the Princess which also used Hydragas. Hydragas was used on the Austin Mini Metro but without interconnection which affected it’s performance. Alex Moulton owns a Mini with Hydragas suspension and all who travel in it comment what a fantastic ride it has.

      The final car with Hydragas was the MGF sports car.

      Regards,
      Paul Copeland

      Reply
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