BIRMINGHAM’S MINI – THE CAR OF THE TWENTIETH CENTURY

Birmingham was where the first petrol-driven motor car was developed by Frederick Lanchester in Montgomery Street, Sparkbrook

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The Mini, an icon of the swinging Sixties, was manufactured at Birmingham’s Longbridge plant from 1959 to 2000. In 1999 the Mini was voted the most influential car of the 20th century, and in 2014 it was named Britain’s favourite car of all time in a survey by motoring magazine Autocar. By the late 1960s, Longbridge was the biggest car plant in the world and employed around 30,000 workers.

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And it all started here in Brum. It was in 1895 in Birmingham that Frederick William Lanchester built the first petrol-driven four-wheeled car in Britain. He also invented the accelerator pedal.

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Lanchester,who had been working at the Forward Gas Engine Company in Saltley, Birmingham, had first devised an engine that ran on petrol rather than gas. As part of that, he invented the carburettor to get the correct mix of air and fuel.

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Having tried the new engine in a…

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