The Minissima is a small concept city car that was designed by William Towns (as the Townscar) as his idea for a replacement for the Mini in 1972. It was displayed by BLMC on their stand at the 1973 London Motor Show after they bought the prototype from Towns.
|Also called||Elswick Envoy|
In common with the Mini it was designed around 10" wheels and the BMC A-Series engine. It is 30" (75 cm) shorter than the Mini and designed to park end-on to the curb (like the Smart Fortwo), having only one door - at the rear. It has four seats, two at the front, front facing, and two facing inwards at the rear.
The Minissina design re-emerged a few years later as a prototype car for the disabled, adapted by engineering firm GKN Sankey by ex Ford engineer Fred Hart. During the engineering process, the layout changed to feature a central driving position in which a wheelchair user would enter through the back door using a fold-down rear ramp, and drive off. The styling was simplified by William Towns to suit mass production and won a Design Council award in 1978, it did not gain government support due to high costs and the project was cancelled.
GKN sold the rights to British bicycle manufacturer Elswick, and a small number were manufactured from 1981 to 1987 and were sold as the Elswick Envoy. In 2007, an Elswick Envoy was the subject of a 24-minute short film, Elegy for the Elswick Envoy, which shared the prize for best documentary in the 2008 Aspen Shortsfest film festival.
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