The Greek Creator Of The Mini Car

  • by XpatAthens
  • Friday, 04 December 2015
The Greek Creator Of The Mini Car
SIR ALEXANDER ARNOLD KONSTANTINE ISSIGONIS (Αλέξανδρος Αρνόλδος Κωνσταντίνος Ισσιγόνης

- Born in Smyrna, Asia Minor on November 18, 1906 – Died on October 2, 1988 
- Greek designer of cars, known as the "Greek God" and for creating the Mini, which was launched by the British Motor Corporation in 1959.
- In 1999 the Mini was voted the second most influential car of the 20th century, behind the Ford Model T, and ahead of the Citroen DS and the Volkswagen Beetle.

Alexandros Issigonis (Sir Alec Issigonis) was born in Smyrna (now known as İzmir, Turkey) in Asia Minor. His grandfather Demosthenis Issigonis migrated to Smyrna from Paros, Greece in the 1830's. Alec's grandfather, Demosthenis, worked as an engineer for the Smyrna Aydin Railway and later owned a machine factory. Demosthenis managed to acquire British nationality. 

Alec's father, Constantine Issigonis (Κωνσταντίνος Ισηγόνης), was born, with British nationality, in Smyrna in 1872. Constantine studied in England. Alec's mother, Hulda Prokopp, could trace her origins back to Württembergwhich is now part of Germany. Through his mother, Issigonis was a first cousin to then BMW director (now at Volkswagen) Bernd Pischetsrieder.

Moreover, as Alec and his parents were British subjects, they were evacuated to Malta by British Royalty Marines in September 1922, ahead of the Great Fire of Smyrna and the Turkish re-possession of Smyrna at the end of the Greek and Turkish War 1919-1922. After the death of his father in 1922, Alec and his mother moved to the UK in 1923.

Issigonis studied engineering at Battersea Polytechnic in London. He failed his mathematics exams three times and subsequently called mathematics "the enemy of every creative genius"After Battersea Polytechnic, Alec decided to enter the University of London External Programme to complete his university education.

To read more about the designer of the Mini Car, please visit: Greek Gateway