• Short Summary

    Great documentary showing the design and testing of the greatest of all cars - the Mini Minor!

  • Description

    Reel 1. Film begins with the British Motor Corporation rosette logo. "The British Motor Corporation Ltd Presents - Wizardry on Wheels". The film title is seen over animated spinning car wheel.

    01:42:57 Montage sequence illustrating the concept of the world becoming a busy, rushed place. M/S of telephonists at work. C/U shows woman sitting in front of section marked "Tel-Aviv". They sit at a large switchboard system. Narrator observes that "The world is growing smaller, busier". Shots of busy London streets - traffic, pedestrian, buses etc. Sequence at an airport - businessmen board a BOAC aircraft, the plane takes off. Various shots of television aerials. A family with suitcases stand at a bus stop. Father checks his watch, the bus is late. They put their arms out to stop a bus but it speeds past.

    01:43:38 Narrator states that BMC have realised that what is needed is a fast, safe, low priced car that is fun to drive. Various shots of draftsmen at work on a car design. They aim to create a car small on the outside and big on the inside. Animated graphic is used to illustrate the important factors the designers have to consider.

    01:44:32 C/U of the car designer Alex Issigonis (Alec) at work at the drawing board. Various shots of men at work in the design room. They look at plans and discuss modifications. A graphic representation is used to show how they will construct the car. Various parts of the car appear on top of the blueprint and animated arrows are used to show various innovations. Four cartoon people appear in the car seats then the chassis is superimposed over them. It's a Mini!

    01:46:34 C/U of the blueprint being drawn. A prototype is assembled - a handmade body. A prototype Mini Minor is put through a gruelling test try-out. Various shots of the car being driven at speed and taking corners.

    01:47:00 The Mini Minor is put through its paces by a test driver. Various shots of the car being driven at speed, over rough terrain, emergency stops, endurance testing etc. C/U of test driver in the car and C/U of instrument panel. Two test drivers get out of their Minis to compare notes. Minis are seen being tested in varying conditions of the Continent. Minis are seen driving along the icy slopes of Norway and through the cobbled streets of Belgium.

    01:48:52 M/S of Mini on a petrol station forecourt. The car is filled with petrol and a woman garage attendant washes the windscreen. Narrator tells us that the Mini doesn't need to stop for petrol very often, it does 50 miles to the gallon at a steady 50 (I wish mine did!) Test driver climbs back into the car and drives off. Narrator observes that the new Mini is arousing interest wherever it goes. Minis are seen being tested in Britain, being driven through "picture-book villages". Night shots of the cars being driven in Britain.

    01:49:39 Back at the factory more checks are made. Technician checks under the bonnet. More road tests in Britain and on a German Autobahn. Point of view shots from inside a travelling car. Driver seen, also instrument panels. Narrator states: "No motorist in his senses would flog a car the way these test-drivers thrashed the new baby prototypes. Deliberately." C/U of the speedometer as the Mini is driven faster and faster. 56 mph, 60 mph, 72, 73, 74, 75 mph - wow! The Minis are "surprising the lives out of the motorists they whipped past!" announces the narrator.

    01:50:50 M/Ss and C/Us of laboratory machines testing individual components to breaking point. They are being given "protracted pummellings"

    01:51:17 Switzerland - the cars are tested on "really treacherous roads." Various shots of the cars driving on winding roads and through snow.

    01:51:36 Various shots of two Mini Minors being driven along very narrow winding roads.

    01:52:13 "From the snow of Switzerland to the heat and dust of Spain". Various shots of the Minis being driven along hot, dusty roads. Test driver opens the bonnet and checks inside. He then gets back inside and the two cars drive off.

    See other reels.

    Documentation file exists for "Wizardry on Wheels" - shotlist and commentary, may actually be for a different version of the film.

    Colour is very faded on this print.

  • Tags

  • Data

    Film ID:
    Media URN:
    British Pathé
    Issue Date:
    HD Format:
    Available on request
    Time in/Out:
    01:42:38:00 / 01:53:03:00

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