When Mini Vans Were Cool

by | Sep 9, 2021

Today’s Post by Joe Farace

I think the Smart Car is awesome. The only problem is I’ve been on the freeway and felt like I was going to be blown away like a Tim Hortons coffee cup, so I may have to upgrade to a Mini Cooper – something a little stronger.—Ellen Page

Minivan sales were down in 2019 with 73,000 fewer sales compared with 2018. That’s a drop of about 15 percent. And this is far from the first year that has happened. Minivan sales have trended downwards for the last several years while at the same time SUV and crossover sales are climbing. I’ve written about this trend recently with this post. Based on my admittedly limited viewpoint, I seem to see more minivans, especially the tank-like Honda Odyssey on the roads than in pre-pandemic times. But there was a time when Mini Vans were cool…

minivanThe A35 was a small family car that Austin sold from 1956 until 1968. In 1959, the A35 passenger cars were replaced by the new A40 Farina-designed models but the estate car version continued until 1962 and the van version until 1968. All in all, 280,897 A35s of all types were produced including vans such this one. (By comparison, Honda has sold 61,750 Odysseys so far this year, 83,409 last year and each year before that the trend has been downward.)

In 1956, a two-door deluxe saloon (sedan) with the 948 cc engine was tested by the UK’s Motor magazine and found to have a top speed of 71.9 mph and could accelerate from 0-60 mph in 30.1 seconds. A fuel consumption of 34.6 mpg was recorded, not that anybody cared about gas mileage at that point in time when regular gas sold for about 30 cents a gallon.

How I made this shot: I photographed the above Austin Mini Van in the charming community of Prospect Colorado. It was captured with my Canon EOS 50D before it was converted to infrared (and later sold.) The image was shot using an EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM lens (at 17mm.) Exposure was 1/400 sec at f/145 and ISO 800.


screen-shot-2017-02-24-at-7-29-26-amFor all you Wallace & Gromit fans out there, an A35 van was featured in the 2005 movie, The Curse of the Were-Rabbit and I think it’s green like this one. The movie is available on DVD from Amazon for $9.65 as I write this. If you’re not familiar with the Wallace & Gromit series, you will love and laugh out loud at this movie