Dr Alex Moulton: 1920-2012
Dr Alex Moulton, inventor of two different forms of suspension for Alex Issigonis’s legendary Mini, has died at the age of 92.
Moulton, who was a great friend of the Mini pioneer while he was alive, and a staunch defender of his legacy after he died in 1988, designed the revolutionary and ultra-compact rubber cone suspension system with which the Mini was launched. He later devised the Hydrolastic system which connected the front and rear wheel pair on each side of the car and gave the Mini an amazingly soft and level ride for its diminutive proportions.
Away from the car business, Alex Moulton was most famous for inventing the small-wheeled bicycle. Its 50th anniversary was recently celebrated at Moulton’s home in Bradford-on-Avon by admirers including Sir Norman Foster and Sir James Dyson. The bicycle, still popular with cycling enthusiasts, remains in production.
Moulton, who was a great grandson of the rubber pioneer Stephen Moulton, was active as an inventor from a very young age, converting his Austin Seven (not very successfully) to steam while still a student. During the war he was involved in engine design at the Bristol Aeroplane Company.
Afterwards he joined the family firm, Avon Rubber Co, rising to technical director before it was sold in the late 1950s. He then founded the research company Moulton Developments, still functioning at his death, where most of his inventions — including the Mini suspensions — were developed.