Mini suspension designer and Moulton Bicycle Company founder, Dr Alex Moulton, has died aged 92
Steve Cropley Autocar
10 December 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.  

Join the debate

Comments
11

10 December 2012

Very sad to hear this. Its a real shame that Hydragas (the further updated version of Hydrolastic) is still not used today, it was a great system, compact cheap and gives an amazing ride.

10 December 2012

Sad news but he had a good run. How many live into their 90s anymore? More and more I'm hearing of people developing the big C in their 50s! Our modern world is killing us off early. Maybe nature's way of dealing with global over population.

Cyborg

10 December 2012

Alex Moulton has to be one of the last great "gentlmen-engineers", born into privilage, but turning that postion into career of both great accademic and creative distinction. He was involved in numeros excellent engineering projects that required more than just accademia, they needed a brain capable of thinking completely outside tradition. His automotive suspension systems, his cycles, his space frame coach to name but a few.

I've personally loved his cycles since I was a young lad, and felt very privilaged to take delivery of the very first customer AM14S some twenty-five years ago, I very much hope the cycle dynasty will continue to prosper, as a testiment to a great engineer.

10 December 2012

Cyborg, people are living longer and longer nowadays, the average age at death (in the Western world at least) is higher than ever before and more people than ever are living to 100 plus, so I dont know what youre on about !

10 December 2012

Very sad news and a great loss.

 

RIP Dr Alex

10 December 2012

A mate of mine turned up at my house one day when I was about 11 on a Moulton bike. Remember it being foldable and having a really comfy ride if a bit girly-looking (the bike not my mate).

Can your GP prescribe anything for range anxiety?

10 December 2012

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZQSU6YDqg44

10 December 2012

First, we lost Carroll Shelby and now we lost Alex Moulton. They're great automotive pioneers and legends and they will be missed by many. My heart goes out to the people who know them with compassion.

11 December 2012

One of the true genius guys, in his earlier days, the British OWNED the motor industry, pissed it all away, at least the unions got what they wanted Smile

11 December 2012

I was lucky enough to spend an evening with him at his home about 5 years ago.  All I can say is that he was exactly as you would hope he would be.

Pages

Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • Lexus LC500
    Car review
    20 October 2017
    Futuristic Lexus LC coupé mixes the latest technology with an old-school atmospheric V8
  • Maserati Levante S GranSport
    First Drive
    20 October 2017
    Get ready to trade in your diesels: Maserati’s luxury SUV finally gets the engine it’s always needed
  • Jaguar XF Sportbrake TDV6
    First Drive
    19 October 2017
    The handsome Jaguar XF Sportbrake exhibits all the hallmarks that makes the saloon great, and with the silky smooth diesel V6 makes it a compelling choice
  • Volkswagen T-Roc TDI
    First Drive
    19 October 2017
    Volkswagen's new compact crossover has the looks, the engineering and the build quality to be a resounding success, but not with this diesel engine
  • BMW M550i
    First Drive
    19 October 2017
    The all-paw M550i is a fast, effortless mile-muncher, but there's a reason why it won't be sold in the UK