Alec Issigonis, 81, designer of the box-like Mini car that brought economical motoring to millions of Britons. Issigonis joined Morris Motors in 1936 and built a lightweight, hill-climb car to demonstrate the potential of all-independent suspension. His first complete production car was the Morris Minor. After working at Alvis in the early 1950s, Issigonis returned to what had become British Motor Car Corp. to design and produce a small, economical car--the Mini. The result was radical for the time--a transverse engine powering the front wheels. More than 5 million Minis, planned as “a box on wheels,” have been built since they were introduced in 1959, setting a new standard for small-car design. He was knighted in 1969. In London on Sunday.