We have good news, and we have bad news. First, the good: BMW is showing off this ridiculously fun classic Mini at the New York Auto Show, complete with the addition of a fully modernized electric powertrain. And now, the bad: It's a one-off that will not be put into production. To clarify, Mini will indeed unveil a full electric model sometime in 2019, but it'll be based on the new Cooper, not the classic you see here.
A luxurious treatment of the Mini.
It sold over five million units. It was voted the second most influential car of the last century, bested only by the pioneering Ford Model T. It counted among its owners Steve McQueen, Enzo Ferrari and Peter Sellers. It is the classic Mini.
Mini will be kicking off production in the Netherlands, a country that hasn't built a Mini-badged machine since 1966. In honor of this event, BMW Group Classic, the team responsible for all the cars in the BMW Museum, as well as being a spare parts and restoration company in its own right, revived a classic 1959 Austin Seven. That particular car, number 983, was one of the first Minis to be built in the Netherlands.
Ask anyone that's driven a classic Mini, and they'll probably tell you that their first reaction to driving it was a lot like the start of this video – whooping, shouting, laughing and a whole lot of smiling. This video, from Jon Quirk, editor-in-chief at Auto Trader UK, highlights the connection between him and his Rover Mini Paul Smith. He really nails the man-machine interface that makes owning a great car so much fun. Besides that, Quirk does a good job of enumerating what is so enjoya
Electric Federal has taken a fresh look back at the enduring legacy of original Mini with a video interview with Heritage Garage's Graham Reid, one of the foremost experts on classic Minis. As Electric Federal points out, it's important to remember that the Mini did not start out as a performance car. It was built in response to the Suez Canal crisis of the mid-50s, which had a similar effect on British gas prices as OPEC did on American prices in the 1970s – rationing and rapid price jump
What do Austin, Morris, British Motor Corporation, British Motor Holdings, British Leyland, Rover Group, and BMW all have in common? Each company has had a hand in bringing the world a sprightly, fuel-efficient, front-wheel-drive fun box on wheels – the Mini.
BMW Classic Center – Click above for high-res image gallery
The John Cooper Works garage in East Preston, U.K. is closing after being open the last six years. Named after John Cooper, a legend among race engineers and MINI owners, the garage was mostly a retail outfit from which John's son, Mike Cooper, continued to sell new and classic MINIs, mostly with the John Cooper Works kits and other tuning mods his father developed in collaboration with BMW.