European classic Mini Cooper cut down to size
The original Mini Cooper was a micro machine -- petite in size and light on fuel -- perfect for narrow urban streets.
With the relaunch of the brand, new BMW-built Minis are steadily growing in size. However, British coachbuilder David Brown Automotive seeks to return to the icon's roots with the debut of its Mini Remastered.
The Mini Remastered has all the right looks of the 1960s icon but paired with proper modern technology.
Each car is built from the ground up using a new structure and new body panels, strengthened with additional support struts. The body has also been "de-seamed" and "visually softened," the company says. What that means is that the original's sharp lines (most notably down the front fender and from the rear of the roof down to the rear bumper, as well as some bulges around the door hinges) have been smoothed for a better visual appearance.
The cabin is quieter, thanks to an intensive soundproofing process. Paint options abound and come with fun names like Good Vibrations (pink), Wild Thing (green) and Bad Moon Rising (gray). There's three wheel choices, one of which can be color-matched to the body color.
Exterior touches include a custom-built aluminum grill and a unique LED rear light cluster. Instead of a single lens on each side, the Mini Remastered gets three, each surrounded by a chrome bezel. There's also handcrafted enamel badges and puddle lights under the side of each bullet-style side mirror.
Inside the cabin, you'll find custom seats and hand-trimmed leather on the dash, door panels and luggage area. The leather can be had in one of six colors. There's retro-inspired gauges, climate control, a cup holder and a touch-screen in the middle of the dash. This four-speaker sound and info system features navigation, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, as well as USB connectivity and charging.
Other tech goods include keyless push-button start and remote control locking. The front and rear windows are heated, making for better visibility in bad weather.
Under the hood is a reworked classic Mini 1,275-cubic-centimeter, 78-horsepower engine, which has double the power of the original. This gets paired to a reconditioned four-speed manual transmission.
The suspension is also upgraded with new components and brakes. Add it all up and the company promises a "punchy, dynamic and nimble" driving experience.
Each vehicle is hand-built at David Brown's headquarters in the United Kingdom. They're crafted to a high-level of detail -- one takes roughly 1,000 man hours to put together.
Prices start at 75,000 English pounds ($93,965) and the plan is for the Mini Remastered to be built in "strictly limited numbers," between 50 and 100 cars a year.
If you want to even more exclusivity, the company has two special editions. The "Inspired by Cafe Racers'' model hearkens to the lightweight motorcycle movement that began in the 1950s. The "Inspired by Monte Carlo" version is a throwback to the thrill and glamour of the races held near Monte Carlo on the French Riviera. Both packages will get unique interior, exterior and accessory finishes and colors.
These retro Remastered Minis seem perfect for crowded city cruising. They're charming and hip and would be a way-cool addition to our own downtown streets. I hope to see some buzzing around very soon.
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