BMW will sell you a new take on the classic Cooper, but the current Mini is far removed from its compact roots. David Brown Automotive has taken up the challenge of creating a more authentic modern Mini and has hit it out of the park. It might be small, but behind that classic silhouette is a reworked version of the original drivetrain and a properly luxurious interior.
Resto-modding, or taking a much-loved classic and bringing it into the 21st century, is growing in popularity at the moment. Range Rover will sell you a pristine, 1978 Classic and Jaguar has dusted off the E-Type for another run. It's not just major manufacturers, either: the team at David Brown Automotive has lovingly taken the spirit of the Aston Martin DB5 and injected it into the Speedback GT, and the work done by Singer Vehicle Design is enough to make any 911 diehard fan weak at the knees. Given its status as a legend of the '60s, the Mini makes a logical candidate for modernization.
It might look like a classic Mini, but the team at David Brown Automotive has done plenty of work to refine the original Alex Issignois design. Cars are hand-built with new body panels, which are tweaked in-house to create a smoother, prettier shape than is found on the original car. Eagle-eyed readers will notice the lack of seams or lines on the body, and custom-built grilles and lights also give the Remastered Mini a look of its own.
Things have changed under the skin, too, with bespoke structural bracing and support struts contributing to greater overall rigidity. Not only will that help make the car safer, it should improve on the original's (already impressive) handling and its (not so impressive) in-cabin refinement. Speaking of refinement, a new focus on sound proofing will mean things are quieter inside, although we hope some noise from the rorty little engine up front still sneaks through.
That engine is based on the four-cylinder from the original, but some choice modifications have freed up around 50 percent more power than 1960s drivers had on tap. That means it makes around 78 hp (58 kW), put to the road through a reconditioned four-speed manual gearbox. David Brown Automotive has also fitted a fresh suspension system and up-to-date disc brakes, for up-to-date handling and stopping.
"Powered by a fully reconditioned 1275cc engine and re-engineered gearbox, the car will have all of the style and feel of a classic with modern dynamics," says company founder David Brown.
Customization is at the core of the BMW-designed Mini, but the Remastered by David Brown takes things to the next level. Each car takes around 1,000 hours to build, with four weeks dedicated to perfecting the paint finish alone. Owners will be able to pair their exterior color with a contrasting roof and interior trim, and there are a range of wheel designs on offer as well.
The interior itself is perhaps the biggest departure from the original Mini. Seats trimmed in British leather and a range of paint, leather and fabric trims for the dashboard elevate the car beyond its economy-car origins, although the Smiths dials and Moto-Lita steering wheel both provide a direct link to the past. What you didn't get in past was an infotainment system with CarPlay and Android Auto, keyless go and remote central locking, all of which make life with the David Brown Automotive Mini a bit easier.
"We've built this car to sit alongside any classic or modern collector's garage and I can see this being a fantastic city car, too," Brown adds. "We've had an amazing response to the car from Speedback GT customers and David Brown Automotive fans and we believe this is a car that will appeal to men, women, the young and old."
Pricing for the Mini Remastered by David Brown Automotive is expected to start around £50,000 (US$61,900). Not cheap, then, but that's unlikely to deter potential buyers. The car was launched in Shoreditch, London, but will be on show at the Grimaldi Forum in Monte Carlo later this month.
Those who can't make it to Monte Carlo can check the car out in the video below.
Source: David Brown Automotive