Automotive

David Brown Automotive creates an authentic modern Mini for a maxi price

David Brown Automotive creates...
David Brown Automotive has modernized the classic Mini
David Brown Automotive has modernized the classic Mini
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David Brown Automotive has modernized the classic Mini
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David Brown Automotive has modernized the classic Mini
There are no seams on the David Brown Mini, making for a cleaner silhouette
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There are no seams on the David Brown Mini, making for a cleaner silhouette
David Brown Automotive has also changed the grille on the Mini
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David Brown Automotive has also changed the grille on the Mini
The Smiths gauges are a throwback to the original Mini
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The Smiths gauges are a throwback to the original Mini
Customers will be able to customize almost every aspect of the David Brown Automotive take on the Mini 
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Customers will be able to customize almost every aspect of the David Brown Automotive take on the Mini 
The modern Mini is a much more luxurious proposition than the original
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The modern Mini is a much more luxurious proposition than the original
You didn't get Android Auto or Apple CarPlay in the original Mini, but it features here
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You didn't get Android Auto or Apple CarPlay in the original Mini, but it features here
The Mono-Lito steering wheel is another classic touch in the David Brown Automotive Mini
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The Mono-Lito steering wheel is another classic touch in the David Brown Automotive Mini
High-quality audio wasn't really a focus for the designers of the original Mini 
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High-quality audio wasn't really a focus for the designers of the original Mini 
The Mini Remastered by David Brown Automotive takes around 1,000 man hours to produce 
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The Mini Remastered by David Brown Automotive takes around 1,000 man hours to produce 
Paint, leather and fabric can be used to trim the dash of the Mini Remastered by David Brown Automotive 
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Paint, leather and fabric can be used to trim the dash of the Mini Remastered by David Brown Automotive 
The details on the Mini Remastered are all beautifully wrought 
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The details on the Mini Remastered are all beautifully wrought 
Power in the Mini Remastered by David Brown Automotive comes from a four-cylinder engine 
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Power in the Mini Remastered by David Brown Automotive comes from a four-cylinder engine 
No, the original Mini didn't look this good inside
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No, the original Mini didn't look this good inside
The luxuries in the Mini by David Brown Automotive extend to include, wait for it, a cupholder
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The luxuries in the Mini by David Brown Automotive extend to include, wait for it, a cupholder
View gallery - 15 images

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.

Customers will be able to customize almost every aspect of the David Brown Automotive take on the Mini 
Customers will be able to customize almost every aspect of the David Brown Automotive take on the Mini 

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.

Paint, leather and fabric can be used to trim the dash of the Mini Remastered by David Brown Automotive 
Paint, leather and fabric can be used to trim the dash of the Mini Remastered by David Brown Automotive 

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

View gallery - 15 images
11 comments
Martin Winlow
Great! When's the electric version due?
Mzungu_Mkubwa
These are absolutely fantastic! I would drop the dough on one in a heartbeat, were said dough available to me. But as a customer of more common means, I would be quite happy with a Mini of more common fittings, at a more economic price. (The "new" Mini from BMW has been far too tainted to really even be called a Mini in my book.)
Perhaps DBA (or some similarly enterprising chaps) could rework the Mini Moke to better match my meager budget? I'd be pleased as punch to drive one of those forever! Any takers?
yawood
How can a car like this with its lack of crumple zones (too short), metal dash etc etc pass modern European/American/Australian etc design laws? I doubt that they can sell it as a 1960s vehicle so it will need to meet modern requirements.
MrSums
Alex Issignois? - that'll be the long lost cousin of the renowned car designer (Sir) Alec Issigonis then :-)
Bruce H. Anderson
Be still my heart.
Penguin
Part of what made the original Mini so awesome was it's rudimentary accouterments, the one I drove had pull cables for the doors, windows that slid to one side rather than rolled down, and it was a blast to drive. I rented a new 'Mini' a short while ago and I hated it, an overstuffed POS that was quirky for the sake of it, had crummy sight-lines and was just another small-ish car.
Gregg Eshelman
USA street legal?
zackzelmo
Alot of money for a small boxed novelty car-and novelty wears off real fast. Crap suspension and small wheels make for a jarring ride. Low HP, manual shift, and a dashboard like a 60's VW bug. For the same money one could be driving a 2016 640 BMW with 10k miles, or a host of other fine automobiles with plush full leather interior, amenities galore, superb brakes, high power-hp, power: windows, seats, mirrors, etc. prestige, AND life saving crash safety. So why would anyone want a restamped mini???????? Shriners parade perhaps?
Martin Hone
I'd be interested to know what the 'choice modifications' to the engine are. Given that the original Cooper S of 1275cc made 75 hp, it doesn't seem like DB had to do much. And what are the 'bespoke structural' braces, and how do they improve the in-cabin refinement ?
DavidMichaelLallatin
My first car was a 1961 Mini Cooper, bought used from British Motors of San Francisco. Cornered like a dog peeing on a hydrant, even with three room-mates in it. Starting with a full tank, I could drive from Petaluma to Provo on $5. It made one trip back with a Harley engine in the trunk. As a down-hill canyon racer, it wouldn't have quite been a match for my Fiat 124...wagon [4-wheel disc brakes & P7s, delicate body.] Fixing anything involved unbolting the drive-train and engine onto the floor of the garage to get to various 50-cent fiddly bits.