The original Mini available for sale in modern times
- David Brown Automotive breathing new life into old Minis
- The Mini Remastered is a modern day interpretation of a timeless classic
- Prices start at £75,000
For many, the original Mini produced between 1959 and 2000 remains the ultimate car. Small, light, nimble, customisable, economical, practical; you name it, the Mini ticked virtually every box.
So when production ceased on a genuine automotive legend at the turn of the millennium, it was very much the end of an era. Yes, the name lives on with the very successful MINI brand now owned by BMW, but it can never be said that the cars available today are true Minis. They’re too big, too far removed from their cousins, not to mention the fact that a British legend is now owned by the ‘old enemy!’
But it turns out that you can still buy a ‘new’ original Mini today, courtesy of Silverstone-based David Brown Automotive. The Mini Remastered retains the exact same specifications as the original, and for good reason. This isn’t a new car straight off an automated production line, each vehicle is instead a painstaking handcrafted restoration from a donor car.
Each Mini Remastered is the work of 1000 man hours of work, combining traditional coachbuilding techniques and state-of-the-art manufacturing processes.
Only the engine and gearboxes are carried over from donor vehicles, and each is painstakingly rebuilt, while the Vehicle Identification Number is also carried over. New parts and tuning means that the standard car now produces 30% more power than the original. The engine outer body is also cleaned and painted to give that brand new appearance.
A new strengthened bodyshell is sourced from British Motor Heritage, and then painted according to the customer’s choice in a process that takes four weeks. Levels of primer, paint and lacquer are slowly built up by hand before a rigorous polishing phase to give serious kerb appeal. Sculpted body-coloured wheel arch extensions and centrally mounted exhaust outlets add further to the revised but still classic look.
It’s not just the exterior that has had the David Brown treatment, for the interior has been respectfully brought into the 21st century.
The most obvious change is the inclusion of a premium in-car infotainment system controlled by a seven inch touchscreen. Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are included, as is a refined speaker system.
Interior courtesy lighting is also incorporated and extends to the glove compartment which features a USB/AUX port, ensuring every way possible to connect your smartphone is thought of.
Some of the classic Mini touches remain, including high quality leather upholstery, classically styled modern dials, aluminium switchgear and a Moto-Lita steering wheel.
Air conditioning, heating and ventilation is much improved over the original, while remote central locking and a keyless stop/start button are items that could only be dreamed of when the Mini entered production in 1959.
David Brown Automotive insist that this isn’t a performance car, but a vehicle designed for use in a city. This means comfort is favoured over handling, but it will be sharp enough for manoeuvrability in a busy environment, though it should be noted that modern safety features such as ABS and airbags aren’t included.
For those who want slightly racier models, two limited edition versions are also available. The Mini Remastered Inspired by Cafe Racers has inspiration from the classic 1950’s motorcycle movement, while the Mini Remastered Inspired by Monte Carlo reflects on Mini’s motor sport pedigree and features a paint job reminiscent of the classic rallying design. Only 25 examples of both versions will be built.
The original Mini may have been an ‘every man’ car, but the Mini Remastered sadly isn’t. At around £75,000, this is a luxury rather than a necessity, but owners can be assured that this is probably the best Mini that money can buy.
Richard Randle is a motorsport PR professional working with the UK’s top racing circuits and the UK’s premier single-seater category, the BRDC British F3 Championship.