MINI: 10-Model Lineup by 2020

January 19, 2012

Mini has announced that the brand will encompass a 10-model portfolio by the year 2020. Specific details are, as predicted, a bit sketchy at this point in time but Mini boss, Dr. Kay Segler, did shed some light on the fact that the next-gen 2014 Mini hatch will be based on/around the new front-wheel-drive BMW Group platform.

Hopefully the Mini brand will utilise this ambitious new brand-stretching outlook by offering the public something smaller, rather than something bigger… which seems to be the general direction of its products at this point – How about just a mini-er… Mini…? (ie: Mini Rocketman concept from last year)

So lets run this down now: a coupe, a convertible, a hatchback, a roadster, the Clubman, the Countryman, the Countryman coupe (Paceman, coming in 2013) and then an additional 3 new models… Hmm… Genius marketing or an overzealous stretching of brand ideals… ?

-Blake J.

Mini: Making A Van – Finally..!

January 3, 2012

When glancing back at all of the Mini derivatives and show/concept cars that have cropped up over the last 8 years or so, it seems almost ludicrous that a Mini Cargo Van hasn’t entered into the list of appetite-whetting possibilities until now. Yet it seems that, finally, ze Germans have decided that now is that time…

The Mini has been here before...

The scene will be the Geneva Show in March and German Automotive sources (helps if you know a smidge of German) are predicting a 2-seater Clubman with the rear seats and other assorted gubbins taken out with the rear side-windows replaced, appropriately, with sheet metal.

...and it worked brilliantly back then.

It goes without saying that this Mini Cargo will be aimed at the hip commercial vehicle sector and to those that might want a new slice of the old – as the above pictures show, this isn’t the first time the Mini has been down this road. Should be interesting, nontheless… just as long as they refrain from chucking 19″ wheels on it and making it ‘sporty’.

$20 says they will.

Next up for Mini – the Mini pick-up…! (C’mon, you know you want one…)

-Blake J.

POTD/Spotlight: The Mini vs. The Giants

November 22, 2011

It was a classic scenario of David meeting Goliath in the world of motorsport. An era of hugely exciting racing; the likes of which we’ll never see again. Thunderingly powerful, massive American V8’s in the form of Ford Galaxies and Chevrolet Camaros instigating door-handle (or rather, door-handle-to-roofline) battle against the tiny, lightweight and agile 4-cyl. Minis and various mid-sized saloons. This was Saloon Car Racing of the 60’s and early-70’s. This was ‘everyman’ racing at its finest…

The Giant Killer

Yours truly captured this (above) photo of the Mini Cooper sandwiched between the two American Muscle cars earlier this year during a ‘Spring Thaw’ Rally that gave witness to an eclectic heard of classic pre-1980’s cars of all shapes and sizes attacking some of the finest roads of this region for 3 days straight. Myself, I was acting co-driver for my friend’s 1973 BMW 2002. It was an incredibly fun experience and I thoroughly look forward to next year’s event.

During those 3 memorable days it wasn’t uncommon to be passed by a properly-driven half-million-$ 1950’s Aston Martin DB2 followed by a scampering 1970’s Porsche 914 during one stage followed by a mountain-esque blast with a gorgeous 60’s Lancia Fulvia in behind while chasing a 70’s Firebird Trans Am the next… It was sort of like a 3-day Field Trip for grown-up Petrolheads. Truly truly unforgettable.

For those that have the time, I highly recommend viewing this slightly, er… ‘flattened’ video (the transfer from video-to-digi always seems to be problematic) of the 1971 Saloon Car Championship from the long-gone Crystal Palace circuit in the UK. Excellent footage (and sound!) of Minis, Escorts, Cortinas, Vauxhalls and big V8 Camaros going head-to-head. You’ll want to watch Part 2 all the way to the end for the classic race finish.

Part 1

Part 2

And for those possibly looking for something more ‘common-man’ motorsport entertainment, here we have a ‘Production Car’ race from 1975 whereby anyone – and I do mean, anyone – could sign themselves up to race with their own wheels and do battle around the track with other like-minded (ie: a bit nutty?) individulals with their daily-driven vehicles…. without any insurance. Somewhat comedy, classic David vs. Goliath material…

-Blake J.

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