With a hint that Mini are taking seriously their Mini Superleggera Vision concept, does this mark them taking their retro-nostalgia brand to the obvious next place. The question really isn’t why they have recognised the classic small two seater as an opportunity, but why it has taken them so long. By adding more doors Mini has gradually got bigger and further away from the original concept in an attempt to appeal to a broader market, and outside of some quirky thoughts about using the mini platform for a two seat convertible, this finally looks like a stylish concept that could enhance the brand and get them back to the vision that proved so successful in re-launching the iconic mini in the first place. Who, of a certain age doesn’t remember thrashing around in an MG Midget, or a Triumph Spitfire, or even going back further the Austin Healey Sprite. I am not sure if the cars then were designed to have character, or this was just a happy side effect, but character isn’t something too many modern small cars have really got right.
Of course back then was when second hand cars were around for a bit longer and insurance meant younger drivers could still afford to be that, drivers, and that is what these cars inspired. Perhaps the low power, fun to own, fun to drive two seater convertible is on the verge of a come-back, but only if its priced right, or now a days, financed right, and if the challenge of young driver competency and insurance is tackled, after all with only two seats, the potential of four mates in a Corsa egging each other on late at night to drive too fast down country lanes, an insurers nightmare, is surely reduced by half by the fewer seats.
Perhaps Mini can create a generation of genuine “drivers” who strive to be competent and appreciate the joy of driving for what it is. Of course, if they cannot I am sure there will be a plethora of members of the current market for retro-classics (mini’s, beetle and the like – even the Nissan Figaro from the early nighties endures), not that I would comment on who they might be, and if not perhaps a group of middle aged men with a bit of nostalgia looking to relive that little bit of youth, but this time without breaking down or leaking roofs. So to my mind they have all the ingredients to get this right, good basic BMW mechanics, a great looking design, and a brand that has delivered an experience people care about, not just a car, let just hope they get this one right as it has the potential to really make a positive impact on motoring for all ages.