IF you are under 50, this looks more like a cuddly toy than an actual car.
But to anyone over 50, an original Mini is a wheeled folk-hero.
We learned to drive in Minis. Our mums had Minis. That’s not sexist, it’s just how it was.
Our dads had Cortinas — so come to think of it, our mums had the better deal.
A Mini is no longer a “real” car. It’s too cramped, noisy and bouncy.
These days a Mini is a car for hobby driving. And people will pay a lot for their hobbies.
David Brown Automotive has been “remastering” Minis for four years.
It buys knackered Minis and keeps their number-plate identity but chucks away most of the parts. Everything used in the restoration is as-new or better than new.
It gets a whole new body shell, but new shells are still made to Sixties standards with ugly joints and wonky gaps.
So here it’s smoothed and fettled, then given paintwork so glossy you could swim in it.
It gets modern upgrades, too. The seats are beautiful leather jobs and the trim is upgraded with luxury craft.
In place of the original naked dashboard, a new structure carries air-con, satnav and Apple CarPlay.
The result is a sharp, luxurious little city car.
If an original Mini drives past you, there’ll be a trail of oil smoke and petrol fumes. This one leaves only a trail of smiles.
Now it’s stepping up the pace.
If your mum was a racing driver, she’ll remember that race and rally Minis had a staggering record. Oselli, an original tuning company from the Sixties, is still thriving.
So the Mini Remastered Oselli Edition uses a Mini engine expanded by Oselli to 1,450cc. Treat it gingerly and it splutters.
Sink the throttle, give it revs and it comes alive. Then you’re looking at 125hp, via a blaring drainpipe exhaust and a pair of gulping carburettors.
David Brown fits firmed-up suspension, fat tyres on race-bred wheels, and stouter brakes.
It’s a little rascal. You fold yourself behind the tiny steering wheel, peer out through a tiny screen and attack the road.
Toss it into bends and feel the tyres squirming their way to grip, the whole car slithering and pivoting around you.
You’re deeply connected to the little machine’s every thought and attitude.
When I say “attack the road”, don’t assume that it’s aggressive or fast.
Not alongside any modern hot hatch. It gives you insane fun and sane speeds.
It’s brilliant in short doses and a lovingly made object.
But all that craft costs money: Most specs are into six figures.
If you’re going to shell out £100,000 for a Mini, just don’t tell your mum.
KEY FACTS: MINI REMASTERED OSELLI EDITION
- Price: £100,000
- Engine: 1.45-litre 4cyl petrol
- Power: 125hp, 153Nm
- 0-62mph: 7.8 secs
- Top speed: 100mph
- Out: Now
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