The Mini Strip concept is everything that a Mini should be
Well known designer brings the Mini back to basics
For the past 20 years or so, cars have become more and more complicated thanks to a number of things that include crash safety, emissions regulations and the sheer amount of tech manufacturers are cramming into cars now. I drive a Volkswagen Lupo and it is possibly one of the best designed small cars from the early 2000s, as I see it as a spiritual successor to the original Mini.
Speaking of Mini, the modern Mini as we know it is just too big, heavy, expensive and complicated. Sure, they’re nice enough cars to be in but there’s too much going on, inside and out. Matters aren’t help now that you can can a fully electric version of the Mini Hatch. However, someone who isn’t traditionally a car designer seems to agree.
Paul Smith, a famous fashion designer of Adidas Stan Smith fame, has taken a Mini and redesigned it from the ground up. What he’s done is basically take the Mini back to its roots as a basic small car with little to no gimmicks or extra’s you’d expect to see on a new Mini.
The most noticeable difference to a regular Mini is how different the exterior is. The proper paint job hasn’t been applied leaving a thin layer of transparent paint in order to prevent rust from building up. Other stripping measures include exposed screws in the 3D printed body moulding, a blanked off grill, a set of funky looking aerodynamic wheels and a full length panoramic sunroof which also reveals some of the car’s core structure. And thankfully, the Union Jack taillights are gone in favour of the pre-facelift solid rear lights which look much better.
However, the biggest changes are inside the car where Paul Smith has taken the Mini to Fat Fighters and made the interior a minimalists wet dream. The main takeaway from the interior is that there’s a steering wheel and four seats, and not much else. Seriously, the infotainment screen is gone, the gauge cluster is gone, as are the majority of the plastics, chrome and leather.
Your smartphone is the entertainment system and presumably the car information screen too. The only physical controls left in the car is the start/stop button and buttons for the electric windows. I would have suggested to bin the electric window system and bring back manual windows in order to save more weight and strip the car even more.
Interior materials are a highlight too with a lot of them being recyclable which lowers the car’s environmental impact. Cork is used for the dashboard, door panels and parcel shelf. Elsewhere, the seats are fabric and the floor mats are made of recycled rubber.
Mini has no plans on putting the Mini Strip into production but other car makers should take note of this concept and just cut back on all the unnecessary stuff they put into cars these days and bring them back to basics. Sure, this would annoy buyers who think their new car is better as it’s got all sorts of stuff they’ll never use, but bringing cars back to basics would reduce weight and reduce the car’s environmental impact at the end of it’s useful life.
Going back to the Lupo, it has the basics and that’s all I need. All I want in a new car is a good air con system, somewhere to put my phone on charge and not much else, other than a fun driving experience. What I’m saying is that I’m happy to sacrifice features in favour of a better built car which also happens to be better for the environment while still being good to drive.
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