Is anyone else feeling uneasy at the way BMW is moving to amalgamate the history of the original Mini with the implied lineage of its own, considerably chunkier offering?
When BMW launched the first generation of the ‘new’ Mini back in 2001 the company was scrupulously careful – certainly in the UK – not to do anything more than imply a distant connection between old and new cars. Despite the corporate discretion, there was no shortage of speculation as to exactly what Alec Issigonis would have made of this pudgy pastiche of his seminal original.
But after eight years of strong sales for its new-age Mini, BMW obviously feels confident enough for an officially sanctioned ‘50th anniversary’ celebration based around both original and new Mini.
It’s even brought the very first Morris Mini-Minor from its home at the Heritage Motor Centre in Gaydon back to the Cowley plant that builds the current one. It’s certainly not a risk-free strategy – BMW’s Mini looks almost clinically obese when parked next to an original. And while the first Mini was a miracle of efficiency, its design philosophy underwritten by Issigonis’s belief that he was creating the car that would mobilize Britain’s working classes, the equipment-stuffed current car has never shared anything more than its side-on silhouette with the original.