In 2019, Mini celebrates 60 years, the British icon and one of the most iconic car brands in history. The first Mini was designed in 1959 on a napkin by Sir Alec Issigonis (from Greek origin). The assignment was to design a car that was economical, compact and cheap and offered space for four people. The latter certainly remains a challenge for the Dutch (and Scandinavians). Our average body length did not really match the dimensions that Alec had in mind. Not that that ever seems to have affected his popularity. The current generation of Mini’s are large cars in that respect if you see them next to the classic models.
But let’s be honest, there are plenty of Minifans around who are whining aloud because since 2003 the brand became the property of the German BMW and then also produced in the Netherlands. It will probably be swearing by these fans of the British brand, but we really think that after the acquisition the brand has only improved.
Mini meets Praia de Mira
This month is the celebration of 59 years Mini in the Portuguese Praia de Mira, pretty much the upswing to the big party that has to erupt next year … Do not think that keeps Mini fanatics out, because they are also present in Portugal with large numbers, including even participants from the US. The passion they share is called Mini and is deep in their hearts. In Praia de Mira it is incidentally with the exotics. Of course we see a lot of converted Mini’s but most fans still have their Mini still in the most original state, although we wonder if all those colorful colors are just as original.
If you drive onto the terrain with a brand new Mini Cooper S, you will get admiring glances as well as thumbs down (see above). So be it, they may not be easy to compare. The old Mini’s are small, offer hardly any comfort compared to the current Mini, which still has a lot more to offer, despite the high level of karting. We admit that the Cooper S is a bit tighter than the even larger Countryman, but as far as we are concerned, these are all true Mini’s and the brand has managed to maintain its style and typical looks.
What is more striking about the cheerful owners of the first Mini’s, is the craft love. At least a third of these Mini’s have the bonnet open and there is either something tinkered or discussed something that is apparently unique to their specific Mini. Popular is further, if you have a more prominent copy, of course, it is slowly driving around the campsite. Seeing and being seen is very important here. Who thinks that perhaps this icon is only popular among the elderly who have experienced it all, is mistaken. Mini’s seem to appeal to a very broad target group and that is sometimes clearly different for other classics. Our list of new Mini’s is clearly noticeable and it is also true that the owner of a classic will never purchase the new model.
The festival site where it all takes place is located between a wide sandy beach and a upstream lagoon. For a whole weekend, the owners of a Mini enjoy live music, sports competitions, a car exhibition and an accessory market. The highlight of the IMM weekend is the parade where everyone with the windows smiling and waving hopes to enthuse the Portuguese residents of this area. The moment you and your Mini are being watched.
The organizers of Club Mini de Portugal are in any case happy with the presence of several thousand participants in the jubilee event. We ourselves are present at the festival site for a while and we miss the honor of the Mini Moke, the Mini Clubman and the Mini Van. In addition, two important model anniversaries will be celebrated in Praia de Mira. Furthermore, some other classic Mini’s are honored every day that have been of historical interest. The event remains partly the annual highlight in the calendar for the international Mini Club scene.
Roadtrip with the renewed Mini Cooper S and Mini Countryman
The visit to IMM 2018 was also a great opportunity for knowledge to do with the renewed Mini Cooper S and the Mini Countryman. Both models were presented earlier this month on Mallorca. Driving with a Mini Cooper S is always a party, especially on a virtually empty motorway from Lisbon to Porto. The beautiful road with its long curves invites you to ride sporty. The Cooper S is a pleasure in that respect. He sticks to the road, partly due to the sporty suspension, a good handling and a wonderful engine. On the Portuguese rolling asphalt you notice little of the real kart character that Mini’s have. The higher-seated Countryman offers just that extra piece of comfort that will appeal to the slightly more sporty Mini enthusiast.
Of course you have to look closely to recognize the optical differences of these new Mini’s. It is the details that have to make the difference now. The new Mini has a new logo, LED headlights with Matrix function for high beam, LED tail lights in Union Jack design, new alloy wheels and body colors with a finish option Piano Black. In addition to all kinds of new interior options, Mini is now launching the Mini One First for the first time in the Netherlands with more cylinder capacity and higher torque. The Mini One First is a more economical version (standard not equipped with air conditioning, for example) with a 75 hp 1.5-liter (was a 1.2-liter) three-cylinder turbo petrol engine.
MINI Yours Customized
With the Mini Yours Customized program you can personalize your mini to your own style. All accessories are provided with their own design. You can, for example, adjust the frame of the direction indicators, the decorative interior panels on the passenger side, sill strips with LED lighting and LED projectors in the door to suit your taste. This all happens through a special online shop where you can choose various colors, patterns, surface textures and images. You can add text and elements yourself, after which the products are manufactured using 3D printing and laser engraving.
Mini Connected shows the ambitions of the brand in the field of digital innovation. For example, the program offers new services such as Real Time Traffic Information, automatic map updates via the mobile phone, it has a Personal Assistant Service and its own internet portal for the car with news and other information. With this personal mobility assistant you can integrate a part of your daily life via the connected app (on your smartphone) such as access to your diary and contacts to plan routes and indicate the optimal departure time.
But there is more, via the app you can find your car, check the fuel level, and control the lights, the horn, the ventilation and door locking remotely. Mini Teleservices and Intelligent Emergency Call provide even more security. The latter automatically not only reports the location when the car is involved in an accident, but also its severity.
Mini Find Mate
With the help of Mini Find mate it is possible to provide goods and objects with ‘Tags’ that are transported with the Mini such as your keys, bags and suitcases. Their position can not only be seen on the on-board computer screen, but also in the Mini Connected App on your smartphone. This way MINI Find Mate ensures that personal items are not lost or forgotten.
Now only find my Mini ..
Henk de Hooge
Henk is Internet Entrepreneur, founder of Dutchcowboys and also blogger, strategist, storyteller and a digital nomad. You make Henk happy with special ..