It’s been 60 years since the very first Mini Cooper hit the road. As a driving experience, there may not be a better one than a properly classic Mini, not the overly heavy and complex ’90s model. It’s just so light, pure, small, and fun that it exudes driving thrills. It isn’t fast but the original Mini the triple-distilled essence of actual driving pleasure and it needs to be felt by everyone. To celebrate the plucky little British hatchback, Cooper Car Company (now run by Mike Cooper, John Cooper’s son) teamed up with the Brightwell Motor Company to create the perfect classic Mini.
The Mini Cooper S Anniversary Edition, as it’s called, is exactly what a classic Mini should be. It’s breathtakingly beautiful and perfectly simple. There aren’t any fussy lines, extravagant wheels, or outlandish details. It looks like a classic Mini that’s been tastefully restored.
Interestingly, the Mini Cooper S Anniversary Edition only comes in one spec: Connaught Cooper Green with an Old English White roof. Apparently, the entire body was also rust-proofed, to make sure that it lasts decades to come. Inside, it’s a beautifully simple as it gets. The red and gray leather seats, the black dashboard, the gorgeous Smith’s gauges, and complete lack of features make it so incredibly desirable.
However, the car isn’t just a faithful restoration. It’s also been modified to make it faster, sharper, and even more exciting to drive. Under the hood, the standard Mini Series A engine was bored from 1,275cc to 1,380cc, given new pistons, new carbs, new valves, and a Swiftune cam, courtesy of Mini racing legend Nick Swift. A close-ratio four-speed manual transmission handles gear changes, as it should be. Hopefully this Mini’s gears are easier to find than the last classic Mini I drove.
But the resto-modded Mini doesn’t stop there. It also has Koni adjustable dampers, revised suspension geometry, and upgraded brakes. As fun and hilarious as the classic Mini is to drive, its suspension is brutal and its brakes are about as effective as a Flinstone-style foot brake. So the upgraded suspension and brakes are extremely welcome, even if they change how it drives a bit. Those are welcome changes.
If you want one, though, good luck. Only 20 are being made and the price isn’t public. However, most classic Mini remakes such as this cost six figures and, as the old saying goes: if you have to ask how much it costs, you can’t afford it.