Very few automakers have succeeded in sustaining a retro model, all the more so in making a brand that turns in profits year after year. MINI, which BMW has owned since the late 1990s, remains a leader in the field. The manufacturer has developed an entire range based on a single model inspired by the past. MINI now wants to go one step further with the Strip concept, which offers to remove all unnecessary elements from an electric Cooper S E.
This minimalist philosophy made the original MINI so popular and established a reputation as an icon in the British auto industry. Sir Alec Issigonis’s original design focused on the bare essentials, proving that a car can remain user-friendly and versatile, even if it’s miniature, and above all, devoid of unnecessary elements.
Designed in partnership with the famous contemporary stylist Paul Smith, best known for his work on kitsch and fashion, the MINI Strip uses a Cooper SE and strips it of all its accessories, finishing elements, and even its paint!
The idea is to honor the simplistic origins of the manufacturer and propose a new ecological philosophy of assembly.
Nothing has been forgotten: the MINI Strip is squarely on steel, then coated with a thin protective layer to prevent corrosion. The rims are smaller and lighter and, like the redesigned grille and panoramic roof, made from Perspex, a transparent recycled plastic.
The cabin is also deprived of all amenities. The interior of the doors, the center console, and the trim of the roof and pillars have been removed. The metal is painted blue to give the interior some color.
The concept then highlights the exposed bolts and rivets, while the dashboard and doors are given a top finish made from recycled cork. The mats are made from recycled rubber.
Even the steering wheel is deprived of accessories and buttons, leaving only the horn and the airbag visible behind a fence. It has been redesigned and made lighter, thanks to the use of aluminum.
The theme continues on the dashboard and door handles. The multimedia system was completely removed and replaced with a telephone holder. All that remains as physical buttons are the “toggle” type controls to operate the power windows and start the vehicle.
MINI does not plan to market the Strip. This is only a design exercise at the moment. But the automaker says it will serve as the inspiration for future design processes that MINI says will focus more on fuel efficiency and simplicity.