As you may know already, last year at the 2010 Detroit Auto Show MINI unveiled the Beachcomber Concept, a car inspired by the original MINI Moke from 1964. The vehicle seemed ideal for surfers or for those who like the idea of an original convertible, but it appears that the car will remain only a concept as the vehicle will not go into production to the safety tests.
Apparently, the lack of B-pillars and doors, didn’t help the car to be safe which means that we will have to go with the safer Countryman.
The MINI Beachcomber Concept is derived from the MINI crossover that the carmaker plans to introduce later this year in markets outside of North America. This new crossover is the fourth MINI model that will be launched within the first decade since the MINI brand was re-launched.
Still featuring the typical style of the Mini brand, the new MINI crossover represents a fresh take on the new yet distinct MINI design. This marks the first time that that a MINI vehicle can be enjoyable even beyond the road, offering functionality and capability of a typical crossover but with a MINI design. This is proven by the fact that the new MINI crossover features a flexible interior, four doors, four full-size seats and a new all-wheel-drive system.
Since the MINI Beachcomber Concept is inspired by this new crossover model, this concept offers an open driving experience that delivers a new level of versatility never before experienced in a MINI. Thus, the MINI Beachcomber Concept could be considered as an enhanced version of the new MINI crossover, inheriting its technical qualities and implemented a number of adaptations to enable it to become an ultimate expression of freedom.
In terms of capability, the MINI Beachcomber Concept could do as much as its driver desires. As its name suggests, the MINI Beachcomber Concept considers beaches as it homes. It could comb through beaches like it is on the road, thanks to its improved traction and open design. The MINI Beachcomber Concept should remind the public of the Mini Moke, which in the 1960s was considered as a symbol of adventure, leisure and sports activities in coastal regions.
To that extent, the Mini Moke serves as a great role model for the MINI Beachcomber Concept, which the carmaker built to envision a car that defies conventional standards while creating strong momentum for future mobility. Having such a concept is not a surprise with MINI, since the brand has always used concept vehicles as its foundation to creating new models that prop up the vehicle line up.
For its turn, the MINI Beachcomber Concept possesses the attributes that clearly mark it as a MINI – maximum driving pleasure and individuality as well as the courage to defy convention. MINI first offered an open air vehicle in the 1964s. It was an open-air version of the classic Mini that was launched to the market in 1959. Created nonetheless by MINI engineer and designer Alec Issigonis, the Mini Moke finally broke ground to offer a new type of driving experience.
It featured a body made up of a bit more than a floor pan, a windshield, an engine compartment lid and wide sills at the side. It also featured a folding roof for protect the driver and passengers from the rain. Because what it could offer – like its strong structure and a drivetrain technology adapted from the Mini – the Mini Moke proved to be a success, and was a hot item among customers in the sunny regions of the United States and Australia.
Mini continued building the Mini Moke continued in Great Britain until 1968, producing around 14,500 units in the process. Its production was then continued in Australia and Portugal. Now, the MINI Beachcomber Concept relives the glory as well as the character of the Mini Moke – its rustic appearance as well as its minimal body components and interior.
Accentuating this are the design cues derived from the original Mini Moke, as enhanced by a number of stunning details like its distinct radiator grille. In terms of efficiency, safety, comfort and space as well as driving and riding bliss, the new MINI Beachcomber Concept is able to satisfy them all.
The ALL4 all-wheel drive system in the MINI Beachcomber Concept also has its historical inspiration. In particular, a prototype Mini Moke that Issigonis developed in 1963 featured two engines and an early ALL4 system. This prototype – dubbed as "Twini" – features front and rear wheels each driven by a four-cylinder engine.