For any handicapped drivers in the U.S., here is the official response I received to my question as to whether or not hand controls could be installed. Not only did I get a positive answer, but there is also a $500 rebate available! Don't know how this would apply in other countries.
-------- Original Message --------
Subject: RE:Questions about our cars [#218120]
Date: Tue, 06 Aug 2002 11:34:34 -0400
Hi Dale, thanks for writing in!
Yes, the MINI can be equipped with hand controls for handicapped drivers. Some MINI dealers install the controls, but usually the vehicles are sent to a "specialist" installer in handicap controls. You can ask your dealer for more information on the specifics. Once the appropriate controls are obtained and installed on the vehicle, MINI Division will reimburse them up to $500.00. We need to obtain from the customer proof that the vehicle is a handicap vehicle (a copy of a permit or some states require the license to show its a handicap driver, and proof that the modifications were performed as well as a copy of the lease or purchase documents).
For a listing of resources, please see NHTSA website: http://www.nhtsa.dot.gov/cars/rules/adaptive/brochure/
brochure.html. I hope this helps, let us know if you have any more questions.