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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all,

My name is Sean and I'm at Kingston University. I am currently writing a dissertation for my degree in Graphic Design. I have chosen to write my dissertation on the great little Mini (original). I'm looking into the visual and material culture of the Mini, how it's maintained such iconic status and represents a part of our national identity.

I can't look into this subject without looking at the impact that the new mini has had since it's arrival. So I would really like to get an idea of the thoughts and opinions of new mini owners. With some questions below.

What does your Mini mean to you? / What does is say about you?
Does owning a new Mini still say something about being British?
Can the new mini continue to use the union jack in paintwork schemes? what are peoples thoughts on it's use in the first place?
What do you think the new Mini represents in modern culture?
Although the new Mini has carried the Mini name on, will the original minis heritage and image always be linked with the new one (if infact it ever has.)?

It would be really interesting to here anyones thoughts and opinions.

Cheers
Sean
 

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The original mini was meant to be like the peoples car - cheap and popular...lots around...and remember the old mini was spelt like that and the new one is MINI - in capitals!

The new MINI isnt cheap lol....I own a MINI cos its got a good reputation and stands out and keeps its value and its trendy...I would never buy an old one.

Its very british but then everyone in America has one.
 

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What does your Mini mean to you? / What does is say about you?

Its reliable daily transport that it different to the normal run of the mill euro hatch.
I love all things Mini/MINI so it helps me express that interest.
It helps say that I'm a big kid at heart


Does owning a new Mini still say something about being British?

Its a British Icon, or the next generation.
Though I didn't choose mine to express any Britishness


Can the new mini continue to use the union jack in paintwork schemes? what are peoples thoughts on it's use in the first place?

I can't see any reason why the MINI & Mini shouldn't use the Union Jack
Both are British built cars.
I see it similar to the trend of fitting German style number plates to VW, Audi & BMWs.


What do you think the new Mini represents in modern culture?

It represents peoples desire to be different/stand out from the crowd, how many MINIs or Minis look the same.
Represents us older folks trying to hold on to our youth :p



Although the new Mini has carried the Mini name on, will the original minis heritage and image always be linked with the new one (if infact it ever has.)?

Yes.
Some classic owners don't like this but I believe the two will always be linked.
I have found that most of the folks with the worst attitude towards the MINI are Mini owners in their early 20s!
I have several classic Minis ( I've had Minis for 20 years) and a daily driver MINI, see the link below my signature for details of two of them.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for replies so far. Some interesting stuff there. I have a forum topic running on a mini forum and there are some links with what people have said. Maybe mini owners believe the MINI has never been linked with the original as there was such a strong feeling against it from the outset. Many believing that the MINI took the name only with its kudos by association and then disassociated itself as much as possible. What do people think about this? I had a comment on a classic mini board that said "The BMW monstrosity is an imposter and has no connection at all with the cars I love" there is still quite a strong feeling out there what are peoples views? it would be interesting to here...

Also the point about the British flag is also of big interest to my work. Being owned by BMW does this not affect anyones views here about whether it should be used on the MINI or does its use simply tie it into the original in a positive manor?

interesting to hear peoples views and opinions, get the 'MINI' side of the argument going then maybe i can post some comments/ opinions from here to the original mini boards to see what they think.
 

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I am a proud owner of a MINI Cooper-S. And to be honest I could not care less what classic mini owners think about my BMW monstrosity! BMW have always made pritty much the best cars in the world and they made another "gem" in the form of the modern MINI! Give them credit! At least they left well alone, left the oxford plant to get on with it! it could have been worse it could have been handed over to the chinese and built over there. Thus loosing the whole british herritage! The new MINI will always be linked with the classic weather the hardcore classic owners like it or not! The modern MINI is more reliable, faster, better to drive,smoother, looks better! So who cares!! To me the BMW MINI is a anglo british-german car that has gained respect all over the motoring world! It is still the best alltogether hatchback out there! An to top it all the remaining members of the "Morris Garages" are very happy to be associated with BMW& MINI! So for all the hardcore arrogant mini fans out there stop moaning! And get with the times!
I would have been more disgruntled being an owner of an Aston Martin whilst yukky FORDhad ownership! At least BMW is quality-NOT quantity!
 

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Strong opinions there for the new MINI. I find the comment 'get with the times' interesing, why should original mini owners get with the times? Could it not be said some new MINI owners should get with the times as they are maybe buying into the original mini heritage/ image when they purchase the new one as well?

Could owning an original not be seen as a mark of individuality? In a time today when all cars are so similar.

Yes the new one is faster, more comfortable, and reliable but as for better looking and better to drive i personally disagree.

It seems that IN SOME CASES there is a such a strong feeling between new and old mini owners. This has to show just how separate the cars are dispite the links, still with a strong divided opinion?

The point made about cost is also a good one the MINI isn't a car affordable by the young whereas the mini was made the icon it is by the enthusiasm with which it was taken up by the young. The heritage might always be linked but surely unless the MINI replicated/s the idea of being a peoples car then it will never be accepted as a true successor?

Just some thoughts, mainly questions there. What do people think?
 

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Strong opinions there for the new MINI. I find the comment 'get with the times' interesing, why should original mini owners get with the times? Could it not be said some new MINI owners should get with the times as they are maybe buying into the original mini heritage/ image when they purchase the new one as well?

Could owning an original not be seen as a mark of individuality? In a time today when all cars are so similar.

Yes the new one is faster, more comfortable, and reliable but as for better looking and better to drive i personally disagree.

It seems that IN SOME CASES there is a such a strong feeling between new and old mini owners. This has to show just how separate the cars are dispite the links, still with a strong divided opinion?

The point made about cost is also a good one the MINI isn't a car affordable by the young whereas the mini was made the icon it is by the enthusiasm with which it was taken up by the young. The heritage might always be linked but surely unless the MINI replicated/s the idea of being a peoples car then it will never be accepted as a true successor?

Just some thoughts, mainly questions there. What do people think?
Why should original mini owners get with the times?

Well for one its a car, its not just about image or who owns the brand its about the type of person that drives the car, the person that wants to be individual, that likes to be different, and enjoys driving and having fun.

Where as most classic mini owners are too wrapped up in the fact that MINI is owned by BMW, end of story. They throw abuse at new MINI owners, they have even been known to damage new MINI's at shows and events, so those few of the small minded mini owners have shunned out the new MINI which was following in the footsteps of the mini/MINI brand.

This has caused divides:(

But if they thought about it really, mini went through many hands of ownership, Austin, Morris, Leyland, Rover and BMW. Of those companies Rover pretty much killed the mini and UK ownership with lack of investment in the car, although they did start the development of the new MINI before BMW brought them. Once under BMW ownership the new MINI development moved forward with more vigour and investment, and when BMW sold Rover off they retained MINI to keep investing in the car as a brand.

Would the new MINI be more accepted if it had been launched by Rover? Who knows, but I think a lot of the anti-new MINI really childish and pathetic from the mini owners. As the original new MINI was started off by Rover, and if we really think about what is the problem of MINI being owned and been designed by BMW now, its still made in England? Nothing in my opinion, as if the mini is seen as this great British car and can only be British, then how come this is, as the only thing that was british about it was that it was made in the UK as it wasn't designed by an English man;)


But thats just how some act, just as some new MINI owners don't like the classic, but I tend to ignore all of them, as I love all my mini's MINI's :D
 

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SimonSJR
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Chilly,

The new MINI was never a replacement for the original Mini in the sense that it would take over the customer base..... It was an absolutely fantastic marketing idea by BMW to take on the like of Renault (clio), VW (golf) and the other hot hatch makers out there.

A question to ponder. Old mini owners (who can afford to drive more than a classic Mini, not just students who drive one because its cheap and retro) would you drive an original Mini if you we're given £20,000 to buy a new car, or would you rather keep driving the classic Mini?

It seems a stubborness towards the new MINI, as already stated, comes from the teens/early twenties drivers.

In my opinion the only things linking the Mini and MINI are:

1. looks, the new MINI has moderninsed the classic in a playful manner.
2. Configuration, although like any hot hatch, all wheels are right under the corners.
3. Harsh suspension and ride along with some nifty handling.


Personally I love the old MINI, and I would love to own one, but it could not play the roll that my new MINI plays. Long motorway trips would be uncomfortable and the safety aspect to the classic MINI is atrocious.

I don't believe stirring the owners up to cause conflict will really work. New MINI owners tend not to have a problem with the classic Mini owners, it the classic Mini owners who have the problem with the new MINI owners.

lol,

That was fun.

Simon.


p.s As for been British, I see it as a British made BMW.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Cheers guys thanks for the ongoing responses. I can't believe that old mini owners would danage the new cars that is quite shocking. Yeah it does seem to be the mini owners that have more of a problem with the new rather than the other way round. Not sure about ages though as some that i have got strong responses from have tended to be middle aged.

It is good in my opinion that the 'mini' name has been carried forward in some form. This has undoubtedly kept up interest in the original no matter how alike the two are. Which is good.

Putting aside any conflicts between the two cars. The fact that the new one can offer so much more (ie motorway driving safety etc) is this a sign of the times today. Not just in car design but in all aspects of design that eveything is seamless and reliable. Obviously this is a positive thing but do we then find ourselves replacing these things more frequently as if something breaks/ fails we replace rather than repair?

I also really like the question raised by rakey. If rover launch the new would it be more accepted. I guess we will never know but i think that maybe it would be exactly the same reaction as the BMW got from those old mini owners. Which is interesting.

cheers

Chilly
 

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What does your Mini mean to you? / What does is say about you?

My MINI to me is a fun sporty hatch, great for inner-city driving as well as the open road. It stands out as an icon it its own right and I do believe it carries on the Mini heritage. Sure it's no longer small enough to be classed as 'mini', but this is the result of trying to produce a modern small vehicle with premium quality features.

Does owning a new Mini still say something about being British?

I think so. BMW may own the rights to the MINI brand, but it is built in its own right in Oxford. Plus, you can see the design fundamentals which link it back to the original Mini. It's just bigger!

Can the new mini continue to use the union jack in paintwork schemes? what are peoples thoughts on it's use in the first place?

Of course it can. The Mini and MINI are both about customisation. Look at the history of the Mini - each member of The Beatles had a customised Mini and Paul Smith designed his famous stripey Mini as did other celebrities. So why shouldn't the MINI carry this on? I think if the MINI was less customisable it wouldn't be the true follow-up to the Mini.

What do you think the new Mini represents in modern culture?

The new MINI represents evolution and change. As much as I love the Mini, it could never have stayed that small forever while adhering to modern safety requirements and features. When the MINI was designed, Frank Stephenson tried to stay faithful to Issigonis' original design but he brought the car right up to date with a quirky, modern look.

Although the new Mini has carried the Mini name on, will the original minis heritage and image always be linked with the new one (if infact it ever has.)?

In my opinion it will. However, classic owners can be very small-minded when it comes to Mini vs MINI. I understand what they disagree with - there is often a Tahiti Blue/White classic which parks behind my Hyper Blue/White Cooper S. Looking at the two together, the Mini is dwarfed by its younger cousin. The true Mini is the classic. However, this does not entitle classic owners to verbally and physically attack our cars at every opportunity.

As a side note, we now have two generations of MINI. I have a 1st gen MINI Cooper S and I still haven't adjusted to the design changes made for the 2nd gen MINIs. It's bigger, bulkier and looks less quirky in my opinion. I believe this viewpoint parallels the classic vs new view but on a smaller scale. Yet I wouldn't berate a 2nd gen MINI owner because of it.

Maybe mini owners believe the MINI has never been linked with the original as there was such a strong feeling against it from the outset. Many believing that the MINI took the name only with its kudos by association and then disassociated itself as much as possible. What do people think about this?
Why do they say that the MINI is disassociated from the Mini. I can't understand this opinion. :confused:

I had a comment on a classic mini board that said "The BMW monstrosity is an imposter and has no connection at all with the cars I love" there is still quite a strong feeling out there what are peoples views? it would be interesting to here...
The similar Go Kart feel, the design similarities including the contrasting roof/mirror caps/stripes, the headlamp, indicator, spotlamp arrangements, the similar grill design, retro styling and similar body shape argues against the lack of connection between the Mini and MINI. The main problems for classic owners are the size and BMW ownership of the brand.

Also the point about the British flag is also of big interest to my work. Being owned by BMW does this not affect anyones views here about whether it should be used on the MINI or does its use simply tie it into the original in a positive manor?
I covered this in my answer to your original questions. :)

Strong opinions there for the new MINI.
Not really surprising though is it? MINI owners love their little cars probably just as much as Mini owners love theirs. The Mini vs MINI debate isn't new and the MINI has a lot of passionate owners fighting its corner.

Could owning an original not be seen as a mark of individuality? In a time today when all cars are so similar.
The MINI still stands out over other cars in its market sector. However, to say that they're not becoming common would be wrong. The number of businesses using MINIs as pool cars has increased from the early days when it was mainly estate agents. Even our company has five MINI Ones as pool cars, all liveried up to promote us. You don't see that many classics anymore and they always bring a smile to your face when you do see one. This isn't always true with the new MINI because a fair proportion of them are business cars.

It seems that IN SOME CASES there is a such a strong feeling between new and old mini owners. This has to show just how separate the cars are dispite the links, still with a strong divided opinion?
Debate is healthy. In an ideal world, Mini and MINI owners would always get on, but some people cannot see past the BMW ownership of the MINI brand or the size of the new car. Although I'm not fortunate enough to have owned a Mini, I still think they're the original iconic car and that status will never be taken away from its younger cousin. That shouldn't stop the MINI becoming an icon in its own right though.

The point made about cost is also a good one the MINI isn't a car affordable by the young whereas the mini was made the icon it is by the enthusiasm with which it was taken up by the young. The heritage might always be linked but surely unless the MINI replicated/s the idea of being a peoples car then it will never be accepted as a true successor?
I have to agree with you there. The MINI isn't affordable to the masses and will never be the modern peoples' car while this remains true. At least the Mini was affordable to most people - this was one its key selling points. The MINI brand now represents premium quality, backed by the BMW name. As you point out, this comes at a cost, and one which may prevent it from being generally accepted as a successor to the Mini.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Killerbyte thanks for your time and lengthy response, much appreciated. Forgot to say as well to Rakey cheers for the pic its a great one.

Please keep posting anyone who would like to, all views are very welcome. regards

Chilly
 

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Cheers guys thanks for the ongoing responses. I can't believe that old mini owners would danage the new cars that is quite shocking. Yeah it does seem to be the mini owners that have more of a problem with the new rather than the other way round. Not sure about ages though as some that i have got strong responses from have tended to be middle aged.

It is good in my opinion that the 'mini' name has been carried forward in some form. This has undoubtedly kept up interest in the original no matter how alike the two are. Which is good.

Putting aside any conflicts between the two cars. The fact that the new one can offer so much more (ie motorway driving safety etc) is this a sign of the times today. Not just in car design but in all aspects of design that eveything is seamless and reliable. Obviously this is a positive thing but do we then find ourselves replacing these things more frequently as if something breaks/ fails we replace rather than repair?

I also really like the question raised by rakey. If rover launch the new would it be more accepted. I guess we will never know but i think that maybe it would be exactly the same reaction as the BMW got from those old mini owners. Which is interesting.

cheers

Chilly
One thing I was told about the new MINI that you might find useful, when it was designed the main though was what if the car had evolved through out its life?

As if you look at the classic it had very little change through its life time which really was the death of it, the car was never updated hugely to incorparate the changing markets, safety laws, or requirements and it was these factors that sent the car to the history books.

Now if you look at the 911, take the first one, and compare it to todays side by side they are totally different in looks and the workings. But if you look at the model through the years the change is more progressive than the sudden change that can be seen from original to today, and the same really should have been done on the mini for it to survive, but it never was. So thats why there was such a huge drastic change which all those middle aged beardy classic owners went nuts about:p

For me, I love my GP as the best MINI, followed by our 1990 mini Cooper, and then our MINI Cooper S, why do I have favourites? Because they all all drive differently, and but all have a purpose and can all give me a grin when driving them, and thats what MINI/mini should be about;)
 

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Killerbyte thanks for your time and lengthy response, much appreciated. Forgot to say as well to Rakey cheers for the pic its a great one.

Please keep posting anyone who would like to, all views are very welcome. regards

Chilly
Glad you liked it, I want another one to add to the collection but I'm told we need to move house first before I can get another:(
 

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One thing I was told about the new MINI that you might find useful, when it was designed the main though was what if the car had evolved through out its life?

As if you look at the classic it had very little change through its life time which really was the death of it, the car was never updated hugely to incorparate the changing markets, safety laws, or requirements and it was these factors that sent the car to the history books.

Now if you look at the 911, take the first one, and compare it to todays side by side they are totally different in looks and the workings. But if you look at the model through the years the change is more progressive than the sudden change that can be seen from original to today, and the same really should have been done on the mini for it to survive, but it never was. So thats why there was such a huge drastic change which all those middle aged beardy classic owners went nuts about:p
That's a great explanation of how it should have happened. :) I like that.
 

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What does your Mini mean to you? / What does is say about you?

Firstly I LOVE my MINI :D Its not just a mode of transport to get from A to B, its a fun and funky place to be, traffic jams arent half as boring as in a 'normal' car :p Its something im very proud of, and want to take pride in, hence keeping it in tiptop condition. It lets me be individual, different, unique, my decal and mod history over my 4 MINIs show that :)

Does owning a new Mini still say something about being British?

Definatly. Its built in Oxford and although owned by BMW its keeping the deminishing British car manufacturing alive which can only be a good thing. And its still very Mini, but as Kev says, just bigger, that was always going to happen. Even if Rover et had continued to make Mini, then they would have had to get bigger to meet the regulations.

Can the new mini continue to use the union jack in paintwork schemes? what are peoples thoughts on it's use in the first place?

Well, my 2nd MINI was Red/White with a Union Jack and I loved it :D I still do have a Union Jack on my roof, but in a much more unique way now ;) (see my siggy)

What do you think the new Mini represents in modern culture?

A fun, funky, different, quirky, unique small hatch. I guess its a bit like that hair gel advert 'break the mould' :cool:

Although the new Mini has carried the Mini name on, will the original minis heritage and image always be linked with the new one (if infact it ever has.)?

I think they should be linked together so that they can both stay strong. I would love to have a Classic Mini (and I have a superb example waiting in the wings) and I think the 'issues' Classic owners have with new MINIs is totally unjustified. Long live Mini and MINI :D
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Yes that is a really good way to put it. I mean imagine a mk1 golf against the latest. Totally different on the face of it.

I suppose the same could be said for the VW beetle which i am also looking into, i dont know whether there is such a strength of reaction against the new beetle as happened with the mini? but that is an equally sudden change from the original shape to the new.

Why is it though that the mini wasn't updated in the usual way? Yes it has ment the car couldn't continue seamlessly into the future but is this what has made it as iconic as it is today?
Although it lasted 40 years is the affect of being unchanged and then totally gone, similar to untimely deaths of celebrity icons (ie: John Lennon, Marc Bowlan, Elvis Presley, Steve Irwin, Bobby Moore, Princess Diana, Jimi Hendrix, Richard Burns) seems a strange point now i read it back but what im trying to say/ask is whether like these celebrities cutting its life off ensured its legendary iconic status rather than seeing it evolve and always fit to the next way of life? Going Back to my celebrity example- Like the feeling people have for John Lennon (life cut short) compared to the feeling they have for Paul McCartney (Career continuing to try and evolve).

Ps. Rakey i didnt know all those 3 were yours, thats an impressive collection, nice one.

Cheers, Chilly
 

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What does your Mini mean to you? / What does is say about you?

Hard to define that one - my choice of a MINI was really a natural progression from Classic Mini ownership.

Does owning a new Mini still say something about being British?

I firmly believe it does - Built in Britain by the same people who allegedly were rubbish at building anything - 1.1 million cars later has hopefully put some of that to rest.

Can the new mini continue to use the union jack in paintwork schemes? what are peoples thoughts on it's use in the first place?

Why not! I don't think that the original Mini was marketed early on with the union jack motifs - it just evolved over time. If I didn't live in an area where the display of a union jack potentially incites anger I might fit a few flag emblems myself.

What do you think the new Mini represents in modern culture?

Individuality, choice. understated Style.

Although the new Mini has carried the Mini name on, will the original minis heritage and image always be linked with the new one (if infact it ever has.)?

As an owner of both I've seen and heard most arguments but I will always see the MINI as the natural modern update. The "DNA" is obvious at the first bend in the road - the same sense of fun and driving enjoyment. Both old and new put a smile on your face....

Here's my "fleet"



And I'd have more too if I had more space to keep them in! :D
 

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Yes that is a really good way to put it. I mean imagine a mk1 golf against the latest. Totally different on the face of it.

I suppose the same could be said for the VW beetle which i am also looking into, i dont know whether there is such a strength of reaction against the new beetle as happened with the mini? but that is an equally sudden change from the original shape to the new.

Why is it though that the mini wasn't updated in the usual way? Yes it has ment the car couldn't continue seamlessly into the future but is this what has made it as iconic as it is today?
Although it lasted 40 years is the affect of being unchanged and then totally gone, similar to untimely deaths of celebrity icons (ie: John Lennon, Marc Bowlan, Elvis Presley, Steve Irwin, Bobby Moore, Princess Diana, Jimi Hendrix, Richard Burns) seems a strange point now i read it back but what im trying to say/ask is whether like these celebrities cutting its life off ensured its legendary iconic status rather than seeing it evolve and always fit to the next way of life? Going Back to my celebrity example- Like the feeling people have for John Lennon (life cut short) compared to the feeling they have for Paul McCartney (Career continuing to try and evolve).

Ps. Rakey i didnt know all those 3 were yours, thats an impressive collection, nice one.

Cheers, Chilly
The golf comparison is also a good one;)

The beetle, well I am not sure how the owners of Beetles feel about those, I'd say the fact its still VW would make it less of a evil brother of the original, but I also feel that they might view it as a Golf in Beetles clothing for the fact that it is and that the engine is in the wrong place;) At least the MINI retained its transverse front engine and front wheel drive, which is not a BMW trait;)

Totally get your bit about the 'die young, leave a good looking corpse' bit, and probably so very true, if it hadn't been going in the one form for so long and so many people having it as their first car maybe there would not be the emotional attachment to a metal object that we all have:)

Oh and thanks, if I have my way its not a completed collection:p
 
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