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David Brown Mini Remastered: The little car with a big price tag

Ever wanted a new original Mini with a serious luxury flavour and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto? The David Brown Mini Remastered is for you – if you have very deep pockets, that is.

The new BMW Mini is one of the most common cars on the road, but the classic associated with the swinging 60s is the one that really matters. It is an iconic little British car that has conquered hearts and minds worldwide since it hit production in 1959.

No wonder, then, British coachbuilder David Brown Automotive decided it was about time the bug-eyed car had a luxury makeover. Why? To make it more suitable for 21st century living but without losing any of what makes it such a lovable car.

In attempting just that, it has brought the original Mini to a new audience while making David Brown cars more financially accessible. Well, more accessible than its first car launched in 2014, the £594,000 Speedback GT.

So what is the David Brown Mini Remastered all about, what does it cost and how many versions are there? We headed to a static launch at the Bike Shed in trendy Shoreditch to get the lowdown.

David Brown Mini Remastered: What is it?

David Brown Mini Remastered - Front image

The David Brown Mini Remastered is based on the classic mini, which is why it looks almost identical. We say almost because every panel is brand new and some have been modified to refine the exterior shape to make it visually ‘softer’ and cleaner.

Each car is 100 per cent handbuilt at the manufacturer’s Silverstone HQ so the process is about as personal and careful as it gets.

In addition, the David Brown team has added in bespoke structural beams to improve rigidity, which does nothing for the aesthetics but will do something for the handling. And to help save power it has triple LED lights at the rear.

David Brown Mini Remastered: What about the interior?

David Brown Mini Remastered - Interior Image

The interior is a mixture of old and new, with classic Smith dials and a suitably retro David Brown ‘Moto-Lita’ steering wheel providing a sense you have just stepped back to the 1960s. Minus the ability to smoke on a plane, that is.

David Brown also spent a lot of time working on sound-proofing to make the cabin quieter and more refined than the original while helping the Pioneer audio system sound even better.

Unlike the classic Mini, the David Brown Mini Remastered comes with various modern conveniences such as a cup holder, key-less go, USB connectivity and even Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. No shoddy tape player here, folks.

David Brown Mini Remastered: What about the engine?

David Brown Mini Remastered - Steering Wheel Image

All that sound-proofing and structural stuff has no doubt made the David Brown Mini heavier, which is partly why the engine has been tuned up to provide just shy of 100hp in its sportiest version.

The power increase on the classic mini is up to 50 per cent, thanks to the rebuilding and tuning of the 1,275cc engine. 78bhp or 98bhp is available, meaning David Brown’s version will be no slouch.

David Brown has also beefed-up the brakes to improve stopping power and has reconditioned the four-speed gearbox to make it more hardy to improve reliability. Because spending your time waiting for a tow truck is a remnant of motoring past that no one wants.

Then there is the suspension, which has also been given a modern-day spruce to make the car more suited to Britain’s pot hole-infested roads. All in all, it should be a more comfortable, but less agile proposition than the original.

David Brown Mini Remastered: Can I customise it?

David Brown Mini Remastered - Driver's Seat Image

You betcha, thanks to a neat online configurator. Everything from the contrasting roof colour and alloy wheel design to the interior leather hue can be tweaked to make the car more special. Or, perhaps, more akin to the one you drove in your younger days.

If you are too lazy to customise the car yourself during the one to one design consultation, David Brown has launched two special edition launch models, one of which is called ‘Inspired by Cafe Racers’ and the other is ‘Inspired by Monte Carlo’.

The David Brown Mini ‘Inspired by Cafe Racers’ takes an even more retro approach to the look. It features a brown and cream interior and the exterior has a more subtle headlight arrangement, with two of the bulbs recessed into the chrome grille.

Then there is the David Brown Mini ‘Inspired by Monte Carlo’, which has a more racing-inspired look that would be perfectly in place in the classic movie, The Italian Job. It is the sportier, less subtle edition of the two and has 98bhp.

The standard David Brown Mini is a pretty thing to behold and will be cheaper to buy. But cheap is a relative term, as you will now find out.

David Brown Mini Remastered: The price?

David Brown Mini Remastered - Dashboard

There is no official price just yet, but a representative of the manufacturer said to expect a price tag of at least £75,000 for the standard David Brown Mini Remastered, which is a very large amount for such a small car. No matter how cute it is.

David Brown has to keep its cars rare and desirable, of course, while covering the cost of such a bespoke setup. All that handbuilt luxury and effort is, after all, never going to come cheap.

You have really got to love the original Mini to spend so much on one, especially as you could pay a lot less to get a truly excellent example.

But then if the heart wants to take a trip down nostalgia avenue this is an inspired interpretation that is a joy to behold and packs a sizable tech punch.

The David Brown Mini Remastered will be debut to the public from the 20th to the 23rd of April, 2017, at the Grimaldi Forum in Monte Carlo.

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