Take one iconic British name, one legendary Italian coachbuilder, a bunch of electric motors and sprinkle in some classic roadster proportions and what do you get? A Mini Superleggera of course, a car that oozes style form every hand crafted angle and one that Mini has revealed to the world at this years Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este.
Touring Superleggera the company behind the beautiful bodywork aren’t unfamiliar when it comes to working with iconic British names, they have quite a formidable back catalogue. The Aston Martin DB4, 5 and 6 were all crafted by the firm back in the 50’s and 60’s. And being Italian, Superleggera don’t just do British cars, Alfa Romeo, Maserati, Ferrari and the first ever Lamborghini production car the 350-400GT have all been penned and built by the coachworks.
This new Mini isn’t the coachworks first foray into modern cars either, remember the work of art that was the Alfa Romeo Disco Volante? Superleggera were quite possible the only company in the world who could take an Alfa 8C, say it was ugly, chop the body off and replace it with something infinitely more beautiful. Unlike the Alfa though of which 8 were built the Mini is strictly a one off concept.
Despite its Italian coachwork there are definitely still splashes of Mini design language everywhere, form the smiling big eyed face to the wheels pushed to the far corners of the car. It is instantly recognisable and Mini hopes will still be a hoot to drive. Being a roadster there is a distinct lack of roof and combined with the one piece windscreen they help keep the waistline low with that “Touring” line running from the long bonnet to boot. A key feature for me is that rear fin that runs the length of the boot, it echo’s the one on the D Type Jaguar and that is no bad thing.
Other neat little touches are the two half’s of a Union Jack hidden in the LED taillights and again in the inner door structure, just in case you forget that Mini is inherently British. All the sheet metal is hand crafted allowing for a smooth surface with minimal panel gaps. Personally I think the car resembles a perfectly formed pebble, the type ideal for skimming across a pond. It is absolutely stunning and from some angles ever so slightly like a miniature E-Type.
As hinted in the intro the Mini Superleggera also features a fully electric drivetrain offering a new take on the roadster experience. This will mean increased weight, however its hoped that given the cars short stature the batteries and motors will provide perfect weight distribution.
Mini’s Supperleggera sits firmly in the realms of concept cardom at the moment. Hopefully though some aspects of it might make it onto the next generation of open top Minis, especially the questionable, backwards cap wearing, Mini Coupe. If ever there was a car that needed an injection of Italian style, it’s that one.