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Am I Missing Something? – Why MINI should remake Classic & New MINI Parts

By January 15, 2021 No Comments

As time moves on, we always look back at better days gone with fond memories. It’s the reason why BMW brought the MINI brand because of the value it holds amongst everyone across the world. Everyone saw it as an Icon throughout the ’60s or their childhood either by owning, learning how to drive in one or having a happy memory surrounding this four-wheel friend. After bringing back the MINI in 2001, it was a success straight out of the door with people buying them left right and centre. Now that enough time has passed I do wonder why MINI hasn’t got down to building classic Mini/MINI parts to the fun alive across all generations for future MINI Adventures???

It’s strange that we owe it to Germans to revive a British brand given the history between the nations. BMW getting the rights to MINI & Rolls Royce is the best thing they ever did like how they gave the world angel lights and carbon fibre roofs. BMW carried on to build the classic Mini for a while when they took ownership of the brand from Rover, so there were manufacturing the car from 1994 to 2000. A year later we were given the BMW MINI or modern MINI we have been living with since to which is much loved by Mini/MINI owners across the world, so there is vast fan base too after and sell more cars to.

The answer simple and the MINI brand should have brought out the MINI Sport Group instantly giving them access to Classic & New MINI customer base and thriving business. This would allow them to understand the customer base of the classic Mini owners allowing them to gain access to the Mini show events. In turn, this would allow great market research and talk to real owners who own both a classic and new MINI giving a business case for more profits and allow cross-selling of the New MINI.

MINI over the years has lost its way but not understanding it’s customer base and the F-Series is the product of the disconnect and they need to back to the drawing board and understand owners and their desire. They should have not listened to a customer focus group who they want to sell to who are not die-hard MINI owners as the best way is shown in the F-Series with the window switches moving to the conventional place on doors.

This lead to the question of why you can’t buy certain parts for New MINI anymore as models have finished production??

I personally received a lot of messages on IG, Facebook and requests at shows – Can you get or know someone that can get this part as I can’t seem to find it anywhere?

I have seen countless people asking for specific parts for the MINI but finding out they are no longer available to buy ranging from classic Mini to the 2nd Gen MINIs. There isn’t a lack of cars being sold as 10 million Mini/MINIs have been sold since 1959 which is significant amount even if you take 40% out for being wrecked that still leaves 6 million cars on the road worldwide.

Obviously, over time, these cars will be kept and cherished with some MINI parts added to add that extra touch or retrofit items later. Others will be sold on to new owners so they will have the modding bug to make their new MINI personal to them. All the above follows the reason why you buy a MINI in the first instance to customise it to your taste and liking.

A lot of the MINI parts that people are looking for are the carbon fibre variety. Weirdly, MINI doesn’t just reproduce them given BMW now has it’s own carbon fibre manufacturing facilities. It would be just the case reusing mods, and they have all the rights and blueprints of all the parts so matter for pressing a few points.

I understand there has to be a business case, so another thing has missed MINI’s mind is they have a database of MINI owners, so a simple newsletter to get the info following to them that Classic MINI Parts are coming. Along with the fact, the world has changed, and social media would allow fast uptake an interest to see what fan would like to be reproduced with requests or putting up a survey to forecast sales. This, in turn, would help the dealer network, service departments and bring in extra revenue for long term as the dreaded 2030 cut off point for no more petrol/diesel engine being sold within the UK.

You might be thinking I am mad, but I am not as Porsche as do they classic parts for the legacy models so they can be updated to have Apple Carplay or navigation for example which makes life easy instead of ripping out the stock stereo for something non-OEM looking.

The OEM look comes at a price which is near on make no difference of 3 times the price of normal double din unit but making something like it should be is something else.

I have personally toyed with the idea of adding a double din unit to my R56. The fact I have to look down to see the nav is off-putting, but the want for Apple Carplay is massive given the mileage I do, and I am apple fanboy here as well.

Well, that’s one price point, and we can move to JDM life as Nissan has started reproducing R32 & R34 parts. The Skyline GTR was never a volume car, but it adored across the world with its cult following from the Playstation generation. This genuinely made me happy as dream car alongside my Zonda Cinque is the R34 Skyline with the Z Tune bodykit and Nismo parts. Something about the R34 that is magical and sits within my heart as they got everything right with styling and performance and it wasn’t trying to Euro copy but flew the Japan flag with pride.

If inline 6 Godzilla isn’t your poison, then Mazda is making the triangle goodness parts again with the RX-7 with its rotary engine. No JDM part is complete without VTEC gang coming through as Honda is making legacy parts for the Civic as well.

We know the money and desire is there from multiple parts of the market, so MINI has fighting chance to make it commercially viable.

What parts would you want MINI to produce??

Here is a list of what I would love to see come back:

  1. All JCW Carbon fibre parts
  2. JCW Recaro Buckets
  3. JCW Shift Lights
  4. MINI Mission Control
  5. Wireless Apple Carplay
  6. Digital Gauges

I choose those parts as they often on the most wanted list from owners and it would nice to MINI to update the R56 for the future digital world as over 10 years have passed since the first one rolled out from Plant Oxford.

The carbon steering bits, handbrake and gear knob have all been discounted but often go for silly money now online. Wow doesn’t like a bit of Carbon???

The number of looks my JCW does get when they have seen the Recaros is countless and forever on everyone’s wishlist. They are still the best seats for any car as they fit your snuggle, hours of driving and you won’t be fatigued plus they have the heating elements in them all ready for the winter months.

Another on the most wanted list is the JCW shift lights for the race vibes.

MINI Mission Control was an underrated feature which highlighted MINI’s fun, humour and lightheartedness inside your car. For those who don’t know your MINI turned into KITT from Nightrider so it would talk to you depending on what mode you were in e.g. so if you switched from sport mode to normal it would say ‘Oh that’s no fun back to granny mode’. Yes, it had humour but it had useful information telling you the car reached optimum temperature but announcing it. Other features were inbuilt such as if you took your MINI back to the factory you would get points and tick of list of achievements as top speed, 0 to 60 times and fuel economy.

Apple Carplay would bring the car up to date so you can get to where ever your going and have support from Siri wherever you go. Apple has always done things great and innovated with its ecosystem hence why MINI has always supported the brand. You do it your R56 now with installing an aftermarket Apple Carplay module.

I said digital gauges as analogue dials are a dying breed as most new cars have digital dashes now to relay all kinds of information from water temperature, tyre pressure, sat-nav directions and etc. Lotus did something similar to all their existing and previous models buy making digital dash retrofit kit which costs – £1470 and comes with a 2-year warranty.

It’s all good and well-saying let’s get this stuff made by MINI but what would it cost at the dealers?

JCW Carbon Parts Price Examples – £799 – R56 Carbon Wing, £65 – Carbon Gear Knob and Carbon Door Pulls – £80

JCW Recaros Alcantara/Leather – £1500 each or £3500 for a pair fitted & coded

JCW Shift Lights – £250

MINI Mission Control – £200 – Module & Software

Wireless Apple Carplay – £300

Digital Gauges – £350

All the above are possible to do with no so much work and the coding being the only major issues as it would have work with all the current system software correctly to which MINI own all themselves. Carbon manufacturing is now easy for them as BMW has all it’s own carbon manufacture facilities and will own all the moulds and copyright. Re-establishing the brand partnership with Recaro is a simple step as they have collaborated in years gone with both MINI & BMW.

 

If you want to modify it? – Here is my Ultimate R56 MINI Modding Bible – Click here for my guide

 

 

Hopefully, this guide will give you a stepping stone to find the perfect MINI and look forward to the MINI Adventures.

Here are my recommendations for MINI UK & Overseas specialist to visit for repairs, upgrades or parts:

Lohen – lohen.co.uk

1320 Mini – 1320.co.uk

Sussex Road & Race – sussexroadandrace.co.uk

Millys Auto – millsysautos.co.uk

TWG Automotive – twgautomotive.co.uk

MiniWorks – mini-works.co.uk

RSI C6 – rsic6.com

Outmotoring – outmotoring.com

ESC Tuning – ecstuning.com

Detroit Tuned – detroittuned.com

My list is made by own opinions and me speaking to respective companies & other owners across the world, and this is not sponsored post for full transparency.

 

If you got the modding bug don’t forget to check out JCW Adventures Store or Official eBay Store for some stickers for all generations of MINIs or R56 JCW carbon fibre exhaust tips as seen on my MINI R56 JCW to support the blog & YouTube channel.

All your support over the years and please offer that same support by following my Youtube Channel as well : )

As Always it’s a MINI Adventure try to keep up & Stay Safe!

 

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