The North American International Auto Show in Detroit (16–24 January 2010) will be the venue of another creative unveiling by MINI… the four-seater Beachcomber Concept.
MINI’s claim that it’s ‘a brand-new type of vehicle’ is perhaps pushing it a bit (think 1960s Mini Moke, for a start), but it’s certainly a big leap away from what the brand currently offers. The Beachcomber has four-wheel drive, an elevated seating position, generous spring travel, extra-large light-alloy wheels – but no doors or roof. The ‘cutouts’ (instead of doors) extend right down to the bottom of the seats, giving the occupants a no doubt wonderful feeling of connection to the outside world.
It sounds ideal for a spirited sprint across a private beach but, looking out at the vista of frost and snow outside the Classic Driver office window this December morning, one wonders just how much use the average British buyer could make of such a car.
There is, however, the option of fitting a soft (or hard) roof and lightweight doors, to enable motoring on normal roads.
Lovely idea, and another feather in MINI’s creative bonnet.