While modern Mini Coopers certainly have style appeal, the classic ones arguably have them beat. And with a modern restomod touch, classic Minis can deliver the same kind of performance as new ones. But performance and modernity always have a price. And in the case of the David Brown Automotive Mini Remastered, it’s a six-figure price.
David Brown Automotive’s Mini Remastered gives classic Mini Coopers a Singer-style treatment
Calling a restomod company ‘the Singer of [insert car]’ is edging close to cliché territory. But in the case of UK-based David Brown Automotive, it’s rather appropriate, Top Gear explains. After releasing the Speedback, a retro-bodied Jaguar XKR, DBA turned its sights on restoring classic Mini Coopers. Or, as the company calls it, ‘remastering’ them.
To build a Mini Remastered, DBA takes an original Mini Cooper and “replaces nearly everything,” Road & Track reports. It gets reworked reproduction body panels fitted to better-than-original tolerances, additional chassis bracing, and the A- and C-pillar weld seams are filled in and smoothed. And it gets a new grille, side mirrors, and wiring, as well as LED lighting.
However, perhaps the biggest difference between a classic Mini Cooper and a Mini Remastered is the interior. It features four hides’ worth of leather and the original knobs are replaced with burled-aluminum replacements. And the vintage-looking dashboard houses modern HVAC cents and a center touchscreen with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. Plus, there’s Bluetooth, multiple USB outlets, power windows, central locking, a stop-start button, and even a cupholder.
The DBA Mini Remastered uses the donor car’s four-cylinder engine and four-speed transmission. Both are rebuilt during the restomod process, though. And by the end, the 1275cc engine makes 71 bhp and 88 lb-ft of torque. It’s good for a claimed 11.7-second 0-62 mph time and a 90-mph top speed. That doesn’t seem like much until you remember that a 1988 Mini only had 42 hp.
The limited-edition Mini Remastered Oselli Edition “is a miniature marvel,” Hagerty says
However, if the ‘normal’ DBA Mini Remastered isn’t sporty enough, the company has some limited-edition models. The Monte Carlo, for example, has an enlarged 83-hp 1330cc engine. And then there’s the Oselli Edition.
The Mini Remastered Oselli Edition is named after racing engine tuner Oselli, Autoweek explains. And the company collaborated with David Brown Automotive to produce this restomodded Mini’s engine. That engine, incidentally, is just as hopped-up as the rest of the car.
Oselli bored the engine out to 1440cc and fitted numerous strengthened and lightened parts. As a result, this classic Mini Cooper has 125 hp and 113 lb-ft of torque, Hagerty reports. That goes to the front wheels via a reworked five-speed manual and a limited-slip differential. As a result, the 1741-lb Oselli Edition has a sub-8-second 0-60 mph time with carburetors. There is a four-speed automatic option, but only with a 1380cc engine.
In addition, the Mini Remastered Oselli Edition has Bilstein shocks, AP Racing brakes, a performance exhaust, and 13” Enkei wheels with grippier tires. And inside, there’s an Alcantara-trimmed steering wheel and aluminum pedals. Plus, it has all the accouterments of the ‘regular’ Mini Remastered—and electric power steering.
And for the track aficionados, there’s a two-seater Mini Remastered Oselli Edition. It loses the rear bench seat but gains Sabelt bucket seats with four-point racing harnesses and a roll cage. And there’s an optional extra fuel tank.
The net sum of all this is a car that feels alive beneath you, Hagerty says. It rotates easily, seemingly dancing around the track. And everything from the steering to the exhaust peppers you with feedback, Hagerty reports. In short, it’s up-to-date old-school fun.
Is it worth the $140K asking price?
Given its upgrades, the Mini Remastered doesn’t come cheap. And the Oselli Edition is even more expensive. A ‘standard’ DBA classic Mini Cooper restomod starts at the equivalent of $105K, R&T reports. Meanwhile, the Oselli Edition costs roughly $140,000—and DBA is only making 60 examples.
That’s a significant amount of money for a classic Mini Cooper. For that price, you could buy a Porsche 911 or several 2021 JCW GPs. However, that’s the appeal of restomods: vintage style with modern tech and performance. It’s why vinyl has a tremendous following—especially remastered albums.
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