McLaren Automotive Design Director Frank Stephenson is going back to Mini, according to industry sources via Auto Motor und Sport. That’s not the most exciting of news, but I am enthralled with one thought: the idea of a Mini with “billionaire doors” that flip up like a modern-day McLaren. It’s what the world needs right now.
Stephenson designed the very first new Mini back in 2001, which was retro and cute without being a goofy parody of itself. It was a good car. He left in 2002 to go on to design the new Fiat 500 and the Ferrari F430 before joining McLaren in 2008, notes Road & Track. The revived McLaren look that we know and mostly love today was developed under his watch—doors and all, of course.
In other words, if there’s anybody who could make billionaire doors on a Mini work, it’s probably this dude.
I can see the outraged comments now—you sicko! That’s tacky and stupid! Of course it is. I don’t think I’d do this to my car if I had a Mini. That is my point.
I love seeing cars do what they’re not supposed to do. Delivery scooters and land yachts going racing. Dodge Shadows jumping into what feels like low-earth orbit. A Ferrari Enzo hooning in the dirt. McLaren’s butt-awful 2017 F1 car making it through a session without blowing up.
This need to see cars outside of everyone’s comfort zones applies to questionable design decisions, too. These are the why I get up in the morning. Not to look at run-of-the-mill supercars, or even nice, normal cars working as they should. I need to see what oddities the automotive world has spat out today, like hearse RV conversions and giant swan-head mud truck snorkels.
I must stare in awe at the bizarre decisions others have made in life, and one of those decisions should absolutely be sticking flip-up billionaire doors on a Mini.
You see, Mini is the ultimate everyman performance brand. The original Mini racers were the plucky David in the original David vs. Goliath touring car duels. Mini makes small, fun cars that are still accessible and practical for normal people to daily drive.
McLaren-style billionaire doors are the exact opposite, especially after they were defined as an item of success and excess by Silicon Valley’s Russ Hanneman. When you mention doors that go up like “this” and flip your hands in an upward motion, you think of McLarens, Lamborghinis and other exotics that fit the trope.
There is nothing humble or practical about a flip-up door, which is why that part of my brain that salivates over three-wheel Fiat 500s and other weird mods wants to see it on a Mini.
It wouldn’t be out of character for Mini to do something off the wall. They’ve been pumping out Minis that aren’t even mini anymore for years, like the Countryman. Nothing makes sense anymore! In that light, billionaire doors on a Mini are the next logical step.
Please indulge my bizarre needs when you head back to Mini, Frank. You have the know-how to at least slap flip-up doors onto a concept for my own personal amusement. Make it happen.