The Mini Superleggera Vision Concept was easily one of the best designs to come from Mini in a while, an elegant and fun-looking sports car with two seats and an open roof. I hoped Mini wouldn't let that design go to waste, and now there's proof they might not.

Patent photos of what could be a production Mini Superleggera — possibly the next Mini Roadster — surfaced on the oddly-named Joke For Blog, and they give me some hope that this car could actually see the light of day.

I actually have a dirty, awful confession to make. I saw these photos yesterday, and instead of posting them, I wrote them off as clearly just drawings for the Superleggera concept.

Then I took a much closer look at them and realized that they have a lot of extra details that weren't on the concept car, details you might expect on a production model. The lines on the front and rear bumpers separating the body panels, for example, or the seams that indicate it has an actual trunk.

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See what I mean? It looks more like a real car than a concept in these new patent photos. This might just be the real deal.

Lately we've been hearing that Mini plans to pare down their somewhat bloated lineup to a more reasonable one with "five superheroes," but they haven't said what they will be. If they decide a roadster is in the cards, I really hope it looks like this.

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I also hope those weird Union Jack taillights stick around, because those are delightful.

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