Mini is officially getting into the EV conversion racket, but this time, I’m rooting for the electric conversion of these classics because of a cleverly retrofitted gauge. Look, if classic cars must be converted to EVs, there’s a right and wrong way. It sounds like Mini’s new EV conversion team is doing it right, at the very least trying to preserve the spirit of the tiny cars.
Look at this gloriously ugly gauge, doing its best to belong on this dash. Look!
It’s a Smiths gauge! This is the company that outfitted classic Minis with their original instrument clusters, except these converted Minis are rocking range, not fuel readings. The new cluster shows the drivetrain temperature, the gear and speed, too. Notice the gears are just R, N, and D. Boo!
I don’t know if the gauges are screens or if there are stickers over them because they look kind of weird, but whether they’re digital or analog, the effect applies.
Finally, the good thing about the Mini Recharged conversions is that these are reversible, per the carmaker:
Only reversible changes are made to the substance of the vehicle during the conversion as part of MINI Recharged. Careful handling of the historical heritage is an important part of the concept. This makes it possible to restore the classic Mini to its original condition at a later date. During the conversion, the original engine of each vehicle is marked and stored so it can be reused in the event of a future retrofit of the classic Mini.
I’m especially curious about Mini’s engine marking and storage process, because that’s something I’ve imagined doing.
I mean, how many of us haven’t daydreamed about converting our old dailies? Imagined setting its beloved, but aging gasoline-burning engine on a pallet? Gently. Carefully. And imagined putting that pallet in the living room, in the space where a chair went, then finally adding a plaque that reads, “This latent fire lit the way, now it warms me.” I can’t be the only one. Come on!