Home » The Secret Behind The 2023 Mini Seaside Edition They Don’t Want You To Know

The Secret Behind The 2023 Mini Seaside Edition They Don’t Want You To Know

Mini Seaside Edition Topshot

We might be due for a new generation of Mini soon, but that doesn’t mean the current model’s done quite yet. Here’s the newly announced Mini Seaside Edition, which “Celebrates 30 years of individual style and maximum fresh-air driving fun.” In short, three decades of al fresco Minis. Lies! It’s all lies!

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Based on either the standard three-cylinder Cooper cabriolet or the quicker four-cylinder Cooper S variant, the Seaside Edition gets a whole bunch of badging that says 30 if you squint really hard, along with a choice of two colors. You can spec Nanuq White if you’re alright with something a little bit boring, or you can tick the box for Caribbean Aqua if you really want to play up the seaside part of things.

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In addition to badges and paint, you get heaps of equipment like sat-nav and leather upholstery, plus a rather neat set of bodyside stripes and some loud graphics on the front bumper to really drive home that this is a special edition Mini. Mind you, I’m not sure how pleasant that black leather will be during a day in the sun, but at least it should be easy to clean.

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It’s all well and good that Mini is rolling out a special cabriolet, but there’s just one tiny problem: the Mini Seaside Edition doesn’t actually mark 30 years of Mini cabriolets!

1991 Mini Cabriolet 3

To explain why, let’s go back almost 32 years to 1991, when Rover still had control of the Mini brand. With Alec Issigonis’ iconic little car enjoying a cultural renaissance of sorts, Rover wanted to cash in through special models, and a cabriolet seemed like one way to do it. There’s just one problem: slicing the top off of a car is expensive, and Rover just wanted to dip its toe into the pool to check the temperature. Cue Lamm Autohaus.

1991 Mini Cabriolet 1

As you can probably tell by the name, Lamm Autohaus was a German firm that had been chopping the tops off of Minis since the 1980s. Rover simply rang this specialist up, placed an order for 75 drop-top Minis, all with right-hand-drive and all in red with red roofs and special body kits. Those 75 cars were then shipped to just 12 Rover dealers in preparation for sale. At the time, the price tag was astronomical – £12,250 for a Mini. For context, a 1991 Mini Cooper initially retailed for a much more reasonable £6,595.

1991 Mini Cabriolet 4

Despite the high price tag, all 75 cars sold within a month, making the program successful enough to justify more drop-top Minis. Instead of contracting Lamm Autohaus for more conversions, Rover turned to Karmann and Tickford for help bringing production in-house, and revealed the car in October of 1992 with sales starting in 1993.

Will Mini amend the special badging on the 2023 Mini Seaside Edition to say 32 instead of 30? Absolutely not. They’re too afraid to admit the truth (or, maybe, I’m just being enormously pedantic and this doesn’t matter at all).

(Photo credits: Mini, sellers)


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13 Responses

  1. “The only new Mini I care about is the Mini BEV convertible concept”.

    Oh, yes, please please please. But make all the tech an option, as I want full adaptive cruise, ventilated seats (in beige, gray, etc — not black), and all the other goodies.

    Build it right, and I’ll stop buying Audi Cabrios (at least until they offer an e-tron softtop)

  2. The only new Mini I care about is the Mini BEV convertible concept, ya know the one that is arguably the easiest BEV convertible to take from concept to production (take an off the shelf Mini BEV drivetrain and battery pack, get a Mini convertible chassis without the drivetrain, bolt it up, do the required testing, and start selling them. The only difference between a production ready one and the concept is that the concept hasn’t undergone the testing needed to sell it to the public enmasse.

    I’ll buy one if it’s not made in China, it’s made before 2026, and it has manual seats.

    Honestly convertibles are prime for becoming BEVs. There’s a reason why almost noone made diesel convertibles (even though VW could have made diesel cabrios easily) because noone likes sucking soot down their lungs because they want to have their convertible top down.

    With a BEV convertible it’s just wind noise and air that’s only getting cleaner with time (in the US at least).

    I genuinely see no reason to get the Hardtop Mini BEV in the US and once the Fiat 500e gets here in 2024 I doubt anyone will buy Hardtop Mini BEVs. I believe however a proper convertible Mini BEV would sell well (for a Mini BEV) and it would be the only proper convertible BEV on the market (even Fiat’s “convertible” 500e is just a retractable soft top, it doesn’t properly go down allowing for crossdrafts and such) and in doing so it would have the market cornered.

  3. The Austin Mini weighed 1,300 lbs.
    The Austin Maxi weighed 2,156 lbs.
    Those new “Minis” are only an inch or so shorter than the Austin Maxi.and weigh 2,712 to 3,144 lbs unless you get the countryman that weighs an astounding 3,926 lbs.
    So why do they persist in calling them minis?

    1. And BMW specifically retained a trademark on the Maxi name when they split up Rover Group in 2000, indicating that they probably had plans to use it for a bigger MINI model eventually but never did.

      Or, maybe not, they also retained the trademark registrations for Riley and Triumph cars, and they clearly never intended to actually use those

    2. I think that’s part of the reason Mini people refer to them as ‘MINIs’, if they refer to them at all. I think some would prefer to forget they exist.

  4. Inner 8yo: That’s COOL!
    Inner curmudgeon: Holy crap: how much does it weigh? Howinhell did they brace it?
    Nerd note: Interior Features include a ‘shift lever gaiter’.

    Have to say that the interior is pretty nice with all that wood.

  5. Meh. They’re still too bloated. I had an R53 Mini that I loved. The second and third generations became swollen and ugly. They are mini in name only. The current generation 3-door is 6.5” longer than the first. Hopefully the next generation will reverse the trend.

    1. I do agree subsequent models have become bloated and ugly but I love the full circle (and I’m assuming deliberate) irony of a new MINI owner complaining subsequent models are ‘Mini in name only’.

      Good work!

      1. I mean, at least Rover was still involved with the design and engineering of the first gen new MINIs. Granted they put in a crap Rover 5 speed in the justa’s that chews itself to bits way too quickly, but hey what could we expect, it was Rover after all.

        P.S. I love my R53, so much aftermarket fun for flinging it around the twisties, and the purchase of the car was cheap enough to not feel guilty when I mushroomed the shock towers through my defender plates.

      2. You still see a lot of original Minis on the road in Japan, the country that kept the Mini alive.
        They are TINY, even compared to current kei cars. In fact, they are only 10mm too wide to fit the kei regulations of 2 generations ago, which ended in 1990.
        Love the R53 (we had two) but it looks like an overinflated blimp in comparison.

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