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MINI ideas that were just for laughs on each year’s first day of April

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This is a serious and challenging time and many must be getting increasingly stressed with lockdowns and fear of getting infected by the COVID-19 coronavirus. That’s understandable but hopefully, being able to laugh is not lost yet because it can be therapeutic and provide some relief, if just for a while.

April Fool’s Day, an annual date on the calendar when people and companies have a bit of fun playing pranks, passed rather quietly this year. Perhaps few were in the mood for pranks. So MINI USA decided to compile some of the brand’s most memorable and humorous past April Fools’ moments over the past 18 years the modern MINI has been sold in America.

MINI had fun on April Fools’ Day with unique models, concepts and accessories that were never intended to make it to reality. While most were simply ideas to celebrate a day dedicated to jokes and pranks that dates back to the 1500s, MINI did go as far to create one and launch it at a major international autoshow in 2012.

“MINI has always had the ability to make people smile, whether through our humorous advertising and guerrilla marketing stunts, or simply by the appearance of the familiar, smiling face that people see in the front grille of a MINI.” said Andrew Cutler, Head of Corporate Communications, MINI USA. “We hope that during these difficult times, reminiscing about some of our past April Fools’ Day moments will make people smile. It’s an important part of helping us all get through this together.”

MINI Centrelite
2002: MINI introduces the revolutionary third headlight called CENTRELITE. It was a groundbreaking idea specifically for foggy English weather. The press release also revealed that “this revolutionary new technology emits a super-heated beam that dries out fog up to 30 metres ahead of the car and dramatically improves visibility.”
Remote Control Steering System
2003: Remote control steering system sets new standards in convenience. MINI produced the world’s first commercially-available full-sized remote control car. Based on the proven ‘Tamiy-ah-hah’ model racing technology, the new system allowed owners to remotely operate their cars up to 50 metres.

2004: 8-speed gearbox introduced. MINI’s forward thinking added more fun with 2 speeds in reverse. Remember it was 2004 so 8 speeds was still unique and MINI engineers felt that 2 extra speeds in reverse would give owners ‘more fun going backwards’.


2005: The flexible transportation initiative. MINI cars, already known for cornering as if they were on rails, offered a special edition that will actually corner on rails. Considering the growing problem of gridlock and rush-hour traffic, this special model was adapted to ride on all rail lines throughout North America.


BHPetrol RON95 Euro4M


2006:  Build your own MINI program. Virtual reality for consumers was still many years away but MINI USA was already able to offer customers a program that gave them hands-on experience to build their own car. All of the car’s components could be ordered online and the parts, including the chassis and engine, would delivered in instalments. It was to take about 6 weeks to complete the car and customers would also receive a can of spraypaint each week.


2009: Perpetual motion magnetic propulsion system. Announced on April 1, MINI USA looked set to take a world lead in fuel efficiency with the announcement of a revolutionary magnetic propulsion system that will allow its cars to drive to several hundred, possibly even thousands of kilometres with little charge and no need for fuel. Professor Lirpa Loof, who led the development team, explained that a series of magnets in the wheel hubs would both pull and push the wheels in the desired direction, exploiting the magnets’ natural tendency to attract and repel.


2010: A new level of automobile personalisation. A revolutionary paint system for the Clubman allowed owners to change the exterior colour of their car as often as they changed their mood. With the new, innovative range of MINIMagic paint finishes, all a customer has to do to activate an on-demand colour change was quick wipe over the painted surfaces with the patented MINIMagic paint polish. In minutes, the transformation – from Light Coffee to Cosmic Blue, for example – would be completed.


MINI Yachtsman
2012: Amphibious MINI Yachtsman launched. MINI customers could boldly go where no motorer has gone before and travel on the 70% of the earth’s surface covered by water. The new model, the company said in its release, “comes with a fully incomprehensible warranty that includes 3-year no-cost moorage, annual dry-docking and free barnacle removal, for the original captain.”
MINI Hipster
2016: The Hipster Hatch. Featuring Instagram filtered windows, twin-deck cassette player and a fixed-gear drivetrain, the MINI Hipster Hatch was avant-garde and upcycled. It was ‘effortlessly stylish’ and the perfect companion for a spot of vintage clothes shopping. It was inspired by the kind of innovative thinking only found when you ignore the script and ask what those who refuse to be categorized want from a car,” explained MINI USA.
John Cooker Works
2017: The John Cooker Works Package. This was aimed at the culinary entrepreneur who could turn his MINI Convertible into a mobile street vendor stall. Should the rain come down suddenly, the convertible roof could be closed in just 18 seconds without having to remove the food preparation surface. Be it on the streets of Shanghai, in front of Barcelona’s office blocks or whipping around tourist hotspots in London, the MINI Convertible with John Cooker Works Package would be an eye-catcher as the world’s smallest multifunctional food truck.

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