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MINI Recharges a Classic With Paul Smith

Renowned British fashion designer Paul Smith has returned to collaborate with iconic British automotive marque Mini to electrify the 1998 MINI Paul Smith Edition, converting it into the Mini Recharged.

As carmakers around the world look to electrify their line-ups at ever varying degrees of efficacy, a parallel market is growing alongside, as car owners look to convert their favourite classic vehicles to electric propulsion.

Unsurprisingly, a number of carmakers are jumping on board with this trend, bringing everything full circle.

British automaker Mini is the latest to reinvent a classic and called on famed British fashion designer Paul Smith to transform his own limited 1998 Mini Paul Smith Edition into an emissions free electric car.

Outside of the EV conversion, what makes this model so special is its history with Paul Smith. The limited-edition 1988 vehicle found its original inspiration from his personal collection, a swatch from one of his favourite shirts was pulled to decide on paint colour, resulting in a gorgeous bright blue. The new model retains the instantly recognisable shade, while the contrasting lime green battery box recalls a 1990s colour palette. And despite the redesign, the original ethos of the car remains.

When Sir Alec Issigonis developed the classic MINI in response to the oil crisis of 1959, he did so to offset rising fuel prices and a general lack of space. It was this idea that convinced millions of people over many decades to invest in a MINI and is still partly responsible for the success of MINI today with cars like the MINI Cooper SE going underappreciated.

“The car also respects the past… When you move into your old aunt’s flat, out of respect you don’t change everything, but you do some modernising,” said Smith. “We have made a 1990s car totally relevant for today.”

It makes sense then that Paul Smith would keep the vehicle’s overall shape and ethos intact. Changes have been made to the interior with a reduced and sustainable being implemented; deliberately leaving out trim parts, a bare bodyshell, an unclad floor pan, and rustic floor mats made of recycled rubber. A magnet next to the steering wheel holds a mobile phone, replacing all the old buttons on the dashboard which would likely be defunct thanks to the EV conversion regardless.

The new MINI partner converted the classic MINI into an emission-free vehicle by installing a 72-kilowatt electric motor. Battery capacity, range, speed and performance figures are undisclosed at the time of writing, although we can’t imagine they’d be great considering the size of the battery. The Paul Smith Classic MINI will celebrate its world premiere at the Salone del Mobile 2022 in Milan.

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