BMW USA’s advertising campaign for the new Mini has heightened awareness of older ‘classic’ models in the United States, a Chicago-based enthusiast says.

Robert Simon, a federal financial manager, is just one of thousands of American enthusiasts who owns an original Mini, one of many left and right hand drive models privately imported since official sales stopped, after just 10,000 units, in 1967.

A regular at his suburb’s Friday ‘cruise night’, Simon said that his sole original Mini drew a crowd amongst the sea of customised and street rod American machinery and English classics such as a Triumph TR3, twin cam MGA and even an Austin Devon.

“Mine was the only classic Mini there last Friday  – there was one of the new cars too – but people were constantly talking to me about my car,” said Simon, an Anglophile whose garage also houses a 1975 MGB roadster and a 1990s Volvo sedan as a ‘daily driver’.

“They mostly knew what the car was – this is a major change from a year ago prior to the introduction of the new Mini.

How well do you really know your competitors?

Access the most comprehensive Company Profiles on the market, powered by GlobalData. Save hours of research. Gain competitive edge.

Company Profile – free sample

Thank you!

Your download email will arrive shortly

Not ready to buy yet? Download a free sample

We are confident about the unique quality of our Company Profiles. However, we want you to make the most beneficial decision for your business, so we offer a free sample that you can download by submitting the below form

By GlobalData
Visit our Privacy Policy for more information about our services, how we may use, process and share your personal data, including information of your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications. Our services are intended for corporate subscribers and you warrant that the email address submitted is your corporate email address.

“They also asked about the new Mini. Had I driven one, what did I think of it, etc. etc.

“Lastly, they said, ‘wasn’t that a Mini like yours in the movie Bourne Identity?’ I explained it was.”

Simon attends numerous classic Mini gatherings across his state and further afield and says the general consensus amongst fellow enthusiasts seems to be that the new Mini is a worthy successor to the classic – which American fans own in every body style and state of tune, many customised – but needs more power, even the supercharged Cooper S.

“BMW will succeed with this car, and will in my opinion succeed with the Cooper S once they build a better performance ‘M series’ version,” he adds.

Simon says the most-heard word when Minis new or old are mentioned by US women is ‘cute’.

“Women love cute cars. Just about every one that came by my car said ‘cute!’ and they also would comment that the thought that the BMW Mini was cute. That’s the key.

“I really think that the car is selling to women. They love the look, they love the size. It’s an affordable BMW.

“In fact I know of two male members of the MG and Mini clubs whose wives have both purchased their own Minis.”

Simon considers that the Cooper S will be a cult car for enthusiasts while the base Cooper (the One version that is the base model in other markets isn’t sold in the States) will be the ‘cute’ one bought by women.

Simon said his initial concern that the new Mini was too highly priced has waned since the model was first put on sale and an (old) Mini club member brought along a demonstrator from his father’s BMW dealership for the enthusiasts to try.

“I was originally concerned about its high price but I no longer see that as being an obstacle after talking to all the people I’ve met while driving my classic model,” he said.