Mini is getting some serious mileage out of the 2012 Olympic Games by rolling out several limited-edition cars, and now the company will give the Olympic treatment to a concept. This version of the Mini Rocketman concept will be displayed in London this summer near the Olympic and Paralympic Village.
We previously caught a glimpse of this specially trimmed Mini when a Twitter user posted a blurry picture of the car. As with the U.K.-market special editions, this Rocketman is decked out in a full set of red, white, and blue adornments. The glass roof, for instance, has illuminated braces arranged in the outline of the U.K.’s Union Jack flag. Most of the exterior is painted flat blue, with white accents for the mirrors, wheel lips, door handles, and headlights surrounds. Red accents adorn from the front grille, tire lip, and roof.
The trend continues inside, where designers have swathed the dashboard in a mix of red, white, and blue materials. Lettering on an upright part of the dash names every city that has hosted the Olympics in modern times, with London of course printed in an extra-large font. The blue seatbelts sport a red-and-white stripe down the center, while the seats have white lower upholstery, blue headrests, and red side trimming. The center console is designed to look like a basketball court, complete with miniature players.
The most surprising thing about this special Rocketman concept, however, is the fact that it exists at all. Earlier this year we reported that the Rocketman project had been shelved for two key reasons. First, the fact that the Rocketman was designed to be about 11 inches shorter and half an inch narrower than the Mini Cooper hatchback meant it would need a unique chassis for production. That would be costly, reducing the potential profit on a Rocketman production car. Second, the tiny car measures less than ten feet long, and would struggle to pass European and American crash tests. Mini told us instead that we’d see future cars wearing styling inspired by the Rocketman.
Even if plans to build the Rocketman have been nixed, Mini can still use this concept car as a showpiece at the Olympic Games. Just because the company repainted a show car, that doesn’t necessarily mean it is still under development.
The Rocketman concept was introduced at the 2011 Geneva Motor Show. It used a carbon-fiber chassis, which would have been very expensive to put into production. Other quirky features included “3+1″ interior seating, a glass roof, doors that move sideways away from the vehicle, and an advanced infotainment system.
Mini also has released a special Olympics-themed version of the Cooper for the Chinese market.