Premium Classixx 1:12 “Classic” Mini: To Sirs, With Love

Jul 21, 2011 No Comments by

“Lulu” and “Mini”. If ever two words belonged together in the same sentence, these two do. But not in the way you might think: though the iconic ’60s singer did much to further the ideal of short skirts (and for that, we love her dearly), it’s the other Mini – the miniscule British car – that she honored as the last “Classic” example rolled off the line at Longbridge, Birmingham, England in 2000.

By that time, more than five million (5,387,862, actually) Minis had sold around the world, and Alex Issigonis’ original 1959 design hadn’t changed much on the outside. Instead, like the hipsters who had aged alongside it, it had improved from within. By the time the surviving members of Sir Alex’s team bade the little car farewell, it rolled with 63 horsepower, airbags – and a new, larger, BMW-sired successor waiting in the wings.

Premium ClassiXX’ 1:12 Solar Red and silver model of that very last car is a sweet homage for a reasonable amount of dough, with opening doors, hood, and boot, tilting seats, and steerable “Minilite” wheels on a nicely detailed chassis. From the sharply cast multi-element taillights and headlamps to the car’s roof, BUB uses a lot of plastic here, but it’s all high-grade stuff; check out the wrinkles cast into the seats and the sharp detail bits all around the heavily wired and cabled twin-port injection four banger.

Delicate brass photoetched badges are on the trunk, and the dash is a tidy casting with a cool machine-turned effect on its binnacle, set above a flocked floor. Open the trunk via the working handle to see the fixed spare tire; wear the included black protective gloves if you’re feeling sporty. Everything seems just right, including the correct “1959-2000″ registration plates.

The works crew played the theme from The Italian Job as the last Mini rolled off to the museum, where it’s currently parked next to the very first Mini made. We’d add a chorus or two of “To Sir, With Love”. These were groovy little cars – and this is a great little model.


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About the author

I was always crazy about toy cars and car-themed play sets, but I got hooked on car models when my cousin sent me a pair of built-up AMT kits - a '61 Continental and a '57 Thunderbird. I was six or seven years old when another cousin - Carl - showed me how to build and paint, and by the time I was nine, I had a pretty good collection and a great "spares box" on hand. The original Auto World catalogs were my dream books; my allowance was spent before it was ever earned, and I knew every hobby store and model retailer on Long Island. Then came slot cars, Cox .049-engined Baja Buggies and airplanes, and, ultimately, the real things. I still have some of those old models, and when time allows, I still build or detail scale cars. But it's the ready-to-display replicas and scale racing models that have really had me jazzed for the past fifteen years or so. The "mint" diecasts and the 1:18 American Muscle cars that I cut my serious collecting (and writing) teeth on back then led straight to the current crop of offerings from high-end makers and models in every scale. I also love scale model photography, and shooting, scoring, and producing videos of the models I love. I'm a proud member of the DiecastSpace Diecast Hall of Fame, as well as the Diecast Car Collectors' Club Diecast Scale Model Hall of Fame. I'm also proud to be a part of the Die Cast X Team, and as Editor-in-Chief, I'm looking forward to years of growing the publication and showing new collectors how much fun this hobby can be. And, yeah - I still have that spares box.
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