The Beach Mini is back thanks to one German firm

by Antony Ingram
6 July 2022 2 min read
The Beach Mini is back thanks to one German firm
Photos: Mengers Special Cars GmbH

You can keep your Mini Mokes, because the best doorless Mini was the Beach Mini, built in limited numbers by BMC in 1962.

Effectively, it was a way of turning on North American customers to the tiny car, lacing a few dealers with the step-through tiddler as a promotional tool for more conventional versions.

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Sixty years on, German company Mengers has brought the Beach Mini back – as adorable, but ever so slightly better than the original.

Just 15 Beach Minis were built by BMC back in the day, making it among the rarest factory Minis and wildly valuable today: one sold through Bonhams for $181,500 in 2014, and another changed hands on Bring a Trailer in 2019 for the remarkable sum of $230,000.

Mengers Beach Mini

Original Beach Minis were powered by the early Mini’s 848cc A-series, and that’s one area Mengers’ car has the edge, with a 1-litre engine and 42bhp to the original’s 34bhp. The company has also given it a fully synchronised gearbox with a shorter final drive, while engine options up to 100bhp – and maybe even electric – are available.

The main selling point though will be the way the Beach Mini looks, and Mengers hasn’t dropped the (beach) ball. You’d struggle to differentiate it at a glance, but a few unseen tweaks have brought it up to date where it counts.

Mengers didn’t have access to original blueprints for the car, so couldn’t determine how much – if any – work BMC had done to stiffen the shell, given its rather conspicuous lack of body sides. They’ve apparently found a good balance of strength and lightness that leaves the Beach Mini little heavier than a regular model.

One notable difference is how Mengers has approached the… not-doors? Entry points? Whatever you wish to call the bit you now get in through, which was more angular on the production models and lined with an aluminium strip, but is now softer and more curved.

Once inside you’ll be sitting not on wicker seats, but now Lloyd Loom – a woven material popular when the Beach Mini was first conceived – and leather outers. Elsewhere, the pictured car has the beautiful simplicity of any other early Mini, though Mengers notes you can pretty much customise the car how you wish, from powertrains to colours and materials.

And if the Beach Mini isn’t your thing, then Mengers is no stranger to custom Minis of all other kinds. We’re not talking Cooper replicas either, but cabrios, four-door Minis, three-wheel Minis, Speedsters, pickups and more. We’ll have one of each.

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  • Ian from Birmingham says:

    A Beach Mini appears from time to time at Pride of Longbridge and it was there this year.

    With its local Birmingham 1961 registration number its definitely the real thing!

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