The mini Mini is no more. It’s a curious time we live in when a car named the “Mini” is large enough to have another car slot underneath it in size. But regardless of what corporate overlord BMW thinks of the Mini Cooper’s (relatively) prodigious plump, it has quashed any rumors that an even smaller car will join the ever-expanding Mini lineup.
The Rocketman would have fit more closely with the principle of the original Mini: A city car that’s as small as possible, with clever packaging to make the most of its size. The charming little concept would have had a length of 11 feet and 3 inches, or a foot shorter than today’s supposedly “mini” Mini. Granted, the original Mini was even smaller than that, at just 6 feet long—perhaps British people were built to a shorter stock in Mini founder Alec Issigonis’s time.
Alas, the Mini Jr. was not to be. Stability, handling and crash performance issues were problems that couldn’t be worked out without a massive injection of cash. Despite BMW’s deep coffers, these problems ultimately killed off a car that featured 1950s sizes but 2010s crash test regulations. Our cars may be bigger today, but they’re also safer—and novelty-sized little runabouts aside, the fact that even our city cars have more structural rigidity than an empty tin of Campbell’s is a blessing.