James Bond's Lotus Esprit Reimagined As a Resto-Modded Mini Cooper? Sure!
David Brown Automotive's exquisite homage nails (most of) the details.
David Brown Automotive is the sort of eccentric British automaker that you'd think would be winding down rather than spinning up. Thankfully, that's not the case. The company's Speedback GT—not quite an Aston from any angle, but a clear homage nonetheless—is miles apart from the company's Mini Remastered line of restomods, but both show a startling attention to detail. And this latest Mini Cooper creation is a one-off tribute to the unforgettable Lotus Esprit Turbo from the James Bond film For Your Eyes Only.
It may not be for your wallet, though. This was a commission, so it's already spoken for. But the thing about restomods is, if you'd like one just like it, the only thing you need to do is wave a fat enough wad of pounds sterling in a DBA associate's face, and they'll gladly set to work.
That work, for your average Mini Remastered, redefines the concept of "extensive"-think the likes of Singer Vehicle Design and Icon 4x4. The Mini's shell is taken to bare metal, all seams are removed to smooth its appearance, and then it's reassembled at better-than-new levels of fit and finish. Sound deadening keeps the bespoke, improved interior quiet. Even the car's badges are reworked by hand with a traditional enameling process. Paint takes four weeks of spraying and polishing. Inside, new leather and a modern infotainment system are complemented by touches like knurled aluminum switchgear. All told, DBA claims there are 1,000 hours of work put into each Remastered vehicle, and we're loathe to doubt it.
If you're imagining that all this work comes at a price, you're right. The average Remastered starts at around $100,000, and there's no indication of what this particular Bond tribute ran its buyer beyond that. We also must point out that despite the large, hand-painted "TURBO" script behind the doors, the rebuilt A-series engine is not turbocharged. That's a shame, as BMC did actually build a factory turbo version of the A-series for the MG Metro Turbo, with purported engineering input from Lotus itself. Wouldn't that have been a suitable engine swap for this Lotus tribute?
Everything else is spot-on, from the triple Cibie aux lights on the bumper to the stunning wood dashboard and white leather trimming inside. The gold basket-weave wheels, apparently bespoke, are gorgeous. Leave aside its relationship with the Lotus that Roger Moore drove to the Italian Alps in the 1981 film, and it's still obviously a work of remarkable craftsmanship. No Time to Die (with its jumping Land Rover Defenders and machine-gunning Aston Martin DB5) might have been delayed, but this retromodded Mini is right on time.
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