Hot on the heels of the Mini Coupe and Roadster concept vehicles from September’s Frankfurt Auto Show comes a new, more ruggedized concept vehicle that could hint at the styling of the upcoming Mini crossover.

Dubbed the 2009 Mini Beachcomber Concept, the latest design study will make its world debut next month at the 2010 Detroit Auto Show.

The concept is described as a radically open body four-seater based on principals of the 1960s. Ideal for cruising through town, up mountain passes or breezing along the beach, the Beachcomber, just like the Mini Moke, combines the toughness of an off-road vehicle with the convenience of a minicar.

The original Mini Moke, released back in 1964 and based on the existing Mini model at its time, was designed as a prototype for a light military vehicle. However, its relatively small stature, low ground-clearance, and miniscule wheels meant that it never saw any action. Instead, the car was developed for public sale as a low-cost recreational vehicle and quickly became popular with beachgoers.

Its body was made up of hardly more than a floorpan, wide sills at the side, the engine compartment lid and the windscreen. With its robust structure and the drivetrain technology carried over from the Mini, this four-seater fun car became a great success particularly in the sunny regions of the country.

Now a new generation has been previewed, projecting the principle of the original Mini Moke into the 21st century.

Measuring just over 13 feet in length, the Beachcomber comes with Mini’s ALL4 all-wheel drive system and reinforced A- and D-pillars for protection in the case of a rollover. Lightweight technology also helps to lower the vehicle’s centre of gravity.

Inside, the vehicle comes with a central speedo finished in the typical Mini design, numerous loudspeakers as well as special instruments for offroad motoring such as a liquid-sprung compass. The trim surfaces in the cockpit are finished in magnetic paint also used for the first time to create a special touch of flowing liquidity. Single seats with adjustable backrests are fitted at the rear and up top is a soft roof that comes off the body completely.



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