The year of 1997 brought the arrival of two new MINI concept cars on the scene – first the ACV30 (for Anniversary Concept Vehicle – 30 years on from the ’67 Monte win for Mini), which was fittingly announced at the Monte Carlo rally. This coupe-like model sat on an MGF chassis, making it an unusual mid-engined Mini, and was based on a Dreamworks proposal for the car, shown at the famous Gaydon shoot out, in which the BMW Board and over management chose the shape of the 2001 MINI in 1995.
If the ACV30 added nothing to the development of the new MINI per se, it did publicly showcase the fact that Rover was now seriously in the process of developing a Mini replacement, after years of inactivity. And even if this was not the car to do it, the ACV30 did begin the process of softening up the public.
Actually, the Ivan Lampkin styled interior formed the basis of the production R50’s set-up, sporting a prominent centrally mounted speedometer and lots of bare metal. The ACV30 might not have looked like a Mini R50, but as well as its interior concept, the concept’s floating roof, chunky wheelarches and white top were clearly strong visual links.
The exterior styling of the ACV30 concept was attributed to the BMW designer Adrian van Hooydonk and Frank Stephenson.