At a glance, this classic Mini looks like a cool replica of the blue Cooper used in the iconic 1969 film The Italian Job. That alone would be a neat thing for car collectors, but you won't find an engine under the hood of this runabout. In its place is a ... computer? Yes, this Mini is now a full-size driving simulator, equipped to play several racing and driving games. And it's for sale.
This car started life as a 1974 Mini, and for the most part, it still is. According to the auction listing at Car & Classic, it received a full makeover to become a faithful replica of the movie car, right down to fake gold bars placed in the boot. It retains the original Mini interior, including the pedals, gear lever, and steering wheel. In fact, it's still connected to the front wheels which turn left and right. Aside from a touchscreen mounted down low to control primary computer operations, you wouldn't know this was an entirely non-functional car.
Gallery: Mini Cooper S Italian Job Driving Simulator
That's where this sim racing rig gets properly wild. Instead of just bolting up an off-the-shelf force feedback wheel and pedals, the Mini's original equipment is connected to sensors that send data to the computer. For added realism, the driver seat is rebuilt and also connected to the computer, offering two degrees of motion to help simulate g forces while racing. There's a banging (literally) stereo system with a subwoofer to deliver both sound and feel, and fans blow air as speeds increase. Even the Mini's gauges are hooked up, giving readouts on fuel, oil pressure, engine temperature, and speed.
But wait, there's more.
Under the hood is a liquid-cooled PC with several games loaded up and ready to go. Assetto Corsa is available for racing, and for those who want a proper Italian Job experience, Beam NG is included with an open-world city to zip through. A special control panel on the dash offers quick access to the games, along with special soundtracks to play while enjoying the simulated ride. Steam is also part of the software package, opening up the possibility for additional driving sims.
According to the listing, it was built by an engineer who's assembled many simulators over the years for the automotive and aerospace industries. The auction includes a custom-made 180-degree projector screen that sits in front of the car and special plaques showing scenes from the movie. The attention to detail on the build is incredible, and for fans of The Italian Job, there are Easter eggs all over the place.
The Mini racing rig is located in the UK, and as of October 5, the high bid sits at £1,200 with four days left in the auction. The reserve isn't met, and frankly, we have no idea what something like this might sell for. If it's anything like the slot car race track built into a Porsche 917 replica body we saw in April 2023, the final price could top six figures.
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