MINI gatecrashes Porsche’s 50th Birthday celebrations for the 911

My face cracked into a smile when I saw MINI’s latest press release, entitled ‘Forever Young: The Classic Mini congratulates The Porsche 911 on its 50th Birthday’.

It took me back to the cheeky stunt pulled by MINI USA three years ago when it ‘challenged’ Porsche to race their 345bhp 911 Carrera against its 181bhp MINI Cooper S. The President (of MINI USA) Jim McDowell led the challenge, which Detlev von Platen, Porsche Cars North America’s CEO, duly refused.

The videos (right) tell the ‘David and Goliath’ story, which culminated in a race-off in the parking lot of Road Atlanta circuit. The 911 beat the Cooper S by around two seconds, although the support of MINI’s fans took some of the sting out of its defeat.

Of course the challenge was never a serious one, nevertheless MINI earned plenty of kudos at Porsche’s expense.

And here they go again.

This year is the 50th anniversary of the Porsche 911, the most successful racing car ever built. In 1963, MINI earned a class victory in the Monte Carlo Rally in the hands of Finnish driver Rauno Aaltonen, therefore the somewhat tenuous connection is made between the Porsche 911’s year of birth and the 50th anniversary year of MINI’s competition success (in the Monte) – which it then went on to repeat in 1964, 1965 and 1967.

The photoshoot – of a 1969 MINI 1000 and 1967 Porsche 911 Targa – captured at BMW’s HQ in Munich, is designed to show the parallels between the classic (Issigonis) Mini and Porsche 911, accompanied by sycophantic references to Porsche’s development as a brand.

“The classic Mini and Porsche 911 display a similar aversion to resting on their laurels. Both cars made a point of keeping their finger on the pulse and appealing to the imagination more effectively than any rivals. Not that every modification enjoyed universal praise – take the switch from air cooling to water cooling at Porsche or the extra focus on comfort and luxury of the first MINI built by BMW. Ultimately, though, these two pillars of the automotive community have continued to thrive, their sound genes underpinning looks that remain remarkably true to their respective originals. The two companies have also demonstrated an open mind to adding new models to their ranges – and a successful approach to executing those plans. In many respects, the Panamera and Cayenne broke through similarly symbolic boundaries as the Countryman and Paceman.”

What do you think? A cheeky piece of door-stepping by BMW MINI or do the parallels between both cars resonate with your own experience?