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Mini Ute mod is beaut

"Mini has been talking about many different body styles"

No, this is not a late April Fool's Day joke like the one played this year by those Munich funsters "releasing plans" for a 309kW M3 pick-up truck.

This is the real deal. Aussie-made Mini utes built by Motorline BMW in Brisbane from two second-hand promotional cars.

Dealer principal Craig Rose has dubbed them the "Mute" for "Mini ute" and plans to make special name badges for the car.

Motorline BMW spent more than 700 hours modifying the 2003 Mini Coopers including an engine overhaul, re-trimming the interior, fabricating a fibreglass rear lid with a gas strut, marine-grade ute tray carpeting, fitting 18-inch wheels and adding stainless steel roll bars.

The result is immaculate. Almost like a factory product.

Rose says all design, fabrication and painting was done in-house, except for the manufacture of the roll bars.

He plans to use the vehicles for promotions but says they are also for sale for $30,000 and he intends to make more if there is demand.

"All the hard work is done now," he says. "A lot of the job was in perfecting the body and smoothing and finishing the product."

Rose is confident there will be buyer interest for the vehicle from private customers and businesses.

"It would make a great promotional vehicle," he says. "When you stop at the traffic lights people think you are going to give something away. It would also be suitable for a couple's weekend getaway. It has a surprising amount of boot space."

Rose says he would like to see Mini do their own version, especially for the ute-loving Australian market.

"Mini has been talking about many different body styles," he says.

In the past few years Mini has added several models including the Clubman five-door wagon and Countryman all-wheel-drive model with the strange-looking two-seater Coupe arriving early next year.

So, will Mini produce a Mute?

"All I can say is, 'never say never'," says Mini Australia spokesman Piers Scott. "After the Roadster, the two-door Mini Countryman Coupe will be the next confirmed Mini to roll off the production line, but there is room for more in the family. Regarding the Coupe, the price isn't yet confirmed but will be less than a $5000 premium over the hatch. Both Coupe and Roadster will land here in the first quarter of next year."