12. October 2009 05:10
When I first caught sight of the cover of this DVD I wasn't sure what to expect, sure the title implied it was about the last 50 years of Mini, but the cover prominently showed two new minis with an original mini tucked behind one of them. However we're not ones to judge anything by its cover, so into the player the DVD went. After the Duke video ident we got to a modest menu whereby we could view the whole film, select individual chapters or check out the extras, nothing scary or unusual here, but easy to use and get what we wanted.
The main film is really a documentary of the Mini's 50th anniversary celebrations at Silverstone, whilst it occasionally goes off to details certain aspects of the mini world the show forms the real heart of the DVD. The film starts with an introduction to the mini, a bit of history, showing cars that are present at the event, some archive footage and retelling the initial story of the mini and its success. Famous faces are present to give some meat to the stories with Paddy Hopkirk, Rauno Aaltonen and Mike Cooper all giving some choice opinion. The Cooper name also connects the original Mini nicely with the new Mini in the first section on the new Mini, showing a linage and connection between the two in terms of their choice of tuning partners. This juxtaposing of old and new happens throughout the video and really helps connect the two sides of this particular scene.
I thought the controversy between old and new would be a bit of an elephant in the room during the film, however it is tackled head on and all sides of the discussion are represented, really though it is all about uniting mini owners old and new in their enjoyment of their cars. A section on modified cars shows some cool modern minis as well as some interesting old minis. I feel the section on the racing could have been a bit longer, but it was great to see some footage of the exciting three abreast action which really give you a feel for the atmosphere on the track.
Alongside all this there is a fun section with Russ Swift doing his thing in new and old minis and some quick interviews with show attendees. The extras menu gives us a glimpse into the world of two guys coming over from the Isle of Man with their classic mini, from the fun of getting it running, through the journey and onto the show. This is a really nice addition it shows how we all generally experience our car ownership and show attending. I'd like to see more of this kind of thing from show DVDs, the stories behind the show, as well as the obvious show coverage.
If you were at the Mini United 09 event you should definitely own this memento, for everyone else, I'd say it was one to add to your Christmas list, the mixture of old with new is really well handled and there are some gems on here. Hopefully we'll see more coverage of events like this, I'd love to see something like this produced for something like the Hayride.
To grab your copy head to the Duke Video website.