• The Mini Cooper SE Wasn’t the First All-Electric Mini After All

Those Mini Coopers In "The Italian Job" Had To Be Electric Because California

The crew that filmed 2003’s The Italian Job had to overcome a couple of obstacles and one of them was that they weren’t allowed to drive combustion-engine cars inside Los Angeles’ subway tunnels. So, they switched to electricity.

According to The Drive citing a tweet from Drivin’ Theater Club, the film crew had to convert the Minis because the city of Los Angeles wouldn’t allow any exhaust fumes in the metro tunnels. In director F. Gary Gray’s on words:

“They wouldn’t allow us to shoot in the tunnels with cars that had combustion engines. So I said, ‘Okay, great, we’ll just get electric Minis and that’ll be fine.’ We called BMW and they said there aren’t any electric Minis, they don’t exist.”

This is not where the Mini-related peculiarities end for The Italian Job. All in all, 32 Minis were allegedly used throughout the shooting of the movie, including one that had two steering wheels so the stunt driver could do this thing while the actor performed in front of the camera.

Also, the red Mini Cooper driven by Stella Bridger (Charlize Theron) was a nod back to the Mini Coopers featured in the 1969 The Italian Job.

On top of this, Jason Statham got tuition from British former F1 champion Damon Hill outside of the compulsory stunt driving course every actor had to go through. Oh, and the main actors did most of the stunt driving themselves, including the down-the-stairs driving in the LA Metro.

Tudor Rus
Tudor Rus
Assistant Content Manager - Automotive Expert - tudor@topspeed.com
Tudor’s first encounter with cars took place when he was only a child. Back then, his father brought home a Trabant 601 Kombi and a few years later, a Wartburg 353. At that time, he was too young to know how they worked and way too young to drive them, but he could see one thing – each of them had a different ethos and their own unique personality. As time went on, he started seeing that in other cars as well, and his love for the automobile was born.  Read full bio
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