The True Story Behind the MINI's Exhaust Tip

“As many of you probably know there's an interesting story behind the MINI's exhaust tip and why it looks like it does. This story was originally posted last year (and has been around for many years) but with the overwhelming number of new visitors we've had lately some out there might not be familiar with the story and might not have caught the original article:

“Mini designer Frank Stephenson explains what a can of Budweiser and the new MINI have in common: “We worked a number of 24-hour days trying to get the full-sized clay model completed for presentation to the board of directors,” says Stephenson. “So when we finished the job with just hours to spare, I thought it appropriate that the team have a beer or two to celebrate. That's when I spotted the problem.”

That problem was the complete absence of an exhaust tip on the otherwise complete clay. Thinking quickly, Stephenson stripped the paint from his beer can, punched a hole in the bottom, and fixed it in place on the model.

It wasn't long before he was called on the carpet by his boss at BMW. “It wasn't the shape (of the tip),” he says, “everybody liked it because it was unique yet oddly familiar. He was concerned that I had wasted a modeler's time milling the piece when his time could be better spent elsewhere. That was when I felt the need to confess.”

That confession got him stunned silence followed by nearly uncontrollable laughter.”(

While the beer can tip applies to both models you can see the influence a bit more in the Cooper as it's single tip is larger.

  • R

    As a designer myself I have had a few 24th hour beer can bottom design solutions when I used to work at the large agencies. Some were even good. That's a funny story……R

  • Vanwall

    Wonder what it might've looked like if they were drinkin' Tooth's KB. BIG Bore exhaust, comin' right up! HeHe!

         Rob in Dago

  • Thrilhouse

    Imagine the possibilities with a can of Fosters Lager…lol

  • R

    Mickey's Big Mouth……R

  • Skaboo

    Nice story, but I doubt it. It wouldn't surprise me if this was a cute marketing tale.

  • Actually this story has been around since before there was any new MINI marketing. It came from several people including Frank himself.

  • Brett

    Helix 13 alread offers a new higher performance 'beer tip', look on the bottom of their exhaust page.

  • Larrry

    Of all beers, why were they drinking Budweiser instead of German or British beers? Granted most come in glass bottles so wouldn’t fit the storyline, but some are available in cans.