has an excellent interview with ex-MINI designer Frank Stephenson that sheds some light on the original MINI project and why it’s not retro.

>Q: You left BMW to join Ferrari and Maserati just as BMW shifted towards bold design. Do you agree with the direction BMW has taken? A: BMW could have stayed on the same path but it had to change; there is a limit on evolution. It was decided that a radical change was necessary and, yes, it was shocking to some people. It was like a human with two heads – it might be shocking at first but after a while you get used to it. I’m not going to say whether I like it or not but every design needs a period of refinement.

>Q: What do you think about retro design? A: Retro is a sin in my book. It might have worked one time but I believe, as a designer, you’re paid to come up with new ideas.

>Q: But wasn’t the Mini a retro design – and you designed the Mini?A: Retro is going back. Interpreting DNA is another thing. It’s like a child; it will grow to be a taller, stronger, smarter, healthier version of your grandfather – you can see the resemblance but it’s not the same. If the Mini had evolved, who’s to say it wouldn’t look like it does today? Is the Porsche 911 a retro car? Absolutely not.

You can read it all below:

[ Does this guy have the best job in the world? ]