For all those who are fasinated by the idea of a MINI wagon (built by MINI or not) CarBC.com has an interesting feature on the highly anticipated Castagna MiniWagon from Italy:

“Few people are familiar with the name Carrozzeria Castagna, a small Italian bodywork company, but that's about to change come Geneva of this year. The firm, based in Milan has done complete conversion projects such as the Rosselini which rebodied a Ferrari into a concept car like product. However, their latest product deals not with Ferrari, but with an unlikely companion. Here, Italy merges with Britain, as Castagna takes on the Mini to create the Miniwagon, a car that brings the Austin Mini Countryman from the 1960s back into today's world. The idea of Mini modification isn't anything new – so far, we've seen a drop top Mini (prior to the factory conversion), and an M3-powered rear wheel driven racer, but this is something completely different and something that's out of the blue.”

“In order to turn the regular two-door Mini into the Miniwagon, there has been a great deal of structural change. It's true that the front half of the Mini has been left alone – the Countryman had the same front end as the original mini, and so does Castagna's version. Besides, no one could mistake the bubble headlamps, and the cheeky little grille on the Mini; it's perfect as it is. On the other hand, the rest of the car has been modified to create the wagon profile. The Mini, which on its own is quite small has been stretched by a full 25 centimeters. You could call it a Mini-Limo, but the Castagna is still a two-door, just like the Countryman. The total length of the car is now 3876 mm long, up from the 3262 mm length of the regular Mini Cooper. Width and height remain the same.

The thing about having a conversion car is that the specifications and designs are nearly unlimited, and that applies directly to the Castagna Miniwagon. Though they've tried to make it as stock-looking as possible, and as historically accurate to the Mini Countryman as possible. Thus, you can specify your Cooper S Wagon (or Cooper, or One for that matter) to have wood trim – under the windows, to the edge of the doors, and in a nice cross pattern on the rear fender and hatch gate. These are the sort of details that you wouldn't expect people to remember, but has surfaced on the Miniwagon. The Castagna package includes special 18-inch alloy wheels that mimic those of the Cooper S top of the line alloys. White roof and badges included, this is certainly a cool looking conversion, which fans will definitely not want to miss out on.

The original slogan to the Mini Countryman was 'work comes before pleasure' but with the Miniwagon, pleasure, comfort and fun can all be done at the same time as work. On the inside, thanks to the stretch in length, the Mini now can hold greater amounts of cargo. When ordered, customers get a set of three hand-made suitcases that fit perfectly inside the back. To go along with the nostalgic exterior, much of the interior has been redecorated. Thick leather, in multitudes of colours is available with contrasting inserts and piping creating a lounge-like atmosphere. Details not finished in matching leather are done in metal, or optionally (surprise, surprise) wicker! These include the little in-dash storage binnacle, trunklid panel, walls and floor, as well as the cargo cover.

The Mini has undergone so many transformations from start to finish, and when you compare the new to the old, outsouring companies and those within have helped provide just as many options for the 21st century Mini as were available in the 20th. This conversion applies to every Mini, currently available, from the One and One D, to the Cooper, and Cooper S. With the luggage and the wheels, the conversion package costs approximately �10,000 ($16,870 CAD, $12,700 USD) depending on the options selected, plus the cost of a Mini. This has got to be one of the coolest Minis out there without a doubt and it's truly a great throwback to the '60s.”

You can see more photos here.