McLaren Design Boss Frank Stephenson Headed Back to Mini

Frank Stephenson returns home to the small car brand.

The man who penned the McLaren P1, 720S, and various other supercars for the brand has decided to transition back to his old stamping grounds at Mini. After a stint with BMW’s small car brand that lasted until 2002, Frank Stephenson will be returning to the carmaker to work with its growing lineup and take over as chief designer, a position Mini has been looking to fill since last summer. 

This latest career move adds to the storied career of Stephenson, one that has included the designing of the legendary 2001 Mini, the Fiat 500, and the Ferrari F430. His familiarity with the BMW sub-brand will surely come in handy as he looks to retool the current design language, something which he addressed in an interview with Road & Track last year.

“I’m flat-out not fond of modern-day cars,” he told R&T. “They’re going to where ugly cars are the new beautiful. Everybody loves the ’50s and ’60s in terms of what those cars were like. And we’ve kind of lost that romance of the design from that period, where the goal was to design a beautiful car, and people would love it at first sight. Nobody had to ‘get used to’ the design.”


Stephenson and Mini are yet to release many details on the job switch, though we at The Drive expect it to be made official sometime within the week. As for the future of Mini design, expect to see a great deal of classic influence that has made Coopers of old so memorable. With an expanding range and customer base, it’ll be interesting to see how this move affects the brand on a global scale.