This ‘El Camini’ Is a Go-Anywhere Mini Clubman Pickup With a Stick Shift

Since it also rocks all-wheel drive, adding a pickup bed and all-terrains just makes sense.
Timothy Zimpfer

When Timothy Zimpfer paid off his second Mini—a 2017 Clubman—he immediately tore into it with visions of his perfect pickup. Now it’s the “El Camini,” a home-built Mini pickup with a mild lift and a bed that’s just the right size for haulin’ minibikes. If there’s ever a perfect go-anywhere runabout, it’s this. 

The El Camini was inspired by another Mini truck build that Zimpfer wanted to emulate, and he figured his Clubman station wagon was long enough to make a decent-sized bed. Sure, ex-Red Bull Mini pickup conversions are out there for sale, but the beds are short and stubby and Zimpfer already owned this Clubman. It was the perfect basis to build a little ute. 

Better yet, Zimpfer’s was all-wheel drive and had a six-speed manual transmission. That inspired him to go with an off-road theme for the build. The El Camini now has a 2-inch Journeys lift kit, smaller 16- by 8-inch wheels that fit chunkier 215/65 all-terrain tires, a roof basket, custom snorkel intake, bull bar, Toff spray-in bed liner, and flood lights. 

Zimpfer told me that he started the build by stripping out the interior and drilling out spot-welds until just the rear fenders were left. The roof was removed with a Sawzall and the bed was fabricated out of sheet metal. 

“The bed was me learning how to weld,” Zimpfer told The Miniac. “The welds weren’t pretty, but at least they were solid.” 

Steel tubes in each front corner of the bed that go down to the undercarriage serve as drains. Perhaps the most charming part of the new bed is that Zimpfer kept the bottom half of the barn doors from the Clubman that swing out to open. 

All the Mini’s rear windows came out, and the rear window from a Mark 1 Volkswagen Rabbit pickup went in behind the driver’s seats. Sheet metal and fiberglass were used to clean up the appearance of the B-pillar, and Zimpfer modified the stock third brake light and rear spoiler to fit the new Rabbit pickup window.

Sealing up the rear doors to make the bed was one of the biggest changes to the Mini. He added steel square stock between the rear doors to act as the bed’s bulkhead, add stiffness back to the chassis, and permanently keep those rear doors shut. The rear door handles were taken out, and plates were welded over the spaces for the handles to smooth it out. Panel Bond structural adhesive sealed up the door seams to make it look like the doors were never there. 

“Once everything was cured and smoothed, it looked like a two-door truck,” Zimpfer told The Drive

All it needed then was paint. It used to be black, but now it wears a color from Jeep: Rescue Green Metallic. 

Zimpfer now gets his Mini pickup dirtier than a lot of full-size trucks ever get, which is an absolute delight. He told The Drive that he uses the Mini to explore the area around Oneida Lake and the Adirondacks, which sounds like a blast. The bed is just big enough to be useful, and the combo of that plus a roof rack make it look like the perfect compact campin’ machine. 

You can follow along with Zimpfer’s Mini truck adventures on his Instagram here

Got a tip? Email the author: