There are plenty of great driving games you can play on your console or PC these days. However, sitting on a couch with a controller in hand is pretty far removed from a real driving experience. If you'd rather get into the driving seat with wheels and pedals to hand, you might dig this simulator built in a classic Mini Cooper.
As covered by Motor1, this full-sized driving simulator was built in Britain, using a real 1974 Mini Cooper. Even better, the car was customized to replicate the blue Mini from the original 1969 film, The Italian Job, which anyone will tell you is far better than the 2003 remake. The simulator is currently up for auction at Car & Classic, and is remarkably well-equipped for digital driving action.
The car features the Mini's original accelerator, brake, and clutch pedals, which have been adapted to serve as simulator controls with Simjack and Heusinkveld parts. There's also a working four-speed shifter with reverse for an authentic manual driving experience. In an unconventional choice, a racing wheel controller wasn't used for the build. Instead, the Mini's original steering wheel is still hooked up to the original rack, which turns the front wheels in real life when steering in-game. A Hall effect sensor is used to report the angular position of the steering to the simulator. It's a system that would naturally provide some resistance for the driver, but without any force feedback.
The Mini's original engine and drivetrain have been stripped out, with the simulator's computer hardware living under the hood instead. It currently runs BeamNG and Assetto Corsa for simulating various police chase and racing experiences, respectively. Vision is via a 180-degree curved projection screen that sits in front of the car, giving a nice wide-angle view in high resolution thanks to a Benq 4K short-throw projector. The windscreen has been removed for a clearer view but is available with the car.
Going a step further than most basic simulator builds, the car features a driver's seat with a motion system to simulate the feeling of accelerating and braking. The build also has a wind simulator with fans that blow faster for a feeling of speed. The original Mini gauges have also been modified to display the relevant vehicle data from the simulation software, including speed, water temperature, and fuel.
At the time of writing, the current bid stands at just £2000, or roughly $2,450 USD. Expect it to sell for a bit more than that given the quality of this unique and charming build.
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