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The Cartists Are Coming. Something Must Be Done.

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Posted On: May 13, 2008 By: Category: MINI Cooper News

Mix an artist with a MINI Cooper and what do you get? OK, we’ll show you…but don’t blame us!

MINI as a pool

One guy bought a MINI for about $480 and – since it wasn’t running anyway – decided to modify it a bit. First came the 200 watt stereo system.  Then he replaced that tired old engine with a barbecue. (Carbeque?) Next he replaced the exhaust system with a mini bar, complete with refrigerator. And finally – and inevitably – a hot tub.

Evidently, it has become something of a babe magnet.

Small wonder then that artists are turning their eyes toward cars as their subjects, treating them as blank canvasses and driving them down whatever crazy road their Muse will take them.

car and bed combo

Called 'art cars', these heavily modified vehicles are pieces of art that can take their creators to new places and move their beholders, all quite literally. Others are considered “high art” and as such are not intended to move anything other than, perhaps, the soul.

car and house combo

Of course, that’s not where one Mr. Tony Anchors was coming from when he converted his Mini into a traveling wooden pub that can seat five people and be driven around to his friends' homes. (Kind of takes the crawl out of the whole equation, doesn’t it?) The father of four changed the chassis of his A-reg Mini to build a wooden pub that serves his own bitter, Wicked Wasp.

“The car is street legal.” He says. “My pals come for a drink in the drive or I go round to their place.”

Maybe they don’t have open container laws in Great Britain.

Then there’s the open-top 'bed' car that has been seen zipping around London, complete with a family of five in it! (We hope someone in the family was awake enough to drive.)

In addition to a duvet set, it also had a proper license plate and seat-belts. Can’t be too safety-conscious now can we?

What may be most unsettling of all about this is that Cartists appear to be a growing group. Houston has a long-running Art Car Parade, with some 250 entries rolling through the roads recently for the 21st year running.

Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles also has had a Wild Wheels exhibition to feature some of the best examples of American car art, such as the Camera Van. It has 2,000 cameras mounted on it and repeatedly captures the amazed reactions of people who see it for the first time, using the 'public's fascination with image and fame to raise its own profile'. Deep.

So there are many who would view the Cartist movement as an important reflection on Man’s Inhumanity to Machine, or perhaps a celebration of the creative human spirit. But Mrs. Anchor had another view.

“He's as mad as a hatter,” she said.

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