New MINI Hardtops Feature Multicolor Roofs

Wet-on-wet painting process means each roof is unique.
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liquid coating, automotive industry, painting, robotic painting, masking

Head of MINI Design Oliver Heilmer: “The new Multitone Roof for the MINI is the most expressive form of contrast paint to date.” 

Photo Credit: MINI USA

Back in 2001, when the second-generation MINI Cooper was launched, it had a feature that has become an automotive design trend ever since: the two-tone roof. While this wasn’t something that hadn’t been seen before — as coachbuilders as far back as the 1920s were providing cars with contrasting body and roof colors — MINI set off the trend that continues today and can be seen on brands from Volvo to Nissan and more.

(While early implementation of the separate roof colors involved everything from hand painting to a separate line to intense masking, robotic painting technology has facilitated the process, providing precision painting capability.)

Because MINI has seen its distinctive look so widely used, for the model year 2022 MINI Hardtops it has come up with a new approach, which it calls the “Multitone Roof.”

This features a color gradient from San Marino Blue through Pearly Aqua to Jet Black.

The finish is achieved via a wet-on-wet painting process called “Spray Tech” that is used on the paint line in the MINI plant in Oxford, England.

Because of environmental conditions when the paint is sprayed, there are variations from roof to roof.

Just as the original two-tone caused people to notice the MINIs 20 years ago, Oliver Heilmer, head of MINI Design, says this may have the same effect: “The new Multitone Roof for the MINI is not only the most expressive form of contrast paint to date, it also takes the brand’s hallmark ex-works customization options to a new level

“And because every roof looks a little bit different and is so unique, it pays to look more closely than ever.”


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