BMC Mini by Wildgoose

Being self-sufficient appeals to me, even though I spend much of my time wondering how I'd be able to buy an iPad, or drop a bunch of money on my car, or fix the 914's wonky cylinder head…among other things.  

Back when the Mini Wildgoose hit the scene in 1963, it was intended for people who didn't need to make a living 'cause they were retired. They didn't need a big RV, or a second bunk for kids, or somewhere to holster a few Nerf guns.  

Even though it looks hysterically illogical and useless, a couple with not much shit to lug around would be perfectly happy in one. I think it's the perfect solution for members of the creative class around the world who, much like myself and several of my friends, find permanence and routine difficult to accept. It could be as little as a deposit for a new account with the utility company or as daunting as a mortgage, but many of us find it difficult to find merit in (or the financial ability to) put down roots.

Of course, I realize the amazing privilege to be able to consider such things, and not have to schlep hot asphalt in the middle of a busy freeway.

Even though about 60 were made until 1968, it's a pretty well-known conversion and a number of Wildgoose conversions are still used regularly even today. There were a few different models, including the Brent and Popular. The Brent, with its pop-up top, was the jewel in the range.

So how did you get a Wildgoose? Start with a BMC Mini van, add a few hundred quids' worth of camper, labour for the conversion, and interior fittings, and you had yourself a go-anywhere-on-road camper that was the perfect size for two people who didn't mind living in very close proximity.

Inside, the Brent could sleep up to four, had a gas burner, sink, (optional) electric pop-up roof…and an incredibly powerful 850-cc 4-cylinder engine. Horsepower? 34. 

Well, hey: if you're retired, is speed a concern? (Unless you want to pack a ton of living into your final days. If that's the case, I suggest an Audi RS6 Avant with a sleeping bag in the back.)

Today, fewer than 12 survive. An endangered species, indeed.