Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Mini / MINI

Had a meeting with Mini's China office today in the hope of persuading them to sponsor an exhibition. Of course they're owned by BMW these days and as a result are a rather more sophisticated 'package' - design, engineering, the whole brand.

Very briefly in the early 70s, we were a 2-car family: a big yellow Bedford campervan called Buttercup and a sporty green & black Mini Mk II. Nice little thing. When we went camping in France one summer, we took both, with my brother Andrew, having just passed his test, driving the latter. It was when The Italian Job came out (which being a car-obsessed 10-year-old at the time, was my then fave film) and the Mini Cooper S was the rally-car of choice. Whether it was that, his long hair or the fact that he was foreign, I don't know, but there was a rally in one town and I distinctly remember Andrew being mobbed for autographs.  

The first car that he bought for himself was also a Mini - a rather clapped-out blue Clubman. I have a less glamorous memory of this: being stopped by the police on the Westway because of its condition.

Anyway, Minis look rather different these days, like they've been inflated and at the same time squashed. They're still trying hard to look like Minis, which is commendable when every other car looks the same, but it's an uphill struggle. Oh, and they're MINI now, not Mini. 

How many people can you fit in a Mini?  Apparently 28, according to the Guinness Book of Records, funnily enough recorded in China in 2008. In a MINI not a Mini I should think.  

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