Still one of the hippest cars on the planet!
Being born in London, England at the start of the swinging sixties had one or two distinct advantages for me.
First off, when I held onto my aunt by her legs, my face was not smothered by yards of flowing fabric, because her skirt was situated substantially higher than my head (I wonder if that's why I've always had a thing for mini skirts!).
Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, (at least at that time), was that one of the first vehicles that I ever remember clapping eyes on was a Mini Cooper S.
I can still remember it now, old English white with a black roof, and wide steel rims with little chrome hubcaps. (Many years later, I actually owned the Cooper version in exactly the same colour scheme).
The car belonged to a neighbor of ours. My father, at the time, drove a Mk II Jaguar, and my mother owned a Morris Minor. Both were wonderful cars in their own right, but somehow they never held the same intrigue for a youngster.
To me, the Mini was kid-friendly. I could actually see into the car without the assistance of an adult, and I can still remember thinking that the front of the car resembled a face, with two bulging eyes and a big wide mouth.
Possibly these childhood memories or some strange sense of patriotism is the reason why I still have a Mini Cooper in my stable of classic cars today. It is my little summer fun runaround, and keeps me feeling young.
Maybe I'm not alone in my thinking, as together with a lot of younger drivers experiencing the Mini Magic for the first time, there appears to be several older drivers purchasing the new Mini Cooper's, and all the excitement that goes along with them.
In fact, to be honest, I've been thinking of trading in my old Mini for one of the new breed for some time now. After all, the days of my enjoying drying out damp Lucas distributors are long passed (the old Mini's had a front mounted distributor which was rather exposed to the elements, what a wonderful idea on an English car!!!).
So with this in mind, I picked up my Cooper S tester for the week, with the cunning plan of putting the little car through its paces and perhaps partaking of a true week long test drive!
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