In college, aka “the wild days”, my best friend Jim showed up at the beginning of our third year in a bright green Mini that his parents bought for him that summer. This car was the absolute most incredible vehicle I think I ever sat in or drove. Now Jim shall I say, drives like an over medicated mad man (still does). Speed is his middle name, and he’ll pass anyone or anything if it dares to even make him think he might have to take his foot off the gas pedal. For him, this car was perfect. For me, it was just too cool to be seen in. I’m just glad I didn’t become a casualty in that car. I remember one day we were on some weed induced mission heading east along Eglinton Avenue in Scarborough when some hot looking guy on the right caught our eyes. WHAM! Those Mini’s didn’t fare well when they slammed into the rear end of a bigger (weren’t they all?) car. Shaken but not stirred, we ended up laughing it off since the driver of the car we rear ended thought we were looking at some chick in a car, and the damage to her vehicle was minimal (cost Jim about $150 if I remember right). The damage to the front of the Mini was more extensive however, and we spent some time that afternoon pulling out the dented grill and body work to make it look less “injured”. You see, it was an injury, because a Mini isn’t just a car… a Mini is your friend. A couple of months later Jim and I visited his parents in Sarnia, and his father noticed the front end damage and asked “what the hell happened?” Jim’s acting abilities far surpass his ability to tell the truth with many things, and he reacted like it was the first time he’d seen it, Forcing me to “play along” he explained “Somebody must have hit me in a parking lot somewhere”. Who knows whether or not his father ever bought into that story.
Well, as you know the Mini became a piece of history when production on them dwindled and ownership was tossed from one company to the next, and as the years passed, they disappeared with only a few refurbished ones hitting the summertime streets. Then, in 2001 thanks to BMW the new MINI was introduced to the market, and I would bet that my friend Jim was first in line to get one. I remember when he pulled into our driveway with that silver baby. It was like a trip back in time… Jim, a MINI, and a world still waiting to be terrorized.
Once again I was faced with this internal desire (need?) to own a MINI. To sit behind the wheel of my very own baby and zoom into parking spots too small for the other cars, and zip my way in and out of traffic like no other car can do. I found myself scanning the auto trade magazines and internet car sites, but still found myself behind the wheel of everything but a MINI. In my days I’ve owned a 1962 Rambler, a ‘67 Pontiac Parisienne 2+2, a ’69 Ford Mustang, a 72 Ford Comet (don’t fucking ask), an '82 Toyota Tercel, an ’85 Toyota Corolla, an 89 Pontiac 6000LE, an ‘88 Honda Prelude, an ’89 Toyota Tercel, a ’92 Nissan Maxima and a ’95 Nissan Maxima. Not a terrible spread of vehicles (except the Comet of course), but still no MINI (insert very sad face here).
Then it happened. The day of the Peterborough Nissan dealership drive-by. Out front, hoisted up on car ramps 4 feet in the air sat the baby of my dreams. A bright yellow Mini Cooper S , and it was calling out my name… “Bobby… look at me” it said. “Bobby… I love you” it went on. It was destiny. It was love. It was time for a trade in quicker than you could say “Bye, bye Maxima, Hello MINIma”. That “liquid yellow” 2003 MINI Cooper S and I became immediate best friends, and within a week, my name was proudly on the ownership papers. Over 30 years of dreaming had finally been realized.
Stay tuned for “I love my MINI, Part 2” (it get's better!)