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My Mini Days


Editor’s note: The author wrote a companion piece about the MINI Cooper and globalization, which was published yesterday.

 In January of 1974, I drove the Morris back to my house. It was a cold day and the heater was intermittent at best. It still needed work, but the plan was that I would use the car and return to my uncle’s when time permitted to continue improvements.

I drove the car to school and back, learning its idiosyncrasies. It wouldn’t start in damp or wet weather, and was so low to the ground that if there was any snow beyond a dusting, you might find yourself hung up on a drift.

When spring finally appeared I spent much of my time addressing the obvious foibles and most immediate needs to keep the Mini on the road.

One bright August day that year, I went to a friend’s house to give him a lift to summer school. My friend John asked if he could drive the car the five miles to our destination. I agreed, and we went off with John behind the wheel.

We had just driven through town and down a hill on the other side. We pulled out to pass a car in our lane, and a second one came straight at us. John spun the wheel. We clipped a telephone pole, removing the passenger door in the process, and landed in a field.

We were both awake and jumped out of the car. He and I survived with some bruises; I had a minor concussion. The Mini was not so lucky. It was ready for a proper burial.

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