This evening I felt the need to reflect on what was my first car. Sadly, due to mechanical reasons, it was not my car for very long, but as someone just getting a licence, that first car leaves an impression, particularly when it is a Mini 1275.
Mini 1275 in the Family
While my first car was a Yellow Mini 1275 with black stripes if I recall correctly, it was not the first Mini to be owned by our family. As a kid, I recall owning two minis in our family in particular. I am almost certain one was yellow too and the other, the one my dad drove, was a gold colour one.
My dad is one of eight siblings and recounts a time where their family had a Mini station-wagon in the family. I am not sure how many they were as a family at that stage but I am sure it would still be more people than would pass road safety in a single car of that size today.
That gold Mini 1275 variant that my dad would drive when I was a kid has a fun story.
My father is not a small person measuring over 180cm. When I think back on it now, it must have been rather funny to see him climbing out of that car. I think the roof of the car was only a little above his waist.
He related the story of how on one trip home from work he took his usual route that included a steep incline with a traffic light. Those who know the Mini from the 1960s-1970s know that the driver and front passenger chair had the hinge up front to flip the chair up over the steering wheel to allow access to the back seats.
On this particular day, he prepared to pull ahead of a car along side him at the traffic light as soon as the light changed to green. The challenge on this particular day is that the hinge on the driver seat came loose and the force of the acceleration on the incline tipped the seat backwards. I can only imagine being the car next to my dad. One minute there is a man at the steering wheel of this mini and the next it is only his ankles in view.
Fortunately, my dad’s height and the cars small size allowed him to move the detached driver’s seat to the passenger side and drive the car seated from the back seat of the Mini.
My Love of the Mini 1275
Back to my yellow Mini 1275 S I think it was. This car was so much fun to drive. It’s power to weight ratio allowed me to accelerate in front of German saloons regularly and it loved to corner as speed to the point that I recall my dad once gripping his passenger chair and firmly telling me to slow down in some bends.
While not practical, I had always had this dream of taking a long road trip in my Mini. Sadly there were some mechanical issues discovered within our first year of having the car and it was sold. Still that Mini 1275 left an impression on my mind that I can feel the thrill of driving to this day.
Lately, technology has been bringing back icon products like early game consoles or even feature phones. I know BMW has done a great deal with the Mini brand, but I really wish we could see a return of the old Mini 1275 today.
Two decades ago the Model T Ford was voted as the most influential car of the 20th century. In second place, however, was the Mini. A true classic in my opinion.
(Find last week’s Throw Back Thursday episode here.)