One day last summer I was driving to see a car collector to do a story and I looked up to see about 50 of the modern Minis coming up the road. As the cars passed me, I noticed that there were a lot of different colors, trim packages and other accessories on different cars. The cars obviously belonged to members of some club who were on an outing together and they seemed to be having as much—if not more—fun than you could imagine.
The original Mini made by Austin of England was a very interesting automobile. A lot of fun was poked at it due to its diminutive size, but the Beatles and other stars who became associated with driving Minis helped the car become an icon.
At the other end of the spectrum, when aftermarket tuners got hold of the cars, they figured out how to really make them go. So, the Mini developed both a cult following and a racing reputation.
The modern Mini is also an interesting car. Although it has British roots (a plenty of trim packages incorporating the Union Jack) the car is actually manufactured by German automaker BMW. As I saw when the club drove by me, the new Mini is a cult car, too. On top of that, you can get John Cooper packages to turn the boxy little British-German hybrid into a hot number for rallycrossing.
A 2014 Mini Cooper S Countryman All4 was the company’s big number displayed during the media preview of the Chicago Auto Show (www.chicagoautoshow.com) in McCormick Place last week. BMW and Mini officials also had a John Cooper Works concept vehicle for the press. They’d probably like it if I blogged about both of those cars here, but I can’t help it that I’m just a 66-year-old kid at heart and that my favorite Mini in Chicago was the toy version I’m picturing here.
This cute little electric green bugger was part of the accessories display that Mini had in its booth and I immediately fell in love with it. I have no idea how you get one or what one cost, but the toy is a factory-marketed item and whoever sells Minis in your neighborhood should be able to get one for you.