Sun | Jan 21, 2018

The Mini Cooper, still are car for the ages

Published:Sunday | February 12, 2017 | 12:00 AMLatara Boodie

Awarded the "European Car of the Century" in 1999, the Mini Cooper is by far one of the finest illustrations of inventiveness by 20th century automotive engineering. Produced by British Motor Corporation, Mini is deemed the small car icon of the 1960s. Designed by Sir Alec Issigonis, the Mini was intended to be an affordable vehicle in response to an oil crisis where petrol rationing was forced upon the UK government. The smart technical novelties created by Sir Issigonis produced a car with minimum overall dimensions and maximum space for passengers and luggage. This classic car is the definition of European style and class.

Facts on The Rover Mini Cooper:

- Through the 1980s and the 1990s they released several "special editions" of the Mini, which shifted the car from a mass-market item to a fashionable icon.

- Due to the cars unique front-wheel drive layout and the traverse engine, the interior space of the car is used in the most efficient way. This design allows 80% of the internal space of the car to be used for passengers, which explains how four people could fit relatively comfortably in a small space.

- The designer of the car, Sir Alec Issigonis hated the concept of windows that rolled up and down and demanded that the windows on the Mini slide open.

- All four members of The Beatles drove MINI Coopers.

- The first ever design of a MINI was drawn on a napkin in Switzerland.

The owner, Raymond Shields' passion for motor vehicles developed as a child growing up in rural Jamaica. "My father's Austin pickup truck really started my interest in cars," said Mr. Shields. "I selected this vehicle because I had a love for Mini as it is what I grew up around. I also like to be different. Not many of them are around so it really stood out to me," explained Mr. Shields when asked why he selected the Rover Mini Cooper.




The shape of the Mini Cooper changed when BMW bought into the Rover Group. In order to keep the nostalgic shape he loved, Mr Shields found a company in Japan that still made the original Rover Mini Cooper. The imported vehicle was already decked out with 21st century modifications by the company. Therefore, there was little to no restoration done when the car arrived in Jamaica. "It's amazing how the Japanese could get so much modifications under that small hood," said Mr Shields. In maintaining a car like this, you have to be very patient and meticulous due to the compactness of the elements under the hood. "It took me a week to change the engine mount just because of its location," said Mr Shields.

One needs to have a love for cars and strong passion for it, in order to commit to having a classic car. A classic car does not necessarily mean old; it should also be rare. If kept in good condition, it can be a very profitable investment.