The Mini (Morris and Minor) was originally designed with economy in mind. Economy of price and economy of materials, which of course, go hand-in-hand. The original Mini had no window crank, but had a divided sliding window, and no interior door handle, but a cord instead. Two doors, a matchbox-sized trunk, and the motor turned on a 90 degree angle to a conventional car made the Mini a paragon of mindful design. It wasn't the giant muscle cars that were popular and presitigious in America, but post-WWII Britain was still in ration mode, and a petrol crisis had just passed. The Mini's introduction was perfect timing.
I loved Minis. I still do. I've not been in a new Mini yet. I was hell bent and determined to own one when I lived in England in '99-'00, so when it actually came to pass that I needed a car, it wasn't looking for just any car: I was looking for a Mini.
I had a ball in the shittiest car in the United Kingdom. It was black with a checkered roof, dots on the doors and racing stripes on the hood. It cost me £400, and it was probably worth half that.
This little trip down memory boulevard is brought to you by the release of the new Mini Clubman. The original Mini Clubman was a slightly longer and larger verion of the wee Mini, with a two-door back door system. The marketers called it a 4-door. (Sneaky buggers.)
I am pleased that the re-made Mini is such a success that it has an opportunity to have as many incarnations as the original. There's the basic Mini, a zippier Cooper, and now this Clubman.
If anyone's still searching for a gift, my birthday is coming up.
(This is absurd, of course. I don't need or want a car. Well, for a Mini, I might just park it and watch its wonder.)