I was one of the thousands of folks who got a car crush on the MINI Cooper about ten years ago after The Italian Job movie came out and blew everybody away. The car’s popularity was so great at that time that there was a six month wait for delivery if you ordered one new.
This is from the 2003 release of The Italian Job starring Charlize Theron and Mark Walberg
As I wrote in The MINI Kayaker, I didn’t own a car from 1977 to 2004. I live in downtown Chicago and can walk most places. There is also public transportation. I could ride my bike sometimes, take cabs or rent a car. One of the reasons I was able to retire at 60 is that I had not spent all that money on cars for so many years.
This movie poster was so much fun that PlayStation2 used it for their Italian Job game.
Getting back to my car crush, the first one I bought was a used 2003 Cooper. It was dark blue, like one of the Italian Job cars. Over the next seven years, I would own one of each, a red and a white also, the other colors in the film.
In 2009 MINI extended its line with a convertible. There was also a little extension of its length with the Clubman model in 2008. And, last year, 2011 the Countryman came out. It is the MINI version of an SUV. It stretches 15 inches longer and 3 inches wider than the Cooper model. Despite this ‘stretch’ it is still 14 inches shorter than a Prius.
I shot this at the dealer. The car on the left is my new Countryman while the car on the right is the Cooper I traded in. I call the new black Countryman my Badmobile.
I got a car crush on the MINI Cooper back when I saw The Italian Job about 15 years ago. At that time I hadn’t owned a car in over 25 years. I live in downtown Chicago and can get around just fine walking, on public transportation, riding my bike or when all else fails renting a car.
But, after that movie, I just was enchanted with them – to the point of writing notes on my business card and leaving them on the windshield. One owner called me and let me sit in her car and talked about it with me. She even recommended a salesman I could talk to. Next thing I know it was 2004 and I was driving a 2003 MINI Cooper.
I saw this one while I was riding my bike down by 12th Street Beach in Chicago. Couldn’t resist the shot.
I have my iPhone with me when I ride these days. You can expect more lucky finds like this.