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The purchase!

mini at Tims

The mini was a real surprise. My son was only 17 and on a trip to Northern Ireland with me to the 500Club Annual Dinner Dance. I thought I'd won the Championship that year, but in a rare stroke of misfortune they'd decided to merge the Championships, and so the Road cars lost out big time to the track cars. It wasn't a good day for me.

We had arranged to spend the weekend with a great friend Tim who would look after us fabulously, feed us and ensure that our weekend was one to remember no matter what.

When we arrived at Tim's he had a car in his garage covered in a sheet, and so I asked him what was under it. He and I pulled the sheet back to reveal a lovely little 1982 mini 1000 that looked really nice.

My son had always loved minis - probably since he was about 6 years old, and he just thought it was the most beautiful little car, looking all over it and saying how lovely it was. Then we dropped the bombshell when I handed him the keys and told him it was his! He just couldn't believe it - his very own car and a mini at that, and born on the same year as him! It was almost too much to take in, but we went out for a spin and he just loved it.



There were a couple of things to sort when we picked it up, the clutch needed adjusting and the heater didn't work, but we still drove it back from Stranraer in the freezing cold, wearing our Puffa jackets to keep warm,and trying to keep the inside of the windscreen from freezing up, but it was his!
And what a memory that was, driving back in your very first car and parking it on the drive. I don't think there was a happier son that evening.

It's fair to say that the next year was a fantastic year for my son, as he learned to drive his little mini, whether it was wet, foggy, snowy or icy, or any possible conditions that we could find. We drove in mud, deep water, sheet ice and fresh snow. We tried everything nature could throw at us. Mr mini handled it all with gusto, he was such a lovely little car to learn to drive in, and during that year my son learned so much, and had so much enjoyment, especially in the winter months when the snow and ice was around, learning just how to control the mini and what to do when the going was slippery.

He was a super little man too, and a great first car to learn to drive in. Small enough to be manageable, but not too big to be a problem. The first thing I think that struck my son was just how careful you had to be on the clutch and throttle, as too much of either would result in a bit of jerky progress. But he was brilliant, and that first year was over all too quickly. The learning had been fun, and the fun had been learning how to handle the car. He learned what to do in all situations, and mr mini was his best friend and helpmate.

It was all the more poignant, then, when a year later it looked as though it would all turn to dust as mr mini failed his MOT spectacularly. In fact, the recommendation was to 'scrap it'.
Not our finest moment.

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