I’ve fallen in love – with a tiny little thing

2012-07-12 10:27

Good news!

If you have an outrageous sense of humour, the car industry has played ball and made a car just for you. It’s the Mini Roadster – and I’ll explain what I mean in a moment.

But first, I’m sure you’ll have noticed how serious cars have become in the last 20 years or so.

They’ve become bland, safe and uniform.

You can hardly pick a new Ford Focus from a Hyundai Sonata from a Renault Fluence.

And don’t even get me started on SUVs. Dreary stuff, mostly.

Today’s world would never make a Leyland Mini (the originator of the Mini Cooper that BMW owns today), or the original Fiat 500, or the ludicrous BMW Isetta 300, which boasted a 298cc single-cylinder four-stroke engine and a top speed of 85km/h.

Did I mention that you basically had to get into the car like a fat man gets into a pair of longjohns?

Over in America, they were taking liberties in the opposite direction.

The 1964 Pontiac GTO had a 6.4l V8 engine that chucked out 325 brake horsepower.

Then you had all those Cadillacs with their tail fins.

For every boring car that was made, someone would make a silly one.

And it was okay because it made the world a happier place.

I’m extremely happy to notice that someone has decided to return to those old days.

Not Fiat, with the new 500 – which is sensible, if small and retro.

It’s the Mini Roadster.

I have never driven a sillier car! It’s tiny (I can barely fit in), but sports a gruff little 1.6l inline four-cylinder engine that tosses out a useful 121 brake horsepower.

With a modest 8.3 seconds to 100km/h, this car comes with a ‘traction control off’ button and a spoiler that rises once you start speeding up.

A rising spoiler in a convertible that is the size of my left shoe – ha!

I love the Mini Roadster.

It’s cute and twee and was not invented for beer-guzzling, rugby-watching men, but I really love this car.

» Get your iMag with City Press on Sunday.



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