I drove a Mini last night - not a BMW hatchback wearing a Mini badge, but a real Mini, the one we voted Car of the Century back in 1995.

110907_085_rov It's amazing how quickly you forget. I'd forgotten just how lousy is the driving position and that the steering wheel is mounted at a Routemaster angle.

I'd forgotten the crummy fixtures and fittings, the bouncy ride, the who-left-the-windows-open refinement and the fact that, contrary to popular belief, there's no room inside at all.

P0013638 Most of all however, I'd forgotten just how much damn fun a Mini is to drive.

It's effective too. In central London, an original Mini is still a devastatingly quick device, especially if it's fitted with one of the rortier versions of the 1275cc A-series engine.

No gap in the traffic is left unplugged while every roundabout provides an opportunity to savour steering that seems more closely related to that of a kart than a road car. I've driven racing cars that don't turn in as well as this.

110907_079_rovMost compelling in this age is that all the fun it has to offer can be sampled and savoured at entirely legal speeds. Despite being so cramped I started to lose circulation in my toes, I didn't want to get out.

So next time you pull up at the lights in your fast modern car alongside a dilapidated old Mini, don't spend too much time feeling sorry for its driver. There's every chance they're having more fun than you.

 

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