Tag Archives: MINI

The MINI Wave

MINI toys on MINI roofI’ve noticed something this year, or rather the lack of something.  MINI drivers in the London area are not waving at each other.  Forest City MINI Club, get the word out – we wave at each other.  We are MINI.

Just because MINI now has tv commercials, that does not mean that our cars are just like every other car out there.  We’re still distinct, we get attention, we’re still a community within the larger sedan and minivan driving population.

MINI toys following MINI, with poodleFirst thing I discovered, after buying our 2002 MINI in 2004, was everyone waved.  People walking down the street turned and waved.  Other drivers smiled and waved.  I thought I must know a lot more people than I thought I did.  So I’d wave back, thinking ‘oh dear who are you?’  Then I realized it was the car.

Responsibility of MINI drivers

That brought another driving responsibility – you have to be nice when you’re driving a MINI.  Sometimes, if someone had cut me off or done something stupid, I’d be cursing at them and wanting to make a rude gesture.  Then at the next light, I might be pulled up next to them, still mad, and they’d wave and smile and point to the car and smile more.  MINI pile on MINI roofHow can you then give them the finger?  You can’t, so you wave and smile back.

But even when the sight of a MINI became more commonplace and passersby stopped waving their arms off at you, MINI drivers still always waved.  Might be a full wave, maybe just a forefinger raised off the steering wheel, but it was an acknowledgement.

Until 2007 the closest MINI dealers to London/St. Thomas were in Waterloo and Windsor.  Either way, an hour drive.  So there weren’t many MINIs around here.  Having Grand Touring Auto, the BMW dealer, also open as MINI London was wonderful.  It made it easier to get your MINI fixed and your MINI fix.  And, as it should have, it increased the number of MINIs on roads around here.  Still, MINIs waved at MINIs.

Mini and me at MINI Waterloo - MINI DriversUntil this year.  I’ve noticed a lot more MINIs this summer and very, very few have waved back at me.  Especially in London.  In St. Thomas and Aylmer, yes, there is sometimes acknowledgement.  But London, no.  Come on, people.  We drive a car that has clubs and model toys.  We drive a car that looks cute in packs.  We recognize our fellow MINI drivers.

Interested in the Forest City MINI Club? Call MINI London for contact information.  The book below is really good on Mini’s history.


Car Music

I once had an old Chevy Monza hatchback, a ’75.  It came with a banged-in fender that didn’t seem worth fixing.  The rest of the body was so rusted that, well, what would be the point?

1975 Chevy MonzaThe car was bought as an immediate and probably short-term solution to my previous car dying at a time I had very little money.  But I quickly grew to love it.  It was my baby muscle car.

I realized that car needed rock and roll.  Until then, and since, my radio dial just stays on CBC.  It might flip from Radio One to Radio Two but that’s it.  But not for a Chevy Monza.  I had to search for a rock station that I could tolerate listening to.  It’s what the car wanted.

The car got something else in its life with me.  It was the exact same shade of orange as the City vehicles.  One day I came out to find very large City decals on both doors, the same as City dump trucks, pickups and cars had.  As I told the City workers that came to my door a couple weeks later to remove the decals, I don’t know where they came from.  The City workers used a blowtorch to take them off, which didn’t do a lot for the car’s paint job.

But for the time the decals were on the car, it was fun.  I could park anywhere.  I got very odd looks from City employees who saw it.  The condition of the car really was a disgrace.  I avoided driving it anywhere near City Hall, but the City officials still tracked me down and sent men to take my decals.  The car died forever not long after that.

I went back to CBC with my next cars.  There’s only been one car since then that my 2002 MINIdemanded its own music.  That’s my Mini Cooper S, and it’s only sporadic.  On sunny summer days, it wants old rock and roll.  The car and I welcome the first warm, sunny day with the Beach Boys.  I crank the volume and roll down the windows.  “Daddy took the T-bird away” and “Little Deuce Coupe” speak directly to my foot and gear-shifting hand.  I got six gears and I want to go through them as fast as possible.

Other than the Beach Boys, girl groups and Jerry Lee Lewis, the Mini is happy to listen to CBC Radio One and Two.  But hot summer days need summer music. And summer music makes me think fondly of a poor, battered up old Chevy Monza.

St. Thomas now has its own radio station – 94.1 FM on the dial.  I’ve got it in the presets, just in case. And, just in case you should want them, here are some classic songs to drive to.