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Bentley to Mini - What's the Common Denominator?

Our love of the Car …

Once we have been driving for a fairly short time, we don’t consciously think about the controls of the car, steering, changing gear or reaching out for indicator or windscreen wiper controls automatically. Most of us can, however, probably remember learning to drive – that feeling of not knowing how to co-ordinate clutch and gears, or braking too hard, or turning on the wipers instead of the indicator! Almost certainly, we can remember that wonderful feeling, once we have passed the driving test, of driving on our own for the first time, without the presence of an instructor, relative or friend in the front passenger seat.

Even more memorable is the first car we own, whether it is a somewhat beaten up “hand- me-down” from a parent, or a vehicle we have scrimped and saved for over a period on many months. For many people, their car is one of the most important parts of their lives. It is religiously cleaned and polished every week, any minor blemishes are lovingly touched up and woe betide anyone who accidentally drops a sweet paper on its pristine interior.

From Bentley …

I have a friend who, after suffering a heart attack and then a stroke in his early sixties, fulfilled a life-long ambition to own a Bentley. Not only did he love the feeling of driving such a luxury car, but he enjoyed the camaraderie of meeting with other owners and comparing stories. When it came to replacing tyres, he found, as many other car owners have done, that buying tyres online offers the best chance of finding good quality tyres at the best prices (Bentley tyres don’t come cheap!)

The same friend, being a restless sort who could no longer carry on with his previous occupation, went a step further and is currently in the throes of building a Bentley almost from scratch, using the body from one and engine parts from a variety of sources. The tyres, as before, were bought online. I’m not quite sure what his next project will be when this one is completed.

To Mini

It doesn’t need a Bentley to inspire this kind of enthusiasm, however. The mini was originally designed by Sir Alec Issigonis, first as the Morris Mini Minor and Austin Seven, then re- branded as the Austin Mini in 1961. Over five million Mini cars were produced over a forty year period and for many people it was their introduction to both driving and car ownership. There were a variety of special editions, such as the rather sporty Mini Cooper, and the interesting Mini Clubman and thousands of enthusiastic owners embellished their cars with personalised decorations.

It is an interesting statistic that something in the region of fifty to sixty million Mini tyres must have been used during that period, in the days before it was possible to buy tyres online in the way that is so normal today.

The 21st Century has seen yet another re-launch of the Mini (now known as the MINI), as BMW retained ownership of the brand when the rest of the Rover group was sold. The emphasis has been on a great many personalisation options, with different colours and trims available. The take-up has shown that the MINI is as popular as it has ever been. The nation’s love affair with the car continues!