Me & My Car: Cheeky turbo and some attitude
Search Driven for Mini Mini Cooper S for sale
You’re driving a 2013 Mini Cooper S hatchback?
It was a limited edition called the “Bayswater” and came in a few options for the paintwork and spec. I went the whole hog with “kite blue” body paint, black roof, bonnet stripes and my favourite feature, the mismatched mirrors. It’s a manual. Growing up in the UK, manuals were all we drove so I’ve never had an automatic. I do regret that sometimes with all the “stop-start” in Auckland traffic. (Not to mention the hill starts.) But a manual is a much more engaging way to drive a car like this. The engine is a 1.6l with a cheeky little turbo. I bought it new from the Mini garage in Newmarket. I have to give them a shout-out for their excellent customer experience; I started getting e-mail messages “from my Mini” when it was coming off the production line and as it was travelling across the ocean to New Zealand.
What do you like about it?
The way she looks and that she’s punchy “off the line”. That gives a few people a surprise at the lights. I also love that she’s small enough for those really tight car parks in Auckland. Oh, and at this time of year, I like the seat heater.
How does it suit your personality?
Well, like me she’s British, likes a bit of colour and, arguably, has a bit of attitude.
And how does it suit your job?
She would probably suit me better if she were electric as I work for Mercury, so I am excited to see the first electric Minis coming through. But the fact she’s so visible and “branded” (particularly with the “MINI JJ” licence plate) makes her appropriate for someone in marketing.
Who else drives your Mini?
I don’t like other people driving MINI JJ! Even on the rare occasion that I let my husband drive the car, if I’m in the car with him I’m constantly getting anxious about how he’s treating her and I’m questioning the quality of his gear changes.
And the personalised plate?
That was a present from my husband. The plate also has the Union Jack on it because: a) it’s a Mini — a car with British heritage; and b) we were just back in NZ after three years in London when I bought it, and I was feeling a bit nostalgic.
Is this your first Mini?
It’s the first Mini I’ve owned — but my mum had an old orange Mini in the 1980s which I loved. Its nickname was the “orange bomb” and the front passenger floor had a massive rust hole in it, so you felt like you were in The Flintstones.
Any cars you have regretted selling?
I’m glad I kept my old Mazda MX5 — the original version with pop-up lights. We almost sold that but then we decided to fit a roll cage and now my husband uses it for track days. Low-powered fun. I do regret that my mum sold her other car that I loved, a royal blue Triumph Herald.
Who taught you to drive?
I was 17 when I started learning, in Scotland. My dad tried to teach me but that didn’t go particularly well. So, I got some lessons at a driving school. Got the licence second time.
Do you have a favourite movie car scene?
Bullitt — Steve McQueen in a Mustang, what’s not to love? And Knightrider on TV — I think everyone my age still secretly wants their car to be K.I.T.T.
Great day trip out of Auckland?
We enjoy driving out to the Waitakere Ranges. Nice twisty roads, great views and the opportunity to drop down to beautiful beaches like Karekare.
Other drivers … what irritates you most?
Random/dangerous lane changing and people who don’t let you out of the side streets on to busy roads like Dominion Rd.
If you could change one road rule?
Give electric vehicles unrestricted access to the T2/T3 lanes.
Your take on Auckland’s traffic?
It’s getting worse. The solution: Ebikes; electric cars.