The article discussing two current models in the Mini range which appeared in the November edition of Motor Sport made fascinating reading, and in trying to decide why this should be I could only conclude that a purely personal appraisal of a car tells us far more and in a more revealing way than does the average road test. In most motoring journals (except perhaps Motor Sport) the latter have become stereotyped, non-committal and boring and this prompts me to ask if we may have, please, more of these personal and intimate commentaries.
It is a common cry that the Mini has not kept pace with the times. Judged against its competitors this may be true, but the Mini cult has become so deeply entrenched in the public eye that one false move in its re-design could spell disaster to its future market appeal.
Unlike so many present-day models the Mini is not dependent on “style” for its success; its purposeful and functional shape is so absolutely right and so timeless that it owes nothing to the demands of current fashion.
If I had the job of bringing the Mini up-to-date I would retain the existing body shell and general layout but would install a completely new engine of modern over-square design—why not a scaled-down Triumph Dolomite?—but in any case it should be free revving, smoother and quiet, and the design should, if possible, incorporate a less-complicated and less expensive gear train between crankshaft and road wheels than on current Minis.
In view of the present sit-up-and-beg driving position imposing acute discomfort on any driver of other than average size, surely a worthwhile adjunct would be a steering column adjustable for rake and reach (Dolomite again ?). Driving position in my view is all-important; it is the first thing I get right on acquiring any new car of my own.
Detail improvements would include better general finish, improved rust-proofing, better sound-insulation, and body fittings which were reliable and functional. A further aim would be to improve ride comfort, although it is realised that the present rubber cone suspension might make this difficult to achieve.
Above all, nothing must be done to change the concept of the Mini as being the universal workhorse and fun car which it undoubtedly is.
Wirral C. S. BROWN