Have you ever noticed that the people driving MINI’s seem to smile a lot? Look how happy I am in this photo. This is me and Jack-o…as in Jack-o-latern. I was given this mini last October just before my birthday, which coincidently falls on Halloween. It seemed a little too perfect. An early birthday present, in orange and black, with a super charged engine on Pirelli tires. It was love at first sight for Jack-o and I. This car was part of a sponsorship formed with the Dilawri Automotive Group as part of the Passion for Excellence Program.
When the Dilawri Group asked me which one of their vehicles I wanted to drive, the words “mini cooper” flew out of my mouth just about as fast as I slide down the bobsleigh track. I have pined over these cars for years. Maybe it is my British roots, or the chase scene from the “Italian Job,” or maybe it’s the fact that people who drive these little, zippy, fuel efficient, easy to park cars just seem so darn happy. My instinct was correct. Driving Jack-o immediately brought a smile to my face. From the ability of changing my interior lighting system to match the paint job, to the feeling of acceleration when the car is in sport mode, it’s a close second to racing down a bobsleigh track.
This week I had a phone call. Jack-o had been sold – a.k.a. “adopted” and I had to bring him in to have him cleaned up and ready to be delivered to his new family. My heart broke, just a little. I am glad he will have a loving home but I will miss him. Since last October, we have shared many great moments on the road. I headed up to Mini Crowfoot and turned in the keys. I sat and waited patiently for Jack-o’s replacement. The gang at Dilawri and MINI Crowfoot had yet to tell me which car would be replacing little Jack-o. My mind raced with possibilities. Will it be as nice? As fast? Have such a cool paint job? Does it really matter? I had a chance to reflect on how lucky I am to have a vehicle to get around town in. Period. But then I heard it: the soft rumble of the engine outside the glass doors. I turned to see a bright red Mini Cooper S pull up. “Helen, meet your new mini,” they said. The Baron….the Red Baron. He’s bright and fierce with black rims, black racing stripes and black wing mirrors. Every one of these cars seems to take on a life of it’s own. I will never forget Jack-o. He was my first mini and the reason why I am now a devout fan of this incredible automobile. For now however, please excuse me. The Baron and I have some driving to do.
Bobsleigh Pilot, Olympic Silver Medallist