The Mattopian Blahg

7 May 2020

For several years, I had wanted a MINI Cooper. It had nothing to do with the 2003 remake of The Italian Job, but that certainly didn't hurt. I had spent six months living in London and, along the way, I met a couple guys — huge Denver Broncos fans, of all things — in Wareham while on a trip following in the footsteps of T.E. Lawrence. They had an early model Mini Cooper. I need to find the photo I took of them sitting on top of it.

In 2015, I finally got my own MINI Cooper S. Could not be happier. Driving it is still exhilirating.

Today, I took my MINI in to swap out the winter tires for the summer tires, get an oil change, an annual check-up. Of course, physical distancing was in effect with all the COVID-19 protocols in place at Schomp MINI.

I took advantage of getting a loaner in order to multi-task and get some other things done.

When I pulled into my garage and stepped out of the 2020 MINI Cooper loaner, I was delighted to see a new lighting effect — I'm not sure when this feature was first introduced, but it's cool. It brought a smile to my (unmasked) face.

By the way, here's a bit of Mini Cooper trivia: the original 1969 movie The Italian Job, starring Michael Caine, was not product placement. The DVD has a terrific commentary track in which the filmmakers explain use of the Mini was a political statement regarding the U.K. and Europe. Even though all the major Italian sports car manufacturers pleaded with them to replace the Mini with the latest and greatest, sleak Italian cars, the filmmakers declined — despite all the deals the big Italian brands were willing to offer.

The Italian Job was about the Mini Cooper, as a symbol of British agility, smarts and superiority. And, throughout the movie, all those hot Italian sports cars got totaled, one after another, while the Mini navigated the caper unscathed.

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