Lost Loves Mini Mayfair

Lost Loves Mini Mayfair

My sister is a responsible adult, who looks after her stuff regardless of the cost. When she buys a car, she keeps it clean, has it serviced regularly and gets things fixed as soon as they break. I, on the other hand, have spent a lifetime not doing any of these things; a fact which adds a thick layer of insult to the injuries I inflicted on the Mini I bought from her back in the early 1990s.

’Ange,’ as the car was known in my sister’s household, was a 1983 Austin Mini Mayfair, in metallic silver with blue velour interior. It had a smart pinstripe down each side, a Pioneer radio/ cassette player, and tinted glass. This was luxury motoring in miniature and it was mine for £300. I drove my new Mini home from Sussex to Liverpool and immediately put it to work, delivering pizzas, chips, and garlic bread to the hard-working students of Wavertree and Mossley Hill.

All was rosy for a few months, but as the hard, urban miles began to take their toll, little by little, things began to go awry. When the windscreen wiper motor failed, I asked a mechanically-minded friend to fix it for me, which he did, with a piece of silver foil from a four-bar Kit-Kat.

“Great,” I thought, “that’s definitely fixed properly now.” After a year or so, things had deteriorated to the point where the Mini wasn’t really roadworthy (I’d also crashed it a little bit, which meant there were a few body parts either missing or bent beyond recognition). I parked it outside my flat and resigned myself to riding a Honda C90 pizza moped until I could afford all the parts needed to get it running again.

Eventually fortune smiled on me, and my best mate offered me a slightly shabby, but very cheap, metallic green W-reg Mini 1000. The plan was to strip his car for parts and fix mine without having to spend a fortune, so I jumped at the chance and saved up £50 of pizza delivery tips over the course of the next few weeks. On the morning I was due to pick up the parts car, I unlocked my Mini and climbed inside for the first time in ages, excited at the prospect of having it back on the road within days.

With a spring in my step, I boarded the bus into town and made my way to the shop where my mate worked. He handed me the keys, I handed him five tenners and strolled across town to where his Mini was parked. On closer inspection, it wasn’t too bad, but it was nowhere near as nice as mine would be once it was fixed. A can of petrol and a bit of choke later, I drove the two-mile journey back home, where I was confronted with a distressingly Mini-shaped void where my car had been parked an hour earlier. It seems that, after several months of putting up with this eyesore, my elderly neighbour had decided that today was the day to phone the council about an abandoned vehicle, parked in her street, and they had very kindly towed it away for her.

The cost of getting my car back was prohibitively expensive, so I never saw it again. Fortunately, I now had an only slightly worse Mini to take my mind off things, and at least this one worked, so I parked it in the newly vacant space outside my neighbour’s house and tried to pretend nothing had happened.

What I learned here: Get things fixed properly. Never trust your neighbours. Park outside your own house.

Apologies: My sister, obviously. Liverpool City Council, for never retrieving my car. My community-spirited neighbour, who enjoyed something in the region of 45 minutes without a knackered old Mini outside her front door. Sorry.

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