My White Mini

One day while visiting a friend of my parents I came to know that his Mini, which he used to use for work and which he kept under a tree in his garden, didn’t want to start.

I don’t know how it came about but talking about cars and other things we decided to make a bet. If I was able to get the engine going I could take it home. I walked towards the white Mini which was extremely dusty because of the long stay under that tree. I opened the engine compartment and I found it very dirty and covered in oil. I decided to clean the spark plugs.

Photo by Pete Edgeler

Photo by Pete Edgeler

Doing this I saw a glitter from the corner of my eye coming from the carburetor and a bell rang in my head. I thought to myself “shouldn’t everything be dirty in the same way?” On the contrary I found that there the shaft of the choke was stuck on an open position and therefore clean. In this heat the engine would never have started with the choke pulled on. All I did was to push the choke shaft down with the tip of my finger and immediately it went into place.

After this operation I got in the driver’s seat. The key was on the dashboard and I turned it. I didn’t expect anything to happen, because the car had been there for the time necessary for the battery to get flat. On the contrary as soon as the key closed the circuit the engine turned and backfired into life to my great astonishment.

I must have surprised everybody when they saw and heard the Mini roaring and sending great clouds of smoke up in the air as I went out the front gate. I never told this to anyone but it was a stroke of good luck because I didn’t know anything about car engines yet.

I won the bet and the white Mini was now mine. With that car I really learned to drive properly. At that time I didn’t yet have my driving license. I knew all the secondary untarred roads where the police did not patrol so often so I opted to use these roads. I soon found out that the Mini’s brakes were more efficient on the right and less on the left. If I was not careful when applying the brakes the car would turn suddenly to the right. I would then have to immediately steer in the opposite direction or else I would spin like a top.

I soon found out that I was using more oil than petrol. That meant that the piston rings were worn out and the oil leaked out the exhaust pipe. In other words they were “shot”.

I used my Mini mostly to take my girlfriend to the drive-in. I parked the car with its rear end towards the screen and we used to lie on the mattress which was in the back of the car. We opened the back doors and we pretended to look at the film. Of so many films we saw together I don’t remember any of them.

I used my Mini for a few months. One day taking a short cut through a field with tall grass I didn’t see the anthill in front of me, so I hit it head-on and the Mini was full of ants. Only on that occasion did I discover that the poor old white Mini was full of rust and there were big holes under the seats. I started to wonder how it held itself together.

I immediately decided to sell the car as soon as possible because I understood that it could be very dangerous. The fellow who bought it was interested in the spare parts of the car and gave me more than it was worth. I had been lucky for four reasons: the first was that I came in possession of the car only thanks to a bet; the second one was that my white Mini gave me the chance to learn a lot of things about engines; the third was that I had a lot of fun using it; the fourth was that in the end I even gained some money! But please don’t let anybody know!

About Mauro

I am a scribbler of my far away memories. I am Italian and when I was little I landed up with my family in South Africa, where I remained until I was 22 years old. Then I came back to Italy, where I live. Writing life stories about myself and to share them with who desires to read them, helps me to tackle the hardships of life! [Read More]


  1. Mauro that Mini was such joy!! You had it only for a short while but I recall that we tried very hard to extend its life. We even spray-painted it and it looked very promising. But the rust and the oil guzzling was the real setback and rightly you decided not to waste money on it. It taught you also how to drive cars on the road and off-road. Great memories!

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