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Me and My Car

As long as you keep looking ahead, don’t need any boot space and remain optimistic about the British weather, the Mini Cooper Convertible is the perfect car, says Ian Giles

My Mini Cooper Convertible is classic, classless and cute but has virtually no rear visibility or boot space.

The Mini is not the first vehicle I’ve driven without a roof. I’ve had a variety of cars in my life – everything from a wide boy Ford Escort Mexico with Cibie spotlights for rallying around the lanes near my home in Hampshire to a classic 1970s Rover P6 with an eight-track stereo and windscreen wipers that resembled a pair of elderly gentlemen trying to cross a road in a gale.

And of course there was that recreational vehicle in the US that I ripped the top off like a tin of sardines when I drove under a low carport outside a restaurant in Colorado.

All I can remember of that event is the sight of dozens of dazed American diners pausing in mid-chew, open-mouthed as myself and the vehicle’s cab and chassis passed swiftly by their window, sadly not accompanied by the vehicle’s body. I removed the roof, including the air conditioning unit, and terminally damaged the sewage outflow pipe leading from the onboard bathroom.

But the Mini Cooper Convertible is the first new car I’ve ever bought. It’s a rather extravagant purchase because I do most of my travelling to and from London by train and bike – cycling from Victoria to our head office in Paddington.

The Mini is really a BMW so it’s utterly reliable for the motorway trips to our operations centre in Reading and on visits to our business partners, as well as ferrying my wife and daughters around at weekends, in search of some elusive sunshine.

It has no confusing gadgets like satellite navigation (for goodness sake, learn to read a map), four-wheel drive (stop pretending you have acres of land somewhere hilly) or heated seats (wear thicker pants) – just the essential CD player.

My favourite album so far this year is by Sigur Ros, who sing in Icelandic and play like they’re standing on a glacier, looking out across a vast sea.

You can’t see much out of the back of a Mini Cooper Convertible but as long as you look forwards, don’t need any boot space and have a healthy sense of optimism about the British weather, it’s the perfect car.

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