Mini enthusiast Steve Broadbent describes the iconic car as intergenerational.
Inside the Auckland resident’s garage, a 1975 Rover Mini Cooper Sport sits beside its younger, shinier version – the 2008 BMW Mini John Cooper Works.
Despite being from two ends of the production line, each vehicle holds its own when it comes to uniqueness and charm.
“I like the longevity of the styling. The Mini has endured. Since it appeared on roads in 1959, it’s bridged generations and captured hearts from all walks of life,” Steve says.
“There’s simplicity to the Mini. It feels like you’re driving something really special, even if the model you’re in is a bit old and quirky.”
Steve bought the 1975 Rover Mini in 2015 and kitted it out with a 1997 engine. He and wife Rachel then decided to add to their car collection, buying the newer model.
While it’s a world apart in terms of driveability (with 210 horsepower turbo-charge, ABS traction control, hands-free calling and air bags), both vehicles provide a great experience behind the wheel.
“BMW did a very good job of replicating the styling and visibility of the earlier model. Steering and gear changes carry over, as well as the frontal views. The grill shape is very similar and so, too, is the interior,” Steve says.
For him, there’s something comforting about the older classic, though.
“The smell of oil when you start it up is like nothing else. It’s like getting into your favourite armchair or leather jacket.”
Surprisingly, a lot can fit into the boot of a Mini. Steve and his family take the new model on camping trips; both cars are good for nipping into town for a coffee and sneaking into small carparks.
And yes, if you’re wondering; Steve turns to admire his set of wheels – every time.
“As the old saying goes, if you park your car and don’t look back – you’re in the wrong car.”
Reported by Monica Tischler for our AA Directions Autumn 2021 issue