I can’t think of another car I’d rather chuck around West London on a Sunday morning. What else can you drive around at just 30 mph and have as much fun bouncing around, avoiding potholes and going for impossible gaps in the traffic.
The Mini has been at the heart of our obsession for classics. Owning one has planted the seed. I met Jespal at a car meet a couple of weeks ago, and after spending a few minutes chatting it was clear that the same love for that British ‘car-of-the-people’ had bitten him too. So, we decided to meet for a drive.
Take a couple of Minis out on a Sunday morning and people just want to talk to you. One chap (hi Nick) even got off his bike and chatted for a good half an hour. Our Minis are very different but share a lot of model DNA. Both are late eighties/ early nineties cars with 998cc engines, both painted red out the factory and feature the original name “city”. The similarities stop there though. A departure from my own slightly preppy rally look, Jespal’s car pulls out all the stops with the slick metallic paint, no bumpers and unbeatably cool 10 inch Revolution wheels. Add some bucket seats and a few other bolt-ons and you’ve got yourself an eye-catching, race-inspired car.
Part of owning a classic Mini is being able to talk ‘bits’. There’s no blanket version of what a Mini should be. Sure you’ve got your immaculate Coopers and factory originals, but some of the best Minis I’ve seen have been crafted out of years of ownership and those special parts taken from right across the ages (speaking of which, anyone got any Speedwell stuff?).
Jespal is seriously cracking on with his classic Mini lifestyle - with three cars and having studied engineering at college, there’s now a Mini race-car on the cards…
What would you say are the benefits of driving a Mini?
You’ve got to experience it. Like, it’s so different to modern cars in the fact that you have to drive it properly. Everything is manual in it, there’s no comfort - cruise control, power steering, nothing like that, and because it’s so raw you feel everything. It’s just better. All my friends are like ‘Why’d you get a Mini? What’s so good about it?’ - I take them for a drive and they all love it.
How did your car get to look like this?
It’s an ‘87 1000 City E. It was originally red, and way before I had it, it was resprayed a light turquoise-blue, which I got rid of. This is a made up colour, so I can’t really get this colour again even if I tried to. When I got it the roof was white, had white Minilite 12-inch wheels on it and it had white bonnet stripes on it as well. I’ve slowly tinkered with it basically. I did mechanics at college and practised the things I learned there to my car. I think the first mod I did was putting the exhaust on.
So how did you get into cars?
When I was younger, my uncle used to make me watch the F1. He bought a Porsche Carrera 4. And that was when I was like, ‘yeah I like cars now’ ha! He took me for a ride in it, it was just so fast with so much power and the sound of it was amazing. That’s how I got into cars really.
So was this your first car?
Yeah, this was my first car. I’ve actually had it for about two and a half years, I got it in 2015. I going to keep it forever! I’ve grown an attachment to it, like I’ve even given it a name as well. She’s called Luna.
When I painted the roof, me and my cousin when out for a drive in the moonlight - it looked really cool, and I was like, ‘It looks really good at night, so I’ll call it Luna’. She found her name.
Give Jespal a follow on Insta! @retrodetail