Today’s feature will be on our free “Minis 101” course that we offered to visitors at our former Ventura showroom, where we typically had 15-20 classic Minis on display – and ready for immediate adoption.
As part of our freebie course, we would usually lock up the shop and take three or four folks (or couples) out in Minis and let them experience for themselves the fun of piloting a Mini down the road and – most importantly – in the twisties. Most days, we would trade off driving a range of Minis so class attendees could drive both left hand drive (LHD) and right-hand drive (RHD) Minis. Along with that, we’d have them experience a variety of engine/brake combinations – from the base model’s stock 850cc engine, the uprated 998cc engine, as well as 1275cc engines in stock and “stage one” configurations, followed by a spin in the factory high-performance “Cooper S” models. For braking systems, we’d have them try out the early “single leading shoe” drum brakes (ie: ’59-’63), then the “twin leading shoe” type (ie: ’64 and up), then the Cooper “S” 7.5″ front disc setup and the upgraded 8.4″ type. Along with drives up the canyons, we’d hit the freeway so our students could see that even the base model 850cc Minis are freeway-capable.
We had people fly in from all over the country for our class/ride/drive events.
For people concerned about driving a stick-shift, I’ve always said that I can teach anyone to drive a stick-shift in 15 minutes. (no kidding; ask me for the secret that nobody even thinks about…). In fact, I had one couple fly out from Wisconsin, but the wife insisted she couldn’t drive a stick. Ten minutes later, she was – and her husband said he’d tried teach her for 15 years!
By the way, in our Minis 101 course – or when you call or email us about Minis – there is no such thing as a stupid question…
Driving Minis, talkin’ Minis, teaching about Minis, putting grins on peoples’ faces – and on those of the people and kids we’d pass…
It’s no wonder I’ve always said, “My wife thinks I go to ‘work’…”
Disclaimer: At no time were these class/ride/drive events used as a way to pressure customers into buying our Minis. We didn’t have to, our new friends would typically shove checks at us upon their return – or after a sleepless night filled with dreams of classic Minis… <grin>.