If you’re a dog person and hate cats, read no further.  This story starts with cats and goes downhill from there.

Mini Cooper on trailer

Our last furry pet passed away over a year ago, so recently I’ve been looking for a used cat on craigslist.  I figure we should go for used instead of a new kitten since we’re into recycling.  When I’ve come across interesting possibilities, I would leave them on the computer screen for my wife to find, thinking that was funny as hell.  Then I found a Siamese named Snarkey and started to lobby hard.  On the appointed day to go meet Snarkey, my wife arrived home in a surly mood and I realized adopting Snarkey was a no-go. 

My wife is no dummy.  She’d noticed I had a thing for Minis and found a nice one in Google Images to make our screen saver.  Her strategy was to divert my attention away from the cat.  Bummer for her, it worked.  Due to my thinly veiled OCD, I quickly found the want-ads on MiniMania.  Before long, maybe two weeks, I found a “66 Austin Cooper S” advert.  It was in Texas.  I’m in Texas.  It was cheap.  I’m a cheapskate.  The seller didn't seem to know tons about them but all information pointed to the possibility is was for real.  Texas is a big place but I drove out there, 5 hours each way, and proudly dragged homecar we now call…drum roll… Snarkey.                                                                                                                                

Snarkey came equipped with a really cool fiberglass one-piece bonnet.  We call those ‘hoods’ in Texas.  In the U.K. they had Robin Hood and other more recent hoods like Keith Richards - but cars have bonnets.  The fiberglass bonnet used latches that shake loose at highway speeds, especially when you trailer the car backwards.  So when I heard a ‘THONK’ noise and looked in the rearview mirror, I realized the Bonnet had deployed.  As you can see from the actual photo, there were few witnesses.  Luckily, nothing was damaged and in the spirit of the Monte Carlo Rally, I secured the bonnet with duct tape and made it home.  The bonnet is now for sale, BTW.

The van, trailer and Snarkey weren’t on the curb at my house 5 minutes before my car-savvy neighbor Paul sauntered over to inspect.  His Mini story (everyone has one I’ve learned) entailed driving his older brother’s Cooper S when visiting for the summer during his college years.  He then blurted out ‘Hey, I still have a Paddy Hopkirk gas pedal!  D’ya want it?”

 Things were looking up.

Read Chapter 2