The Twelve Drives of Christmas - 04. The Daisy Drives.
In the spring of 2007, I had a city-car shaped gap in my life. The original Daisy the Mini had been left in Mongolia, never to be heard of again, while the Arctic Fiat been sold on and was with its new owner. Fortunately however, I had access to eBay and Beer. And that meant that £600 later, I was the proud owner of a rather orange 1974 Mini 998.
Car: 1974 Mini 998
Cost: £600 in 2007
Modifications: Stickers, then later a Cooper S cylinder head
Route. Two trips. UK to Spain, and UK to Turin, then back home via Slovenia
Ben's rating: 8.5/10. Not perfect, but so much character, so much charisma, so much fun. I can't wait to get it back on the road...
This latest Daisy predictably got pressed into road trip service rather quickly, completing two big Euro trips in my first year of ownership. Both were answers to questions. Firstly some rock climbing friends and I had five days off work. What to do? Obviously, the sensible answer is to pile into the mini, drive to one of the toughest mountains in Spain - the 2,800m high El Naranjo de Bulnes - climb it, then drive home. And the second question, what to do for new year 2008? Another simple answer. Laura - my future African Porsche co-driver and I - decided to drive Daisy to Turin for New Year, in homage to the Italian Job. Our return journey would see us complete a lap of the Alps, coming home via Slovenia, Croatia, Hungary and Austria. So, with two trips, 6,800 miles and eleven countries in the first seven months of ownership, Daisy was worked pretty hard to start with.
It then went for a bit of a vacation, though. With the African Porsche Expedition looming on the horizon, Daisy wasn't needed for road trips for a few years, and eventually got put into storage, partly restored. Which is where it resides right now.
New Year's Resolutions for 2019? Getting Daisy back on the road is right up there. Because I have some pretty cool plans for the poor, neglected little trooper. So, watch this space for future developments in the Mini Adventure field. And remember, you read about it here first.
I can't wait to bring you some more updates on Daisy as the return to the road gets underway but in the meantime, here are some of the Mini's past glories. The El Naranjo trip first, then the Turin/New Year one...