Keyless entry versus a good-old fashioned bolt and padlock? Here at Dick Lovett MINI we know exactly which one the most hapless of Mini-owners would have chosen!
From strapping an armchair to the roof and driving with the aid of some rope, a mop and a broom, Mr Bean would not have trusted his beloved 1976 Mini 1000 with anything as new-fangled (or sensible) as keyless technology.
Thanks to the comedic genius of Rowan Atkinson and his accident-prone creation Mr Bean, the charms of the classic Mini were brought to millions of TV screens worldwide.
This very special Mini came in Austin green with a black matte bonnet and featured, rather unusually, a key-and-padlock entry system and thief-proof detachable steering wheel.
It might have been done for laughs, but that’s one thing you can always guarantee as a modern MINI or a classic Mini-owner - fun, from start to finish. You only need to look at the Who’s Who of famous celebrity owners, past and present for confirmation.
While the Mini is a British classic in its own right, just to confirm it’s legendary status, two of The Beatles, Sir Paul McCartney and George Harrison, both owned their own. Although it’s fair to say most Mini owners could only dream of the custom-jobs meted out to their Minis.
Sir Paul - plain old Paul McCartney back in those days - had a 1965 Mini Cooper S. He enlisted the skills of Harold Radford, head of the Brydor design house, to create a luxurious super-mini. The car had Aston Martin California Sage Green metallic paint and Aston Martin rear lights. It also had rare halogen headlamps and built-in fog lamps which retracted into the grille. Inside it was wall-to-wall black leather.
George Harrison’s 1965 Mini Cooper S was very similar, except for the distinctive red and gold paintwork, interspersed with psychedelic images. This model also had a full-length sun roof, Volkswagen tail light and hood-mounted fog lamps. It also featured in The Beatles’ Magical Mystery Tour film in 1967.
George owned the car when he died in 2001. Sir Paul’s Mini only made in until 1967 when it was crashed by a friend.
Tough guys and pop stars have all owned classic Minis and modern MINIs
Just in case anyone doubts that either MINIs or Minis are true driver’s cars, you’d better take a look at legendary tough guy Steve McQueen’s choice of car. He owned a 1965 Mini Cooper S which he bought from the co-creator himself, John Cooper.
Cooper originally sold McQueen a Cooper Formula Junior open-wheel race in 1961 before the pair met again, several years later on the set of The War Lover. It was then McQueen bought his Mark II Mini Cooper S. It was originally green with a white top, but was repainted metallic brown with a beige top. It also had a wooden dashboard, retraced aerial and a single fog light.
But what of the modern day MINI? Just as its predecessor, there are a whole host of famous MINI fans helping to create the classics of the future.
Owners include actors, singers and celebrities from Goldie Hawn, Kristen Stewart and Charlotte Church to iconic pop star Madonna.
Madonna loved her MINI so much she sung about it in her 2003 song American Life: “I drive my MINI Cooper and I’ve feeling super-duper”. Honestly. She did!
She bought her black MINI Cooper S in 2002 when she was living in London with film producer Guy Ritchie. She used it for four years before putting the car in storage - it later appeared for sale in Auto Trader for the bargain price of £55,000! Well, the V5 did have her name on it . . .
After all, one of the greatest car enthusiasts of all-time, Enzo Ferrari owned his own Mini Cooper in the 1960s. Enough said, really!