Motors & Me: John Lancaster

John Lancaster tells the Irish Examiner about his Mini Cabriolet and how it was love at first sight.

Motors & Me: John Lancaster

What are you currently driving?

Mini Cabriolet, Mini 1000 Special, Mini Moke Scout and Toyota Celica MK1 1600st.

Love at first sight, or just a means to get from A to B?

The Mini Cabriolet was love a first sight. It’s so rare — less than 200 were produced and less than 100 survived, with many exported to Japan.

What’s under the bonnet?

Under the Cabriolet bonnet sits a single point injection 1300 Cooper A series engine. The car is as original as when it left the factory and has covered only 27k miles.

Petrol head or Sunday driver?

I am both a petrol head and Sunday driver. I like all aspects of cars and motorbikes and have a fair knowledge of old and new cars.

I like doing long distant runs like the Mini Touring Ireland — a tour around Ireland with different locations each year and the new Wild Atlantic Way Run.

What was your first car?

At 17, my first car was a Mini 850 which was used to go to work. It was a love/hate relationship. It was a nightmare when the gearbox failed or engine required an overhaul. But that Mini taught me a lot. I stayed away from them for a good few years, but was eventually drawn back.

What else do/did you own?

I currently have a nice collection of cars and bikes including a BMW 520D M; Honda CRV; 1976 Toyota Celica 1600st; Mini Moke Scout; Mini 1000 Special; 1971 Triumph 500 Daytona; 1959 Norton Dominator 500; 1976 Yamaha XS 650; 1963 BSA C15 250; 1979 Honda 250 Super Dream and a Honda CL 70 Monkey Bike. Past cars, do you really want me to list them all? I’m currently restoring a 1968 BSA Starfire 250 and a 1951 Ferguson TVO Tractor.

Dream drive in dream location?

In Ireland — Kerry and Donegal. In Scotland — Old Military Road Route for Vintage driving. And Europe, Romania — Transfagaragan for fast driving.

Passenger you’d most like on a long journey?

Meryl Steep — gorgeous, gracefully and adventurous; Vicky Butler Henderson — knowledgeable and exciting.

Jimmy McCrae — cool, calm and collective

Passenger you’d least like?

Jeremy Clarkson — he would drive me nuts talking in riddles and stopping everywhere looking for steaks! Also my good wife because she falls asleep (out of having no interest) and I end up taking to myself.

What’s on your playlist?

Lady Gaga , Imelda May, Celine Dion, REM, Johnny Cash, The Beatles, The Who — to name but just a few.

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