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