Sixties Mini Cooper vs Col de Turini
The Cooper is 50. Can the old-timer teach the Countryman a lesson on the rally that made it famous?
Posted: 25 Feb 2011
In fact, this is a triple celebration. With pleasing synchronicity, 2011 also marks Mini's return to the World Rally Championship after four decades of absence, so we've brought along the car that forms the basis of Mini's latest rally effort for a quick compare 'n' contrast session. The Countryman Cooper S, the biggest, heaviest car ever to bear the Cooper name, looms over its predecessor like, er, a big cow.
Finally bored of the slow-motion sumo bout, the ungulate gives up and wanders off to terrorise something else on the mountain. We skitter up the Col, switchback to switchback, old Cooper burbling in front, Countryman skimming behind. It is wet and cold, and beyond the hairpins lurks miles of dark, perilous nothing.
We tip over the top of the pass onto the Col's highest ridge, a mile above sea level, and grind to a halt. It is snowing.