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
Turn into a corner, and the nose immediately swings wide as the front tyres scrabble on the fresh snow. But a tap of the brakes and a healthy stab of the throttle sends the Cooper's tail arcing round in a delicious drift. Balancing steering, brakes and accelerator, it proves hilariously easy to exit corners at heroic angles, chased by a wall of snow. Skating from side to side, I'm not sure it's possible to have more fun in a car. In the dead of night, lights bouncing off the snow, co-driver screaming in your ear, 1,000-foot drops leering from the darkness, things might be less cheery, I suppose.
There’s not much in here to distract you from the simple act of driving flat-out: no radio, no switches, not even a lane-departure warning system (save photographer Joe shouting when I skate too close to the cliff-edge). Wing mirrors? Angling a soup spoon out the window would be more effective than the Cooper’s tiny reflectors.