Motoring around Los Angeles, California, in a woody wagon is worth the trip for some folks, but not for Tom Cotter. No, he’s determined to find cars and uncover stories. This week, he meets up with a friend who is reconnecting with his Mini after five years.
That man is Tim Considine, an actor and writer who can trace his roots in Hollywood back decades. His relationship with Tom also goes back many years, and the two are close for a number of reasons—including a trip to the 24 Hours of Le Mans in which luggage was lost and underwear was borrowed. In fact, one of the only things that goes back farther in Tim’s life is this Mini Cooper.
The pale blue Mini entered Tim’s life when he decided that the petite car would be perfect for scooting around L.A. without garnering much attention. He was wrong, but he kept it anyway. The Mini’s a 1968 model, but when Tim purchased it, the ’68 model was not cleared for sale, so the dealership fudged the paperwork and called it a 1967.
Under the hood is a 1275-cc, A-series four-cylinder that is nearly ubiquitous in British cars of the era. However, since the Mini is a featherweight, the 69 horsepower is plenty entertaining. What wasn’t fun, Tim recounts, was the half-decade in the mid-1970s in which he lost the car.
As Tim tells it, he got distracted by a parking spot as he was coming to a stop and just kissed the rear end of a Porsche at a stop sign. The low-speed impact was enough to put the Mini in the shop for repairs and, in sorting out insurance and out-of-pocket expenses, Tim lost the shop’s phone number. That by itself wouldn’t be a crisis—but the shop apparently lost Tim’s contact information, too. The Mini sat in the back of the shop and turned into a private residence for the shop’s guard dog. It took Tim five years to track down the Mini and reestablish his ownership.
Now, Tim drives the Mini on a regular basis. He must really trust Tom, too, because he lets Tom and the Barn Find Hunter crew take a lap of the neighborhood without fearing that he might not see the car again for five years. Tom wouldn’t do that to his friend, though—and if he did, Tim could rest assured he’d have Tom’s beloved woody wagon. Seems like a fair trade to us.