World Book Day with an old friend

It’s World Book Day, which is an ideal time to revisit one of the most influential books I’ve ever read – Mini: Icon of a Generation by L.J.K. Setright.

Doyen of motoring scribes: Setright in later years

Doyen of motoring scribes: Setright in later years

The story of the Mini, as retold by Setright, is almost as enjoyable as being in your first, doubtless rusty, 1000cc screamer with your foot on the floor. Rather than recount the hoary old tale of Alec Issigonis’s wonder-baby in a straightforward fashion, Setright veers from one theme to another: covering the entire spectrum of influences, applications, successes and failures of one of the most brilliant designs and designers with panache.

It’s brilliantly conceived and enjoyably written but most of all it makes me smile. Precious few motoring books can lay claim to that achievement, while many of us who earn a crust from writing about cars would do well to refer back to this old master at times.

Peter Sellers, Britt Ekland and their famous 'wicker' Mini

Peter Sellers, Britt Ekland and their famous ‘wicker’ Mini

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