Keith Adams reviews My Mini Cooper – Its Part in My Breakdown, by James Ruppert
Regular readers will need no introduction to the works of James Ruppert. He’s becoming a bit of a legend within the car enthusiast fraternity, thanks to his excellent regular column Kerbcrawler in Car magazine during the 1980s and ’90s, before moving over to Autocar to take on pretty much the same role.
Aside from that, he invented Bangernomics – the motoring way of life that directs many of us around these parts – and is now slowly building up rather an enviable body of work through his own Foresight publishing label. The latest book, My Mini Cooper – its part in my breakdown follows on from two rather innovative little books, The German Car Industry My Part in its Victory and The British Car Industry Our Part in its Downfall in painting the wider story of the subject at hand and inter-weaving it with Ruppert’s own personal experiences.
So when he deftly told the story of how the wheels came off the British motor industry, his landmarks for British Leyland’s retreat were combined with the car selection in his family’s garage. The move from domestic to foreign content in the Ruppert household was clearly a microcosm for what was happening throughout the UK. So, within the Mini’s story, the distance boards are the varying stages of decrepitude, then restoration of his own Mini-Cooper.
If that all sounds a little complex, don’t worry. It’s not. In fact it adds much in the way of both context and personality in the development of the Mini Cooper. As for the history of the Mini – there’s not too much that true aficionados won’t already know from reading AROnline, but the key to the overall success of this book is that it’s both engaging and fun to read. It also has opinion as well as fact, which really does add to its appeal.
So is it a story about Ruppert’s Mini Cooper, or about the breed as a whole? A bit of both really. Do we approve? Yes. Of course, being a print on demand title, some of the images suffer for being in almost newsprint quality – but that’s countered by his signature line-drawings, which we’ve all come to expect from a Ruppert product.
Buy, learn, and most importantly, enjoy.
Author’s website: www.jamesruppert.com