By SHELLEY TOPP
Julie Walker loves Minis because “they go like the clappers”.
The Woodend Beach resident learned to drive as a teen on an Italian-made Vespa Super Sprint 90 motorbike, quickly graduating to a Vespa 200 because it was “bigger and faster”.
But Julie had her heart set on a Mini.
That was in the 1960s when the Mini was new to the market and part of the youth-driven cultural revolution that was to become known as the “Swinging Sixties”.
“I have always liked Minis,” Julie says.
“They are zippy little cars.”
She bought her first one during the 1960s and has owned five altogether.
However, the sleek, silky green 2002 BMW-made Mini Cooper she now owns, with modern safety features including front and side airbags, and luxury extras such as heated seats, is a far cry from her first one.
Her first Mini was a little blue car she purchased second-hand.
It was affordable to buy and cheap to run, but always breaking down. Her latest one is more reliable and she is keeping her fingers crossed it stays that way because “parts cost an arm and a leg”.
Julie’s BMW Mini Cooper is more luxurious and faster to drive than any of her others.
“This one really gets away on me at times,” she says.
But, despite her love of speed, Julie has only had one speeding ticket – and that wasn’t in a Mini.
It happened early one morning with no-one else around and no other traffic on the road, when she was driving a Nissan Pulsar she owned at the time.
Julie had been on her way home from her night-shift job as a caregiver.
The $180 fine and 35 demerit points were a sharp lesson for a mistake she has been careful not to repeat.
Julie has passed her love of Minis on to her daughter Robyn and son Glen.
Robyn owns a Mini Countryman she bought new and Glen, who doesn’t own a Mini now, enjoyed borrowing his mother’s one when he was younger.