It is of an amusing hobby for both John and I to keenly collect old scrap cars that we find in Dhaka, time to time. Our motive: to give these cars a second chance. The happening, Italian Job celebrated Mini Cooper came to us by luck. We found this adorable model unfortunately tucked away in a garage in Tejgaon.
This Mini is actually a 1962 Morris Minor, discovered in a dilapidated state. Its engine, the most amazing piece of machine for its time, was beyond repair. The body was covered in rust like most British made cars. John and I took this as a project and brought it back to almost its original state through the required phases of restoration. I remember taking the Mini for test drive with its new engine literally without any doors, windscreens and an open make shift fuel tank made from an empty Mobil container and not to forget a mechanic sitting beside me with a torch which was obviously supposed to be the make shift head lights!
Mini Cooper inside Cooper's bakery shop at Shantinagar branch
The second phase of the project was restoring its paint works as we decided to keep its heritage and get the original state back to itself. After all, the engine was a Daihatsu, the least we could do for the Mini was to keep its dignity. No Italian job works, no spacers, and no thick wheels nor a union jack on the top. Just a plain simple second chance to be what it was when it was first built, taking a year’s span to lock it.
The makeover was worth enough to satisfy us. Hence, we decided to keep the Mini at our factory for the TLC it would get from the Coopers family. But as we moved on to other restorations, it appeared so that the Mini was not receiving the well-deserved recognition. That’s when it occurred to us that we should have it displayed rather at one of our Cooper’s outlets. Our original choice was the Bijoy Sharani Coopers outlet but that would have meant John and I to get rid of our office which sounded quite tempting at the time. Instead we decided to place it in our Shantinagar Coopers outlet as there was ample space.
Ever since we have stationed the Mini Cooper at Shantinagar, we have experienced wonders! It should be mentioned here that, we literally had no business considerations in mind while undergoing the engineering process. What we were surprised with instead was the daily sales report from Shantinagar’s outlet as it comparatively went way up after placing the Mini. Ironically it was the same outlet which we were rather planning to shut down somewhere in last year as sales was not being that impressive. The restoration took nothing from us but paid the whole effort off instead, exceptionally. I believe this is where business meets innovation in terms of thought process!
As of today, neither of us regret not to have the chance to drive or even start the Mini if intended every now and then. In fact just watching our customers looking at the Mini, especially the children gazing on a life size matchbox car it feels like the Mini is getting the much deserved recognition and TLC from everyone.
The story was first published in INTELLECT Issue no.2, dated July 2012.