Convertible owners are a breed apart. An opportunistic lot, they seize any opportunity to drop the top and soak up the sunshine. While many live in Sunbelt states, you'll also find them in parts of the country where sunshine is fickle and top-down seasons are fleeting. Through months of leaden skies and numbing cold, these people grit their teeth and button their tops (or squirrel their cars away for the duration). When winter shows a chink in its armor, they jump on the opportunity, peel back the lid and take off - even if they have to turn on the heat to keep frost from forming on their brows. It's to these people that Mini points its latest offerings.
Sporty cars have traditionally been open cars - even in Great Britain, where rain was invented and from whence Mini's hail. No surprise, then, that Mini is celebrating the second anniversary of the Cooper hatchback's arrival with a pair of new convertible models. On sale now are ragtop versions of both the standard Cooper and the sportier Cooper S.
Photography: © Dan Lyons 2004