The Return of Handsome Rob
I am not especially tall. At 6'3" I qualify as "shorter than average" for my generation of Joneses. So while I may be a bit above the national average for men, I'm not uncommonly tall. What I am, however, is tall in a stupid way.
Let me explain.
I once dated a girl who was 5'7" and had a 30" inseam. She was not particularly long legged. My father is 6'2" tall and has a 34" inseam. He is what you would call "fairly long legged." At 6'3" you would expect me to have around a 32-33" inseam, but I do not. I have a 30" inseam. What does this all mean?
From the standpoint of actually buying a car I'm about 6'5" - 6'6" tall. Also that I have stubby, little legs.
Headroom. Legroom is almost never a problem. In a lot of cars I don't even have to put the seat all the way back. That being said, the general design brief of every new car is that it be longer, wider and, most importantly, lower than the car it replaces. This is problematic because the roofs get lower but the seat rails don't.
That's my giant head sitting in my wife's BMW 435i. This is a car she bought because I just, flat out, could not fit in the seventh generation Corvette. Also because she couldn't reach the clutch pedal in a Mustang GT.
Size, it appears, really does matter.
When in the hunt for cheap speed "Miata is always the answer" is something that will be said by short people. For me, Miatas are just another sporty car carcass on the side of the road, beaten into submission by my "would be the shortest guy on any NBA team" height. Nissan 350Z, the aforementioned Corvette even the second generation Mitsubishi Eclipse (a car that I actually owned for six years) have all disqualified in my search for cheap, trackable speed.
Four years ago my wife got a wild hair about owning a Mini. After much hemming, hawing and test driving she bought a Clubman S that we dubbed "Handsome Rob" after Jason Statham's character in F. Gary Gray's Fast and Furious audition reel. He was a fun car and the first car I ever had on the track, but he wasn't a big car. Robbie's small size lead us to trade him in for an X5 and that was the end of that.
Until I came across him for sale while cruising AutoTrader. I considered buying him for myself, but one of my wife's co-workers wanted him bad and I didn't want him bad enough to fight her for it. And that was the end of that.
Until my wife's co-worker bought a new house and realized, as we had before, that a Mini is not actually big. She's on the lookout for a truck and I, I own a 2009 Mini Cooper S Clubman again.
This is going to get expensive.