Hang on a minute, lads, I have a great idea," Michael Caine nervously attempts to reassure his band of thieves in Italian Job, as their getaway bus rocks precariously at the edge of the mountain on the Swiss Alps, with the tipping end laden with stolen gold bars.
The movie then ends. Just like that.
We don't know what happens after that, but one thing for sure is that the Mini, so crucial to the movie's plot, went on to achieve something like pop stardom. It's not something you could buy, even with a ton of advertising money.
The little British icon may now be a German baby, having gone under BMW management in 2001, but this hasn't dampened its appeal in the least bit. If anything, the prestige of German engineering has enhanced the Mini's popularity.
Certainly, the level of interest in the Mini was plain to see at MINI United 2012 (May 11-13), an event already into its fourth instalment (the first was in Italy in 2005). It brought together Mini owners from around the world in Le Castellet, France.
Although it was springtime, Le Castellet was a sweltering experience. At the Paul Ricard Circuit, the heat, touching 37°C, was just shimmering off the tarmac. Nobody minded too much, though.
One of the highlights of the event was the Mini exhibition which took enthusiasts through the years, from the Mini's introduction in 1959 (the Sir Alec Issigonis-designed Morris Mini-Minor, retailed at £496) to its years under Rover, right up to the time it vroomed into its new Bavarian home.
Among the eye-catchers were the David Bowie-inspired chrome Mini, the XXL (a stretched limo one might have dubbed the Maxi), the two-headed Classic and a bunch of other odd-ball designs.
Then there was the unveiling of the all-new limited edition (only 2,000 units), track-burning Mini John Cooper Works GP 12, successor to the 2006 Mini Cooper S with John Cooper Works GP Kit. The GP 12 is the fastest car yet to come out of the John Cooper stables. It clocked 8'23" a lap at the Nurburgring's Nordschleife circuit. The car boasts full-adjustable race suspension and specially-designed racing tyres, with a race-spec braking system thrown in for good measure. It also comes with wind-cutting features, like large front and rear aprons, eye-catching side skirts, a roof spoiler and a fresh, new rear diffuser.
This little dynamite's twin-scroll turbo engine provides some serious torque, and boy does it love to rev.
Tune-d to drive
The festival saw stunt drivers taking the speed-fearing and -loving on screeching rides on an obstacle course, and Minis, old and new, taking to the race track. There was also music to be had, courtesy of bands like Iggy & The Stooges, Gossip and The Ting Tings.
But while Iggy turned up the raw power, it was some of the local fare that came across as real surprises. French outfit Soma played a spell-binding blend of indie folk rock, even injecting some mandolin flavour into the mix. Charlie Winston knew how to dig deep into the blues, too, with a groove decidedly down-home in nature.
The next day was when the real challenge began. Having requested two cars for our group of five, we were instead persuaded to take a Mini Cooper each on the 1,100km-plus trek from Marseille to Munich, where we were to return the cars to their home.
After a round of serious haggling (by our chaperone, BMW Group Malaysia's corporate communications manager Sashi Ambi), we managed to reduce the number of cars to three. The brown Mini Cooper S was left to be manhandled by Yours Truly, along with a fellow co-driver.
A quick rev of the engine and a spin around, and it was obvious to us that the Cooper S was a little dynamite that enjoyed being manoeuvred ... especially in sharp turns. Shifting the gear stick with the right hand and handling the steering with the left still took some getting used to, but the wheels had already spun and the open road beckoned.
We got our first chance to put the pedal to the metal on the open roads leading out of Marseille. While the four-cylinder machine predictably has plenty of power in the lower rungs of the transmission, it also has confidence-inspiring power from fourth to sixth gear (courtesy of the - 260 Nm at high speeds - overboost).
You could easily zip past trucks and muscle cars alike.
The interior is a sight for sore eyes, too, with the large speedo-meter a particular visual delight. Despite the power on tap, average fuel consumption is just 6.7 litres per 100km, and the CO2 emission rating is 155g per km. The onboard GPS is accurate in all instances, save for an "incident" (more on that later).
And the Mini's trademark roadholding makes driving infinitely more enjoyable.