Tai­lored to dis­trac­tion

Off-the-rack ec­cen­tric­i­ties with wheels are dis­tinc­tive, some­times in­no­va­tive and oc­ca­sion­ally laugh­able. NEIL DOWLING drives an­other Mini

NT News - Motoring - - CARS GUIDE -

THE lat­est pret-a-porter for style seek­ers is the non-mini Mini Pace­man that begs too many ques­tions.

It is a re­flec­tion of the prac­tice of ec­cen­tric Euro­pean tai­lors who smile while craft­ing clothes from the most ghastly coloured and pat­terned ma­te­ri­als for sale to the rich and ig­no­rant.

It’s a clever cir­cle of mar­ket­ing. The tai­lor is rid­ding stock of the most hor­ren­dous fab­rics by flog­ging it at grossly in­flated prices to rich peo­ple who fig­ure the more clothes cost, the bet­ter they are.

Blend in the buyer’s ig­no­rance of fash­ion sense and a fear that some­one else may be seen in the same at­tire — fat chance — and you have a wealthy tai­lor and a very ob­vi­ous cus­tomer walk­ing the streets in silent ridicule.

Alarm bells should have gone off in the cus­tomer’s head the mo­ment he saw the checked shirt, pais­ley tie and hor­i­zon­tally striped sports jacket with an $1800 price tag.

The Pace­man is the hori- zon­tally striped jacket of the car in­dus­try’s wardrobe.

VALUE: This de­pends on how much money you have and by pre­sum­ing that peo­ple know ex­actly how much the car cost you. It’s a sta­tus sym­bol. Style — as I have al­ready es­tab­lished — is in the eye of the be­holder.

Cre­at­ing an in­di­vid­ual car from the base Pace­man Cooper S leads to the cre­ation of a new over­draft, with a toy­land of op­tions from $200 (the rail be­tween the seats for ac­ces­sories) to $2900 (adding 19-inch al­loys).

The test car jumps from $46,450 to $56,800 with good­ies in­clud­ing a sun­roof, metal­lic paint ($900), clear in­di­ca­tor lenses ($250) and sat­nav at $1900.

On-road costs add about an­other $3500.

The down­side is no capped­price ser­vice deal but the good news is a strong re­sale value of 56 per cent.

DE­SIGN: It’s no mini car and ac­tu­ally falls into the SUV cat­e­gory.

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