MINI owners are a passionate lot. They are avid club members, they love driving their cars to MINI events far and wide, many insist on naming their cars (even the ones who won’t admit it in public probably have a secret name for theirs) and they have been known to have perpetual grins while driving. All clear signs of automotive passion.
Sports fans are also known to be incredibly passionate about their favorite sports teams. Their zany antics, extremes in team clothing and their over-the-top sports paraphernalia can be seen at just about any game in any sport. Philadelphia sports fans in particular have acquired a reputation as being, well, zealots when it comes to supporting their Phillies, Eagles, 76ers and Flyers.
What happens when you combine the passion of a MINI owner with the passion of a Philly sports fan? You get Pedro Cancel. Pedro, a MINI owner, has not only been a big fan of the Philadelphia Flyers hockey team since it was formed in 1967, but he was also the official photographer for the team. If that sounds like the perfect job, it was. “I was in heaven being able to be there game in and game out shooting a sport that I truly love,” says Pedro, “It was the best job I ever worked.”
Pedro bought his first MINI, a silver R56, a little over a year ago. In May of 2012, he took his MINI to MINI of Mt. Laurel for routine servicing and, while there, he tempted fate and browsed through the showroom. He test drove a Roadster, but his heart was set on the new MINI Coupe. Once the salesperson showed him a Spiced Orange Coupe with a black top, it reminded him of his beloved Flyers colors and he was hooked. He realized that this was the chance to combine the car that he loved and the team that he loved. He traded in his R56 that day and drove home in the Coupe.
The MINI Coupe, available in Cooper, Cooper S and John Cooper Works (JCW) trim, offers a unique design that sets it apart from the rest of the MINI lineup. The Coupe’s exclusive roof treatment offers a built-in roof spoiler, which, coupled with an active trunk lid spoiler and the extra rigid chassis from the Roadster, makes the Coupe stick like the proverbial glue on the twistiest of roads.
Pedro started off by getting a personalized license plate that read “FLI – ERZ” and added a Flyers bumper sticker. After that, he went whole hog – an imitation foreign license plate that said “PHL – FLYERS”, huge Flyers logo decals on each door, NHL seat covers, etc. During car events, he displays a portion of his Flyers memorabilia in the hatch area. When the National Hockey League (NHL) recently locked out the NHL players and, thus, delayed the start of league play, Pedro showed his displeasure at this situation at a December Philly MINI Club event by decorating his MINI with a Grinch-stole-Christmas theme. The club hockey fans loved it.
If the unique design of the Coupe, the orange and black paint scheme with contrasting stripes, the large Flyers decals on the doors, and the license plate aren’t enough to grab your attention, Pedro has another ace up his sleeve – neon glow lights under the car. Even if you try, you just can’t ignore Pedro’s MINI Coupe!
Where does it end? It probably doesn’t. As a labor of love that combines his two most passionate interests, Pedro’s MINI will continue to evolve. When the Flyers get back to their championship winning ways, we’re certain that Pedro will find a way to make room for a replica of the Stanley Cup on his MINI Coupe.
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©May 2013 by Bruce Troxell