Sonora Run - Sunday June 9, 2024

Your Host(s) for the Event: Paige Lane Route: https://maps.app.goo.gl/tGNYaz7VcvVDeXPLA Download the map for off-line use  - in case we lose...

Vickie Casacca & Mick Brown - Member Profile

I have loved everything British for as long as I can remember. My grandmother, Harriet, was born in Plymouth, England in 1904 and lived to be 96. She was at the heart of my love for all things from jolly old England. I grew up loving tea, mincemeat pies, clipper ships, the Royals and British rock and blues music. My fascination with British automobiles began as a young girl watching The Avengers and idolizing John Steed and Emma Peel tooling around in his Bentley. In high school I fell in love with the sporty little MGB, but it would be many years before I could finally realize my dream of owning a British car.

On the other side of the pond, Mick was also dreaming of cars. His first crush was on a Ford Cortina and he always had a passion for the iconic Jaguar. He graduated from high school at 16 and attended a mechanic trade school for five years, learning the ins and outs of all types of engines. He worked for British Rail and Volvo Truck and Bus Mick also loved music, although his favorite genre was ska, and he toured all over Europe as a roadie with the Lambrettas, a band from his hometown in Lewes, not far from Brighton. His wanderlust would bring him to the States in December of 1983. He found a job at a British auto repair shop and soon after purchased the business, while finding time to volunteer at Laguna Seca Motor Speedway.

The summer of 2002, our lives collided at the Penny Farthing, a British pub in Salinas. He always says I was stalking him but that was totally untrue. It was his intellect, charm, sense of humor and love of cars that drew my attention, although the fact he was English didn’t hurt. In the spring of 2003 we had seen many advertisements for the new MINI. We were both intrigued and made a trip up to East Bay Mini in Pleasanton to see what all the fuss was about. Of course, we fell in love with them and I decided this was the car for me, but there was one small problem, I didn’t know how to drive a stick shift. After giving the salesman all the options, I wanted and Mick test driving the car on the lot, he said there was one on a boat coming from England that matched my criteria and would arrive in six weeks. Sold, but there was still the issue about my manual driving abilities. Mick patiently tried to teach me in his Porsche, although I succeeded in learning I never felt totally comfortable behind the wheel. We took our new baby, with the personalized plates MINIWOW, on many trips and joined NorCal Minis in October 2003 becoming member number 30. 

In 2005, Mini decided to release an automatic convertible, my prayers were answered. We made another trip up to East Bay Mini and I ordered my new Cooper S Convertible with every option available. It arrived in July and I was finally able to drive my new MINI off the lot. Our first show was at Mini Meets West in Danville and my convertible with personalized plates NOTOP4S was named Best Convertible and featured in their ring of honor. In 2006 we were at the first Mini Takes the States at Laguna Seca in Monterey and witnessed the release of the new GP Minis to their owners.

We have enjoyed many road trips with NorCal and have attended several A Mini Vacation in Vegas (AMVIV) trips. The first Mini Takes the States we participated in was in 2014 and we left from the Polo Fields in San Francisco, going as far as Albuquerque, New Mexico before returning home. 

Mick was now getting the bug to buy his own Mini, so in 2015 he ordered the new 2016 Cooper S Countryman All 4. It arrived on Boxing Day, December 26, 2015 and the next day we drove to Reno where it was snowed on for the first time. Mick chose the license plate 16S4X4, which had a double meaning. We decided to do the full Mini Takes the States the summer of 2016 and shipped the car to Atlanta for the drive back across the country.

When we returned Mick said there was a 2015 Cooper S Paceman on the lot that had been there for a while. I really thought he was kidding when he said he bought it. As my two Minis were getting older, I started driving the Paceman and incorporated my love of the Dallas Cowboys with several Cowboy themed accessories and the plates DC (star)MINI. In 2018, we decided to once again tackle Mini Takes the States, but this time we chose to drive all the way to Orlando, Florida to meet up with the rest of the Miniacs for another fun run across the country. We put a few miles on the Paceman during that trip! 

In September 2019, I had the once in a lifetime opportunity to travel with some of my favorite NorCal Mini people to Scotland where I was able to drive a right-hand Mini on the left-hand side of the road, in an automatic of course. We stayed in a castle, ate fabulous food and saw some of the most gorgeous scenery in the world. The memories of that trip will always make me smile.

We had planned to do Mini Takes the States 2020, but Mick’s health and the COVID-19 pandemic put a hold on that. Mick had a triple bypass on May 19th and is on the road to recovery. We hope to resume our NorCal Minis road trips and to continue as directors for the club. We look forward to Mini Takes the States 2021 and more adventures in our Minis with our co-pilot, Dirk, our West Highland White Terrier.

Motor On,

Vickie Casacca and Mick Brown