Right. I Don’t Have a Spare

Driving to lunch yesterday, I start hearing a very strange noise coming from the passenger side rear of the car. Like a flat tire, but without the bad driving. I pulled over immediately, got out and checked. That when I saw that largest thing I have ever run over in a car. Ever. If you follow me on Instagram, you have already seen how much was actually inside the tire. No kinding, this was a 6″ long screw that I drove over! I had to use a hacksaw to get the big part off so I could drive it over to Discount Tire for a repair.

While I was looking at this, I was thinking I’d use the spare and then I remembered it would be the spare that I do not have. For the first time since 2003 I am driving a car without a spare tire and for the 2nd time since 2003 I’ve actually needed it. Luckily, like every other flat tire I have ever had, this one happened close to work / home / tire shop that could easily repair it.

That said, I have decided on my first mod. That will be grabbing a space saver spare from Detroit Tuned with the sweet bag Chad’s mom makes. While I won’t be carrying it all the time, I will have it so when I’m driving across the desert to visit my folks or go to Vegas or San Diego, I’ll be prepared. Like a boy scout. Like a boss.

I know you have a backup plan should something like this happen to you. Comments are open, share what you do!

Now He Is Mine

You guys know me and you know I like my cars to look a certain way. And by certain way I mean clean paint with a good shine and when you touch it is feels soft and silky. Roxy was like this almost always, and Bruce was too. I finally got the chance to do that with the Roadster, and I have assigned him a name.

Meet Hank

Unlike Bruce, this MINI did not have any of that crappy clear bra and old, brittle vinyl stripes (or 69’ing lizards on the roof). In fact, again unlike Bruce, this MINI has been much better cared for. Probably professionally detailed at least once, maybe more. Definitely garaged. Here is what I did to him today.

  • Full exterior wash
  • Full exterior claybar
  • Meguair’s polish with the DA on the boot and bonnet
  • Meguair’s NXT wax on the whole car
  • 303 on the roof (2nd treatment), plastic trim and interior door panels and dash
  • Armorall on the tires

After using clay on the paint, it was practically clean when I was done. Definitely had this done before, and sometime this year more than likely. I was really amazed. I polished the boot and bonnet because, at least to me, the paint was looking a bit dull. The DA brought it right out!

And, if I can say a word or two about 303. Quite possibly my new favorite thing! After I used it on the top and was shocked at how good it made it look, I went ahead and used it on the plastic trim, door panels and dash. I’m normally an Armorall guy, but this stuff has changed me! Easier to apply and it looks better after. Sure, I don’t get the shine, but it makes that stuff look black. Like, really black. Like brand new on the dealer lot black.

And now he is ready for AMVIV. And a proper photo shoot that I expect to be doing this weekend. I’ll let you guys know when those photos go up on Flickr.

What The Hell Do I Do With This

Guys, guys, guys, guys, guys! Holy shit, I bought a car with an automatic transmission! Can you believe it? WTF brand of artisanal crack was I smoking when that happened. Like, seriously, what the actual (delete expletive)?!?

Dear dbmini.us reader & whiteroofradio.com listener,

You weren’t dreaming. One of the loudest members of Team Manual Transmission (TMT) has actually gone the other way and purchased a car with an automatic transmission. A MINI no less. With an automatic.

(Sorry, I am still slightly coming to grips with this myself)

Since 1995, I have only owned 3 cars with an automatic, and the new R59 is one of them. And, if I’m honest, I am having some struggles with it. Which I will list for you now, and in no particular order.

I think I’m going to stall

When coming to a stop, I’m still amazed that the car doesn’t stall because I did not depress the clutch. Of course, this MINI doesn’t have a clutch, but my brain doesn’t know that. Yet.

Power in the corners

Or, rather, a lack of power in the corners. Halfway through a corner I get on the gas and acceleration doesn’t start until I have fully exited said corner. I have yet to test this with the sport button on and the shifter in the left hand position, but in full auto this is how it works. Not going to lie, this is taking some getting used to.

Hard acceleration is awesome.

Please allow me to remember the feeling of having more than 120HP. Even with the A/C on, this MINI can boogie. Really getting on it, in a straight line, is a hoot! Nice that I don’t have to worry about shifts and can keep both hands on the wheel.

Keeping both hands on the wheel in a corner

Speaking of, I’m still not used to taking corners without having to deal with a shift before or after said corner. I’m hoping I don’t pull a cars and coffee style spin out in front of a Dunkin Donuts or anything.

(P)ark

Right. When I stop, need to put the transmission into the spot marked P.

Brake

Right, if the car is in park, I don’t have to sit in the parking lot with my foot on the brake while I put on my sunglasses or turn on my music. See above.

Traffic

Again, if I’m honest, an automatic is better for my daily crawl. I’m less frustrated because you drive like an idiot and make me have to continually row the gears.

I’m still a better driver than you

Let’s face it, the automatic transmission has made the American driver a lazy pile of crap that likes to tail gate, drive with both feet (accelerate with the brake lights on is still my favorite) and stop 4 car lengths back so they can creep up, 4 inches at a time. These are all problems that I thought were due to the automatic transmission. But, you know what, they aren’t. I drive an automatic and don’t do any of those things. Oddly enough, I drive pretty much the same as I did with the manual, just without having to shift. It’s not the transmission, it is the driver.

The last thing to do with the automatic is get it out for a track day. I’m not sure I can get one in before the season is over, but I’m going to give it a shot. And you know I’ll get back to you as soon as I do.

First Wash

Took longer than I wanted to get this done, but did my first drive way wash with the new Roadster this weekend. Nothing fancy, just a bucket and a hose. And I have some notes.

  • The top is in desperate need of some 303. It acted like a sponge when the water hit it.
  • Overall, the paint is in pretty good shape. I did find a couple of small dents but nothing to get in a snit over.
  • Unlike the last MINI, this one has been taken care of on the outside. It might have been awhile, but it has seen the business end of claybar.
  • So. Much. Chrome. Seriously, this car has more chrome than my ’65 El Camino. Most of it is ok, but some bits need polishing*.
  • Black Conical Spoke wheels are super easy to clean.

With AMVIV coming up next month, I still have plenty of time to get him a full detail. Clay bar, a little polish (boot and bonnet need the machine) and a coat or 2 of NXT.

*Yes, polishing of the chrome. Even the bits that will be black after Todd get done. If it’s going to be there, you’re damned right you’ll need sunglasses to look at it. #becausechrome

Changes

When last we met, you already knew that I was trying to get out of Bruce and into something different. If you play the DonBurnside™ home game, you already know what happened. But, because I’m a giant nerd and am feeling the need to write, you get the words.

I did a bit more research on this guy before I rolled in. Our man Brian Dallas hooked me up with a full VIN history (this MINI is very well taken care of). With that, and other research that shows this MINI started life as a MINIUSA mule (possible press car), and that it was CPOd when acquired by a local dealer, I was in good shape.

For the financing, let’s just say I got a proper APR this time around. Not as good as it can be, but really close. Close enough that you would be impressed.

Oh yea, the car. It’s a 2013 MINI Cooper Roadster S. The original sticker price on this MINI was right at $40K when it was new, which means it is loaded. And, when I say loaded, it really has all the things.

  • Heated leather seats
  • MINI Connected, Nav, HK
  • MINI Yours steering wheel
  • Sport pack
  • Automatic transmission
  • Everything else

The color is called Kite Blue and it is quite striking no matter how you look at it.

And yes, it has an automatic. I know, I know! I can already hear you screaming…

“But db, an AUTOMATIC? I thought you hated the automatic!?!?”

So, here’s the thing there. Since 2003 I have driven MINIs with Manual transmissions. In rain, in sleet, in snow, across the US and on F1 circuits in Europe. Awesome times. Until it comes time to use this car for actual transportation back and forth to work. My current commute is a 20 mile crawl that usually takes me about an hour each direction. And I’m over the whole shifting thing in traffic. Seriously. Over. It. That plus some medical things make the automatic a good choice for me at this time.

I’ve only spent a few hours with it so far but can tell you it is a joy to drive. The last roadster I drove was the MotoringFile company car, which was a JCW. While that car was a blast to drive, I am finding the standard S to be slightly more forgiving and joyous for normal driving.

A quick shout-out to my squad for the sounding board and advice when it came time to start dropping offers. The slack channel was very busy for a few days!

Before you ask…

  • No mechanical mods planned at this time
  • This car does not yet have a sex designation
  • Or a name

While no mechanical mods are planned, I am in agreement with the boys about this. So. Much. Chrome.

AMVIV is coming up which means Todd will be performing some black-out magic and, very possibly, some stripes.