Five years ago

Today, five years ago, I first drove a MINI Cooper – a test drive from MINI of Peabody! My “Motoring Advisor” was Joel – and five years later he still works there 🙂

Within a week I had ordered an MCS, but by the end of May 2002 I had realized I couldn’t wait nine months, and had found, test drove and purchased the demo MINI Cooper from Herb Chambers MINI – GBMINI#1:

Back in those days, I had no website, no digital camera, and no MINI friends – I didn’t join MINICooperOnline (now NorthAmericanMotoring) till mid May 2002, and didn’t join MINI2 till the end of June … I was a total MINI newbie 🙂

Early days driving the MINI were lots of fun, and lots of looks (it was very rare back in mid 2002!), but I think I would have gone back to a more “normal” car if it wasn’t for the wonderful MINI community that I discovered … I simply can’t list all the great friends I now have, but people like Jason, Jayson & Gavin who were at my first ever MINI meet and are like me still driving MINIs, and Steve who left MINI (for Subaru) but couldn’t resist the pull of MINI world and recently rejoined us 🙂

Then there’s also Gary, Scott & Kevin who worked at MINI of Peabody and came on that first drive – and still work at the dealership too, who I also consider to be great friends 🙂

I hope everyone has as much MINI fun & friendship as I do – and THANKS to all my MINI friends for making the last five years such a fun time!

Big Rocks

Near the British Invasion field in Stowe, VT is Smugglers Notch; a twisty road winds up into hills and gets very narrow through some huge boulders … back in 2002 I drove there in my first MINI and took a picture of the car in front of a rock which made it look like a toy!
Finally this year I remembered to repeat the picture, this time with GPMINI:

Here’s the original picture I took, back in 2002:


Unfortunately on my way home from British Invasion, I had an encounter with another rock, not so big but big enough to do this to the windshield:

(since GPMINI doesn’t have rain sensing wipers, maybe I’ll try PPG glass this time …)

First comparison – MCS against MC

Drove in to work this morning in the new MCS – interesting to note differences with my previous MC.

I *love* the way the engine revs itself momentarily to 2000+ rpm when I start it; sounds like it is saying “lets go”! Do all MCS do this?

I found the ride LESS harsh than my old MC! Both have 16″ runflats, but the new MCS seemed to handle the gentler bumps and mini potholes better than I expected. Big potholes are still awful and skip the CD, but so far the ride seems a little more comfortable (maybe it is the leather seats?)

I also found much more low end torque – I noticed that I was not shifting out of fourth when driving through town, even when taking a turn, and the engine was not struggling. Pleasingly better!

Still unsure about the HK.
I had aftermarket rear speakers in my MC and they gave a really full sound to the car – I am sure if I had changed the front speakers too, I would think that HK was significantly worse.
As it is, the HK sounds very good through the front speakers, but the rears are almost as empty as the stock – there is no high end to the rear speakers, so you cannot really surround yourself in music.
However, the HK does seem to open the sound field, and the “DRIVER” mode might help with filling the car but I am not yet used to it.

The Lapis interior and anthracite look much better than my old MC – but I have *GOT* to get rid of that airbag sticker!