The end of GBMINI

It’s been more than fifteen years since I purchased my first (BMW designed) MINI; my original reasons were because of the beautiful design of the R50 with it’s many nods to the class Mini (which I’d owned for a while in the 1980s), along with handling and steering response providing for an incredible fun driving experience!

Over the years I’ve owned 8 different MINIs – I’ve upgraded to gain better performance, better interior technology, or better comfort …

GBMINIcollage.jpg

What’s clear though is that those last two cars are not really from the same family as the earlier ones! For sure GPMINI was the most amazing fun of all those cars; it’s handling and performance beat all other MINIs, the Thunder Blue looks incredible, but it was noisy and a harsh ride for sure! Since then, MINI has tried to appeal to more people; my Clubman is by far the most comfortable of all – but it’s also $40,000 compared with the about $25,000 of my early MINIs (even GPMINI was only about $31,000).

In the past too, MINIs kept their value well; I think I’d lose about a third of their value after a few years ownership, meaning that driving a MINI cost me perhaps $3,000-$5,000 per year. But I’ve found recently that my two year old under 10K miles Clubman has lost more than half it’s value, meaning it’s cost me more than $10,000 per year! OK, I chose a very well equipped vehicle so the price started high, but to crash so far / so fast is just horrible!

So for that reason, my Clubman is my last MINI. At the price of a well equipped MINI, there’s many other choices – and when I factor the poor resale value of these cars, it makes choosing something else even more sensible.

The other thing that makes owning a MINI a fun experience is the community; here too that experience has reduced over the years – in central Florida there’s very few events other than the annual Mickey & MINI but my MINI owning friends are still friends even if I don’t own a MINI. I don’t think they’ll mind too much about my next choice (well, one of them might but that’s ok) …

 

MOT2003 video

MINIsOnTop 2003 was a long time ago! 70+ MINIs had gathered for mid-summer at Mount Washington, from a forum discussion on MINI2 – I remember talking to someone afterwards who said that they had seen the discussions, and sent a check off to someone called Steve Barnatt, with no idea who Steve was or if he even existed. They figured, worst case they had lost the money and would have a nice weekend in New Hampshire!

As it turned out, all of us had a fabulous weekend, with spectacular weather and when we finally reached the summit of Mount Washington, clear sky, warm air, and an amazing sunset. Few of the 2003 attendees are still present so for everybody new to MINIsOnTop, here’s a quick video edit of that first year, courtesy of Animoto and YouTube:

Hmmm … video capabilities like this were non-existent in 2003; how curious will our MOT2011 activities be in another decade?! Hopefully at least the cars and the camaraderie won’t have changed too much.

Averages

I was wondering today what the Audi Q5 average MPG is – recently it’s on-board computer has been showing figures as high as 27mpg for my easy drive home from work (a bit lower to work in the morning, when the engine is cold).

So … on 2,305 miles at 111 gallons, the Q5 averages 20.8mpg. Not great, but comfortable!

And seeing I have spreadsheets for my MINIs too (except GBMINI#1), let’s compare:
GBMINI#2: 28,676 miles, 1058 gallons -> 27.1mpg
GBMINI#3: 23,803 miles, 902 gallons -> 26.4mpg (not so much of a hit, really, for an automatic!)
GBMINI#4: 28,599 miles, 1049 gallons -> 27.3mpg (I always claimed GPMINI was more economical, there’s the proof!)
GBMINI#5: 716 miles, 25.2 gallons -> 28.4mpg (Of course an average on so few miles isn’t very indicative, but 4% better than my GP isn’t close to the claimed improvements of the “Prince” engine, and no way justifies the downsides!)
GBMINI#6: 6,747 miles, 256 gallons -> 26.3mpg (not much of a hit for the convertible, either)

I know other MINI owners get much worse mpg (and doubtless some get better) – but these figures are pretty comparable since it’s the same driver doing largely the same driving on the same routes!

In memory of Diane

Today I received the sad news that a wonderful friend and MINI owner, Diane, has passed away. Diane had been fighting cancer for some years, and while it appeared that she was winning when we saw her last year, in the end you can never win 😦


Before Diane’s struggle, she regularly attended MINI events, driving hundreds of miles from her home in Maine to attend events as far away as New York! Here are some pictures from events that both she and I attended …

 

(obituary can be found here)