A few months ago I traded my white 2008 Subaru STI in for a used Mini Cooper S. Many people will call me crazy(they’ve probably be calling me all along). Anyway, I’ve still got the factory rubber laying around from it – 245/40/18 Dunlop SP600 Sports with about 3k miles on them if anyone is interested.
OK, OK, back on track, which is exactly where the Mini is headed. So the Mini… I was driving around random car dealers on night like I sometimes do and saw an electric blue Mini Cooper S with black stripes on the lot. Naturally I was greeted by a car salesman. So how much are you asking for the Mini? “Ten-nine”. I decided to take a closer look… and a test drive. The car was a lot of fun but felt very worn. I guess one hundred and eighty thousand miles will do that to a car, right? WHAT? 180k?! Yup.
I did a little research on the Mini Cooper S to see what they were selling for at dealers – $11-12k was the range. KBB fair trade-in value was $6500 and since it hadn’t been reconditioned at all I felt I had the upper hand. The following day I checked out the car again, it was still in the same spot I left it the day before. Upon closer inspection the following day I discovered the car would need tires, bulbs, and a list of other odds and ends to pass Virginia inspection. The previous owner it appeared commuted to Baltimore each day, racking up the miles. So the majority was highway. Not bad. I then found that the car was a one owner and all the maintenance had been performed by the BMW dealer next door. I negotiated with the salesman a bit more. A little later we were down to $8k and just about reached a deal. This is where it gets good.
In Virginia a dealer can not release a sold car without it first passing Virginia state inspection. Being that the Mini had not been through their inspection yet, they had no clue what their repair bill was going to be when they made the sale. I made sure I had signed all the papers prior to them taking the car over to get the inspection. The result? FAIL! Just as I expected. Now it’s the dealer who was chewing the cost of over $1300 for two new Michelin tires, random bulbs, and other odds and ends to pass inspection. I get the car back and begin the restoration process.
Oil change – check. Adjustable rear swaybar, check. Then a headlight went out. Great. HID’s are pricey but luckily my good friend over at http://www.crossroadonline.com hooked me up with two D2S bubs he had laying around. Cha’ching, carry on! Stickier street tires – check! Poly control arm bushings – check. Adjustable camber plates – check(installing tonight). Finally a good street/track alignment by PTUNING and I’ll be set.
Current mod list w/price:
Mini Mania Poly front control arm bushings ($90)
H&R adjustable 19mm rear swaybar ($100)
Ireland Engineering camber plates ($275)
Hawk HPS pads ($80)
Dunlop Z1 Star Spec tires ($400)
D2S 4300k HID’s ($0)
So far the car’s been great. I travel 30 miles each way to work, sitting in stop-n-go traffic for the majority and still manage to average 28+mpg. On the highway I’ve seen 35mpg. On the back roads the Mini Cooper is a blast. The supercharger whine is intoxicating and for a front wheel drive car it’s a blast considering the above. If I was to gripe about anything it’s that the brakes don’t feel all that good so I see why larger rotors are a common upgrade. Will the Mini Cooper see 2010 while still under my ownership? Time will tell…