Thursday, December 28, 2006

5000 miles

Speaking of crappy cellphone pics...

After only 4-1/2 months, my Odometer turned over to 5000 miles the other day. Now, this is actually an interesting achievement considering on my first MINI, it took almost a year to accumulate that feat (true story!).

Well.. *I* thought it was interesting anyway. I mean, isn't that a song or a movie or something?

Ferrari Something

Filed under "You Don't See This Everyday":

I noticed something interesting as I was heading southbound on the I-15 the other day. Even from a distance I knew I was about to see something you don't see everyday- I justs didn't know quite what that was going to be. As I got closer, I saw not one, but two Ferraris- on an auto-hauler (whatever those things are called). Since I'm not a "Ferrari guy", all I can tell you is that one was yellow, and the other was red. (Yeah, there was a Lexus on it too but who cares about a Lexus?!).

I grabbed a photo w/ my crappy kamera phone at approx. 70mph. Because I can. And I thought it was pretty.

Sunday, December 24, 2006


Just when i think I'm doing okay, I'm reminded that i still don't really understand humans people. I know MINI owners have a reputation as fun and friendly folk, which is true, but sometimes it gets a little too much for me.

In the grand scheme of things i suppose i would most likely identify as an introvert. perhaps this is why i still think it's so odd when folks i barely know come up to me and strike up a conversation out of the blue. Conversations about cars and MINIs with a perfect stranger is one thing, but as if that's not weird enough, sometimes the stuff they talk about isn't about cars or MINIs, but is well, personal. I mean for all they know, I've got a blog that publishes everything everyone says to me! *wink*

Thursday, December 21, 2006

John Cooper Photo Gallery

1,000s of beautiful photos of MINIs in head to head competition.

Monday, December 18, 2006

"Toy Drive" - Part Two - The Pics

Photos are starting to roll in from the Toy Drive.

(^^^there's mine! ^^^)

MINI Caravan

MINI Caravan

MINI Caravan

the fire truck parade/caravan

there were about 10 fire trucks!

Stoney and friends from K600 (KOGO-AM)

yeah, we kinda stole the show i guess.

20 or so MINIs (each full of toys!)

toys, toys, toys!

WCM Group Photo

Capt. Darren of the Salvation Army. (Cool guy.)

Special thanks to WCMers Chris and Sandy for the photos!

Saturday, December 16, 2006

It's another MINI Adventure! "Toy Drive"

The West Coast MINI Club participated in thr Toy Drive for well-deserving "East County (San Diego) kids for the second year in a row. I'm not even from San Diego so that makes it even more exciting!

About a week beforehand I went shopping to pick up some toys and of course i call up my friend to boast- i mean share- the warm fuzzy feeling! First thing she says, is "oh no- i've got 100 toys in my car!" DOH! (The folks at her work did a toy drive and she filled up her trunk for me! How cool is that!)

Early the next morning (and I do mean early!) we emptied out her car and crammed and amazing amount of toys in the MINI! (and she still has some left in her car, simply because we ran out of room!) You'd be surprised at how many toys you can jam into a MINI Cooper, even with a driver, co-pilot, and a 3-foot passenger! 50-60 toys later we headed out!

The next phase of the adventure was to rendezvous with a one couple in a MINI at an offramp about 20 minutes away. They showed up like clockwork and we were on our way. I wasn't driving like maniac but they soon fell behind. (sorry?) We didn't worry because they knew where they were going.

We, on the other hand, followed Google's impeccable directions to the letter! We got the McD and I said "first one's here!" About ten minutes later, with no one else showing up, I'm thinking "um, where's the rest of the MINI's?" I called up MINI Steve- it turns out Google gave us excellent directions- to the WRONG McDonalds! (notice how I attempt to shift any fault away from myself!) No worries- we headed up to the right McD and there were about 10 MINIs waiting for us!

But wait! There's more!

We headed onto the freeway and about 5 miles down the road we met up with 2-3 more MINIs. We continued on to our next rendezvous stop- and guess what? 6 or 7 more MINIs! We waited in the cold and misty morning for what seemed like 30 minutes or so, and as we waited another 3-4 MINIs showed up. Each one packed with toys! (okay- "each one packed" was kind of an exaggeration, but still)...

"Captain Darren" from the Salvation Army showed up and he was obviously moved by the turn out (those Salvation Army folk- so passionate!)

About 20 MINI's deep, we caravaned about two miles to the drop off point (later we found out it's illegal to caravan in El Cajon! It's "right up there with street racing"? Who knew!?) I didn't know there was going to be a radio station there, but as we pulled up, we could hear them on the radio saying, "OMG- look what just pulled up- about 20 MINI Coopers!" (Insert every MINI joke you've heard 1000 times by now).

It was neat as we pulled out about 300-400 toys over all (probably more, but who's counting!) Everyone was really excited and appreciative and the radio station kept up the hype and MINI Steve got to plug the club for a couple minutes too! A local, non-WCMer in a MINI either saw the cars or heard it on the radio and pulled in to talk to us. (new recruit? mmmaybe!) About a dozen fire trucks showed up shortly there after with their toys and nice people and firemen, but personally, i think the MINIs stole the show (as they always seem to do!)

Next stop: Off to lunch with the MINI group where we took over 1/2 of an italian restaurant. Then it was back home in damp weather and a TomTom u-turn glitch, but of course, Mr. Bigglesworth handled it with no problems.

Now, for a well-earned nap, and to close the book on another MINI Adventure!


Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Mr. Bigglesworth Returns!

I am happy to announce that Mr. Bigglesworth has returned, 98% restored to it's original pristineness!

Turns out there was minimal body work needed and no paint involved. The rear right suspension was completely replaced as well as front control arm (the parts list is quite daunting). They also replaced all the black molding on the passenger side and front bumper.

Overall I'm quite pleased with the exception of a slight rattle at highway speeds that wasn't there before. This might get fixed by default after I mention that they (and I) totally missed a broken wiper fluid resevoir (as near as I can tell, the impact hit so hard that it got sandwiched, smashed, and cracked between the fender and body/frame?! Doh!)

They also forgot to replace the jack support stand which was ripped from the frame and thrown who knows where. Can't blame em though- I can't find this item in the parts book! I got it back on Friday and only those two not-so-little oversights. I don't notice any sign of painting but this morning I noticed the sill on the passenger side has scratches and dings in it that weren't there before. Should I complain about that? Other than that, they did a pretty good job.

I hope I don't notice more "slight aberrations" in the coming weeks.

Motor Safe.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Consumer Reports Says...

Most Reliable Sport/Sporty car*

(Best score first)
Lexus SC ($65,455)
Toyota Camry Solara (4-cyl.) ($19,930)
Subaru Impreza WRX ($33,495)
Honda S2000 ($34,250)
Mitsubishi Eclipse ($19,99)
2006 Mini Cooper hatchback ($20,900)
*Best and worst predicted reliability, according to Consumer Reports survey research.

(I added the prices for comparison. Source:

10 best and worst cars for depreciation

1. Toyota Prius
Ongoing demand for this thrifty gas/electric hybrid and excellent reliability give the Prius the best depreciation rating among all currently sold models. In addition, many owners are hanging onto them, so good luck trying to find a used Prius. $22,000.

2. Mini Cooper
This trendy, fun-to-drive retro-hatch/convertible has generated a cult following reminiscent of Volkswagen’s Beetle. While the reliability of early models was below average, it has improved to average in recent years, according to CR’s Annual Car Reliability Survey. $17,500 to $25,500.

3. Scion xB
This boxy wagon has love-it-or-hate-it styling, but it provides a spacious interior, stingy fuel consumption, good reliability, and a low price. Scion is Toyota's youth-oriented brand. $14,000 to $15,000.

4. BMW M3
The limited-edition, tuner-developed M3 is the perennially popular high-performance model in BMW’s 3-Series line. A fanatical following and legendary performance mean that used M3s command premium prices. About $49,000 to $56,500.

5. Lexus RX
Among the top SUVs in Consumer Reports Ratings, the RX is plush, quiet, and comfortable while providing better-than-average reliability and good crash-test results. The RX400h hybrid is among the most fuel-efficient SUVs we’ve tested. $36,000 to $46,000.

6. BMW 6-Series
Available as a coupe or convertible, the 6-Series is based on the 5-Series platform. But its more limited production helps keep its resale value high. $72,000 to $79,000.

7. Lexus GX
A different SUV from the Lexus RX, the GX is a traditional truck-based, off-road-ready vehicle. It has above-average reliability, a well-appointed interior, and good frontal offset crash-test results. But resale values might not continue to hold up as well for the GX as demand softens for body-on-frame, V8-powered SUVs. $46,500.

8. Acura TSX
Providing a nice balance of sportiness and comfort, the well-rounded TSX provides above-average reliability, good crash-test results, and a long list of standard safety equipment. $28,000 to $30,000.

9. Scion xA
The small xA hatchback looks much different from the larger xB but shares its low price, good reliability, and excellent 30-mpg fuel economy. $13,000 to $13,500.

10. Honda Civic & Civic Hybrid
A longtime Consumer Reports recommended model, the Civic offers outstanding reliability, good fuel economy, and good crash-test results. While the Hybrid version returned an excellent 36 mpg overall in our tests, even regular Civics do well in our fuel-economy tests, with 29 mpg for the automatic. $14,500 to $24,500.


Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Morbid Fascinations

More dented MINI surface after describing the events of what I'm calling "The Curb Incident".

This owner writes, "You're lucky to have gotten in a crash that fast and not have that bad damage. I hit a wall at 80mph sideways and my car was in shambles..."

And then yet another MINI owner adds this to the discussion:

"i owned handsome rob for 44 days and someone smashed into me..."

Kind of sickening, isn't it?! But still, no reports of deaths or major injuries. More than we can say for Ford F-150s....

Monday, November 20, 2006

How Do I Put This? - Episode III

And now, the continuing saga of, "How Do I Put This?"...

I'm a pretty patient guy, but it's officially been "one week without the MINI". So I put on my best, "considerate and patient" voice, and call the good Dr. Wyatt...

me: "hey good morning- i just wanted to see if you thought you'd be done before or after the long weekend?"

dr w: "we're still waiting on the parts- and we're closed on thursday and friday. once we get those in it should be about 4-5 working days... so, yeah, after the long weekend."*

So, how *do* I put this? How about "AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHRRRGGGHHHH!!!"

Sure I've got "partial rental reimbursement", but who's got (partial) money for a rental car for another week- or longer?! *I'm trying to be patient, but "Express Service" my ass. (She should have never said "in and out-in about a week". )

Tune in for the next episode where you might hear Bushfinger say, "So- does this come with a CD Player?"

Friday, November 17, 2006

MINI Brother

Seems MINI is the latest to jump on the reality show bandwagon. Let's take a look...

How Do I Put This? - Episode II

For those just joining us, you missed a lot in episode one of "How Do I Put This?"...

Today I got my repair estimate from the body shop (had to bicycle over to the P.O Box!)

All I can say is, "Wow!" I've either got great insurance, or the body shop is seriously padding the tab! (Then again, this is my first accident in 15 years of driving and the shop is "five -star" rated!) With 62 items on the list (yeah 62!!!!) I'll note a few things I didn't expect to see:


  • Right Front Tire*
  • Right Rear Tire*
  • Right Front Wheel*
  • Right Rear Wheel*
  • Front Center Bumper Air Deflector
  • Front Right Bumper Air Deflector
  • Front Bumper Filler Panel
  • Front Center Bumper Trim
  • Front Center Bumper Moulding

  • Fuel Tank (wtf?)

Repainting front/rear fender? I really didn't think anything needed to get painted! Lets hope it matches! (does it ever?!)

*(looks like they're replacing my aftermarket wheels/tired with OEM ones? I really didn't expect my insurance would be covering aftermarket wheels!)

Graphical representations courtesy and may not depict actual parts used.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

MINI - 0 , Tree - 1

Seems I've got a recurring theme here on the "BUSHFINGER MINI" MINI-blog as of late: Wrecked MINIs! (er... "crashed MINIs" may be more accurate.)

In the spirit of Red Asphalt, the latest entry into the crashed MINI gallery is our dear dear "Hector"...

Let's Be Careful Out There!

Okay, How Do I Put This?

On Sat. afternoon Mr. Bigglesworth and I were playing "Extreme Irresponsible Driver" on a local back road we often drive irresponsibly on.... Yep. You already know the rest! For the curious...

Somehow the back end lost traction and spun a 180, finally slamming into a curb on the other side of the road at about 70mph. It managed to hop off the street, over the curb, and into a dirt field.
No humans or curbs were hurt. Mr. B on the other hand...

The uninvertible MINI remained upright where other cars probably would have flipped over. There

is almost no body damage that the average person would notice ( (front right a-panel, plastic body moulding, front right fender, rear right fender... *I* notice!); The curb took a chunk out of the rear rim and severely tweaked the front one; alignment is non-existent. All passenger side plastic body trim sustained damage.

The rear tire is rubbing against the frame so hard it made a pile of "rubber dust". The hit was strong enough that the wiper fluid reservoir apparently cracked upon impact. The jack stand support and who knows what other under-carriage bits got torn off and flew into the dirt. I didn't take inventory. I got home before my non-runflats went flat!

It got towed to the body shop recommended by the insurance company this afternoon. I'm fully covered (or so they say). While mild and a yawner in comparison to other recent MINI-crashes, my instincts tell me it's going to end up much worse than my untrained eye can see. I don't have a repair timeline yet. My fingers are crossed.

Here is an opportunity to share a learned lesson: Even in one of the best handling cars on the market, there is no excuse for driving like an idiot. Please spare the sympathy. It was totally my fault and a blatant reminder that the world is not a race track.

At the expense of my reputation as a good driver, I'll be chronicling these events for posterity on my blog and gallery at

PS: I apologize to the MINI community for contributing to higher insurance rates.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Skidding and Hydroplaning in Rainy Conditions

Driving Safety Tips -Skidding and Hydroplaning in Rainy Conditions*

Losing control of your car on wet pavement is a frightening experience. You can prevent skids by driving slowly and carefully, especially on curves. Steer and brake with a light touch. When you need to stop or slow, do not brake hard or lock the wheels and risk a skid. Maintain mild pressure on the brake pedal.

If you do find yourself in a skid, remain calm, ease your foot off the gas, and carefully steer in the direction you want the front of the car to go. For cars without anti-lock brakes, avoid using your brakes. This procedure, known as "steering into the skid," will bring the back end of your car in line with the front. If your car has ABS, brake firmly as you steer into the skid.

While skids on wet pavement may be frightening, hydroplaning is completely nerve-wracking. Hydroplaning happens when the water in front of your tires builds up faster than your car's weight can push it out of the way. The water pressure causes your car to rise up and slide on a thin layer of water between your tires and the road. At this point, your car can be completely out of contact with the road, and you are in danger of skidding or drifting out of your lane, or even off the road.

To avoid hydroplaning, keep your tires properly inflated, maintain good tread on your tires and replace them when necessary, slow down when roads are wet, and stay away from puddles. Try to drive in the tire tracks left by the cars in front of you.

If you find yourself hydroplaning, do not brake or turn suddenly. This could throw your car into a skid. Ease your foot off the gas until the car slows and you can feel the road again. If you need to brake, do it gently with light pumping actions. If your car has anti-lock brakes, then brake normally; the car's computer will mimic a pumping action, when necessary.

A defensive driver adjusts his or her speed to the wet road conditions in time to avoid having to use any of these measures. Reprinted with permission from the National Safety Council.

*Borrowed from: The Weather Channel? Who knew?!!

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Another crashed MINI

It was only a couple days ago I posted photos of a badly wrecked MINI after a head-on collision with an un-named object. Today we get more photos coming in of a badly negotiated left hand turn...

In the owner's own words, "...As you can see from the last pic, the crumple zone did what it was supposed to do, the passenger compartment protected me and I was not injured. Nor was the driver of the other car, thankfully. I was making a left turn on a four-lane highway and was behind a large truck, so I could not see very well. We had a green light, but we did not have the green arrow, apparently. He made it, I didn't. I was given the ticket...."

Okay- say it with me: OOOOWWWWWWCCCCCCCHHH!!!

Let's be careful out there!