Tuesday, July 31, 2007

BMW 1-series, or a MINI?

While the MINI universe all abuzz about the 2008 MINI Clubman, BMW managed to sneak in a 1-series coupe/hatch into production for the US Market for 2008 as well.

image borrowed from autospies.com

It's getting nice ink on Motoringfile.com and other websites but I thought I'd give my personal take on what will be the "entry-level BMW", replacing the MINI, which only BMW owners consider an entry into the BMW brand. (That's my opinion, anyway.)

I don't necessarily like or dislike BMWs. They look nice. I hear they drive well but I've never been in one. I'd likely drive one if it were given to me for free. Alas, BMWs are the opposite of free. Current speculation is that a reasonably spec'd 1-series will come in somewhere near $40,000. Forty grand people! You know what I could do with forty grand? I'll tell you what:

A friend of mine has ordered his 2007 (R56) MINI Cooper S. It's got basically everything you can put on a MINI. (before aftermarket mods, that is). That's a whopping $38k. So, which would you rather have? An entry-level, no frills BMW, or a topped out MINI? I know what I'd take! :)

What car would you get with $40,000?

The BMW 1-series on:

A Funny Thing Happened On the Way Home...

I was reading an interesting post on NAM this morning (IB4TL!). I had a similar incident recently but I didn't think much of until I read the post. Borrowing from the OP's text:

"I am sitting at a stop light (on an abandoned airstrip with no current traffic laws ) and a brand new (looking) Nissan 350z pulls up next to me. Funky goldish color, dealer/paper plates, big shiny rims, aero kit, Nismo stickers, the works.

...The dude driving quickly looks over at me and then turns to say something funny to the cute girl sitting in the passenger seat who starts laughing a little...

While he is running his pie hole, I am casually and non chalantly pretending I don't see what's coming up on my right, about 1/4 mile behind us.

....As soon as the traffic light turns yellow for the crossing traffic (uh... old abandon airport equipment ), he starts reving his big V8. "I knew it" I yelled to myself in my MINI. The Meat Head in the Nissan wants to show off for his chick and pick on the little guy...

I politely turn down my stereo and increased my revs, acknowleding the invite to an unsanctioned contest of speed.

The light goes green; he punches it through the intersection, I pause for a moment before letting the clutch out and ease through the intersection "granny style". A police cruiser "appears out of nowhere" (), lights up the red and blues, weaves through a few cars, and pulls over the Nissan before he reaches the next light.

I *really really* wanted to roll down my window and give him a thumbs up as I passed. I mean, really! Alas, my faith in karmic justice would not allow it. (Does posting it on my blog count?)

I love my MINI, and my MINI knows his place. (It may have been a different story had I not satisfied my need for speed earlier that day, on the twisty backroads of North San Diego County.)

See you on the twisties!

Friday, July 27, 2007


Aw c'mon- call it! (you know you want too!)

fun readin': northamericanmotoring.com

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Dealer Visit: A Brief Recap

I know no one cares, but I gotta tell someone!

Mr. Bigglesworth went in for his 12-month checkup yesterday at ASSAEL MINI. He's got ~11,500 miles on him so far. A couple interesting snippets I thought I'd share:

- I pull up @ 0745, the super-hot greeter girl says hello to me- by my first name!? She talks up the "cool little 'Spy Car'"...

- My file now has "NO WASH PLEASE" on it permanently! :)

- Mr. Service Writer and I do "the walk" (you know- where they note current dings, etc). He sees my Limited Edition Tow Hook License Plate Holder: "Heeeey-- That's pretty nice! In fact... [goes in for a closer look] that's the nicest one i've seen- where'd you pick it up? (I pimp Blair's machining skills!) He spends 5 minutes talking about how his FELL OFF ON THE FREEWAY and inquires how he might get his hands on one (go Blair!)...

- We walk around the back and he says, "Wow your car is really clean!" I smile...

- Waiting for my rental (grr!) I tried to get the skinny on the rumor of the dealership getting bought out. Mum's the word over there! The two folks I talked to acted like they didn't know what I was talking about but I could see in their eyes that they know something. Brecht, here I come, maybe?

- I went to the parts counter and inquired about a few OEM, interior shiny bits. Man, OEM parts from the dealer are ludicriously priced! ($78 for one door sill?)

- As requested, they didn't wash the car. They did however, put on an unknown (probably BMW/MINI branded) tire treatment though. It only splashed up a little bit onto my paint and arches. *shrug*

- I picked up my car and before I headed onto the HMS Gridlock, I went over to MINI Sales to say hello to my MA. (Ed. note: I picked up my MINI exactly 370 days prior and haven't seen him since. ) I walk in and before I could even say hello he calls me by name too! We chat for a moment and he says, "Oh by the way, thank you for the letter you wrote about me. I can use it if I ever need another job." Sheesh! Even *I* don't remember writing a letter! Damn, he's good. (MA="Nick Armstrong" by the way if you ever have to send anyone to ASSAEL)

- The "12-month checkup" included the 10k mile oil change. I also had an intermittent SES light. The SES light was caused by the 02 sensor (I lost a bet with my friend). I don't know what they did to it, but my MINI is noticeably faster now than when I handed the keys over! Did they reset the ECU and it adjusted itself for my pulley and cold air intake? (That's just me guessing- I have no understanding of the technology!).

Since my first MINI in 2003, I've had both very good and very bad days dealing with the service folks at Assael. Today, was definately a good day! Yeah, a short, boring recap with no pictures. But true!

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Speed Limit: 65mph MINIMUM (Picture Post)

I love it when you see something out of context.

Now I'm feeling You-i-fied! "MODS GONE WILD". The Complete List*

*I couldn't settle on a title for this post, so you get all three!

Yesterday was my MINI's first birthday.

While not really a major milestone, it did cause me to reflect back on the fun and excitement we've shared so far. Then I remembered: That is the main purpose of the "BUSHFINGER MINI" blog in the first place! I decided to create this little "modifications timeline" for posterity's sake (and a little time-killin' too). This also serves as a tribute of sorts, to all of the wonderful dealers and vendors out there that make owning and "you-i-fying" a MINI Cooper, so damn fun! And so it begins:

Thursday, July 13, 2006
I picked up "Mr. Biggleworth" from the dealer. It had 11 miles on it. And chrome side view mirrors. I specifically said black, yo! (Two week later, I went back to the dealer and swapped them out from a new MINI straight across. Does that count as a mod?)

What came with the car:
MINI Aux Input
MINI Chrome Exhaust Tips
MINI Grill Badge Holder
MINI Outdoor Car Cover
That little scuff-guard thing for the boot

Installed within the first week:
Alta Stubby Antenna (from my previous MINI)
MINI Magnetic Stone Guards (from my previous MINI)
LoJack (ordered with the car, installed a week later)
Tinted Windows from The Tint Factory (Loma Linda, Ca.)

July 06:

DIY MCS Intake Screen/Air Scoop Grill
Mini-Mania Ultrik Cold Air Intake. Who puts in a CAI at ~700 miles? Well, it was free.

Aug 06:

(Finally took the MINI Outdoor Car Cover out of the box.)
A slew of Grill Badges by MotoringBadges.com
MINIEyes by Rouge Minis
Spy Toggle Cover from MINIUSA.COM (the first hint of the "Spy Car")

Oct. 06:

TomTom GO300 GPS Navigation Device
New Wheels/Tires (sort of): I already had a set of Toyo Proxies TPT 205/50R16 and ICW Racing Wheels from my previous MINI. It just took 4 months to put them on.

Nov. 06:

Unplanned mod: The infamous "curb incident"

Dec. 06:

Limited Edition Front License Plate Holder by Blair Butler (yo- you cain't even git dis yo!)

Feb. 07:

Leather Knee Pad by MyMINIparts (now minspeed.com)
Sylvania SilverStar Turn Signal Bulbs
H-Sport 19mm "Sport" Rear Swaybar
Honeycomb supercharger scoop insert by ImagoX

March 07:

Chrome Expressions 808 Titanium Silver with Machined Lip
Alta 15% Version 2.0 Supercharger Pulley (Installed at AMVIV!)

April 07:

Escort Passort 8500 x50
Pirelli P6 205/50R16

May 07:

M7 Strut Brace (originally Purchased at AMVIV, just now installed!)

June 07:
MINI hits it's first 10,000 miles. (Not a mod, but an interesting milestone nonetheless!)

And that's just the first year!
Geepers, what's left?! I'm sure I've forgotten something. I'll update this entry as these come to mind.


Friday, July 13, 2007

Today is my MINI's birthday!

Exactly one year ago today, I took delivery of my 2006 MINI Cooper S, a.k.a. "Mr. Bigglesworth". It was about this hot too, a blazing 100-degree , SoCal summer day.

I remember being frustrated that his "maiden voyage" was on the HMS Gridlock. A brand new MINI, and I'm going 20 mph in clutch killer traffic for the next two hours trying to get home.

I remember stalling it three times in three different intersections. Pesky traffic signals! (I don't think I've mastered it's tiny-but-mighty transmission yet!) I got home and had to take a nap because I was tired from baking in the heat. I couldn't sleep w/ a brand new MINI in my parking spot.

Later that evening I was able to get some "First Day" photos, even though it was at night. Less than a month later the mod-bug creeped in and bit me in the ass. Since then, I've attempted to chronicle its on-going transformation. (Note to self: Get photo morphing program)

(not necc. the best recent pic, but hey...)

One year and a 11,000 (s)miles later, I love my MINI as much as the day I brought it home. More actually, thanks to those darn kids!


Wednesday, July 11, 2007


Cute dogs on their way to AMVIV '06.


Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Blog Plug: Confessions of a MINIac

When I wasn't even looking, I chanced upon this awesome MINI blog, "Confessions of a MINIac".
Blog owner "Christina" writes, "I drive Stella: a pinked-up 2006 R53 MINI Cooper S".

Enjoy her pink MINI, recounts of MINI United, trips to Europe, photos, and... (record scratch) working for MINI.ca?!?! Okay now I'm really jealous. You can be too!