Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Used Cars Make A Comeback, MINI Dominates

Today discusses the increase in used car values for older, fuel-efficient vehicles. I about lost it when I read:

"...This year's Mini Cooper buyers expecting to find a lower-priced used 2007 Mini were in for a big surprise. They paid, on average, $2300 more for a used Mini in mid-June, a 12% increase over the average transaction price on Jan. 1 of this year..."
Twelve percent? Twelve percent?! Since January?! Well, you know how I am-- I immediately got distracted from the article and had to get an update on the ol' "Kelly Blue Book vs. Payoff" challenge for my own MINI. The results? Wait for it...

Kelly Blue Book, Private Party, Excellent Condition: $21,945*
Current payoff (after 3 years of payments): $15,662.73*

That's right folks by these numbers, not only have I only lost about $6,000 in value after three years of ownership- if I sold it today, I'd make it all back! Yeah, I know I probably missed something in the math there somewhere. Feel free to correct me. Meanwhile, excuse me while I laugh my a** off for a second and do a little dance...

Forbes continues:
"Dominating the list of 15 fuel-efficient used cars making a comeback is the Mini Cooper with four model years, including 2005 ($1,900 average transaction price increase, or 11%); 2006 ($1,600 average transaction price increase, or 10%); and 2004 ($1,050 average transaction price increase, or 7.4%)..."

Yeah, I had to include that part in there too. But in all fairness, its not all about the MINI. Check out the entire article for some jaw-dropping, cork-popping numbers! Well, I guess that depends on what you drive.

*(Figures are for comparison and commentary purposes only.)

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Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Can a Hornet sting the MINI?

A few articles I ran across today question if the Dodge Hornet (concept) is specifically aimed at taking a piece of the MINI Cooper market.

"We wanted the Hornet to be dynamic, nimble, fun to drive, and have an adaptable space-efficient interior," said Mark Moushegian, Principal Exterior Designer. "At the same time we set out to create a vehicle with a uniquely American character to expand the image and presence of the Dodge brand in Europe and international markets, especially in the entry-level market."

Underhood is a 1.6L 16-valve OHC supercharged I/C four-cylinder engine putting out 127 kW (170 hp)/224 N•m (165 lb.-ft.) of torque @ 4000 rpm.

"Like the exterior, the interior is geared around young rally enthusiasts," said John Sodano, Principal Interior Designer. "Our intention was to maximize the interior volume by pushing all interior surfaces to the perimeter of the vehicle as much as possible. I studied images of space capsule interiors, since they are designed for high efficiency in a limited space. I wanted the Hornet inside to have a functional, 'engineered' look, but with pleasing surfaces and materials."

My two cents? Um, just look at that front end. And the back end. And the interior.

Form your own opinion by reading the articles in full at the links below!

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Monday, June 16, 2008

LifeBall MINI Auction Closes at 45,000 EUR

When the eBay auction closed on June 15th, some lucky Austrian fella (or fraulein) became the proud owner of the one-of-a-kind Life Ball MINI 2008 by Agent Provocateur.

Closing at 45,000 Euros (equiv. $69,700 USD), that's a pretty good deal for a custom MINI Cooper Clubman! In addition to the hand-stitched leather interior, custom graphics and paint and of course, bragging rights- proceeds from this auction go toward international AIDS charities, which is a pretty cool statement right there!

The winning bidder will also receive two VIP tickets, including overnight accommodation, for the MINI Challenge Finale on 27 September 2008 at the Salzburgring race track.

Not a bad deal for 70 grand! I would certainly take it over a 7-Series any day!

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Friday, June 13, 2008

Video Friday: R56 Autocross...

Found on

"I get good comments like 'that can't be stock!' 'what do you have in that thing?' I'm pretty sure most of those guys think I'm a liar. My answer always is 'look at the ride height, if It wasn't stock would I have it riding so high' ..."

Thursday, June 12, 2008

MINIUSA.COM Visitor Traffic up 90%. Attributes Rising Fuel Prices

filed under "you could see it coming a mile away"...

Auto-blog site, reports that 900,000 people went to in May 2008?!

"Maybe it was the recent introduction of the Clubman, but MINI is saying, nope, it’s high fuel prices that have driven traffic to its website to increase nearly 90%. Last month, more than 900,000 people went to to check out the Cooper lineup. Searches for new Mini Coopers were also up on, nearly 40% in May compared to April 2008."

The article continues on to cite mileage estimates in comparison to other cars in the same class. Friends of "Bushfinger MINI" will recall more realistic, real-world mileage statistics conducted by yours truly!

Read the full article at

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Friday, June 06, 2008

Video Friday: Thumb-sized R/C MINI Cooper is one of my favorite sites to look at stuff I'll never buy. I might actually buy this thumb-sized R/C MINI Cooper though!

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Video Friday: 2008 JCW Cooper vs. JCW Clubman

Tuesday, June 03, 2008 asks, "Which MINI is best for Suburban Dads?"'s Patrick Olsen compares the 2008 Mini Cooper S, Cooper Clubman and Cooper S Clubman to see which one is the best for a suburban dad.

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Monday, June 02, 2008

Clubman, xB, and Smart ForTwo- compared?

Tell me did not just compare the 2008 model MINI Cooper Clubman, Scion xB, and Smart ForTwo?!

How on earth could they? I mean, these models have nothing in common. Well, except for each counting as "Iconic". Or as writers put it,

"Some cars are merely popular, like the Toyota Camry, while others have a rabid following in which the car is more than just a car. The three cars below fall into the latter category, and we're here to see which has the best odds to win over the hearts and minds of its owners."

Okay- I'll accept that. With categories like "Biggest head-turner" and "Cabin aesthetics", this is not your typical comparison. And the results may astound you!

Visit for a complete, and admittingly- quite unique look at three otherwise totally uncomparible 2008 models.

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Life Ball 2008 MINI [Video]

Yep, again with the Agent Provocateur MINI... but, it's so hot! Or is it the women?

Here's some heartwarming text to offset any NSFW guilt you may be experiencing:

The Life Ball MINI is traditionally designed by the fashion designer to whom the fashion show at the opening event is dedicated - in 2008 this was the English lingerie label Agent Provocateur. The starting point chosen for the exclusive one-off design was the new MINI Clubman. Agent Provocateur, founded by Serena Rees and her husband Joseph Corre, son of fashion doyenne Vivienne Westwood, is known for its wicked, burlesque collections - and this year’s Life Ball MINIM was designed accordingly.

"We really enjoyed giving the MINI Clubman our unique brand look. The new shape of the MINI is so reminiscent of the old Mini police car that we immediately came up with the idea of giving the interior a makeover in the Agent Provocateur style, so that you’d actually want to be arrested. The classic exterior has been pepped up a little, using the Agent Provocateur signature colours of Pink and Black and finished off with a pink flashing light. Inside there is a truly seductive prison cell which is fitted out with leather loops as manacles that are attached directly to the walls, as well as mirrored windows and metallic prison bars.

"Always under the assumption that the long arm of the law requires plenty of space when questioning a prisoner, we fitted our Agent Provocateur police MINI Van with couch seats in the back and leg restraints for forensic examinations. The quilted leather seats and tailor-made compartments for notebook and pen, the Agent Provocateur MINI police car is the perfect vehicle for finding a criminal’s hidden treasures, don’t you think?" says Joseph Corre, founder of lingerie label Agent Provocateur.

The designer MINI 2008 made its debut in front of 40,000 spectators at this year’s Life Ball in Vienna’s town hall square. Escorted by four models, with Joseph Corre at the wheel and Sophie Ellis Bextor as the front-seat passenger, the Life Ball MINI 2008 opened the fantastic show on Vienna’s town hall square.

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