MINI Challenge

Last weekend Don and I took the MINI challenge- a road course event at Race City Speedway put on by MINI/BMW. It was for customers who just bought MINI’s to test out the new MINI alongside their competitors. There was a VW GTI, VW Rabbit, Audi A3, and a Mazda 3 alongside the MINI Cooper, MINI Cooper S and even a MINI Cooper S Automatic, which was built just for the challenge. I got to drive the MINI Cooper S Auto, the only one of it’s kind in Canada!

There were about 30 guests, teamed up in pairs to test drive all the cars. The driving instructors took all of us out on the track to explain the different sections of the course before we were allowed out on our own; there were walkie talkies in each car, so that if they had to give you any instructions (or to tell you to stop driving like Mario Andretti!) you could hear. We all lined up to take our turn driving the cars; I drove 4 and Don drove 5. At first I didn’t think I’d want to drive any, but after a couple times on the course I decided it was my turn…I loved driving around stragegically placed pylons at 55 km/hr (trying not to run any of them over- hard to do in the VW’s), the brake and avoid exercise, and my ultimate favorite, the hard right turn at 15 km/hr immediately followed by what I call the “gun it and slam on your brakes”- we had to accelerate up to 80 km/hr and when the sign said “brake”, you had to slam on your brakes as hard as you could to stop before running into the barricade. This exercise was to test out the ABS, which I can say worked very well…each time my stomach lifted into my throat, but I loved it!

It was fun to drive cars and test their limits, something that normally none of us do. I learned that I could handle a vehicle in sudden situation with more confidence that I would have before the challenge. I also learned that the MINI is a mighty fine car and I’m sure glad that we own one!

Closed the Deal

My offer for the 2004 MINI Cooper S in Winnipeg has been accepted!

Because Corinna was so quick calling the seller, we had first right of refusal. We are getting the car for its asking price.

The seller received about 30 calls in the few days the ad has been on Autotrader. Lots of interest from Alberta too — people offering more than the asking price, sight unseen. Crazy.

I’m booking a one-way WestJet flight on June 30th to make the pickup.


Now back to watching The Italian Job.

2004 MINI Cooper S

Corinna has wanted me to upgrade the Red Sled (1991 Mazda Miata) for some time now. There are at least two reasons.

  1. In November 2003 C. Howard ran a stop sign in her Jeep Cherokee and as a result T-boned Corinna in the Red Sled. Corinna is now almost fully recovered. I suspect C. Howard is still a careless inattentive driver. What’s the deal with all you Jeep Cherokee and Jeep Grand Cherokee owners? Do you have to be a bad driver to get a Cherokee or something?
  2. There is no way I can take Alice to her day home when Corinna is cooking for her clients. This makes Corinna’s day much longer than it needs to be.

The goal was to find a replacement vehicle which had a back seat, and would be fun to drive. It should come as no surprise that the MINI Cooper S was at the top of my list.

They hold their value exceptionally well and there are few used ones on the market. This has made the search pretty difficult.

Yesterday Corinna decided to perform a Canada-wide search on She discovered the following ad for a MCS in Winnipeg:

2004 MINI Cooper S

2004 MINI COOPER S PEPPER WHITE/BLACK STRIPE lots of options 2 sets of new tires with rims like new, 6 Speed, All equipped 3,788 kms

When Corinna phoned me at work, I told her the 3788 must have been a typo. She called the number in the ad and spoke with Deborah. That really is the milage. Because Corinna was so quick to phone, we are first in line — it’s our car if we want to close the deal.

We’ve enlisted the help of Mark, Wanda and Mitchell. They are going to test drive the car and let us know whether it’s as good as it sounds. If it looks okay I’ll probably hop a one-way flight to Winnipeg and drive the car back home.

I’m a little bit excited.