Vive La Differences!

Some time ago I wrote about how it seemed that Americans tend not to hold the car on the clutch like I was taught and, I think, most Brits do. Today I learned another difference – putting the car in gear when leaving it. I’ve always noticed that my wife always leaves the MINI or the Jeep in gear when she gets out of it, but I never do and I’ve never seen that done at home. At work everyone was saying that they all do it and how they hadn’t (until now) met someone who didn’t. How odd.

In other news, getting gas this evening, heard a ripping and a dragging sound. Looked around and some idiot had driven off with the pump still in the tank and had ripped the nozzle right off the pump and taken out his gas tank cover too. You hear about that, but I’ve never seen it.

Second Impressions

Its been three months since I swapped my ’02 MCS for my ’05 and I thought I’d update my previous first impressions (and here too) of the new auto.

I never thought I would say this but I wish I had gone with the auto a/c, not for any real reason other than the air system in the car is pretty low power in comparison. On a hot day if I want to feel cool air on my face I have to have the blowers turned on to at least the 3rd mark, maybe on max and even then it isn’t that great. It is good to be able to easily vent the outside air with heating/cooling, though.

I still have the problem with the passenger air bag sensor which I am fairly confident is a loose wire somewhere. Going over the numerous pot holes at home reliably toggles the state of the airbag sensor no matter who or what occupies the passenger seat. And on the highway the light will go off and on at random so I am hoping it will be an easy fix once I get it to the dealer.

The clock still sees time differently to me. I set it to my cell phone time on Nov 1st and it is currently 9 minutes fast. I fear this won’t be so easy for Brecht to fix.

Overall the car still feels so much more together than the ’02, pulling away in first gear is a breeze, cornering is a delight and, although you definitely feel that you’re in a convertible, the overall ride is much more solid feeling. MPG seems to have settled around the 25 – 27 mark for my commute which is a little less than before but still not bad for this amount of fun.

Bottom line: I’m a very happy MCS convertible owner.

Plates Update

We finally heard from the DMV this week, they have no idea what happened to the plates but I am to fill in a new form (I presume for replacements) and they will submit it for me, no charge. No explanation, but hopefully I will have them by the end of the year.

Latest Mod

Cleaning out the garage today I found the second of the two John Cooper signature decals I bought a couple of years ago. I couldn’t put this one on the stripe like last time but I think it looks neat underneath the S on the side.

Still No Plates

Its been 17 weeks since I ordered my vanity plates for the new MINI and still no sign of them. I went to the DMV yesterday to inquire and they were as mystified as I. They were able to confirm that they were registered in my name but could offer no reason why they hadn’t arrived. The manager came out and said they “never take more than 12 weeks”; well, clearly sometimes they do. They are going to investigate and probably order me a new set at no cost to me.

Bah Humbug!

I don’t know if its the change in season, my rapidly approaching entrance to the 40s or something else but I’m increasingly becoming an old curmudgeon. I haven’t been on a community MINI run this year; I haven’t posted on the SCMM board in a very long time;I don’t care about the new MINI magazine and am happy to let people know it, and I’m getting increasingly fed up with people raving about someone tweaking their car to go much much faster. Maybe its just been a horrible year and my mood will get better next year?

Perils of Open-Top Motoring

No protection from the elements: They’ve been resurfacing the local highway which of course means putting down ‘loose gravel’ on the road. Driving along at a reasonable speed, a car blazes by me, kicks up a stone and it hits me in the head. Ouchie!

Extra stinkification: The local feed lot smell has been overwhelming recently. You don’t realise how much stink protection the hard top gives until you’re faced with cow gases in your face. Yowie!

Essential equipment for open top motoring: sunglasses, full face helmet, nose clips ??

OBC is currently reading 28.3, was 29.0 when I left the house this morning – gotta love that!

Roundabouts – I Love ‘Em!

But it seems not everyone does….. traffic chaos in La Jolla. For those who don’t get it, the Tribune has even provided a handy guide to how to use them!


Reminds me of my first road trip to Sweden… coming back into Harwich, we drive off the boat, get out of the port and come to a huge roundabout. The car in front – Swedes in a Volvo (what else!) – immeadiately goes the wrong way round it. I go the correct way and of course we meet at the exit, we all laugh and wave at each other and I let him through first. As I turn off, I see at least one more Volvo come round the wrong way…. I bet the police love that roundabout.