Where’s Waldo?

No, I’m not calling my new car Waldo but you might, like I, be wondering where it is. Well, 10 weeks to the day I ordered it, is on the Fidelio right around Acapulco (and no doubt going loco).

You might notice Hurricane Paul up there near Baja, a category 2 hurricane that is about to wind its way up the Baja coast. Wouldn’t it be ironic if my car got further delayed by a storm that shared my name!

On Its Way! (I think)

According to the WW website, my new MINI was loaded onto the good ship Fidelio around 2pm England time on Saturday with an estimated arrival date of the 20th into California. MINI still says my car is at the port but I think I trust the shipping company to know what is on their boat, and what is not. Wouldn’t be the first time that the tracking system is lagging way behind reality.

Sittin’ On the Dock of the Bay

Another day, another wait for a boat. My new MINI is still waiting for a vessel. The one that was leaving on the 25th is now leaving on the 29th so I have my fingers very tightly crossed that it makes it on that one. My car must be first in line to get on.

In other news I took Carrie to the MINI dealer for an oil change ($69 web special), took forever to get my car back (35 minutes between paying and the car coming out) and they said that my water pump has a “slight leak” that I should get looked at. Well I’m obviously not doing any major repairs before I trade it in but it better bloody well not fail before the new car comes.

Looks Like I Missed the Boat

This morning a person whose MINI was born the day before mine let me know that theirs had been loaded onto a ship that we hadn’t heard of until now and that had left today. So I searched for my VIN with the cargo search and here’s what I got:

It looks like it was booked on the boat but for some reason was “returned to sender”. Ugh, this order is going to take forever. I am clinging to some small hope that it is a computer error but doubtful. I just hope it wasn’t returned due to damage.

Finally in Production (Updated)

Update: Taking a look at the shipping schedules, if they use the usual carrier, there is a boat that leaves on the 25th of September and arrives in LA on October 17th. So I think I should get delivery in the October 20s. Looks like I will just miss one boat, though, that leaves on September 11th. For an extra couple of days I could have got the car two weeks earlier. Ah well.

The owner’s lounge hasn’t been updated so I can’t post any cute graphic but the kind-sounding robot on ASK-MINI told me that my car is in production with a finish date of September 12th. Maybe I’ll get my hands on the new girl mid-October?

In other news, I went over a big bump last night and the tyre warning/DSC off lights combo is back on. And then this morning the battery was almost flat when I went to start the car. Going to be a long 4-6 weeks.

Stalling: Both MINI and My MINI

Thanks to the earthquake swarm near our house on Sunday I took Monday and Tuesday off to meet repairmen and clean up the house (the broken glass was already gone but lots of rooms had fallen furniture etc to put back). Monday I drove the MINI to meet Teri for lunch and after 10 minutes of stop/start driving at the traffic lights the car started to struggle at idle.

Turning into the car park I did my usual putting the car into neutral (possibly a bad habit) and as I did the revs went to zero, all the lights came on and the engine quit. I coasted into a spot and cursed a while. The car started up fine but quit again once it was idling.

Some lunch and I decided to take it to the nearby Pep Boys for some diagnosis. To get there I determined I would leave off the a/c (it was only 108F) and would not allow the car to idle when stopped. A few California stops later and I was there but they couldn’t help because there were no codes – the engine was no longer stalling when idle.

So I drove it home via some back roads where I wouldn’t have to stop much, a/c off, windows down. The car didn’t once come close to stalling though I think I sweated through my clothes, the car seats and into the earth beneath us.

It drove just fine today to San Diego but then it isn’t mo-fo hot here like it is there. I am hoping the car will last until the new MINI comes but I have my doubts. Part of me says to just sell it to a dealer right now, be done with it.

Which brings me to the other stalling: I still don’t have a production date for the new MINI. Arghhh!! The factory started back up this week so I am hoping I’ll get one soon but it has now been three weeks and a day and my baby isn’t even an apple in it’s father’s eye.

Poor Timing on the MINI

My motoring advisor had been pretty forceful in telling me I needed to make changes to my order quickly as it was almost certain to go into production “tomorrow or within 24 hours”. Of course I’ve been refreshing the Owners Lounge page every day to see where it is going and every day it has been the same:

So I queried my guy and he tells me that my order coincided with the annual summer shut down at the Oxford plant so nothing is moving there until the beginning of September. Argh!!!! So my wait is longer than I had hoped, just have to keep my fingers crossed nothing else goes wrong on my current one.

In other news, Teri and I were at a San Diego Hyundai dealer last weekend where we ended up getting a very nice 2012 Accent hatchback for her. I asked the salesman about the Veloster Turbo and he said that it was a mess, they expected one in October most likely. But then today over at the Veloster forums (yes I don’t know why I still read it) the daily dump of the Hyundai stock database shows they got a red automatic in yesterday. Seems bad when these things just show up and you can’t tell customers when or what.

One More MINI Then…..

Things can seemingly change rapidly, my next vehicle will not be the Veloster Turbo but this Orange Spice 2013 MINI Cooper S Hardtop.

I went to the dealer last night, signed some paper work and came away with a production number. My advisor says he expects it to go into production today or tomorrow but right now it shows up as “On Order”. He estimates 7-9 weeks for an actual delivery. So I just need to keep my current MINI running that long without incident…..

Speaking of which I’m off to collect it this morning, can’t even think about how much the repair will be. Maybe I will then try to sell it though I am not sure who wants a 7 year old MINI with 152k miles on??

Anyway, I am excited to be going through the MINI buying experience again. The tracking available to the dealer has become a lot more sophisticated, can even tell me what ship it is on and where it is heading, but still no snapshot pictures of your car going through the assembly line.

Broke Down Today

No, not as in “broke down and ordered a new MINI”, but came to a complete stop on the freeway. Halfway between home and work, just before the Border Patrol checkpoint on I-8, I could no longer press in the clutch. In fact, it had retreated so far up into the back of the car I couldn’t even find it with my foot.

AAA eventually came (after a thorough investigation from Border Patrol) and $300 later they delivered me to my trusty MINI mechanic. He says he will check it out this afternoon and hopefully I can have the car back tomorrow. He quoted some figures for price, none of them very nice.

Now I have a quandary. I had absolutely decided to order a new MINI this week but if I have to put $2-3k into repairs I feel like I should drive it for a while longer, get my money’s worth. Then again, the reason for wanting a change is my acknowledgement that at 152k miles it is time for some repairs and if the super charger were to go during this “worthwhile” phase, I’d be pretty much stuck.

A first world-quandary indeed. And I blame Hyundai. If they had made their Veloster Turbo more available I’d be in a different car already.


I don’t know what Hyundai are doing with the Veloster Turbo release, and I’m not sure that they know either. It’s been a few weeks now since the VT started showing up and there is a helpful guy on a forum who is posting the US shipping database every couple of days, and here is an example.

If you look real closely, you’ll see there aren’t very many in CA yet, and if you ask local dealers they will tell you they have no idea when or if they are getting anything. And what there is, is very automatic tranny-centric. I think of the almost 300 on that list there are perhaps 2 or 3 that match what I want, and none of them within 1500 miles of me. An Oxnard dealer says there are another 200 waiting at the port and he expects a couple, but has a waiting list of 35. All this suggests I am in for a very long wait on the Veloster Turbo.

Which got me thinking….. how does a new MINI stack up? So I got on the configurator and came up with this (ice ice) baby.

2012 MINI Cooper S 2013 Veloster Turbo
MSRP $27,350 (likely negotiable) $25,475 (min price)
Options Premium Pkg, Sport Package, Garage Door Opener Ultimate Package, Garage Door Opener
Extras Climate control, auto headlights, rain sensor, DSC 7″ touch screen, deluxe stereo system
Performance 27 / 35/ 30 MPG, 0-60 6.2s, 141 mph 26 / 38/ 30 MPG, 0-60 6.8s, 121mph

So a similarly equipped MINI is about $2k more expensive MSRP but I figure you can probable get under that these days. The biggest difference is that the MINI doesn’t have the technical package of the Veloster but in its favour is that I expect it will be of much better build quality, and of course much better handling. The other difference is that I can probably have the MINI I want in a few weeks rather than the (possibly) months for the VT.

Hmmm… indeed.