The Mini is Donna’s daily driver and it is extensively “her” car, but sometimes when we run to the store on weeknights or on weekends she’ll let me drive it. It is kind of like a luxury Miata with a hardtop and it is not unenjoyable to drive. Sometimes I think maybe it is time to ditch the Miata and become a two Mini family, one for her that we leave alone and one for me I can add different wheels, sticky tires, a slightly noisy exhaust, etc., etc.
On the route of my normal drive to and from the Valve Store I pass a Bail Bonds office (the county jail is about 2 miles further up the road.) They often have a used car or two sitting out front. I imagine it is something they have taken as bond and the person subsequently skipped town. About a month ago, they added a 1st generation Mini Cooper S to the 1989 Camaro Z28, a 90’s vintage Camry, an 18′ fishing boat and a small backhoe. It is Electric Blue with a white roof, mirrors and hood stripes with a sunroof and looks just like this only without the driving lights. Every time I pass by it, I think, “Man that is neat looking little car.” After a half dozen or so passes I started to wonder how much they wanted for that thing, knowing that unless it was under fifty bucks Donna would not let me bring it home like some stray puppy, although the thing is as cute as one.
Well, last week I gave them a call, just to see what they wanted for it. A woman answered the phone and said, “I didn’t know anything about the stuff for sale out front. Donnie does, but he doesn’t come in until around ten.” I said, “I’ll try back then.” Forgot all about it later. Remembered on the drive home when I passed by, too late. When I saw it the following day I told myself I’d call around 11. When I did, the same lady said, “Oh you missed him, he just left to apprehend someone.” After that I told myself that that was an omen and to forget about the car. And I did.
Until this past Monday on my way to work. It was still there. Now I’m thinking it is just taunting me and that’s like a 15-yard penalty in the NFL now. I started to rationalize that I might be able to get Donna to let me buy it if it was in real nice shape, had around 70 or 80-thousand miles on it and was like only three thousand bucks. I had to run an errand mid-day on Wednesday this week and my return trip to work just happened to take me right by the bail bonds place. So, I stopped in.
When I entered the building, there was the phone answering woman. I asked if someone who know anything about the Mini Cooper that was out front. She shouted, “Tom!” When Tom came out from the back I asked him what year, how much and how many miles. He replied, “2005, $5,000 and I’m not sure. Let me get the key and we’ll go out and look.” I’m thinking 2005 sounds nice (2nd to last year of the 1st gen, so everything would be all sorted out) and $5,000 sounds high, but I have no clue, so internet research will be required. I grab a business card and a pen from the counter as we head outside because I want to write down the VIN so I can see the configuration it came with from the factory. When he opens the driver’s door to get in I get a peek inside and the first doubt starts to materialize through the fog of desire. I see the VIN sticker on the door jamb and I’m copying it down when he calls the mileage out to me as one hundred sixty-five thousand three hundred and twenty-six. Jason with a bloody kitchen knife just appeared from nowhere. I almost drop the pen, but hold on long enough to finish writing the last 4 digits.
He asks if I want to sit in it and to finish being polite I do, (it is not running right now because the coolant overflow tank is cracked and will be replaced) but there is no way I would buy this even if Donna had given me $5k that morning and said go get it. It had leather sport seats and while the leather wasn’t worn out or torn anywhere, it was sloppy loose on the cushions, you could still see the impressions of Tom’s butt who had just got out of it. Plus, remember back when we first bought Donna’s Mini, I posted photos of a side by side comparisons of the dashboards and said that it hadn’t changed that much since the 2003 we didn’t like? Well the dash in conjunction with the overly busy looking door panels made the inside very unappealing, I can see why we didn’t like the looks back in 2003.