R55 Clubman Stitch

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  • History:
    The main Garage image is my car as it is today at the beginning of 2017. The other pic is a concept photoshop I made as a goal of where I want to go with this car. Not way out, but tweaked.

    I am the 5th owner of this poor, reCOOPERating R55s. It started its motoring life in Houston and was meticulously maintained by the first owner. It was traded in and the second owner took it to San Antonio for a couple of years and treated it well. The third owner took less good but still regular care of it until it was involved in an unspecified non-injury, non-airbag accident in Corpus Christi. The fourth owner was an independent dealer who claimed to me had gotten it in a trade with a BMW dealership in San Antonio and fixed it up. He was the one I bought it off of. I now refer to him as "The Shyster Dealer," because he'd basically used the car as his unlicensed daily driver for two years and had barely done any maintenance to it the whole time.

    Being a new, naive and unwashed Mini owner, I didn't realize just how much work was needed to bring this car back to proper running status. It had all of the packages I wanted and was in a color I really loved (just like in the brochures and videos from the Clubman introduction). It was remarkably clean on the outside & inside and pretty inexpensive. It seemed to drive and ride well save for a Limp Mode check engine light that popped on and off. The Shyster Dealer assured me he'd fix that before delivery... (I'd forgotten that if a Dealer of ANY kind is talking, he's lying) After purchasing it, the Limp CEL popped right back on again! Having no choice and now worrying about the decision to buy it, I took it for a post delivery inspection at the Mini Dealer in Austin. They found so many things wrong with it mechanically that they wanted me to replace the whole engine... "It's leaking every fluid from every place it possibly can and probably has a bad valve train" they said. Of course, why not if they could charge me $8K for it? Instead I then took it to my local indy BMW mech next and they decided it still had lots of life in it, but needed $3.5K in work to bring it in line. The Shyster Dealer after stalling me for 2 months claiming there COULDN'T be anything wrong with the car that he sold me and that I'd probably broken it (I had driven it a total of 100 highway miles going from dealer to shop and back) and so he wouldn't take it back but would resell for me (how magnanimous of him...), decided that he'd pay for much of the costs if I took it to HIS mechanic who also found the same repairs needed but quoted $3.2K. I worked them down to $2.7K of work where I'd do the rest on my own. The Shyster Dealer then stalled the repairs for another month while telling ME he would get it done but telling HIS mech he wouldn't pay for the work! In talking to HIS mech, I found that THEY didn't like this guy either and weren't HIS shop or anything else. SO CONVOLUTED!

    Suffice to say I got the work done and brought it back home after three months of fooling around with The Shyster Dealer. Since that time its been in and out of MY indy BMW/Mini mech's shop at least 10 more times chasing that Limp Mode CEL on and off for the past three months. It had further needed another $850 in pumps, pipes, tubes, seals, filters and coils as well as some reconnecting of wires left loose by The Shyster Dealer.

    Right now it seems pretty content to just run, but that danged CEL may pop back on at ANY moment!

    I ended up naming it "Stitch" after the anti-hero of the Disney movie Lilo & Stitch, the blue orphan alien experiment that was made to destroy everything it touched and only wanted a family... I promised it that if it treated me well and didn't ever strand me, I'd bring it back to health bit by bit, clean it up and treat it to an occasional Hill Country drive. So far we are still working at our ends of that bargain and neither of us has yet forsaken the agreement.

    Please say a prayer for this little orphan alien. He is "broken, but still good." And he is now loved as we motor on as a Family - Ohana.
  • Packages:
    Sports, Chromeline int/ext +mirror caps, folding mirrors, Cold Weather, sports seats & Pacific Blue accents, brushed aluminum trim, xenon headlights & white turn indicators
    Exterior Mods:
    Replaced worn badge centers with blue "MINI" inserts. Replaced "COOPER" emblem with "R55" purchased from Outmotoring.com. Blacked out beltline trim.
    Added Ecurie "mum" sticker to clubdoor window to give passengers someplace to close it.
    Interior Mods:
    FINALLY repainted the trim from the scuffed and weathered silver to a gloss blue. I like the playful aspect of the interior now. It was difficult finding just the right hue that would be harmonious with both the Pacific Blue seat and dash insert color an the exterior Lightning Blue. I feel like this is a good compromise and it brightens and cheers up the insides! It also gives my car a special custom look that I enjoy. More like a show car.

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