Mini News MINI - 10 Years in the US

Discussion in 'MINI News and Articles' started by Nathan, Mar 22, 2012.

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  1. Nathan

    Nathan Founder

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    March 22, 2012 - Today marks the 10th Anniversary for MINI in the US. What a great 10 year ride it has been. From the introduction 10 years of the JustaCooper to the Coupe and Roadster has been quite the journey.

    I remember it like it was yesterday when I spotted my first MINI in the wild. I had seen in the car mags, I read them all, still do. At the time I was working for the railroad as a technical writer / help desk jockey in downtown Baltimore. Driving a Jeep Cherokee and wanting something new. Leaving work one night I happened to spot a MINI make a turn at the bottom of hill. Even from two blocks away I could see how it zipped around the corner. Driving a bit extra legal I caught up a few block later and followed the little car onto the highway. This little section in downtown Baltimore is a bit of fun with a few curves. Needless to say there was just no way I could keep up in a Jeep.

    I knew then I wanted one...

    Whats your MINI story?
     
  2. JackMac

    JackMac Well-Known Member

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    Like many others, my first encounter was on the big screen seeing Italian Job.

    It took a little while for our first dealership to open. I do remember the first sighting too, a Dark Silver R53 with white roof. It was one of those "Wow!" moments.

    Fast forward a few years, and finally had a test drive. I was sold as soon as reaching for 3rd gear. On my 2nd MINI now, and plan to stay a MINI owner for many years to come!
     
  3. rum4

    rum4 Club Coordinator
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    Never thought I'd own one but within the first 500 yards I was hooked.
     
  4. naucrx

    naucrx New Member

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    Happy 10th, Mini USA! I shall watch Italian Job later to celebrate. :biggrin5:
     
  5. Crashton

    Crashton Club Coordinator

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    HAPPY 10th MINI :Thumbsup:
     
  6. Mr. Jim

    Mr. Jim Mudshark
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    I remember working in Wayne and one of the girls there, her husband worked for MINI in Montvale so I got to see it up close and with the camo on it. That's how I got my first model also and knew someday I'd own a real one!
     
  7. Firebro17

    Firebro17 Dazed, but not Confused
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    #7 Firebro17, Mar 22, 2012
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2012
    Mine is a simple story of an association with a high school buddy of mine, who's been a British car guy for over 40 years and a Mini owner for over 20 years. After re-connecting with him about 18 years ago I knew his love for the British cars had not gone away. Out in his garage sat a wonderfully restored Classic. A 1966 Austin Cooper S, covered in British Racing Green with a Black top. An absolutely wonderfully done restoration, as period correct as one can find in every way.

    We have always been sports car/sports sedan guys. Back in 2001, over a few beers one day, conversation revolved around the planned new car market. Having been a BMW owner since 1975, I thought it'd be great if they would bring back an updated version of the BMW 2002 sedan, as I wanted to get one if so. Sounded like a simple enough concept... Well, all my buddy could do was talk about the new MINI and how he'd decided to order one but had to first get on a waiting list. After he got the new MINI, the modern version of British Racing Green/Black, I was really impressed with the styling, power and handling, but was still content with our BMW and had no interest in changing seats.

    Fast forward to 2005 and this same buddy decides to get back into racing (something he'd done off and on since just after high school). He tells me one day that he's buying a Vintage Mini race car. Of course I'm think'n he's nuts, but afterall, we're both in high gear mid-life crisis... so what the heck do I know (and I certaily have no room to talk since I was now racing quads, with my son, at the age of 49... go figure). After he gets the race car, I can't help but have a peaked interest in the whole thing. As a result, I began to go to races with him and met some really great folks in and around the race track. I also met a great guy and his wife in Beaverton, Oregon (who had built the race car). Brian owns BWR Performance and has a garage and shop full of Classic Minis of all kinds, as well as a new MINI. For the most part, our conversations were all about Minis and racing (unless the girls were present, then we discussed good food and wine and travel plans). Of course the cursory jabs were continually directed towards my becomming a MINI owner someday.

    Fast forward to 2009 and I'm now of the mindset that I need to sell the '98 M Roadster and move on to buy a MINI. I did so shortly thereafter and haven't regretted it since. We belong to a MINI Club with some great folks, do lots'a car stuff we wouldn't otherwise be doing, and have made some great new friends along the way.

    I'm now in the market to get my own Classic Mini, maybe as soon as this weekend... Is this MINI ownership thing a cancer? I'm not so sure that it's not. I can tell you, and I'm preaching to the choir here, I know my wallet has been in a better state of health.

    Call it what you like, but in the end it's all about having FUN with a great bunch'a folks who share a common affliction with their cars.

    Happy 10th Anniversary to MINI and thanks to Steve and Brian!

    Cheers to all. :beer
     
  8. Justa Jim

    Justa Jim Well-Known Member
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    I was looking for a new car and wanted retro, as well as getting good mpg. Saw a MINI in a used car lot, took a test drive and had to have one. Dealer would not take my offer, so I built one and it was the same price. Ordered and the rest is history.

    Jim
     
  9. Redbeard

    Redbeard JCW: because fast is fun!
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    This first time I ever rode in one I was in undergrad and one of my roomates was getting ready to buy a new car. He had me tag along for moral/informative purposes. He tested a 2003 MCS and I declined to ride because of the size of the back-seat. He came back with a "poop"-eating grin and bought one two days later. I rode in it and I understood the grin.

    Flash forward to early summer of 2008: My Dad decides he will follow suit with his brother (my Uncle) and trades in his 2005 Saab 9-3 Aero for a 2008 MCSa with the Sport package and other bells and whistles. I drive it and I am impressed with the power (more than I expected) and handling. At this time I'm driving a 2006 350z and Autocrossing regularly.

    Last jump in time to early November 2009. I have been trying to auto cross a 2005 Mustang GT with limited success and finding myself fed-up with the general ignorance of the Mustang crowd. I attend an event just after SEMA put on by what was ABF & Yokohama Tire in Las Vegas. Basically a tight autox course with MCSs/Justas/Clubman S's. I spend the next two hours driving like a fool and I can't stop grinning. I was sold. I went home to MINI of Monrovia the next day and I configured the car I wanted and ordered it. I traded-in my Mustang in December 2009 when the car arrived and I haven't looked back (...much ;) )
     
  10. farkus

    farkus Active Member

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    Mini fan since the beginning (1959)...A friend told me over a few beers that BMW was bringing back the MINI, so I did some interwebical resurch, sent $1000 to the yet-to-exist MINI of Towson on July 5th, 2001 and was placed 16th on the wait list.

    In January 2002, one lone PS/B MC toured the soon-to-be dealerships and all the wait listers were invited to walk around it and even sit inside! Waiting anxiety peaked!

    Saturday March 23rd, 2002 I was finally given the appointment that mattered and I submitted my build sheet right after the test drive. I actually had 4 build sheets, picked one and have never regretted it.

    So after following the build online, the shipment and all that, I finally took delivery on July 18th, 2002...377 days after the initial deposit.

    Since I was a lowly 16th on the wait list, I missed out on the initial shipment to the dealers, which ended up being demos before going to the owners. So I was a part of the second shipment and one of the first customer-spec MINIS. I got at least 3 thumbs up on my 80 mile ride home that evening...definitely worth the wait.

    Oh and I still have it...looks and smells as pristine as it did all those years ago and only 32,000 miles on the clock! :biggrin5:
     
  11. mimini1

    mimini1 New Member

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    I remember when the MINI made the car show circuit in about 2000. I knew then it was what I wanted. Cincinnati MINI opened in March 2002 and I placed my name on "the list". I was told I was probably 6 months away from being able to order a MINI so I waited. About 2 weeks later Cincy must have been getting the run a round from too many people on " the list " and asked for $1000 good faith money. I must have been really fast with my grand because they called me and I ordered it mid April. It was delivered June 14, 2002 and I still have it. I never saw a car draw the reactions it did early on. I would love to know how many original owner 2002's there are.
     
  12. T8rChick

    T8rChick Active Member

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    I've wanted one since 2002 and talked for years about "when I get my MINI...". It would have the Texas flag on the roof and long-horns on the front. With titanium tips on the ends for those that got too close! Finally in late 2007 we found out I was being moved from the Dallas to the Richardson office and we couldn't get away with only one car any longer. I had built my MINI online, yes in Sparkling Silver, and drove by Moritz to see what they had. Outside the dealership was Neil with my exact car. "Oh no" he says... "you don't want this one. It's going to Oklahoma!" So we gave him our build to look up. "Sure!" Neil says... "I have that exact car!" Low and behold, there was Daphne, still wrapped up in her shipping plastic and darned near the exact car I wanted! She has been the best car leading us to the best places and the best people we know!
     
  13. KittyMini

    KittyMini Club Coordinator

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    I wanted one since seeing the Italian Job.

    At the time they hit the US, I was with my ex-husband, who's a bit of a redneck and only liked Jeeps, Mustangs and trucks, so a MINI would NOT be gracing our driveway.

    I left him :cornut:

    Husband #2 came along, and his 1st wife owned one of the 1st MINIs to come into the US (delivered Aug, 2002). He talked about how great the car was and missed it (not his ex).
    I said I wanted one... he said it would be weird having another MINI in the garage.
    I told him to get over it..... we live in the house THEY bought together but now he's getting weirded out by a car???????
    Got my first MINI a few months later.... had one ever since :Thumbsup:
     
  14. Metalman

    Metalman Well-Known Member
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    Great story.... Glad you kept husband #2,......:D
     
  15. Kikimowse

    Kikimowse New Member

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    Like others, I first fell for the new MINI upon seeing the Italian Job in 2003. I was still driving my 1984 BMW and it was running like a German Black Forest clock (calling it a swiss watch just seemed wrong). I spotted a Pepper White Cabrio in 2005 and was smitten even more. By 2007 the Hammer and Coop on-line advertisements had me hooked but with the closest dealership more than 2 and 1/2 hours away, I still couldn't do it. I even rented a 2007 MINI for a week while on a business trip (the hardtop) and then visited a dealership and test drove a 2007 Cabrio. But still, I held back.

    Finally in June 2008 I was ready to take the plunge and after weeks of configuring my MINI Cabrio, I contacted a dealership in LA to place my order. Much to my horror, I could no longer order a 2008 MINI Cabrio. BMW was shutting down the Cabrio production line to make the necessary modifications for the new turbo Cabrio for 2009. After 20 years of owning my BMW and finally deciding to buy my new dream car, I felt like someone had just stepped on my heart. I was so bummed.

    My wonderful Motoring Adviser (Christian Banks) asked me to print my "wish list" and send it to him. He told me that he would search for me to see if he could find one already built and placed with a dealer. It had to be Pepper White with a black top, supercharged and with a manual transmission. The very next day he called me and told me that he had something pretty close but it was a 2007 Demo and he thought that it was an automatic. But he said, it had a bonus because it was a limited edition Sidewalk. I had absolutely no idea what that meant. Upon checking again, it turned out to have a manual transmission after all.

    I went out to MINI USA and quickly built a Cabrio Sidewalk. I liked it but I was not too sure about the wheels. I made arrangements to drive down to LA to see the car in person and the dealership agreed to hold it for me. I drove down Friday night and hardly slept in anticipation of meeting my MA early Saturday morning to see "the Car". As I rounded the corner and pulled into the driveway of the dealership on July 5, 2008, just before 8:00 am, my breath caught, my heart skipped a beat and, well.... I just knew!

    From the minute I saw her, it was love at first sight, even the wheels! The only thing I added was black bonnet stripes and a chrome grille, which we refer to as "her braces". MINImouse and I have been together ever since. She is perfect in every way and simply makes me smile every time I see her.

    Not only did that little MINI steal my heart, but she cast a spell on my sister as well. She is the proud owner of a 2008 S Pepper White Hardtop with a black roof. Coopster is a jewel as well and as much as I enjoy driving him on occasion, he's not MINImowse. (My sister says the same thing about her car, MINImowse is fun, but she's not Coopster.)

    So Happy 10 Year Anniversary MINI Cooper. I wish you as much joy and happiness as you have given me the past four years of MINI motoring.
     

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  16. Mononoke

    Mononoke New Member

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    Hooray MINI!
    For years I've toyed with the idea of owning a Mini.
    I was at the spring-mountain raceway in Pahrump last year participating in a cars n coffee time attack event.
    I ended up miss-shifting and I grenaded my motor in my cr-x.

    I think that event snapped my toying with the idea of owning a Mini into action. it was both :( and :)
    (I still have my cr-x in my garage/ slow build/ race car)

    For the remainder of the year, I found myself feverishly building my own Mini on the MiniUSA website.
    I would build and build and build! :D
    After new-years, I drove across town to test drive my first Mini!
    Immediately I enjoyed the driving experience.
    I had a hilarious face once I gave it the beans! :Thumbsup:

    The MINI has been a fresh new experience for me. I continue to enjoy!

    Here was the last action of my cr-x:
    311473_10150447956343708_584773707_10493092_1978217151_n.jpg
    and here is the handsome face that won my heart:
    The first photo snapped at the dealership...
    375405_10150589207828708_584773707_11018746_1133291189_n.jpg
     
  17. Redbeard

    Redbeard JCW: because fast is fun!
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    I lived in Vegas for 10 years from 1999 to 2010. Who do you know from the racing scene out there? I wasn't there but I had tons of friends at the CnC/PCA track day at SMMR. I was actually there a few weeks later in my MINI testing out my new tires. :Thumbsup:
     
  18. Mononoke

    Mononoke New Member

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    Ah neat!
    I don't really KNOW anybody, but I've met a few people who I think are pretty neat. :)
    Do you know Eugene Rolf? People call him Gene.
    I have a lot of respect for him as a person and instructor.
     
  19. maacodale

    maacodale Club Coordinator

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    Anybody have a clue as to WHERE the first MINI was sold?
     
  20. Redbeard

    Redbeard JCW: because fast is fun!
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    Yeah, I've been autocrossing with Gene since 2007. You'll often find him around Bob Barth or any of the Rowland clan (Rick, Rick Jr, Rebecca).
     

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