Today is my last day with my 2003 MINI Cooper S. After 10 years, and 125,215 miles, she will move on to her new home, and new owners, tonight. Hopefully, she brings them just as much joy as she has brought me over the past 10 years.
From the first time I saw the new MINI, I knew I wanted one. After graduating college, and getting my first job, I saved until I could afford the MINI I wanted, exactly as I wanted it optioned out. In April 2003, I placed my order on an Indi Blue and White MINI Cooper S. I waited over the course of three months, and tracked her build and transport, until I took deliver on July 14, 2003.
I took delivery of my MINI with eight miles on the odometer, and over the course of the first two years, I put over 50,000 miles on her…my Flickr post on July 25, 2005 documented that milestone. The first few years included a lot of weekend drives up to Madison, Wisconsin to visit my girlfriend (now wife), and (of course) a lot of extra curricular motoring.
Over the past eight years, I have only put some 75,000 miles on the odometer…less than 10,000 miles per year. Rather impressive when compared to the 25,000 miles per year average over those first two years. That lower mileage has been helped by not driving up to Madison, Wisconsin almost every weekend, being garage kept from October through April for a couple years, and a relatively short 26 mile daily commute. When two young kids were added to the mix, and the amount of stuff required to travel with them, road trips in the MINI were not much of an option. So we ended up putting a lot of those miles on our Jeep.
However, I did go on some great road trips in my MINI. A trip out to the East Coast…Niagara Falls, Boston, Cape Cod, New York City. A trip down to Savannah, Georgia and Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Many road trips out to Dubuque, Iowa…Madison, Wisconsin…Winona, Minnesota…St. Louis, Missouri…Des Moines, Iowa…and Speedway, Indiana for the Indianapolis 500 and United States Grand Prix. There were plans of a Las Vegas road trip in there as well, but time constraints meant that we had to fly instead of drive…I’m a bit sad that never happened, that would have been a blast.
From the moment I drove her off the dealer lot, until the last mile I drove her today, I have always had a smile on my face. My MINI has been, without any doubt, the best car I have ever owned, and I am very sad to see her go. It had always been my intention to hold onto her forever, but children and financial realities have a way scuttling the best laid plans. Even though I have another MINI on order, I know I am going to miss this car.
Over the last few years, I haven’t been able to attend may Chicago MINI Motoring Club events, but last Saturday night, my son and I attended the CMMC meet up at Superdawg. It was a nice last hurrah for my MINI, and it was great to see she is still holding up well against the other first generation MINIs.
In the 125,215 miles I have motored in my MINI, here are a few stats (assuming my math is at least somewhat correct) that only I may find interesting/entertaining…
- Used over 5000 gallons of gasoline…over 385 fill ups at the pump
- About 22 oil changes, using about 100 quarts of oil…changing the oil every 5000-6000 miles, with a few top offs mixed in
- 4 sets of tires
- 4 sets of brake pads & rotors
- 2 sets of front control arm bushings & ball joints
- An estimated 160 car washes
Over the past few months, I had done quite a bit of maintenance and work on my MINI…replacing the front control arm bushings and ball joints, replacing the ignition coil and spark plug wires, and finally the big job of replacing the radiator, coolant hoses, and coolant expansion tank, as well as changing the supercharger oil and replacing the stock supercharger pulley with a 15% reduction pulley. It was a lot of work over those months, but it was a lot of fun, and I REALLY got to know the car even better.
It was a good run, but all good things must come to an end. I enjoyed every mile behind the wheel, and every wrench I turned on her. I hope her new owners enjoy her as much as I did…and I hope to see her around at some upcoming Chicago MINI Motoring events.