A journalist buys a car – part 2
With the racing season on, Rayder the 2002 MINI Cooper didn’t get quite as much use as she might have liked, staying in the lot two blocks away from home much of the time. The first day I parked there some idiot whacked the passenger’s side door, giving me conniptions – I’ve been parking as far away from the bozo as I can ever since…
When we came back from Indy for the 500, the battery was dead as a doornail – it had been taking a sweet time to turn over before that and I figured that was one item I”d be due to replace fairly soon. Auto Club came out within half an hour, fixed me up with a new battery and we were good to go. Funny that MINI doesn’t put a key insert on the passenger’s side, but such is life… No other problems have cropped up other than a reluctant right-side window that Mickey at Bullet Performance showed me how to easily fix.
By the time a gal pal needed a ride up to Fresno in late summer to pay a traffic ticket before a warrant was issued (it had to be done that very day), I’d maybe put 3000 miles on the car. That’s pretty sad, isn’t it? I was worried about the long, one-day turnaround but Rayder performed beautifully the whole way up the I-5 and CA99 – and back. I kept her maybe 5-7 mph over the limit and was absolutely unnoticeable. It was nice to know she could do this trip without drama.
Because we park in a public lot near a bunch of restaurants, bars and nightclubs downtown, there can be instances of trouble. One night some (other) bozo backed into Rayder and killed the right tail lamp cover. Turns out one needs to buy the entire assembly and, like anything else that comes from BMW/MINI, it’s quite expensive. Haven’t fixed it yet and just cover when the MINI is sitting during a rain storm.
The only drama I’ve had with this car came when a vehicle provider didn’t have a borrowed car available at the right time for me to do a trip to Las Vegas. Having found a new home with http://www.HerHighway.com, I’ve started reviewing vehicles again, but only on long trips or when I’m out of town. That way Rayder gets exercised, I have a car to take on long trips and the website gets reviews. The way things should be.
Well, we had to be in Las Vegas by 5PM for an appointment that Thursday afternoon and the arranged vehicle wasn’t going to be ready until an hour before that. I didn’t find out about this change until the morning of the pending delivery, so immediately tried to do the oil change I’d been putting off and get the poor MINI cleaned up for active duty. The oil change didn’t happen but the clean-up did and we were off to Las Vegas by noon.
Up the Cajon Pass we went with nary an overheating problem, keeping it (as usual) 5-7 over the limit and being passed by nearly everyone. After Baker there’s an even bigger climb – no problem for this car! And mileage was an enviable 34 mpg on the trip – sweet. The romps to and from The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway went extremely well and the ride home after a single day at SEMA was excellent too. What a relief!
While at SEMA I started making arrangements to update Rayder a bit. I’d had a K&N Typhoon intake on my previous car, a 2003 Mazda Protege5 and wanted to do that again. No problem. I also wanted to make sure the exhaust system was matched to the intake and spoke with MagnaFlow about that possibility. Again no problem.
In fact, the only problem I’m having is finding some mad scientist to install these items. Rayder now has just over 130,000 on the clock and, while it might be nice to dyno before and after installation, the cost looks pretty prohibitive. My friend Larry had a look at the installation instructions for both items and said he’d do it, so we’ll take some pics and tell that tale in the next installment of this story. In the meantime, this is what my living room looks like! The MagnaFlow box is nearly as tall as I am!
Rayder and I will celebrate a year on 7 January 2013 but it’ll be a few weeks later before she gets her new goodies installed. And by then, maybe I’ll have broken down and purchased a new tail lamp assembly for her? We shall see…
By Anne Proffit