Automotive Enthusiast

mattavelle1

IT’S GOT A DEATH RAY!
Moderator
Well here's a rare and distinguished honour for you guys: I was so intrigued by the TNE Backroads videos that I decided to make one myself! This is actually the first video I've ever made for Youtube (save for the ones that Mariokart 8 made for me) so enjoy it!

Mrs Bob and myself recorded a short drive from the gates of my work down a couple of good old British country lanes. We also chatted some dumb shit while driving so maybe mute the video, idk...

This is wonderful!!! Thank you for sharing Sir Bob!!! Ohhhhhh
Man yeah I gotta get on another road quickly!
 

Shoulder

Your Resident Beardy Bear
Well here's a rare and distinguished honour for you guys: I was so intrigued by the TNE Backroads videos that I decided to make one myself! This is actually the first video I've ever made for Youtube (save for the ones that Mariokart 8 made for me) so enjoy it!

Mrs Bob and myself recorded a short drive from the gates of my work down a couple of good old British country lanes. We also chatted some dumb shit while driving so maybe mute the video, idk...

Silent Bob, my ass. You're a fucking chatterbox.

:msrs:

Btw, that sounds like a diesel, am I right? The only thing I can't make out though is the make model though.

And don't ask me why, but I LOVE your accent, the two of you. I seriously wish I could make out where you two are from, but I just cannot nail it down. The best I could come up with is you're from Northern England, and your wife is from Southern England.

...I got this all wrong, don't I?

This is wonderful!!! Thank you for sharing Sir Bob!!! Ohhhhhh
Man yeah I gotta get on another road quickly!
Same here. I just ordered an external mic for my GoPro for better sound, so I hope to get something recorded this weekend. I actually did record some new roads this past weekend, but the camera sort of fell asleep (meaning it tilted backwards), and you could clearly see my speedo, which I would rather people did not for some of those segments. That's the only issue with having the speedo in the center of the car: EVERYONE can see the damn speedo and how fast you're going. Certainly could not use that excuse to get out of a ticket, if that ever happened. I'll just use something to cover it up then.
 

Shoulder

Your Resident Beardy Bear
Even though my plan is to keep the MINI almost indefinitely because I love it so much, and it's always a pleasure to drive, I do have other cars which I seriously want, and hope to one day own. And watching these two vids from this fantastic channel on YouTube makes me seriously want to get one. The one and only: Porsche 911.


The only thing I have to say though is the name from that second video. The Growler? Ummm, doesn't this person who what a "growler" is?


Still though, I want a 911.
 

BobSilencieux

Well-Known Member
Silent Bob, my ass. You're a fucking chatterbox.

:msrs:

Btw, that sounds like a diesel, am I right? The only thing I can't make out though is the make model though.

And don't ask me why, but I LOVE your accent, the two of you. I seriously wish I could make out where you two are from, but I just cannot nail it down. The best I could come up with is you're from Northern England, and your wife is from Southern England.

...I got this all wrong, don't I?
1/3 Could do better.

I meant to mention the car. It's a 2002 1.3 litre Ford Ka, kinda like this one:



Only a little more rusty and battered and bruised. Worth about $600, maybe. (And Petrol, obvs!)

As for the accents, you got me - I am indeed from the North. North East to be precise; the same place as Tamaki from Unseen 64. But the Lady Silencieux is just what we call a bit of a poshy - from the Midlands but without a particularly noticeable regional accent...
 

Shoulder

Your Resident Beardy Bear
1/3 Could do better.

I meant to mention the car. It's a 2002 1.3 litre Ford Ka, kinda like this one:



Only a little more rusty and battered and bruised. Worth about $600, maybe. (And Petrol, obvs!)

As for the accents, you got me - I am indeed from the North. North East to be precise; the same place as Tamaki from Unseen 64. But the Lady Silencieux is just what we call a bit of a poshy - from the Midlands but without a particularly noticeable regional accent...
I really need to study harder... :p

Maybe it was the posh accent I was hearing, but could not exactly pick out where she was from. So I was 50% right then. ;)

I personally don't think I have a regional accent, and yet most people will immediately think I'm from the Midwest. Some people even get it right that I'm from Wisconsin.
 

EvilTw1n

Even my henchmen think I'm crazy.
Moderator
So I'm gonna second this indefensible comment.
http://jalopnik.com/comment-of-the-day-in-defense-of-the-pt-cruiser-editio-1726229451

My Cruiser has 206K miles on it. It's scarred up. Has a cracked dash, a dent on the hood from hitting a deer, the front power windows don't work, the sunroof is messed up, every light (save for the mileage and low fuel indicator) on the dash has burned out, it's got some paint smudges from people hitting it in parking lots, there's a line on the side from someone keying it after I put an Obama bumper sticker on it in 2008. But y'know what?

It. Won't. Die.

The only three major repairs it has ever gotten are one: replacing the timing belt, two: replacing the rear link (my own fault, tires were cupped from a bad alignment), and three: replacing the front/driver-side ball joint (idiots at Jiffy Lube punctured a fluid boot to it).

Bought it with 30K miles on it. I've given it one tune up. Last year it had one oil change (granted, that's because I put less than 5K miles on it that year). It needs a new PCU/ECM, but FFS, it's a 2001 car with 206K miles on it.

It hasn't aged well on the exterior, but the interior is more useful than 99% of the SUVs of its time (which weren't really "sporty," and didn't offer much "utility"). It is still pretty composed on the highway at my version of highway speeds.

Yeah, I'm gonna end up getting a Mazda with lower miles, but I'm not sure I can sell the Chrysler. It's like the Black Knight from Monty Python.
Still though, I want a 911.
You may want to avert your eyes, man.
http://www.topgear.com/car-news/classic/singers-porsche-911-40-greatest-car-you-can-buy-today#1

(Personally, I've just never been a Porsche guy. I do dig that they have more of a regular-car look to it; you could park an old 911 almost anywhere, and it'd look more at home than either a Mustang or a Ferrari. But if a BMW is a lawyer's car, then a Porsche seems like an orthodontist's car to me. Not that I'd turn away owning Porsche if offered, of course.)
 

Shoulder

Your Resident Beardy Bear
So I decided to to purchase the entire fast and furious collection on iTunes (OMG! SACRILEGE!!) since Furious 7 is currently out now on iTunes (SWEET!). And in anticipation of watching the seventh movie, I'm rewatching all the previous ones first. Gotta say, just watcing the first one, and while currently watching the second one, this never gets old:

 

Shoulder

Your Resident Beardy Bear
How do you hold your steering wheels?
I will judge you.
Depends really. Typically, it's my left hand resting on my lap on the 7, sometimes 8 o'clock position. A lot of the time though, especially if the windows are down, my left hand is in the 9 o'clock position, with my right hand hanging down at the 5 o'clock position. Sometimes, I've altered that slightly with the right hand at the 1 to 2 o'clock position, with the left hand unchanged. And if I'm driving in a spirited manner, it's always 9 and 3.

I never do that 10 and 2 bullshit.

When I get around posting another driving video, you'll see what my true driving style is...

EDIT: I should modify my original post because I become a little more self aware of my driving position. The resting of my left hand is actually on the 8 o'clock position more so than 7 o'clock.
 
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Shoulder

Your Resident Beardy Bear
Today was rather productive on the Mini. After waiting weeks and weeks, I finally got around to replacing both the Valve cover, and the Harmonic Balancer (aka Crank pulley or Damper). I replaced the valve cover because there was a crack where the ignition coil is located, so it was leaking oil slightly, and I replaced the damper because I needed to replace the front main seal, and felt it would be a good time to get the damper replaced with something better than oem.

As I was removing the serpentine belt to get the damper off, I noticed the belt had lots of cracks in it, so I had to go and buy a new belt in the process. Good thing I was doing all this then! Also changed the engine oil, and cleaned the air filter as well. Sucker did its job keeping gunk from reaching the engine, so that's always a plus.

As I was inspecting for leaks in other areas, I noticed a new leak started to develop by the rear main seal. And in order to get to that, I have to separate the engine and tranny from each other, which also means removing practically the entire front end, and a few other things. Basically, it's a big job. I'll only do that though when I have to replace the clutch, put in a limited-slip dif. And since I'll be going through all that, I also replace the bypass valve since I happen to have a new one lying around, and I might as well get the supercharger serviced and get a reduction pulley put on for more POWAR!

And on last thing, I've noticed over the past few weeks that I'm getting some bubbles on the paint on the exterior of the car. NOOOOOOOO!!!!! Oh well, it's a car, it's my daily driver, it was bound to happen at some point. I notice it on the boot lid just above the license plate, and another by the gas cap. *sigh*

Once this becomes my weekend car, and I have a different vehicle as a daily driver, I'll continue to maintain it to keep it purring. 133k miles on this sucker, and I'm not about to give up on it.
 

EvilTw1n

Even my henchmen think I'm crazy.
Moderator
And screw it, I'll triple post. Because...



http://blog.caranddriver.com/toyota-s-fr-concept-small-front-engine-rear-drive-sign-us-up/

Crucially...

The S-FR is actually the lower end of a three-pronged sports-car lineup that will include the FR-S directly above it and the new Toyota-and-BMW co-developed Supra successor above that. The S-FR is expected to go into production in late 2016, with sales starting in early 2017—here’s hoping those sales extend to American shores, as well.

So...one, they're actually gonna build that little ball 'o fun. Two, it'll be below the 86/BRZ/FR-S, so should be cheaper than those cars.

Bring that thing here. I'd buy that.
 
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EvilTw1n

Even my henchmen think I'm crazy.
Moderator
We come to it at last, the great battle of our time.

Porsche 918. McLaren P1. La Ferrari. Same track, same driver.


Track times:

La Ferrari - 1.54:25
Porsche - 1.53:98
McLaren - 1.53:57 / 1.51:78 on racing tires

Note that the McLaren had its non-road legal, active-aero on the whole time.

So...about sixth-tenths. Around a long course that gets you up to 185 mph on straights, in which small driver error in one corner will erase any differences, anyways.

I think the takeaway here is this:

-For a car you'd drive on normal roads, you want the Porsche. 4WD is necessary for mortals to deal with 1,000 hp, and that thing is planted to the road.
-For a car you'd drive on the track, you want the McLaren. All of its active aero / science project-ness lives for a closed course.
-But if you were going to die tomorrow, you'd want to drive that Ferrari. Why? Because the last thing you want to do is feel it pull up to redline on a straight, and the last thing you want to hear is that screaming V12.
 
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Shoulder

Your Resident Beardy Bear
No matter how many times I watch this, it's still funy as shit. Wonder if you could make an "Epic Fail" gif out of it, because that would be almost too perfect.

 

EvilTw1n

Even my henchmen think I'm crazy.
Moderator
^
After not watching TG for a few months, I saw "new episodes" pop up on Netflix, and I mainlined them all in quick succession. Some of the more oaf-ish behavior was starting to bother me, but I really did miss the sort of camaraderie they had going on. Some of the last episodes were great, and the "car episode" they did (old school - AMG GT into i8 vs. M3 into Defender up a dam) was the best thing I've watched them do in a long, long time.


The i8 portion, in particular, was really something.


Informative, beautifully shot ('cept for the shaky cam), funny...everything a good TG segment should be.

Chris Evans has a lot to live up to. (BTW, looks like it might be a trio for the cast, after all.)
That's one of the best high-speed saves I've ever seen. :eek:
 

EvilTw1n

Even my henchmen think I'm crazy.
Moderator
So two points on this Forbes article.
http://www.forbes.com/sites/joannmu...ar-mazda-says-why-take-all-the-fun-out-of-it/

1) Elon Musk is right; cars you don't drive are a fait accompli. Small car companies like Mazda are going to have to evolve significantly in order to survive. But I really admire the ethos of Kogai-san. You have to appreciate shooting stars when you see them, and his company is indeed that right now.

2) This is a Nintendo-related point: just look at Mazda's stock.

To pay for it, Mazda issued $2.7 billion in a stock and debt offering in 2012. It was a gigantic bet for a small company trying to stay competitive with larger global players.

But it worked. After the catastrophe of its divorce from Ford, Mazda has been profitable for the last three years. In the fiscal year ended Mar. 31, 2015, net income was $1.3 billion, on revenues of $25 billion. Global vehicle sales are up 12% since 2012, and Mazda’s Ebitda margin has improved to almost 9%, better than Ford’s 7.9% but still lagging the industry average of 11%. Wall Street isn’t a believer. Mazda shares were down 15.7% in 2015 (through mid-December), versus 3.4% for the industry as a whole.

Mazda's bet on itself was a success. It immediately led to three years of profitability, improved sales, and its core operating profitability has beaten Detroit. But the stock market? They see a success story of real profitability and couldn't care less. Don't confuse a run on stocks with solvency, something we've talked about with Nintendo these past few years.
 

EvilTw1n

Even my henchmen think I'm crazy.
Moderator
Well, I finally got to drive a Miata. This one:
http://rosenthalacura.com/Gaithersb...Mazda/MX-5-Miata/2006-Sport-Red-Car/44908848/

Miata
Is
Always
The
Answer

Or so they say. I can now confirm that everything you've heard about the car is kinda true...for good and ill.

It's super fun. I've never driven anything else where you just point it and the damn thing goes there with absolutely no drama. None. It's just so frickin' light (and this was the "fat" gen Miata). The turn-in is poised beyond belief. It's almost telepathic. I've driven other cars that handle great (GTI, Mini, Mazda 3, Civic SI, etc.), but there's always a slight delay; you turn the wheel, the car follows. There's no delay with the Miata. You turn the wheel to say "hey car, drive over to that corner" and the Miata answers back "I know, sunshine, I've been waiting on you to get your ass in gear." I can't imagine anything else handling like this for the price. You probably have to get a Porsche for reflexes like that. It's unbelievable.

The gear shift is similarly telepathic. You know how long throws are in your usual car? Halve that. It makes a GTI gear change feel overly long. You pull the lever back, and it just snicks right into gear. It's like you're thinking "I'd like to change ge--oh, I'm there already." If you're a petrolsexual, it's damn near gear intercourse. And because of the way this car is geared, you're going to be changing gears a lot.

And then you put the top down, and pretty much nothing else in the world matters. You're having fun in a convertible that practically reads your mind. It was only 45 degrees out yesterday, but because it has a furnace of a heater, it doesn't matter - you put that top down. And then you hear the soundtrack. The engine is pretty quiet until you get it up around 4 grand, and then it's almost egging you on to push it up to redline. The car comes alive when you push it, like it's bored with you until you start flogging the ever loving hell out of it. It's everything I thought it could be. Glorious.

So I didn't buy it.

Because all of the bad things you've heard about having a small, two-seat Mazda convertible are true. First off, it's low. I mean, low. I went to sit in the car...and, well, I'm used to getting in normal cars. The Miata's seat is like 6 inches lower than you're used to, so you plop down in the thing, and then it's a bitch to get out of for someone like me with some back problems. And it's also tiny. I'm not that big of a guy (5'11" / 155 lbs), but I had the seat as far back as it went and was still a touch cramped. You quickly get used to it (it's not super cramped; I was OK with the headroom with the top up, but only just), but if you're any bigger than me, it's gonna be a chore. If you're going to daily drive this, you better be ready for these compromises. The tradeoff for all of the fun of the top being down and the car just being a point 'n go machine is that it's not comfortable. You could road trip in this, but you're going to want to take a break at every rest stop.

The driver's side rear wheel well also had been rusted through, which they cleverly made sure to not point out in the photos. I've seen a bunch of Mazdas like this, where the owner doesn't figure out that you have to rinse out the wheel arches if you drive it on salty roads (this is a big weakness of Mazdas I've been looking at). That aftermaket luggage rack on the back isn't permanent; it latches around the truck opening. Which means it latches through the weather seal. Which means that when I test drove it, there was standing water in the trunk.

But more than anything, I think the car's greatest strength is also what turned me off to it (new weather sealing isn't that much; a competent shop can fix the wheel well). Yes, it's light and turns on a dime, but you turn the wheel and watch the front end rush over scenery and...well, it feels highly insubstantial. Like the thing could almost lift off in a stiff wind. And then there's the transmission. Yes, that gear shifter is a delight, but it's attached to a motor you always have to flog. And I mean even at parking lot speeds. In literally every other manual I've ever driven, second is your low-speed turning gear. If you're already moving, you use second. You use first in the Miata (which is a pain in the ass with a vague clutch catch-point). And you plant your foot down for it, at that. A car with this much horsepower and this little weight shouldn't feel that underpowered.

What makes a Miata feel amazing to drive also makes it feel really cramped, really insubstantial, really unpractical, and yes....really unsafe. If you're going to daily drive something, you unfortunately have to worry about giant SUVs with soccer parents texting while they're commuting. You have to worry about deer during the rut. You have to worry about being in someone's blind spot on the highway.

If you want to drive something fun on a back road, Miata is, yes, always the answer.

But for real world driving? It's not. You can get about 80% of the feel of a Miata in a Mazda 3 (a car that can also fit in more people, groceries, IKEA furniture, etc. while not needing to be flogged to hell, and feeling safer and more substantial for all involved).

Not lying, though. I really miss feeling that extra 20% already. I went to the dealer with a friend who drove, because I intended to drive that car home myself. Maybe one day I'll own a Miata for a weekend car.
 

Shoulder

Your Resident Beardy Bear
Well, I finally got to drive a Miata. This one:
http://rosenthalacura.com/Gaithersb...Mazda/MX-5-Miata/2006-Sport-Red-Car/44908848/

Miata
Is
Always
The
Answer

Or so they say. I can now confirm that everything you've heard about the car is kinda true...for good and ill.

It's super fun. I've never driven anything else where you just point it and the damn thing goes there with absolutely no drama. None. It's just so frickin' light (and this was the "fat" gen Miata). The turn-in is poised beyond belief. It's almost telepathic. I've driven other cars that handle great (GTI, Mini, Mazda 3, Civic SI, etc.), but there's always a slight delay; you turn the wheel, the car follows. There's no delay with the Miata. You turn the wheel to say "hey car, drive over to that corner" and the Miata answers back "I know, sunshine, I've been waiting on you to get your ass in gear." I can't imagine anything else handling like this for the price. You probably have to get a Porsche for reflexes like that. It's unbelievable.

The gear shift is similarly telepathic. You know how long throws are in your usual car? Halve that. It makes a GTI gear change feel overly long. You pull the lever back, and it just snicks right into gear. It's like you're thinking "I'd like to change ge--oh, I'm there already." If you're a petrolsexual, it's damn near gear intercourse. And because of the way this car is geared, you're going to be changing gears a lot.

And then you put the top down, and pretty much nothing else in the world matters. You're having fun in a convertible that practically reads your mind. It was only 45 degrees out yesterday, but because it has a furnace of a heater, it doesn't matter - you put that top down. And then you hear the soundtrack. The engine is pretty quiet until you get it up around 4 grand, and then it's almost egging you on to push it up to redline. The car comes alive when you push it, like it's bored with you until you start flogging the ever loving hell out of it. It's everything I thought it could be. Glorious.

So I didn't buy it.

Because all of the bad things you've heard about having a small, two-seat Mazda convertible are true. First off, it's low. I mean, low. I went to sit in the car...and, well, I'm used to getting in normal cars. The Miata's seat is like 6 inches lower than you're used to, so you plop down in the thing, and then it's a bitch to get out of for someone like me with some back problems. And it's also tiny. I'm not that big of a guy (5'11" / 155 lbs), but I had the seat as far back as it went and was still a touch cramped. You quickly get used to it (it's not super cramped; I was OK with the headroom with the top up, but only just), but if you're any bigger than me, it's gonna be a chore. If you're going to daily drive this, you better be ready for these compromises. The tradeoff for all of the fun of the top being down and the car just being a point 'n go machine is that it's not comfortable. You could road trip in this, but you're going to want to take a break at every rest stop.

The driver's side rear wheel well also had been rusted through, which they cleverly made sure to not point out in the photos. I've seen a bunch of Mazdas like this, where the owner doesn't figure out that you have to rinse out the wheel arches if you drive it on salty roads (this is a big weakness of Mazdas I've been looking at). That aftermaket luggage rack on the back isn't permanent; it latches around the truck opening. Which means it latches through the weather seal. Which means that when I test drove it, there was standing water in the trunk.

But more than anything, I think the car's greatest strength is also what turned me off to it (new weather sealing isn't that much; a competent shop can fix the wheel well). Yes, it's light and turns on a dime, but you turn the wheel and watch the front end rush over scenery and...well, it feels highly insubstantial. Like the thing could almost lift off in a stiff wind. And then there's the transmission. Yes, that gear shifter is a delight, but it's attached to a motor you always have to flog. And I mean even at parking lot speeds. In literally every other manual I've ever driven, second is your low-speed turning gear. If you're already moving, you use second. You use first in the Miata (which is a pain in the ass with a vague clutch catch-point). And you plant your foot down for it, at that. A car with this much horsepower and this little weight shouldn't feel that underpowered.

What makes a Miata feel amazing to drive also makes it feel really cramped, really insubstantial, really unpractical, and yes....really unsafe. If you're going to daily drive something, you unfortunately have to worry about giant SUVs with soccer parents texting while they're commuting. You have to worry about deer during the rut. You have to worry about being in someone's blind spot on the highway.

If you want to drive something fun on a back road, Miata is, yes, always the answer.

But for real world driving? It's not. You can get about 80% of the feel of a Miata in a Mazda 3 (a car that can also fit in more people, groceries, IKEA furniture, etc. while not needing to be flogged to hell, and feeling safer and more substantial for all involved).

Not lying, though. I really miss feeling that extra 20% already. I went to the dealer with a friend who drove, because I intended to drive that car home myself. Maybe one day I'll own a Miata for a weekend car.
I still have yet to drive a Miata, but you basically all the nails in the head concerning what I've heard about it. I have a friend who used to own one of the earlier ones, and she absolutely loved it. She currently drives a Subaru Baja, and it's just not the same for her. She clearly misses her Miata.

Now, based on what you were saying though, I think I can relate based on the time I drove a 1st gen RX-7 (totally stock). Like the Miata, it is small, RWD, short-throw 5-speed, low to the ground, handles like an absolute dream, and you'll always want to mash through the gears at every possible chance. The steering, especially for a 1982 car was sublime and very precise. Even the clutch was light, and hydraulic, which surprised me given how many cars of the time were still using cables (Porsche 911 being one of them if I recall).

Also, like the Miata, it is not the most practical car to drive, could be small for those who are rather tall (not an issue for my 5'9"/180lb frame), and overall would be best suited as a weekend vehicle. This is basically what I plan to do with my Mini once I get another vehicle later this year, possibly in the spring (Still looking into a Wrangler, but there are other choices which I'll explain in a later post)

I've driven my Mini (which is almost a foot shorter than the Miata, but a few inches taller) as a daily drive, rain, shine or snow for almost 10 years now, and for the most part I don't have issues with being in people's blindspots, or take issue with the soccer moms in their honkin' SUVs. The only big issue I've come across on a consistent basis is when you want to turn right, and there's a taller vehicle next to you blocking your view, so you either have to drive much further ahead, almost onto the street, or if possible stop before them so you can see passed them. Sometimes, I just wait until they drive on, and then I determine if it's safe to go, but sometimes drivers behind me take issue because they think I can see everything that they see (wrong!).

Nonetheless though, I wouldn't trade the Mini for anything. It's funny because I had a bit of an epiphany while I was listening in to my next door neighbors getting it on, and after the night before when I was watching How I met Your Mother. There was something I felt when I first drove the Mini, almost like finding your true love. You cannot exactly explain it, but you feel so sure of it, and despite some issues and/or quirks along the way, you learn to adapt/deal with them. The Mini is like that for me. It was love at first sight, and it almost telepathically communicated that it wanted me to drive it home.

I was getting the impression that the Miata was starting to do the same, Donut. You might've found your true love driving that thing. :mlove:
 

Cubits

Well-Known Member
The best alternative to the early miata is all of the french hot hatchbacks which you guys sadly missed out on. When i was looking at miatas i couldn't shake the feeling that a rwd sportscar REALLY should be faster off the mark than a similarly powered fwd. Sure, the roof doesn't drop in something like a renault clio, but they're just as fun to throw around, are faster, have mountains more headroom, and you can still fit half of ikea in the back!

I ended up going for a peugeot 205 gti, which i have considered repurchasing in the last few years as it's still the best handling fwd i have ever driven, has "japan bitchslappingly" fantastic damping, and steering feel which genuinely gives things like the elise a run for their money.

But my tiny, impractical RWD of choice is my current runabout, the supercharged MR2. It has a lot in common with the miata, but feels like it has twice the engine capacity, has working airconditioning, and accomodates a six footer with a helmet on (which really is a pipedream in the miata). It probably even has more storage room!

It took a bit of tweaking to fix the default setup's aversion to fun; toyota made it "safe" by giving it a hilariously forwards brake bias, and the suspension rates were the usual "japanese bad". These were items which were due a replacement anyway, so it's hardly inconvenient.
 

Shoulder

Your Resident Beardy Bear
The best alternative to the early miata is all of the french hot hatchbacks which you guys sadly missed out on. When i was looking at miatas i couldn't shake the feeling that a rwd sportscar REALLY should be faster off the mark than a similarly powered fwd. Sure, the roof doesn't drop in something like a renault clio, but they're just as fun to throw around, are faster, have mountains more headroom, and you can still fit half of ikea in the back!

I ended up going for a peugeot 205 gti, which i have considered repurchasing in the last few years as it's still the best handling fwd i have ever driven, has "japan bitchslappingly" fantastic damping, and steering feel which genuinely gives things like the elise a run for their money.

But my tiny, impractical RWD of choice is my current runabout, the supercharged MR2. It has a lot in common with the miata, but feels like it has twice the engine capacity, has working airconditioning, and accomodates a six footer with a helmet on (which really is a pipedream in the miata). It probably even has more storage room!

It took a bit of tweaking to fix the default setup's aversion to fun; toyota made it "safe" by giving it a hilariously forwards brake bias, and the suspension rates were the usual "japanese bad". These were items which were due a replacement anyway, so it's hardly inconvenient.
What year Peugeot did you get, and petrol or diesel?
 

EvilTw1n

Even my henchmen think I'm crazy.
Moderator
I still have yet to drive a Miata, but you basically all the nails in the head concerning what I've heard about it. I have a friend who used to own one of the earlier ones, and she absolutely loved it. She currently drives a Subaru Baja, and it's just not the same for her. She clearly misses her Miata.

Now, based on what you were saying though, I think I can relate based on the time I drove a 1st gen RX-7 (totally stock). Like the Miata, it is small, RWD, short-throw 5-speed, low to the ground, handles like an absolute dream, and you'll always want to mash through the gears at every possible chance. The steering, especially for a 1982 car was sublime and very precise. Even the clutch was light, and hydraulic, which surprised me given how many cars of the time were still using cables (Porsche 911 being one of them if I recall).

Also, like the Miata, it is not the most practical car to drive, could be small for those who are rather tall (not an issue for my 5'9"/180lb frame), and overall would be best suited as a weekend vehicle. This is basically what I plan to do with my Mini once I get another vehicle later this year, possibly in the spring (Still looking into a Wrangler, but there are other choices which I'll explain in a later post)

I've driven my Mini (which is almost a foot shorter than the Miata, but a few inches taller) as a daily drive, rain, shine or snow for almost 10 years now, and for the most part I don't have issues with being in people's blindspots, or take issue with the soccer moms in their honkin' SUVs. The only big issue I've come across on a consistent basis is when you want to turn right, and there's a taller vehicle next to you blocking your view, so you either have to drive much further ahead, almost onto the street, or if possible stop before them so you can see passed them. Sometimes, I just wait until they drive on, and then I determine if it's safe to go, but sometimes drivers behind me take issue because they think I can see everything that they see (wrong!).

Nonetheless though, I wouldn't trade the Mini for anything. It's funny because I had a bit of an epiphany while I was listening in to my next door neighbors getting it on, and after the night before when I was watching How I met Your Mother. There was something I felt when I first drove the Mini, almost like finding your true love. You cannot exactly explain it, but you feel so sure of it, and despite some issues and/or quirks along the way, you learn to adapt/deal with them. The Mini is like that for me. It was love at first sight, and it almost telepathically communicated that it wanted me to drive it home.

I was getting the impression that the Miata was starting to do the same, Donut. You might've found your true love driving that thing. :mlove:
I get the feeling that it's a summer fling. Right now, it's just not economically viable for me to have two cars; if I were to get a Miata, I'd have to keep my Chrysler (problem being that it has 208K miles on it, and once you leave an old high mileage car alone, they tend to start dying). Having the Miata alone would be a problem, because it just wouldn't be my choice on a 4-hour highway roadtrip. Not just for barely being as tall as most tractor trailers' wheels, but because it's going to rain sooner or later, and you're always going to have all of that road noise with none of the convertible fun, all the while with your ass killing you. Maybe if my back were in better shape, I'd have jumped on that car (probably not, the rust was a real problem), but I just can't see being comfortable in one. I'm an old, so comfort is a factor in something I'll drive every day.

It's too impractical.

...which is why I still kinda want one.
The best alternative to the early miata is all of the french hot hatchbacks which you guys sadly missed out on. When i was looking at miatas i couldn't shake the feeling that a rwd sportscar REALLY should be faster off the mark than a similarly powered fwd. Sure, the roof doesn't drop in something like a renault clio, but they're just as fun to throw around, are faster, have mountains more headroom, and you can still fit half of ikea in the back!

I ended up going for a peugeot 205 gti, which i have considered repurchasing in the last few years as it's still the best handling fwd i have ever driven, has "japan bitchslappingly" fantastic damping, and steering feel which genuinely gives things like the elise a run for their money.

But my tiny, impractical RWD of choice is my current runabout, the supercharged MR2. It has a lot in common with the miata, but feels like it has twice the engine capacity, has working airconditioning, and accomodates a six footer with a helmet on (which really is a pipedream in the miata). It probably even has more storage room!

It took a bit of tweaking to fix the default setup's aversion to fun; toyota made it "safe" by giving it a hilariously forwards brake bias, and the suspension rates were the usual "japanese bad". These were items which were due a replacement anyway, so it's hardly inconvenient.
Cubits! How the hell have you been, man?

There's someone that lives on my street that has an old yellow MR2, and it looks fun as hell. Unfortunately, most of the other examples I see for sale around here have been stanced, bro. My back hurts looking at that. I'm quite jealous of you, though.

A hot hatch is what I originally started looking for, but over here, we mainly only ever got the GTI. In my price range, the used examples are usually from years where the car had a crappy reliability rating (and the '07 I tried a few months ago just wasn't overly inspiring, tbh). Every Cooper S I've tried was hooned to hell (premium gas price is also a factor). Ditto the Civic SI. That's primarily why I paid so much attention to Mazda 3s; they're reasonably priced, and they have pretty athletic handling for what they are.
 

Shoulder

Your Resident Beardy Bear
@EvilTw1n It's funny you talking about impractical, because that's how I feel towards the Jeep Wrangler...which is why I want one.

Not great gas mileage, vague steering, ride is harsher than you'd think, not exactly a performance vehicle, not the most practical, and yet I drove a 2002 a couple years ago, and I loved it. It had enough quirkiness to it that reminded me of the MINI. I would go for at least a 2007 or newer since they have more amenities and creature comforts.

I'm still considering other vehicles such as:

Jeep Cherokee (current generation)
Ford Escape (current gen)
Toyota RAV4
Toyota FJ Cruiser
Mini Countryman S All4


Basically, I want something with AWD/4WD, and taller ride height; in essence, a new daily driver. Then the Mini will become my weekend car. Perhaps at some point I'll sell it and get rid of it, but I'm too attached to it, like I said earlier.
 

EvilTw1n

Even my henchmen think I'm crazy.
Moderator
So, on a lark, a friend suggested I test drive a Fiat 500 at CarMax. This violates a big-time rule for me: thou shalt not purchase anything from CarMax ("no haggle" pricing means they aren't going to ever negotiate an overpriced car). But a test drive is a test drive.

I was genuinely surprised. That is a very good little car. It's far more spacious on the inside than you'd think (it's possible to fit an adult in the rear...for short periods of time). The seating is perfect for a daily driver; it's almost as high up as in my Cruiser. I went from testing a Miata where you have to fall into the car, to the Fiat where you nearly have to climb into it. The latter option is preferable. There's also a trunk hatch that will actually fit groceries. Maybe even one or two children.

The steering is perfect for what it is. It's all very loose and rope-y at very low speeds, when you'd have to pull a U-turn. But it stiffens up at speed. If you hit the "sport" button, you can just feel it tighten up the steering a bit more. ...and I kind of spent most of that test drive with the steering, ahem, requiring a little effort. That car had 30K miles on it, and I doubt it had ever been driven as hard as I pushed it. That's partly due to the engine; it's only 101 hp, and probably less torque, so you have to really rev the thing. The engine complies, but only in a sort of tolerating way (it doesn't rev with gusto like in a VTEC Honda or anything). But it's fun. You're only doing 70-ish mph, but it feels faster because you're so involved. And the handling is marvelous. There's some body roll because of the ride height, but again, it doesn't matter at these speeds. You can take a corner at 50 in this with a pretty high degree of confidence. Even if you get over confident, the brakes will save you; it stops faster than a scolded puppy.

Unfortunately, it has two huge, glaring, unavoidable weaknesses. One, the clutch. It's the most vague thing I've ever driven. You'll burn that thing up because who knows where the hell the catch point is? It's like a rubber band.

Two, the shifter feels like it was made to be put in a children's toy - and not a good, solidly made one, like LEGO. To be clear, I never missed a gear I aimed for, but that's only because the gate is so wide and the throws are so long. It works. But it feels chintzy. Cheap.

Which was a real shame. I was surprised at how much I liked that car. It's truly good. Overpriced (still), but good. In another 2-3 years, more of those early 2012 models will be hitting the used market here in the US with modest mileage on them; they were fashion accessories at the time, and you can already see people selling them back without much wear and tear on them. In another few years, I think you might find lots of 500's out there with 50K or so miles on them, probably selling around $6K-$8K. It'll be worth buying, then. And if you know how to wrench, you can adjust the clutch and put in a better shifter. Then you'll have a little piece of Italy to hoon around back roads at 60(ish) mph.
@EvilTw1n It's funny you talking about impractical, because that's how I feel towards the Jeep Wrangler...which is why I want one.

Not great gas mileage, vague steering, ride is harsher than you'd think, not exactly a performance vehicle, not the most practical, and yet I drove a 2002 a couple years ago, and I loved it. It had enough quirkiness to it that reminded me of the MINI. I would go for at least a 2007 or newer since they have more amenities and creature comforts.

I'm still considering other vehicles such as:

Jeep Cherokee (current generation)
Ford Escape (current gen)
Toyota RAV4
Toyota FJ Cruiser
Mini Countryman S All4


Basically, I want something with AWD/4WD, and taller ride height; in essence, a new daily driver. Then the Mini will become my weekend car. Perhaps at some point I'll sell it and get rid of it, but I'm too attached to it, like I said earlier.
Jeeps are FUN. My Uncle had one; if memory serves, it was a 1978 CJ7. It was that awful 70's brown color, but he had it painted bright, fire-engine red. No doors. I remember riding around in that thing on the highway. It always felt like it was going to topple over. That's probably why it felt fun.
 

Shoulder

Your Resident Beardy Bear
So, on a lark, a friend suggested I test drive a Fiat 500 at CarMax. This violates a big-time rule for me: thou shalt not purchase anything from CarMax ("no haggle" pricing means they aren't going to ever negotiate an overpriced car). But a test drive is a test drive.

I was genuinely surprised. That is a very good little car. It's far more spacious on the inside than you'd think (it's possible to fit an adult in the rear...for short periods of time). The seating is perfect for a daily driver; it's almost as high up as in my Cruiser. I went from testing a Miata where you have to fall into the car, to the Fiat where you nearly have to climb into it. The latter option is preferable. There's also a trunk hatch that will actually fit groceries. Maybe even one or two children.

The steering is perfect for what it is. It's all very loose and rope-y at very low speeds, when you'd have to pull a U-turn. But it stiffens up at speed. If you hit the "sport" button, you can just feel it tighten up the steering a bit more. ...and I kind of spent most of that test drive with the steering, ahem, requiring a little effort. That car had 30K miles on it, and I doubt it had ever been driven as hard as I pushed it. That's partly due to the engine; it's only 101 hp, and probably less torque, so you have to really rev the thing. The engine complies, but only in a sort of tolerating way (it doesn't rev with gusto like in a VTEC Honda or anything). But it's fun. You're only doing 70-ish mph, but it feels faster because you're so involved. And the handling is marvelous. There's some body roll because of the ride height, but again, it doesn't matter at these speeds. You can take a corner at 50 in this with a pretty high degree of confidence. Even if you get over confident, the brakes will save you; it stops faster than a scolded puppy.

Unfortunately, it has two huge, glaring, unavoidable weaknesses. One, the clutch. It's the most vague thing I've ever driven. You'll burn that thing up because who knows where the hell the catch point is? It's like a rubber band.

Two, the shifter feels like it was made to be put in a children's toy - and not a good, solidly made one, like LEGO. To be clear, I never missed a gear I aimed for, but that's only because the gate is so wide and the throws are so long. It works. But it feels chintzy. Cheap.

Which was a real shame. I was surprised at how much I liked that car. It's truly good. Overpriced (still), but good. In another 2-3 years, more of those early 2012 models will be hitting the used market here in the US with modest mileage on them; they were fashion accessories at the time, and you can already see people selling them back without much wear and tear on them. In another few years, I think you might find lots of 500's out there with 50K or so miles on them, probably selling around $6K-$8K. It'll be worth buying, then. And if you know how to wrench, you can adjust the clutch and put in a better shifter. Then you'll have a little piece of Italy to hoon around back roads at 60(ish) mph.

Jeeps are FUN. My Uncle had one; if memory serves, it was a 1978 CJ7. It was that awful 70's brown color, but he had it painted bright, fire-engine red. No doors. I remember riding around in that thing on the highway. It always felt like it was going to topple over. That's probably why it felt fun.
If you like the Fiat 500, you'd probably like the Fiat 500 Abarth then. It's interesting you bring up about the long throws of the gearbox, because my Mini is similar in that regard. The difference between a stock Mini and mine is I have a weighted shift knob attached, so throwing through the gears is a lot easier than before, and so it doesn't feel as though the throws are as long, nor as stiff.

In terms of Jeeps again, I drove a 2002 several times that my Dad owned for about a year, and I loved it. As I've said before, the steering wasn't the msot precise, nor was the ride particularily the greatest, and yet I did not care. I never got to experience it without the doors on, but I did manage to sneak a couple drives in with the top off, and it was so great. It reminded me of the fun drives I have in the Mini, but at a slower pace. For Jeeps, you simply don't need to hammer on the throttle to get the full experience, and I never even took it off-road either.

I do feel comfortable right now going for a Jeep as my next car, but the generation and year is the key part. I drove a TJ, and the current gens are the JK. Some people have said the JKs aren't as great, but I look at the amenities on them, and overall better looking interior and think a JK model would be fine. The purists will of course bring up the 4.0L Straight-6 engine, which I know to be a bulletproof engine, but gas mileage is terrible (as is for most Jeeps anyway), and even that 3.8L V6, while is a bit underpowered, is not a horrible engine by any means. And of course the newer 3.6l V6 is a very good engine as well.

Some people have said I should get an Unlimited, so I have the 4-doors, and at that point I wouldn't even bother, and would just end up getting a Cherokee in the process. I feel if I want to get a Wrangler, I'll stick with the 2-dr.
 

Shoulder

Your Resident Beardy Bear
I have not watched the entire movie in a few years, but I'll always remember the chase from the original Gone in 60 Seconds. Arguably, still one of the best car chases ever filmed.

 

EvilTw1n

Even my henchmen think I'm crazy.
Moderator
@Shoulder

Well, I guess you'll appreciate it. Followed me home.

Mini.jpg

Mini2.jpg

I drove an '04 Mini last weekend (97K miles, $5,700), and very nearly bought it. Fantastic handling, superlatively good shifter and clutch action. Decided I'd sleep on it, and it was gone the next day.

Drove this one today ('09 with 115K miles, $4,900), and didn't wait. Put $300 down and they put the price down by $200, so the loan (minus interest) is $4,400. Had to do a lot of negotiating to tell them I didn't want their gap insurance (NEVER BUY DEALER GAP INSURANCE) or $2,500 extended warranty. It was the only time in the entire sales experience that they were ever pushy; they're seriously not used to people pushing back on it, so I cut them some slack.

So...flaws? There's a very small ding (that you have to really look for) on the driver's door from the edge of someone else's door glancing it. The engine whines a bit at highway speeds. There's a little paint chipping on the hood (obviously a highway car, this one) that someone painted in with a shade of red that's a touch off, but to me it just looks like freckles. And...umm...it's red, instead of the green I prefer.

That aside? Holy crap, this is a great car. You could've told me that it had 60K miles on it, and I would've believed you. One owner, and they serviced it regularly. It doesn't have the punch of a Cooper S, but it's easily got enough poke to have fun with. 6-speed manual, and it flatters you because of the close gearing - downshifting barely requires any throttle blip. Helluva shifter, too. Not Miata-good, but pretty impressive. Takes corners like a champ. Clutch isn't quite as good as the '04, but it's not far off (probably hasn't ever been replaced). Interior is in fantastic shape.

It may not be a hot hatch, but it's a hoot.
 

Shoulder

Your Resident Beardy Bear
@Shoulder

Well, I guess you'll appreciate it. Followed me home.

View attachment 2855


I drove an '04 Mini last weekend (97K miles, $5,700), and very nearly bought it. Fantastic handling, superlatively good shifter and clutch action. Decided I'd sleep on it, and it was gone the next day.

Drove this one today ('09 with 115K miles, $4,900), and didn't wait. Put $300 down and they put the price down by $200, so the loan (minus interest) is $4,400. Had to do a lot of negotiating to tell them I didn't want their gap insurance (NEVER BUY DEALER GAP INSURANCE) or $2,500 extended warranty. It was the only time in the entire sales experience that they were ever pushy; they're seriously not used to people pushing back on it, so I cut them some slack.

So...flaws? There's a very small ding (that you have to really look for) on the driver's door from the edge of someone else's door glancing it. The engine whines a bit at highway speeds. There's a little paint chipping on the hood (obviously a highway car, this one) that someone painted in with a shade of red that's a touch off, but to me it just looks like freckles. And...umm...it's red, instead of the green I prefer.

That aside? Holy crap, this is a great car. You could've told me that it had 60K miles on it, and I would've believed you. One owner, and they serviced it regularly. It doesn't have the punch of a Cooper S, but it's easily got enough poke to have fun with. 6-speed manual, and it flatters you because of the close gearing - downshifting barely requires any throttle blip. Helluva shifter, too. Not Miata-good, but pretty impressive. Takes corners like a champ. Clutch isn't quite as good as the '04, but it's not far off (probably hasn't ever been replaced). Interior is in fantastic shape.

It may not be a hot hatch, but it's a hoot.
It's hot enough that the chicks will be queuing up left and right for you now. :mthumb:

If you have questions or concerns, let me know. Also, you should check out North American Motoring for everything Mini if you're interested.
 

EvilTw1n

Even my henchmen think I'm crazy.
Moderator
http://www.topgear.com/car-news/motorsport/watch-new-tg-host-sabine-decimate-all-ring

:eek:

I mean. Just. The speed she takes into the corners. In the rain, no less.
If you have questions or concerns, let me know. Also, you should check out North American Motoring for everything Mini if you're interested.
Thanks, dude. I do have one question - I thought the very slight (non-engine) knock I heard was just the run-flats, but I do wonder if it's a motor mount issue (then again, it could be the cover over the spare tire, too). Ever heard of anything similar?

I drove a Cooper S on the day I bought my regular Mini, btw. That thing was beat to hell (all the used S-models in my price range have been pretty well hooned to within an inch of their lives), but it was also pretty impressive. It tossed me back into my seat with more gusto than a GTI. But the regular Mini has plenty of pick-up for my needs. Mine pulled up to [number redacted] on the highway with no trouble at all. Once you get the revs up to around 4 grand, it hit its sweet spot and really moves. Even in base trim, it really does have the handling chops of a sports car. I was set on a Mazda, but every one of them I could afford turned out to be either rusted or didn't have quite enough poke. I'm really surprised that the Mini ended up the one I bought, but it was too solid to pass up. It ticks every box - small, cheap, fun, practical.

Only worry I have is the repair costs. I'm going from repairing a pretty simple 2001 Chrysler to a 2009 BMW product. I hope the timing chain doesn't go any time soon.
 

Shoulder

Your Resident Beardy Bear
http://www.topgear.com/car-news/motorsport/watch-new-tg-host-sabine-decimate-all-ring

:eek:

I mean. Just. The speed she takes into the corners. In the rain, no less.

Thanks, dude. I do have one question - I thought the very slight (non-engine) knock I heard was just the run-flats, but I do wonder if it's a motor mount issue (then again, it could be the cover over the spare tire, too). Ever heard of anything similar?

I drove a Cooper S on the day I bought my regular Mini, btw. That thing was beat to hell (all the used S-models in my price range have been pretty well hooned to within an inch of their lives), but it was also pretty impressive. It tossed me back into my seat with more gusto than a GTI. But the regular Mini has plenty of pick-up for my needs. Mine pulled up to [number redacted] on the highway with no trouble at all. Once you get the revs up to around 4 grand, it hit its sweet spot and really moves. Even in base trim, it really does have the handling chops of a sports car. I was set on a Mazda, but every one of them I could afford turned out to be either rusted or didn't have quite enough poke. I'm really surprised that the Mini ended up the one I bought, but it was too solid to pass up. It ticks every box - small, cheap, fun, practical.

Only worry I have is the repair costs. I'm going from repairing a pretty simple 2001 Chrysler to a 2009 BMW product. I hope the timing chain doesn't go any time soon.
You can usually check the car history report to find out if the timing chain was replaced or not. Given it does have 115k miles on it, it likely was changed early on. Unfortunately, the timing chains and tensioners on those particualr engines (turbo and non-turbo) are known for timing chain issues, which is ridiculous when you consider that timing chains (unlike timing belts) should last hundreds of thousands of miles, or perhaps even the full lifetime of the vehicle.

Another prone issue with the R56 Minis is the high-pressure fuel pump (commonly referred to as HPFP). Other than that, with the exception of carbon build up due to it being a direct injection engine, most of the internals and other bits should not cause much issue. As far as the knocking sound you're hearing, I don't exactly know what it could be. Does it occur all the time, or when going over bumps and whatnot? If so, it could be something related to your suspension maybe, such as bushings getting bad. It could also just be the cover of the spare tire. Maybe you could check the spare tire and make sure it's totally secure?

Is there a dealer warranty or something when you bought it? If nothing else, call them, and ask them to inspect the car for that noise you're hearing.
 
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EvilTw1n

Even my henchmen think I'm crazy.
Moderator
You can usually check the car history report to find out if the timing chain was replaced or not. Given it does have 115k miles on it, it likely was changed early on. Unfortunately, the timing chains and tensioners on those particualr engines (turbo and non-turbo) are known for timing chain issues, which is ridiculous when you consider that timing chains (unlike timing belts) should last hundreds of thousands of miles, or perhaps even the full lifetime of the vehicle.

Another prone issue with the R56 Minis is the high-pressure fuel pump (commonly referred to as HPFP). Other than that, with the exception of carbon build up due to it being a direct injection engine, most of the internals and other bits should not cause much issue. As far as the knocking sound you're hearing, I don't exactly know what it could be. Does it occur all the time, or when going over bumps and whatnot? If so, it could be something related to your suspension maybe, such as bushings getting bad. It could also just be the cover of the spare tire. Maybe you could check the spare tire and make sure it's totally secure?

Is there a dealer warranty or something when you bought it? If nothing else, call them, and ask them to inspect the car for that noise you're hearing.
The CarFAX shows one-owner who pretty religiously serviced the car, but it doesn't mention the timing chain. Maybe I got lucky and it was changed, or this one has been fortunate enough to avoid problems.

The knock is only on bumps, which made me think it was just the run-flats making a fuss, but me being a worrywart...eh, I suppose it can't be the motor mount (who would pass a car for state inspection with a busted mount?). So it's probably either tire noise, bushings, or the hard bedding over the spare moving.

No dealer warranty. I rejected it from them because they were pushing so damn hard on an overpriced care package ("listen, it'll be the same monthly payment, just for 60 months instead of 36 months" equals them adding two years to my loan). I know a car isn't perfect for less than $5k.
 

Shoulder

Your Resident Beardy Bear
The CarFAX shows one-owner who pretty religiously serviced the car, but it doesn't mention the timing chain. Maybe I got lucky and it was changed, or this one has been fortunate enough to avoid problems.

The knock is only on bumps, which made me think it was just the run-flats making a fuss, but me being a worrywart...eh, I suppose it can't be the motor mount (who would pass a car for state inspection with a busted mount?). So it's probably either tire noise, bushings, or the hard bedding over the spare moving.

No dealer warranty. I rejected it from them because they were pushing so damn hard on an overpriced care package ("listen, it'll be the same monthly payment, just for 60 months instead of 36 months" equals them adding two years to my loan). I know a car isn't perfect for less than $5k.
Having used run-flats for years in my Mini (recently only with winter tires as my summers are normal radials), they do provide a lot harsher ride, and thus could also cause more "knocks" in the ride when going over bumps.
 

EvilTw1n

Even my henchmen think I'm crazy.
Moderator
Having used run-flats for years in my Mini (recently only with winter tires as my summers are normal radials), they do provide a lot harsher ride, and thus could also cause more "knocks" in the ride when going over bumps.
After looking around...
http://www.mini2.com/forum/maintenance-mini-care/196478-annoying-clunking-sound-rear.html
http://www.northamericanmotoring.co...2007/245988-rattling-noise-from-the-back.html

I'm pretty sure it's just a suspension bushing. I've called the dealer about it; hopefully they offer to fix it (either gratis or cheap; they should've caught it, but I should've, as well).

Still, that's minor. I've read around about reliability, and it seems like non-S Coopers seem to get better marks, overall (most likely because people aren't as reckless with them). And I have a completely base model Cooper - no sunroof, no SatNav, no special differential, etc. - so there isn't much to go wrong. I'm sure it'll go British at some point, but I kinda baked that into the price. I got this pretty well below market, so some repairs are expected. Plus, I just nursed a 2001 Chrysler to 210K miles; reliability really does depend on the individual vehicle.

That aside? Driving is now an occasion. This little thing is fun. It doesn't feel like a Miata (FWD, front-weight bias, short wheelbase), but it's damn close for what it is. And as fun as oversteer is, there's something about how the Mini grips. I've tossed it into a few corners, and you can feel the thing just biting for grip. It's quick enough to be fun (third gear at 4K RPM makes scenery fly by), and IIRC, Motor Trend got something like 7.7 seconds for its 0-60. Perhaps that's just ideal conditions, but if I really want to make it quicker, I'll just remove the rear seats (that'll net a few tenths).

I still worry a bit about safety, but it's already proven how good it is at staying out of accidents (slammed on the brakes because of an SUV pulling out from a blind intersection, and it stopped on a dime).
 

Shoulder

Your Resident Beardy Bear
After looking around...
http://www.mini2.com/forum/maintenance-mini-care/196478-annoying-clunking-sound-rear.html
http://www.northamericanmotoring.co...2007/245988-rattling-noise-from-the-back.html

I'm pretty sure it's just a suspension bushing. I've called the dealer about it; hopefully they offer to fix it (either gratis or cheap; they should've caught it, but I should've, as well).

Still, that's minor. I've read around about reliability, and it seems like non-S Coopers seem to get better marks, overall (most likely because people aren't as reckless with them). And I have a completely base model Cooper - no sunroof, no SatNav, no special differential, etc. - so there isn't much to go wrong. I'm sure it'll go British at some point, but I kinda baked that into the price. I got this pretty well below market, so some repairs are expected. Plus, I just nursed a 2001 Chrysler to 210K miles; reliability really does depend on the individual vehicle.

That aside? Driving is now an occasion. This little thing is fun. It doesn't feel like a Miata (FWD, front-weight bias, short wheelbase), but it's damn close for what it is. And as fun as oversteer is, there's something about how the Mini grips. I've tossed it into a few corners, and you can feel the thing just biting for grip. It's quick enough to be fun (third gear at 4K RPM makes scenery fly by), and IIRC, Motor Trend got something like 7.7 seconds for its 0-60. Perhaps that's just ideal conditions, but if I really want to make it quicker, I'll just remove the rear seats (that'll net a few tenths).

I still worry a bit about safety, but it's already proven how good it is at staying out of accidents (slammed on the brakes because of an SUV pulling out from a blind intersection, and it stopped on a dime).
Speaking of going all British, if you ever need parts, Way Motor Works is your place. They're based in Atlanta, but their service is top-notch and Way himself is very nice and well knowledgeable guy, and so are the rest of their staff. Their prices are also some of the cheapest you'll find (some places might be a little bit cheaper though, such as eBay). Also, if you have questions whether it's mechanical or electrical, usually they can help you out. And like I said, service is fast. If I order something on Monday from them, it'll be here in Madison by 2-3 days normally. In some cases, he'll overnight stuff if it's urgent. And if you need assistance for replacing or fixing stuff, there are plenty of DIY vids on YT, as well as if you check out Pelican Parts' website, they have write-ups as well.

It's interesting you bring up safety because I've always felt safe driving the Mini. It will stop in very short distances, given it's size, and safety ratings put it up into very good thresholds.

That all being said, the Mini is not the perfect vehicle. It has its quirks, drawbacks, and compared to some cars, it can fight back when trying to work on it. But I've learned a lot about working on cars just from the Mini alone. From brakes, belts, oil changes, bushings, subframe removal, ball joints, catback exhaust installation, etc.

As far as the driving aspect of it, some cars just hit you and others not so much. The Mini just clicked from the moment I drove it for the first time, and I've loved it every single time I get into the car. There are times when I do and visit some people, and I think to myself, "Hey, I get to drive home. Yay!" And when I take the B-roads? Grinning all the way to no destination. :mgrin:

This year will mark a full decade since I've driven it. I plan to drive it for another ten after that.

It's a Mini thing. Most will think too big and won't understand.
 

EvilTw1n

Even my henchmen think I'm crazy.
Moderator
Speaking of going all British, if you ever need parts, Way Motor Works is your place. They're based in Atlanta, but their service is top-notch and Way himself is very nice and well knowledgeable guy, and so are the rest of their staff. Their prices are also some of the cheapest you'll find (some places might be a little bit cheaper though, such as eBay). Also, if you have questions whether it's mechanical or electrical, usually they can help you out. And like I said, service is fast. If I order something on Monday from them, it'll be here in Madison by 2-3 days normally. In some cases, he'll overnight stuff if it's urgent. And if you need assistance for replacing or fixing stuff, there are plenty of DIY vids on YT, as well as if you check out Pelican Parts' website, they have write-ups as well.

It's interesting you bring up safety because I've always felt safe driving the Mini. It will stop in very short distances, given it's size, and safety ratings put it up into very good thresholds.
It'll just take a little getting used to. I don't feel vulnerable in the car, I'm just more aware of having less crunch room all around me.

Reliability-wise, the only things I can imagine really being problematic are:
-timing chain and clutch (but this one already has 115K miles with no issues)
-dash lights (I miss analog gauges)
-suspension creaking (like now)
-window motors (they have to be used every time a door is opened; really wish that wasn't so)

...and that's about it. In any car with some mileage on it, you expect a water pump or the like to go out. It's gonna happen. Maybe I'm just not as worried after nursing the PT Cruiser for so long. Some cars are lemons, but mostly? Look after the car, and it looks after you.
That all being said, the Mini is not the perfect vehicle. It has its quirks, drawbacks, and compared to some cars, it can fight back when trying to work on it. But I've learned a lot about working on cars just from the Mini alone. From brakes, belts, oil changes, bushings, subframe removal, ball joints, catback exhaust installation, etc.

As far as the driving aspect of it, some cars just hit you and others not so much. The Mini just clicked from the moment I drove it for the first time, and I've loved it every single time I get into the car. There are times when I do and visit some people, and I think to myself, "Hey, I get to drive home. Yay!" And when I take the B-roads? Grinning all the way to no destination. :mgrin:

This year will mark a full decade since I've driven it. I plan to drive it for another ten after that.

It's a Mini thing. Most will think too big and won't understand.
On the bolded - yup. Driving to work is now an event for me. I could have fun in the Chrysler, but that car is comfortable doing what is in its name: cruising on the highway. The Mini? It's always egging you on. It can tackle any corner. And the transmission is such a sweetheart that you can't help but be involved.

This car just struck me. The Cooper S (with slushbox) my old co-worker has? It never really gripped me. The '07-ish (maybe earlier) Cooper I test drove a few years back? Didn't do anything for me (although I didn't really push that one on its test drive).

But the '04 one that slipped past me got my attention, and this red '09 was simply too right to pass up.
 

Shoulder

Your Resident Beardy Bear
It'll just take a little getting used to. I don't feel vulnerable in the car, I'm just more aware of having less crunch room all around me.

Reliability-wise, the only things I can imagine really being problematic are:
-timing chain and clutch (but this one already has 115K miles with no issues)
-dash lights (I miss analog gauges)
-suspension creaking (like now)
-window motors (they have to be used every time a door is opened; really wish that wasn't so)

...and that's about it. In any car with some mileage on it, you expect a water pump or the like to go out. It's gonna happen. Maybe I'm just not as worried after nursing the PT Cruiser for so long. Some cars are lemons, but mostly? Look after the car, and it looks after you.

On the bolded - yup. Driving to work is now an event for me. I could have fun in the Chrysler, but that car is comfortable doing what is in its name: cruising on the highway. The Mini? It's always egging you on. It can tackle any corner. And the transmission is such a sweetheart that you can't help but be involved.

This car just struck me. The Cooper S (with slushbox) my old co-worker has? It never really gripped me. The '07-ish (maybe earlier) Cooper I test drove a few years back? Didn't do anything for me (although I didn't really push that one on its test drive).

But the '04 one that slipped past me got my attention, and this red '09 was simply too right to pass up.
I know at some point my water pump will go, but that will only likely happen when the Supercharger fails. On R53 Minis, the water pump is directly connected to the SC. So supercharger not working? No water pump, and then you're going to have a bad time. When will that fail? Whenever the SC oil dries up. Could be tomorrow, could be next year. I'll only know if I were to take the SC off (which requires a lot of other parts getting removed first). But if I take the SC off, I might as well replace all the seals and gaskets, the clutch and add in a LSD (because I want to), and a few other odds and ends. In other words, I'll only mess with the SC or clutch when either one goes first.

As far as the window motors go, that's the byproduct of pillarless doors, otherwise the windows won't lineup right, so this hasn't really been much of an issue. If the motor is going very slow (which is starting to happen with mine at times), then the motor itself might need to be replaced at some point, but you should be fine.
 

EvilTw1n

Even my henchmen think I'm crazy.
Moderator
Had the first backroads test today. Was following my buddy on his Kawasaki...something or other (I don't know motorcycles; it's a 1050cc sports bike, and it's quick). That was a bit ambitious. I doubt the Mini had ever been driven that hard before. There were about three brown trouser moments (cop, blind turn over a hill, and an SUV out of nowhere at a stop that made me redline it), but all in all? Only lost sight of the bike twice, and that thing was being driven in a fairly "spirited" manner. The Mini really comes alive past 4,000 RPM. The gearing all makes sense; there's no loss of power on upshifting there. I had to drill into my head to stop shifting so much; it wears out the clutch and makes you downshift too much for hill power. Cornering was typically awesome, especially considering that I had never driven the road, so setting the nose by proper braking was fairly non-existent. Some brake fade, but an acceptable amount.

Still, I'm not gonna do that too much. Chasing a motorcycle is hard work and hard on your car. Setting your own pace is a bit more fun for me. Did figure out how to put the digital speedometer on the tach, though, which was a boon.
I know at some point my water pump will go, but that will only likely happen when the Supercharger fails. On R53 Minis, the water pump is directly connected to the SC. So supercharger not working? No water pump, and then you're going to have a bad time. When will that fail? Whenever the SC oil dries up. Could be tomorrow, could be next year. I'll only know if I were to take the SC off (which requires a lot of other parts getting removed first). But if I take the SC off, I might as well replace all the seals and gaskets, the clutch and add in a LSD (because I want to), and a few other odds and ends. In other words, I'll only mess with the SC or clutch when either one goes first.

As far as the window motors go, that's the byproduct of pillarless doors, otherwise the windows won't lineup right, so this hasn't really been much of an issue. If the motor is going very slow (which is starting to happen with mine at times), then the motor itself might need to be replaced at some point, but you should be fine.
Yeah, preventative maintenance is nice, but not if you're only going to go back and do the same steps all over again in order to do other work. You know how to wrench, though. I'm clueless.

I know it's par for the course with no pillars, but the Chrysler's window motors/switch (not sure which) died somewhere around 140K miles, so I'm dubious on the windows being activated every time a door is open, y'know?
 

EvilTw1n

Even my henchmen think I'm crazy.
Moderator
Well, went in for the safety inspection. Failed. Because it was those suspension bushings making the noise.

Good news? $12 part per side. Bad news? $72 per side to install them.

And I pretty much have to let them do it; if I were to say "eff off, you charge too much and I'm going to another garage," the new garage would have to start the inspection all over again (which is an $80 fee to start, which I have already paid to this garage; even if someone would put the bushings on for $50 total, I'd have to pay them $80 more for the inspection, which would probably only save $30 after tax compared to the current garage, and would assume no other mechanic tries to eff me over and say they found something else wrong).

Looks like I'm skipping Twilight Princess HD for awhile.
 

Shoulder

Your Resident Beardy Bear
Well, went in for the safety inspection. Failed. Because it was those suspension bushings making the noise.

Good news? $12 part per side. Bad news? $72 per side to install them.

And I pretty much have to let them do it; if I were to say "eff off, you charge too much and I'm going to another garage," the new garage would have to start the inspection all over again (which is an $80 fee to start, which I have already paid to this garage; even if someone would put the bushings on for $50 total, I'd have to pay them $80 more for the inspection, which would probably only save $30 after tax compared to the current garage, and would assume no other mechanic tries to eff me over and say they found something else wrong).

Looks like I'm skipping Twilight Princess HD for awhile.
In the end though, it's probably for the best that you got that taken care of. I remember spending hundreds of dollars a few years ago for new brakes because they were getting worn. I replaced both the rotors and pads (which is something you should always do). Luckily, I was able to install them myself, but I had already spent 300-400 bucks on parts (including a new brake wear sensor, which wasn't too expensive), so if I had a shop do that, it would've been 600-700 bucks easily, possibly more.

But then that situation where I had to get my front wiper replaced? That whole process was over 700 dollars because it's so damn difficult to get the bloody wiper assembly switched out. The labor was clearly the most expensive part of that.
 

EvilTw1n

Even my henchmen think I'm crazy.
Moderator
Hmm.
http://www.popularmechanics.com/cars/a19560/top-cars-to-make-it-over-200000-miles/

I got 200K miles out of a Chrysler PT Cruiser. I'm pretty confident I can do the same with the Mini. It's partly a matter of what repairs are you willing to do after 100K miles, I think. There are a lot of people who think a car with 100K miles on it is ready for the scrap heap.
In the end though, it's probably for the best that you got that taken care of. I remember spending hundreds of dollars a few years ago for new brakes because they were getting worn. I replaced both the rotors and pads (which is something you should always do). Luckily, I was able to install them myself, but I had already spent 300-400 bucks on parts (including a new brake wear sensor, which wasn't too expensive), so if I had a shop do that, it would've been 600-700 bucks easily, possibly more.

But then that situation where I had to get my front wiper replaced? That whole process was over 700 dollars because it's so damn difficult to get the bloody wiper assembly switched out. The labor was clearly the most expensive part of that.
$700 on a wiper assembly?! Good grief. My cheap ass would've bought some Rain-X.

And yeah, it'll help the rear suspension long-term to fix the bushings now. But man, these are the expenses I didn't miss with the Chrysler. You gotta pay for the fun of a Mini.
 

Shoulder

Your Resident Beardy Bear
Hmm.
http://www.popularmechanics.com/cars/a19560/top-cars-to-make-it-over-200000-miles/

I got 200K miles out of a Chrysler PT Cruiser. I'm pretty confident I can do the same with the Mini. It's partly a matter of what repairs are you willing to do after 100K miles, I think. There are a lot of people who think a car with 100K miles on it is ready for the scrap heap.

$700 on a wiper assembly?! Good grief. My cheap ass would've bought some Rain-X.

And yeah, it'll help the rear suspension long-term to fix the bushings now. But man, these are the expenses I didn't miss with the Chrysler. You gotta pay for the fun of a Mini.
Perhaps I should've been more clear: When I say wiper assembly, I'm talking about the whole assembly, which includes the wiper motor and that whole assembly. The past itself is only a couple hundred bucks, but to install it is the biggest pain in the fucking ass the mechanic had to go through. I mentioned this before, but he said he would rather replace any other part of the car than have to do that again. It was that bad he said. Not to mention he ended up scratching the hood in the process, so they had to fix that on their dime (couldn't even tell there was a scratch when I got the car back). And then a couple weeks later, the front wipers failed again, so I took it back to Mini, and for free of chrage (because the problem wasn't fixed), they had to open it up again, and they found out there was a broken wire. Makes me wonder if the wiper motor assembly even needed to be replaced, but what's done is done.
 

theMightyME

Owner of The Total Screen
recently I have had this idea of a future of self driving cars that are modular...

like, by default they are like smart cars, tiny electric 2 seaters with front wheel drive.... but the back can be disconnected and stored in your garage and you can add other options... like a truck bed that includes a second motor for AWD, or a passenger add-on that ads 1 or 2 rows of additional seats... you could basically create the car you need for the moment

you just need to get yourself around, take the tiny smart car style that can easily park anywhere, going on a trip with family or friends, hook up the extra passenger add-on.... need to move some stuff, hook up the truck bed... they could even offer the ad-ons at rental places, int he same way you would get a u-haul
 

EvilTw1n

Even my henchmen think I'm crazy.
Moderator
Cool story.
http://petrolicious.com/building-your-dream-is-a-beautiful-thing


(That car sounds amazing, like god clearing its throat.)

Also, avert your eyes. NSFW pornography ahead.

...

...





FFS, Aston Martin. Warn a guy.
recently I have had this idea of a future of self driving cars that are modular...

like, by default they are like smart cars, tiny electric 2 seaters with front wheel drive.... but the back can be disconnected and stored in your garage and you can add other options... like a truck bed that includes a second motor for AWD, or a passenger add-on that ads 1 or 2 rows of additional seats... you could basically create the car you need for the moment

you just need to get yourself around, take the tiny smart car style that can easily park anywhere, going on a trip with family or friends, hook up the extra passenger add-on.... need to move some stuff, hook up the truck bed... they could even offer the ad-ons at rental places, int he same way you would get a u-haul
Manufacturers already use a quasi-modular design, like Volkswagen's MQB platform. It'd be interesting to see if that would be a viable economic model, to take modularity into the driveway. But there would need to be greater engineering strides. It's one thing to have a tiny 2-seater. Giving that 2-seater enough torque and horsepower to safely make it a truck would be another challenge (although electric motors have a huge edge on fossil fuels in the torque department, but still...it'd be hard to make swapping engines non-labor intensive).
Perhaps I should've been more clear: When I say wiper assembly, I'm talking about the whole assembly, which includes the wiper motor and that whole assembly. The past itself is only a couple hundred bucks, but to install it is the biggest pain in the fucking ass the mechanic had to go through. I mentioned this before, but he said he would rather replace any other part of the car than have to do that again. It was that bad he said. Not to mention he ended up scratching the hood in the process, so they had to fix that on their dime (couldn't even tell there was a scratch when I got the car back). And then a couple weeks later, the front wipers failed again, so I took it back to Mini, and for free of chrage (because the problem wasn't fixed), they had to open it up again, and they found out there was a broken wire. Makes me wonder if the wiper motor assembly even needed to be replaced, but what's done is done.
Oh no, I got what you meant. I still just shudder to think it costs that much. When you think of an expensive repair, you think heavy duty motor or suspension work, or a full-on fried electrical system.
 

EvilTw1n

Even my henchmen think I'm crazy.
Moderator
I’m a bad influence.

I had been taking a friend on the (many) test drives I’ve had these past few months, because it’s always nice to have an objective voice tell you “no, this car is crap.” But driving in so many cars with a manual transmission meant he started to get the bug, too.

Last weekend, I went with him to test drive a pair of used cars, a Civic SI and a BMW 335i. Both had over 100K miles on them. Of the two, I only got a chance to drive the Civic, and this was the only SI that I’ve gotten to drive that wasn’t completely hooned to oblivion. It’s also the only car I’ve ever driven that has such a crazy redline, but is actually comfortable near it. Yes, you can pound the thing like a hooligan and have fun revving it up and down the gears, but you can toss it in third on a back road and almost never have to shift. And the car is comfy at 5,000 RPM, not obnoxious. Surprisingly civilized car. It feels very digital, though. The gear change was a touch vague, the accelerator had very little travel, the gauge cluster even feels videogame-y. A different sort of speed, that is. Sadly, the brakes were garbage.

I’ll get back to the BMW.

Road along for two more on Monday – a new Golf GTI and a used BMW 3-series with the “X” drivetrain (4WD). That BMW was nice, but felt a bit ponderous and heavy (it also had the “M” package for the steering wheel and gear change, which was silly and writing performance checks that car couldn’t cash). The new GTI has almost been ruined. Its ride is way harsher than the last few generations. They pipe in fake engine noise that’s basically shouting at you if you accelerate even a little. Fantastic and dart-y handling, but the whole package is simply too harsh. The GTI is supposed to be the genteel hot hatch, for people who don’t want their fun car to be too shout-y. This new one is trying too hard to be a sports car.

So that brings things back to that BMW 335i. My buddy went back, drove the car again, and decided that he had to have it. I wasn’t overly impressed with the car, but that was only my view from the right seat on a test drive. Yesterday, though, I got the chance to drive it.

I didn’t realize what this car was. I didn’t realize that this 335i was the last of BMW’s twin-turbo, straight sixes. I didn’t realize that this car basically had the exact same straight-line performance as the mighty E46-era M3. And you wouldn’t realize it, either, because when normal people are told “sure, you can drive my new car,” they tend to not push the car. The 335i is a car you would never think is a brute if you drive it normally. The throttle is so well mannered, and the car is so solid, that it feels like a luxury sedan. Which it is. And if you play nice with the car, and don’t rev it to 4,000 RPM, it could be driven for its entire life as a gentle car for retired executives.

But I’m an idiot, and even though my friend had only owned the car for all of four hours, I wanted to see how the 335i would react to a little prodding.

“HOLY SHIT!”
-Me, last night

It is two cars in one. It is absolutely a luxury cruiser. It is also the fastest, scariest car I’ve ever driven. Legitimately, clench-your-buttocks fast. A few car reviewers got this car from 0-60 mph in under 5 seconds. But launching from a dead stop is not where this car is frightening. No, this thing becomes a monster when you’re casually driving in fourth gear on a back road. All it takes is a flick of the wrist; you push the gear lever into third, rev match, release the clutch, and all of a sudden Dr. Jekyll becomes Mr. Hyde.

Between 2,000 and 3,000 RPM, the 335i is all of the acceleration you’ll likely ever need. Between 3,000 and 4,000 RPM? It’s quick and fun. But once you move past 4 grand, it’s an M3. It’s scary. Posted speed limits become relative in short order. The damn thing shoves you into its seats (the Germans are funny, by the way; the posted 300 hp/300 torque is demure – this easily has more than that) and dares you to keep your foot down.

I couldn’t. I ran out of straight road. Even though there was a good 1.5 miles of it, somehow that stretch of asphalt disappeared.

Honestly? This car is a pretty good argument for limiting performance. You simply cannot drive this car safely at anything close to its potential on a public road. It’s too much car. You will be a danger to yourself and to others.

But if you count yourself a petrolsexual, find one for a test drive. You can find a used 335i for well under $13 grand now. The BMW inline six mated to two turbos is worth experiencing; a true high point for the combustion engine.

But you probably shouldn’t own one. I only glimpsed its potential last night, and that glimpse already puts you in danger of…well, let’s just say a hefty fine, at the very least.
 
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