This web page is dedicated to the MINIs I have owned, all called “GBMINI” (GB=Great Britain, where both MINIs and me come from!) …
March 2014 – Back with MINI! The Black Knight Special Edition Countryman
Turns out that the BMW was a poor car choice – it was supposed to combine the luxury I’d enjoyed with my Audi, with driving fun like a MINI. In reality it offered neither; so now I’m back with the fun of MINI, and while luxury can’t match the Audi, it’s certainly improved in the six years since my previous MINI was built – nice!
May 2012: BMW X3
Having sold GP0203, and after three years with my Audi, it was time for another car – I think this time I’ve found the perfect compromise between the fun go/handling of a MINI and the luxury of an Audi … my new car is a BMW X3 with the 300hp engine!
Since 2009 when I bought the Audi, BMW has made huge improvements to their interior cabin tech, and of course they’ve always had an excellent driving experience. I look forward to learning all the new equipment.
March 2009: Audi Q5
Driving convertible GBMINI#6 through winter 2008/9 made me realize that the convertible MINI is not a good New England winter car! One especially telling drive was to Pennsylvania and back, 1200 miles in temperatures around 15f, with the car unable to warm the interior!
The VERY thin cloth does not keep heat in – it even lets drips through when snow sits on the roof for a few days! Of course the car is quite noisy, and I finally decided it was time to change!
I wanted a hatchback still, I wanted a comfortable quiet warm(!) car, but top of the list was that the media system (stereo+) be excellent! I wanted to be able to play CDs, satellite radio, and my iPod. I wanted to be able to easily find a particular artist/track in my iPod. And I wanted great sound quality with bass, clarity and volume (the convertible, even H/K-equipped, had very low maximum volume when playing from my iPod, and no real bass, although it’s clarity is good).
In March 2009, after reviewing many cars, I finally chose the brand new on the market Audi Q5 – in it’s “prestige” form it offers an excellent Bang & Olufsen 500W stereo system, and it has some very nice interface features to enable easy music selection from an iPod. It also offers MANY other gadgetry features, including “3D navigation”, as well as good looks inside and out in a form that, much as it might not look very MINI like, is also not a big bulky SUV (it’s based on the same platform as the Audi A4).
So no, it’s not a MINI – but it’s a very nice car
(Motor Trend like it, too!)
January 2008 – March 2009: GBMINI#6; Dark Silver MINI Cooper S Convertible
GBMINI#6 was an “emergency purchase” (actually not so much purchased as exchanged for the R56 which I didn’t like), but has since itself been traded – towards an Audi Q5, the first non-MINI I’ve owned since 2002!
It’s equipped with the Premium package for the convertible (including auto A/C and H/K upgraded stereo), and very little else – it was a pleasure to drive, in the summer … but winter in a convertible is too cold, and too noisy …
GBMINI#5 is a “pre-owned” R56 (the previous owner traded it for a GP!) He spec’ed it well, with the Premium, Cold Weather and Sport packages – so it has auto a/c, sunroof, heated seats, Xenon headlights. He also spec’ed an LSD, dimming rearview mirror, and the navigation system, and he had the iPod adaptor added to it. Mileage was only 3,700, and MINI of Peabody added the MINI Next extended warranty to it. Before I took delivery, I had the factory Sirius satellite radio added.
It turns out, I really don’t like the R56! It just doesn’t seem that you’re “connected” to the car and the road, like you are in the earlier MINIs – see this post for more details – so GBMINI#5 is a short-lived MINI that was never loved or properly photographed by me! Please don’t take it personally if you own/love your R56
August 2006 – March 2012: GBMINI#4 (or GPMINI) is #203 out of 2000 special edition MINI Cooper S with JCW GP kit built worldwide
This special car was delivered at a special event in Monterey, CA (August 2006) – see here for more info; I then drove it almost 5000 miles home during a two week event called MINI Takes The States!
Because the GP is already a very special customized car, with unique exterior paint color, aero kit, rear wing and wheels, and with an interior weight saving design that omits the rear seats, I didn’t want to do too much personalization; to date about the only things I’ve done are red rings on the toggle switch panel (to match the red highlights of the GP) and a fabulous stereo upgrade (consisting of MINI DPSM kit plus subwoofers).
(If you want to know more about GPs in general, visit my other website GPMINI.net)
I finally sold GP0203 to another MINI enthusiast; it just didn’t seem “fair” to the car to so rarely drive it!
March 2005 – April 2007: GBMINI#3; a Chili Red/Black roof MINI Cooper S
I ordered GBMINI#3 on February 2nd 2005 and watched its progress through manufacture and transportation, until it arrived at MINI Peabody on March 3rd, 2005. This car was sold, due to lack of being driven since GPMINI arrived, in April 2007.
February 2003 – March 2005: GBMINI#2, the Indi Blue/White roof MINI Cooper S delivered in February 2003
GBMINI#2 was ordered from MINI Peabody in July 2002; at the beginning of December, my MINI was ordered from the factory.
In addition to customizing GBMINI#2 with factory specifications, I have made a number of modifications, including:
- Union Jack Flag painted on roof;
- Aftermarket Stereo installation; and
- John Cooper Works upgrade installed.
- (see here for everything about GBMINI#2).
May 2002 – February 2003: The original GBMINI was a Black/White roof MINI Cooper
I bought it in May 2002 because I was not patient enough to wait for about nine months from ordering GBMINI#2 to getting to drive it!
The GBMINI weblog is regularly updated with information about GBMINI.
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