Mini Cooper Countryman S
Here’s what my new car will look like.

Gosh, 21+ years and 190,000 miles have gone by so fast. The old ’91 Miata, while looking sharp and driving pretty good for an elderly auto, deserves some semi-retirement from its current job as my daily driver.

So I’ve ordered — yes, ordered — a 2013 Mini Cooper Countryman S. I was looking for something fun that would give me four doors and not look like the typical grocery getter SUV or every other sedan on the road. It needed some access so I can get my 85-year-old mom to the store and other places, plus room for friends. Most importantly, I wanted something fun to drive with good fuel economy.

We’re in-between Mini’s model years, with the ’12s in short supply and the ’13s not here yet, so I decided to go through the “build your own” process on Mini’s website. Always wanted to order a car; I remember as a little kid going with my Dad to the local Ponitac dealer and ordering his ’68 Tempest Custom. Wow, he loved that car… 350 V-8, that great late ’60s GM A-body coupe, the wraparound front end bumper with the Pontiac beak.

In the salesman’s office, he flipped through the option book; even had acetate pages so Dad could see the different colors on the car.

Almost the same experience today, except that the Flash-based Mini website is much more cool and didn’t have a salesman in a loud herringbone jacket. Almost every manufacturer has this feature on their website these days… colors and options change as you click away, as does the price.

I then submitted it to the local dealer and had an email in a couple of days; was I interested in coming in, as they had done a west coast search and couldn’t find anything on a lot with my specs. I could order one from the factory and it would be here in about 8-10 weeks.

Gosh, my own, custom built car. Exactly as I wanted it, just as Dad used to do. Why not.

With a few bucks, they place the order, I get a production number and can now see where it is. Mine has been scheduled.

I’ll keep you posted on its progress from the plant in Austria (that’s right, BMW builds the Mini Countryman in Austria), to a ship through the Panama Canal, to its arrival at the dealer. I’m kinda excited!


  1. Since when do you need a land yacht like the Countryman? Going from the two-seat Miata, the regular Mini Cooper should have been plenty big. Or are you afraid of British electrical systems and oil seals (which is presumably why you bought the MGB knockoff in the first place)?

  2. Gosh… such vitriol from someone I’ve known for 30 years! I need four doors and something my mom can get in and out of, not to mention any elderly friends who will fit in the back seat, which eliminated the standard Mini. A land yacht? From someone who owned an 80s Thunderbird, or what year is that Taurus wagon? The Taurus, 192 inches long; the Countryman, 162 inches, and my “MGB knockoff” 155 inches. BTW, the Mini Cooper hardtop is 147 inches. I guess size is everything.

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