Julie’s gadget diary – check out my new gadget transport system

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How’s this for the ultimate “gear bag”? After years upon years of wanting one, I finally decided to just go for it and bought a 2013 MINI Cooper S Hardtop. I’ve been driving it for a little over a week now and I absolutely love it. I don’t think I’ve ever enjoyed driving a car as much as I’m enjoy this one. At the mature age of 49, this is only my 3rd brand new car. It will probably be my last one too because I think I’m going to be driving this little guy for many many years to come.

I remember drooling over MINI Coopers back in 2004 when Judie Lipsett (Gear Diary) was still writing for The Gadgeteer. Judie ended up buying a MINI for herself, which really annoyed me (sorry Judie) because I could not afford or justify trading cars at the time. Time flies, years pass, things change, but I continued to want one. This past June while Jeanne and I were spending a few days in Indianapolis, I had the opportunity to test drive a couple MINI Coopers and Countrymans. I went home and ended up calling the dealership the next day to set up an appointment to test drive a few more and then I later placed an order.


I definitely didn’t want one with a sunroof, so I built one using the online configurator so I could get everything I wanted. I’d never done that before and went a little crazy – although I could have added a lot more options because they have too many things to choose from. I’ve always had an issue with making up my mind when there are too many choices. I decided on Kite Blue with a white top and white stripes. I had originally wanted the US flag on the hood but changed my mind.

Once I placed the order I had to wait for it to be built in Oxford, England, shipped on a boat to the US and then transported to the Dreyer & Reinbold MINI dealership in Indianapolis. The whole process took about 6 weeks and was mostly painless.

I thought my Mazda 3 was fast, but this car, which Larry has dubbed the Blue Streak, is much zippier. Hopefully I won’t get any speeding tickets 😉

One funny thing I learned about MINI drivers is that they wave at other MINI drivers – kind of like motorcycle riders. I didn’t know this and kept wondering why people were waving at me. So I googled it…

Anyway, I just had to share my biggest gadget purchase EVER with all of you. 🙂

29 thoughts on “Julie’s gadget diary – check out my new gadget transport system”

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  2. From what I understand August 30 is the last day to order a custom current gen Mini. I’m not a fan of the upcoming model. Nice choice Julie!

  3. Congrats and great choice! I am loving my 2012 MINI JCW hatch (R56… Eclipse Grey with Chili red roof and interior) as well. 6 weeks for a custom order was awfully quick – similar to mine.

    @HungAD: I’m on the fence about the 2014 model… too early to tell since we only have access to spy photos… not that I am shopping 😉

  4. Very happy for you. The best part is you don’t have
    to give it back after the review. Maybe Judie is a little
    annoyed now.

  5. I had a 2006 Mazda 3, I did love driving it. But I soo wanted my truck back. I got the Mazda 3 to help with fuel costs, traded in my 1994 Chevy 1500. Just couldn’t live without truck, got a 2011 1500 Chevy. Would love something like this as a backup, or second car when I don’t need the truck.

  6. Congratulations on your new mini — I love my 2008 Clubman. Added a custom bike rack on the back and kayak racks on top, so it’s also great for hauling around your recreational equipment. Also bought the Mini folding bike — there’s another super gadget for you that will fit in the car!

  7. I was waiting for this post. I’m loving the colour, so bad! Oxford!? Only a short drive from me and I’ve seen the factory plenty of times on the train. 🙂 Love the fog lights! So, now I have to ask. Manual or automatic? Also what gadgets did you go for on the car? Hopefully plenty since this is the gadgeteer!

    1. @Jake I knew someone would ask that and would be disappointed when I told them I went with automatic. Manual never crossed my mind as I never learned to drive that way and have only tried it a couple of times in all my years of driving. I didn’t feel like learning now 🙂

      @Andy That is a most excellent idea to do a “what’s my ride” set of posts! If we’re going to do that, I’ll save my list of what options I opted for (see what I did there?) for that post.

  8. I’m so happy for you! I got one the same way last year. It’s fun every time you drive it. I bought a 2003 in ’07 and then my new one. The only cars I’ve never gotten tired of. You will learn something new about it every once in awhile that will delight you.

    Make sure you check out http://www.northamericanmotoring,com for a great community of Mini owners.

  9. Julie, I drive a 2001 minivan with 170K miles that my wife “gave” me after we bought a classic Lexus sports car. So, am I jealous? Oh, yeah.
    Congrats! It looks like fun!

  10. Huge Congrats, you cant beat these adorable cars. It was my first car and I still miss her…sigh!
    Hope you have many years of fun driving and yep I would love to see a series of gadgeteer rides!

  11. Wecome to the Mini world. My 2009 Clubman took 8 weeks to get from the factory to Hawaii after I ordered it but it’s the best car I’ve ever owned. Driving is fun again. And my miles per gallon went up after my speeding ticket to the low 40’s!

  12. @Julie No shame for an auto! I like both very much! I do sometimes wish my car was an auto in heavy traffic. Congrats again, now to be waiting on the what’s my ride series of posts! 🙂

  13. Congrats for new ride. Now, New Julie’s diary of Mini commence! I certainly hope to see that coming as us, regular driver’s perspective. 🙂

  14. My first and only mini was from 79, the speedo only worked occasionally and boy could it fly. No auto, just a long skinny gear shaft, and the feeling that you were driving a go kart.

  15. I had a Mini Clubman Estate in the 80th.
    Tiny car! Lots of rust. Lots of breaking down. The days of DIY!

    Ah, but what a ride! What a fun!

    A Mini is a car that puts a smile in your face … what more could one ask for ?

    Have many smiling and save miles in your Mini. Enjoy!

  16. My wife has an automatic Mini, and I must say, when you put it into sports mode, the car is surprisingly responsive.

    Yeah, it eats more gas in sports mode, but the responsiveness is pretty close to manual driving responsiveness – easily the most responsive automatic that I’ve ever driven.

    And personally, I love the sunroof.

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