In the last two days I have driven 300 miles looking to buy a used Mini Cooper for my wife. @cclark will probably appreciate why my wife wants a Mini. She had one in the UK and now that she lives in the US and needs to pass her California Drivers Test having a familiar car, and also one that she loves to drive is what we seek - driving on the wrong side of the road, sitting on the wrong side of the car etc are enough to deal with without a whole new car to cope with too. Of course, as always, the budget is constrained and the convertible Cooper S is probably not an option. As my nephew is an expert on Mini's and while he is in the UK and we are in the US means he can't look at them in person, he can give me free advice - which in this case is definitely worth more than I'm paying for it.
Yesterday we went to Davis to look at a 2012 Mini with panoramic roof. That's a electric sun-roof but covers the entire length of the car. I checked that the car was still available before driving the 50+ miles each way to see it. We also had a wander around Davis, a good burger, some bad Gelato and drove home.
Today we planned on looking at about 7 Mini's. That didn't work out as planned.
The first was 5 miles away. That one worked out. 2012 no panoramic roof, but drives well.
The next one was in Hayward, it was on our way to the dealer in San Jose so I didn't bother calling to check. We arrived, it wasn't there. In theory it was sold the night before. Who knows what the truth really is.
Annoyed because, while Hayward was on our way, it was also a little out of our way on our way so to speak. Upset we set off for the dealer in San Jose.
The dealer in San Jose had three Mini's. Two were automatic and one of them had a low 39K miles on it. The third as a manual convertible. One big problem, the dealer was closed. They were meant to be open, I checked online. There was a printed notice saying that they were sorry but unfortunately they were closed today due to bah bah bah.... it didn't really matter, wasted miles.
Getting really frustrated we set off for San Mateo to the last dealer, which had another three Mini's we wanted to look at.
When we arrived there was a very nice Aston Martin on the lot. No dealer. Checked the web site, yes, closed on Sunday. How could I miss this. Somehow I did. Luckily another couple of people had arranged to met the dealer there shortly after we arrived. Unfortunately the main car we wanted to look at - 2012 with panoramic roof - had the key in the ignition and the doors locked. Not happy. The dealer wasn't happy either as he didn't seem to have the 2nd key. I couldn't be bothered to look at the other cars at this point.
Exhausted we drove home. I was mad, at myself. I didn't call because we were looking at 7 cars, even if one had been sold at each dealership there would be at least two others to check-out. How could I have made this blunder?
Two blocks from home I see a Mini for sale in the parking lot of the Lowes hardware store. I called the owner, who came over and I took it for a test drive. 2009 with panoramic roof, fancy wheels. It's a possibility.
I drove 184 miles today. The two cars I got to drive were in a 5 mile radius of my home. Only real upside is that driving those 184 miles cost me ~$6 in electricity to charge my car. In my book that is cheap for 184 miles.
I really should have called to check.