I finally got rid of my 1999 Toyota Camry. I've had it since 2001 and I'll be the first to admit that I haven't treated it as it deserves. I half-assed its maintenance; there was a huge dent in the driver's side from a parking lot incident that I wasn't able to witness; and nature was its only cleanser. I put 70,000 miles on it—passing it along to its new owner with over 130,000 miles to its credit. Here's hoping that she will honor Cameron as I never did.
What did I get to replace it? My wife and I decided long ago that the Camry's replacement was going to be a fun car. We've had plenty of practical vehicles in our time. In fact, except for the 1996 Ford Mustang convertible, I think all of our cars have been sensible. It was high time that I start enjoying my commute!
But what did I get? My initial thought was of my dream car—the Audi TT Quattro. Now that is a fun looking car with a lovely sophistication. It's also pretty expensive (though reasonable as a used car) and highly unreliable. My idea of fun is not blowing thousands of dollars on repairs, no matter how bitchin' the ride might be.
Come on, what did I get? With the TT out of the picture, I was really at a loss. I'd seen nice cars on the road, but none of them jumped out at me, took me by the scruff of my neck, and shouted, "Go buy me now, mofo." The car that I eventually purchased didn't either, so I guess that was probably an unreasonable expectation on my part. I was fairly firm about getting a convertible since I'd had two of them already and Phoenix is a great place to own one.
I settled on the Mini Cooper mainly because of The Italian Job. That movie made me look at the Mini Cooper as a sporty, maneuverable beast of a car. Prior to watching it, I considered them pansy European answers to expensive gas and limited parking spots. Afterwards, I could see the elegance of their lines and the benefits of their size. When I saw a convertible Mini one day, it suddenly rocketed to the head of the pack.
So I've been driving it now for three days and I can't believe how much fun it is. I look forward to any opportunity to take it out for a spin. In true Mini tradition, I have named it and he shall be called Buzz. I was going to go with something stupid like Sunshine or Sonny, but Sandi suggested Buzz as in "bzzz bzzz" like a bumble bee and I loved it!
To quote the eminently-quotable Ferris Bueller, "It is so choice. If you have the means, I highly recommend picking one up."