Talking about trading the FJ has raised a lot of curiosity among readers. Very few post a comment that can be read by the public but my email inbox is over flowing with comments about it with a few attacks and opinions about my mental make up. (hilarious)
That's all part of blogging publicly and one that I am willing to put up with. It would be a lot worse if I had talked about this on Facebook where I'm told causing controversy is brutal to read. I post this kind of personal stuff here for a few reasons ... it's part of life here in 'the tropics' and it's great entertainment for those readers that have a sense of humor.
So to give you some idea how 'back and forth' I went ... how about this timeline ... better go get something to drink, this post could get interesting. :)
Saturday Morning -- I want to trade for the All-Wheel Drive Mini Cooper
Saturday Night -- I want to keep the FJ
Sunday Morning -- I want to drive 4 hours one way to buy the Mini Cooper
Sunday Afternoon -- I want to buy the Mini Cooper Country that is local
Sunday Night -- "I'm crazy" I'll keep the FJ
Monday Morning -- "Let's see which dealership gives me the price I want, the trade in value I want ... let see which dealer wants to sell me their car but I get everything I want"
Monday Afternoon -- Deal done ... I bought local.
So after a lot of online research for car reviews, customer reviews, visiting the Mini Cooper forum for Countryman All4 owners to see what they were saying and if there were any maintenance problems ... I didn't have a firm answer.
I needed a spreadsheet to compare the three vehicles I was looking to buy. Of those three vehicles I even included my old Voodoo Blue FJ that is now fixed and up for sale. The spreadsheet was eye opening and kind of swayed my decision ... but first I had to make sure that the formulas I had inserted for cost analysis were accurate.
So I loaded my current FJ loan and confirmed my formulas were right on.
I guess I can admit ... I had a huge amount of 'silent' buyers remorse these past 47 days. I never liked the color of the FJ. Even flipping the white letters on the tires inside didn't help. It was a great FJ but I didn't have close to the same 'vibe' I had with the old blue one with the blacked out windows, black wheels, dried hound drool and massive amounts of hound hair when it was in action. And the FACT was ... in the 2-1/2 years owning an FJ, I never had to put it in 4WD and I never towed anything ... why have it???
In case I really do get down to just one car in the carport, I wanted a car that had a sports car feel and at the same time was able to drive down a road off a secondary road to tent camp somewhere. I did not need a 'rock climber', nor were the hounds a factor since I decided a long time ago that Stella was not a boondocking hound.
The Countryman model did both of those things. With it being 500 pounds heavier than the two smaller Mini Hardtops I had ... that 'go kart' feeling was not there while driving it. With a 188hp, it is just as quick as my Z4 and reaction is just like a sports car, even without using the 'sport' options it has that are just pressing a button away.
Yes, it probably looks like a car your nephew or grandson would drive but that has never been a factor with me. I've never let age dictate what I buy or how I act or things I do. I am probably one of the few people close to 65 that do not have a lazyboy recliner in their living room and have never wanted one. (no offense to those that do)
So here is the new All-Wheel Drive, 6-speed manual, I6 engine and a speedo that goes up to 160mph, road eating monster ... a 2012 Mini Cooper S Countryman with only 57,000 miles on the odometer. Not many for a car built in September 2011.
After my 2nd cup of coffee on Monday morning, I made the call up north to see what they were wanting to give me for the FJ. They had the same model and year of Mini but 20K more miles on it but a better price. They had just had a major snow storm and were moving cars around their lot to they could plow their car lot. He said that even with the low ground clearance and high performance tires ... it was moving through 8 inches of snow with no problems.
That sounded good to me ... but right after the conversation went downhill quickly although I didn't tell him that. I started hearing the old story of "we have looked at all kinds of pricing on your FJ and about all we can do is blah blah blah ... wholesale pricing for a trade in value." I could hear the sounds of trumpets in the background as the 'bullshit' flag was being raised.
I had already received a trade in offer that was the same as my NADA sheet I had printed out from the dealer locally and on Saturday after my test drive. As I hung up the phone from that call I was down to just one possible deal.
When I looked at this car on Saturday and test drove it, it needed tires, it needed the striping on the hood replaced due to a scratch on the decal. What I thought were broken parts to a very strange designed "track" type console I found out later that night after doing some searching on google they were only missing two cup holders and what I saw were the brackets to hold them. And .... I needed a lower price.
Being black I knew that these pictures would be the cleanest it would ever be and that would most likely only last a day after I washed it in the summer ... in the winter, there is not a chance this black car will look clean ... it will look 'used' ... after all every car you own can't be silver and this one will show every speck of dirt or rain drops.
So after that first call and rechecking my spreadsheets by plugging in different sale prices or different trade in prices to see what this crazy deal was going to cost me ... I decided to give them a call. I thought I knew that they were wanting to sell it pretty quick. It wasn't their type of car to sell sitting amongst a lot of chevy, ford, cars, trucks ... you get the picture.
I told them I needed some allowance to buy new tires that it needed. I did not mention the that I'd like to have it detailed inside and out. During the test drive I it also had the "low tire" light on so I needed the tires checked out. I gave them my sale price offer ... and waited on the phone for my answer.
Check off that trade in value and sales price - I got just what I wanted for their and my car. They actually increased my trade in value from Saturday and still lowered their sale price. Later in the afternoon when I told him I wanted the car, the owner told me he would have them pull the car back inside and get it washed and detailed plus check all the tires. I thought it was nice I didn't even have to ask.
When I picked it up it looked like new inside and outside. Earlier I asked for and received a free CarFax to look at before any transaction was made. Those reports will not tell you everything but they tell you enough and whether you should sign the paperwork or take off sprinting to your car to leave.
The CarFax looked good, I was more than satisfied with it. The 2nd owner did all of the driving in the past 14 months. Being in home health care, she had put on the majority of miles. It had been serviced on a regular schedule since the first day it arrived from Germany. Plus Edmunds car review and KellyBlue Book reviews were telling me the mileage for that year of car was right where it was suppose to be.
Besides getting use to all the electronic 'bells and whistles', I wanted to measure the cargo area and found the 'sub' floor under the cargo floor was 8" deep and the cargo area itself is wide enough to carry my two 32gl trash cans to recycling ... one of trash and one of recyclables.
The hardest part of all of this was removing the dealership decal. Their decal was the largest I had ever seen but it was pretty simple to peel off with Goo Off and a plastic edger ... I never use it for removing calking around a bathtub but those plastic scrapers are great for taking off auto dealer decals.
Since I have not owned it for 24 hours the only way I can show you it's capabilities is from pictures off of google images. With the manual transmission and all-wheel drive I have no doubt it can handle the type of snow we get here in 'the tropics'.
For those times in the future that I am tent camping out west I will still be able to drive out and away to boondock. Rutty forest roads would be a problem but not the type of roads that we drove on in June 2015.
This next picture shows it's a pretty good climber over rough rocky roads.
At least it floats through mud.
With the sleek roof rails it opens up possibilities.
In an extreme situation where the hounds would end up doing a road trip ... there is room in back for both bloodhounds when the back seats are folded down with Heidi riding her normal 'shotgun' position. The carrier on top would provide ample space in the cargo area.
Along with a nice expensive hound accessory to keep all the stuff that comes with hounds under control in back.
I'm not a fan of the rail tracking system for a console but his iPhone rack while it charges is pretty nice. That rail system goes all the way back to the back seats. Included in my console is a case for sunglasses.
Well the hounds are howling for lunch ... Stella has tested the durability of the black exterior paint by leaving drool in places she needed to check out while I removed the dealer decal. That wet drool was frozen by the time I went to wipe it up ... we will call them a form of ice and leave it until warmer weather.
I have put a finger on where all of my car dealing comes from ... my dad. I remember growing up we had 2-3 cars all the time. As a teacher and coach he didn't have many weekends off but the times he did were when he would go out to look at cars. I can remember a times where he would come home after being gone on a Saturday morning telling us to get the keys and follow him. At times he would trade all or a couple of cars at one time.
Most times he would leave on a Saturday morning not telling us where was going but he had obviously seen a car somewhere that had peaked his interest. Later he would come home with a new car as a surprise. As far as I can remember, those trips took place about every 2 years, maybe less.
Did he ever trade a car in 47 days? Maybe ... after that trip to the Smoky Mountains in a newly acquired Nash Rambler staion wagon ... he found out it didn't quite feel the same to those new Buick's he use to buy ... that Rambler was traded within days after our return home.
So there's that for my excuse ... but basically I love cars and making deals.
I'll be back later today with some hound pictures ... I need to put on those hiking boots or even the snow boots and head out for a walk so we can check out what little snow we have.
Stella has had it waiting around, lost her patience ... constant howling now ... she wants to eat.
It's never dull living in 'the tropics' of southern Indiana.