Sunday, May 4, 2008

Hear Me Roar....

Between being a bit of a cliche non-committal Libra who cannot make up her mind, a gypsy/freebird hippie at heart who is not a "car person," yet also someone who loves beauty and style....and...someone who sometimes feels guilt about consumerism and enjoying nice material things......agh, I cannot take it! Then there was the headache of getting schmoozed by sales sharks @ car dealerships.

I prepared for battle. I did my homework. I became determined to succeed in this quest for my ideal car. Don't tell me I should buy the blue car because it matches my eyes! Don't try to sell me some cheesy tricked out rims for $2k! I've done my research, I know the safety features and fuel economy, etc., etc. I just want to drive the darned thing, figure out some financial logistics and make a decision. Afterall, I was in a rental car since February! (Did I mention I am a bit of a procrastinator???)

Here is my though process.....most of which I talked out with dear Roxy, not to mention a few new friends who must think I am a loon....

A. I've always loved the old Mercedes 280SL roadster with that classic tan leather and woodgrain interior. I love the boxiness of old Mercedes, BMW and Volvos and those curvilinear accents which lines give personality. If the 280SL had good fuel economy, I'd buy it outright and be done in a heartbeat. I looked at one on Saturday.....(came really close to purchase on the spur of the moment and heat stroke on a car lot...) She is the perfect mix of sporty to drive and feminine style. A V-8 engine no less. But, at 15 MPG, she's not good for the mother earth I love so dearly..... So, she'll still be in my heart, and someday when I am a proper homeowner again with enough space for 2 cars, perhaps she'll be my weekend car.

B.The car I thought I was set on for the past month of research (with a lot of help from Sanoe as well and some input from John) is the Prius. Hands down, NO CAR gets a better fuel economy..... And I don't like the idea of beholden to volatile countries for their oil! Its been interesting learning about Hybrids and the technology. The car really makes since. But....other than on a cerebral level.... I just wasn't "feeling" the Prius. Is it too tech and asexual for me? Does that even make sense????? Hmmm, I think it does.

Do cars have chemistry with us like humans do to some degree? I mean, don't some people just rev your engine and others just don't? ;) I think its an amazing car, and right for so many people, just not me at this very moment :)

C. And then there is this. The image that cannot get out of my mind. Burned into my retinas. The perfect man....."The King of Cool." He had style, talent, sex appeal, a down to earth quality, and machismo..... Steve McQueen with his Mini Cooper in hot chocolate. (Do you KNOW how many times I have watched Papillon? Did you know he did stunts in Bullit?)

A+B+C=D. And my Sunday was finally without (much) headache. Michael @ Nick Alexander Imports here in LA is THE MAN! He was very patient with me, explaining the different styles, options, etc.

With the help of Lady Calliope as co-pilot (I brought her along to see which car she looked the best in), I chose the new BMW Mini Clubman in Hot Chocolate, a tribute to McQueen :) I like that there are only 70 dealers in the country and that production is limited. So I get to be somewhat unique :)

D. The final choice :)
She's a great mix of A+B+C. The boxiness and interior touches of vintage sportscars, yet she's top 10 EPA rated like the Prius and also has a great safety rating since they are built by BMW and have some sports car safety elements like the roll-bar, "drive-flat" tires I can drive on after puncture for 100 miles, and many,many air bags. And then we have the influence of Steve McQueen....yes, the sucker for style and history gets me. So I got her (or him? not sure of the sex yet) kinda more tricked out with the pretty chocolate and cream interior, chrome interior accents, sports seats, panoramic sunroof, bluetooth (since talking on the cellie will be outlawed here in CA shortly), and going for some window tinting as well. The car talks to you with certain features. I told Michael @ Nick Alexander that the car is Steve McQueen meets NightRider. Ha.

Oh, what also helped to seal the deal: The free maintenance for the first 3 years/36,ooo miles which INCLUDES pick-up service from my house or work with a flat-bed where they will pick up my MINI and give me a loaner for the day while they service my car. I don't even have to go there. This insures I'll actually do the oil changes and tire rotations, get the wiper blades replaced, etc. etc.

I drove that baby off the lot and straight to Santa Monica to drive by the sea and show Dave & Mark who were also big helpers to me in this decision. Yeah! Mark will look great driving her too--he looks way more like McQueen than I ever will:)

Oh, and click HERE for a little bit about McQueen's Mini @ the Petersen Automotive Museum here in LA.

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