“Now that I know how to drive stick, I’ll never go back to an automatic car!”
- The Ride
- The Driver: Allie
- Car in Question: Silver 2007 Mini Cooper Convertible
- Spotted at: Historic Queen Village, Philadelphia, PA 19147
- Odometer: 54,000
- Car’s Nickname: Minnie
Q: Where and how did you get your car?
A: I’m very lucky to have this Mini to drive. This car was my dad’s, which he bought used three years ago. He agreed to let be borrow it until 2012, since he doesn’t really need a car where he lives. It was perfect timing, since my previous car, a 2001 Chevy Prism with an ornery disposition, became too dangerous to drive. He had to teach me to drive manual before I could bring it home, though. Now I’m totally in love and don’t want to give her back!
Q: What’s your favorite or worst part about that commute to New Jersey?
A: Traffic! It’s the absolute worst. I also hate driving out of the city in the morning, having to keep shifting gears every five feet or so. My poor left foot!
Q: What’s your favorite day trip from home?
A: I love visiting my best friend Shannon down in her hometown of Sea Isle, New Jersey. One Saturday recently I took the drive down, top down the whole way, shades on, radio cranked up, hair flying. Perfection.
Q: Where’s the farthest place you’ve driven to with this car?
A: I haven’t had many opportunities for long trips, but I did drive her to Virginia recently with my dad. Hoping to make a trip down to Baltimore or up to Boston someday.
Q: Do you have any rules in your car?
A: No smoking. No leaving your trash on the floor. Nobody drives it except me and my boyfriend—and even then I’m like a mother relinquishing her infant to a babysitter for the first time.
Q: Explain the music situation in this car. I see a lot of buttons everywhere.
A: My Mini has this cool button on the steering wheel to change volume and flip through pre-set radio stations. I never keep CDs in the car.
Q: Do you take care of your car? How many miles do you hope to keep it going?
A: I love this car so much, though I’ve had to put thousands of dollars into maintaining her. My dad, bless him, doesn’t take the best care of his cars. I’ve since replaced the clutch, tires and a brake light, go for regular oil changes and meticulously Armor-All the interior to look spiffy. Don’t fault me for the random shoes or piece of clothing in the back seat, though. Hoping to keep the Mini in great shape for years, even if I will eventually have to give it back.
Q: What do you think your next car will realistically be?
A: I’m currently eyeing up a Ford Fiesta hatchback, which I hope to buy used. Unless I can find a used Mini for an affordable price, it doesn’t look like I’ll have one to call me own for a while.
Q: Is there anything else we should know about your car?
A: Now that I know how to drive stick shift, I’ll never go back to an automatic car. It’s just an awesome and different way to drive!
Photos by Allie Harcharek and interview by Michaelangelo Ilagan
View previous Defend Your Ride features as well as other great stories for people who love cars at CBSPhilly.com/Autos.