Thursday, January 19, 2006

MINI of Tampa Bay

I was in Tampa, FL on a business trip last week. Prior to leaving I checked for MINI dealerships in Florida and found Ferman MINI very near my hotel. Friday afternoon, I took a trip with my family to visit my first MINI dealership.

When I pulled up to Ferman MINI, I immediately noticed the extremely large volume of MINIs on the lot. All of my previous readings on forums, Motoringfile, etc. indicated that I should only see about a handful of cars at the dealer, but I was surprised to see easily 50 MINIs waiting for a loving family to take them home.

As we pulled up to the front, I noticed a row of empty spaces which I immediately assumed were for customers, as I drove our Chrysler Town & Country up to park, something became very clear - there was no way our minivan was fitting in those spaces. There was a lone MINI sitting in the furthest spot, and I noticed that the parking spaces were MINI sized!!! There was no way the T&C was fitting in four spaces, much less one, so we parked at the next dealer, which was currently unaffiliated.

Since there was such a large quantity of MINIs on the lot, I was able to see pretty much the full color palette, including the newest colors: Solar Red, Royal Grey, and Space Blue. (colors simulated... not necessarily actual representations) There was a fairly even spread of Coopers v. Cooper S, and there were also a good number of Checkmate packaged MINIs available. I was able to get a close up look at both Hyper Blue and British Racing Green, both of which are my current color choices for whenever I finally get my MINI. My wife really liked the variety of colors, but the purple ones caught her eye. I'll admit that Purple Haze looks really nice with a silver contrasting roof, but it is purple!!

We were greeted quickly by a Motoring Advisor, and I let him know that we were from out of town just checking out the dealership. He inquired about our closest Dealer, and I let him know that they are both about 100 miles from our home, but like a dummy, I let him go and didn't take the opportunity to take a test drive. I missed my chance!!! ARGH!!! I could have nestled into the comforting seat of an S and take one for a spin around the block and finally see what my dream car feels like to drive.

Once again, I scared my wife, as I pointed out differences between the cars. I was quick to say what color each was and show her the differences between an S an the standard Cooper. I was even able to tell if a car was going to be more than $25,000 just by looking at it and noting the options before looking at the sticker. She says I have an obsession, but I think she is wrong... Wait a minute, I think I already confessed to an obsession here...

Happy Motoring!