Just Jack

November 11, 2011 at 12:46 pm (By Randy)

The last time I bought a new (or used) car was December, 1996.  As saving for old age is no longer a necessity, I threw caution to the wind and ordered this Mini Cooper S. A friend insisted on naming it – at first we chose “Black Jack” because of the decal I ordered to disguise the sunroof, but we figured that was already a popular name, so we went with “Just Jack.”

Jack is actually dark grey-green but need the right light to show it off. The likely ultimate owner of this car was also intimately involved in selecting the various options.

It’s a “happy car” and I can’t help smiling every time I see it.


  1. amba12 said,

    He is adorable. For a small urban car, I like these so much better than those funny-looking half-car things. And minis even have power, right? You can hold your own on the freeway.

  2. amba12 said,

    Is that a British flag decal, BTW?

  3. karen said,

    RANDYrandyrandyrandy… !!!!

    You’ve a beautiful home and i love your little car!!!

    I’m not sure how many little Coopers there are in the Kingdom, but i shall smile and think of you smiling whenever i see one.

  4. karen said,

    If it is– isn’t it called the Union Jack:0)?

  5. karen said,

    Kingdom as in North East Kingdom– we all(living here) call this corner of the world the Kingdom.

  6. Randy said,

    Annie: This car is a Cooper S, which means its turbo-charged and supposedly can go zero to 60 in 6.4 seconds. It moves much quicker than I expected. Yes, the decal is a grey-scale version of the union jack. I wanted it because it disguises the sunroof so well – the idea of a giant black window in the middle of the white top didn’t appeal to me. (If I get bored with the black jack, I can change to a checkerboard.)

    BTW, as yet another example of the interconnected world we now live in, Mini’s automatic transmission supplier is located in Sendai, Japan and they are having a hard time getting back up to speed. Fortunately, I wanted a standard transmission, as there was a four month wait for an automatic when I ordered my car.

    Karen: Thanks for the compliment about the house. I may post some pictures later of the gardens.

  7. TT Burnett said,

    Cool car, Randy.

    Now that the kids are almost grown, I mostly need personal transportation, so I’ve been seriously thinking of getting a Mini, also with standard transmission. I hate automatics. We quickly discovered many years ago that automatics are practical if you have to lug kids around in a car. The right hand needs to be free for cell phones, paper towels, handing drinks to the back seat, making gestures, etc. But for a feeling of control and the sheer fun of driving, standard transmissions are best.

    The Mini is a neat urban/suburban vehicle that holds it own on the highway. I’ve even seen them on Autobahns in Germany, keeping up nicely with the inevitable black Mercedes and Audis in the left lane at the low-end cruising speed of something like 175-180 km/hr (around 110 mph, which, as an American, you really don’t want to think about). On my last trip to Europe about a year ago, I rented a car, because I had to go to someplace not well-served by public transportation (Despite what we’re told, there are many places in Europe not near rail lines.) Anyway, being in a hurry to get to Düsseldorf, I occasionally ventured into the left lane, flogging the rented Toyota as fast as it would go. I start getting nervous around 160 or 165 km/hr (about 100 mph). A Mini came up behind me at that speed, blinking its lights in the charming German manner, and I willingly let it pass at something like 175. Whew. But the Mini seemed quite stable and not at all at the end of its tether going that fast.

    Minis are fun, surprisingly comfortable little cars. And having driven them several times, I love them and formed an ambition to get one. Only problem is, despite two jobs, I can’t afford anything other than another 10-year-old rusted Subaru.

    So, congratulations on a great choice. I’m not envious one bit, except maybe for the fact you won’t have to drive it in snow.

  8. Steve said,

    Thanks for posting this one! Always enjoy visiting your site!!

    Common Cents

  9. wj said,

    How much cargo capacity does it have? It looks more like something I would put on, rather than get into, but looks can be decieving. And I have an inclination to have more room to put “stuff,” more than to have a high power car. Probably why my first car was a station wagon, and the ones since have all been minivans. ;-)

  10. karen said,

    I hope you’re doing well, Randy.

    I know this probably isn’t the place to get into any details, but you sound well– even if this post is a bit, idk– fateful in sound?

  11. Randy said,

    Karen: I feel fine and am going about doing just about everything I want to do. At the same time, the initial treatment regimen, which the oncologist hoped would work for quite some time, failed. We switched to what was once described as the “nuclear option” about six weeks ago. Fortunately, I’m tolerating it quite well – only one bout of two days of unrelenting nausea after one treatment thus far. My hair has yet to start falling out, but they say it will eventually. Anticipating that, I went and did a formal sitting a while ago so that my mom and the rest of the family will have a decent recent portrait.

    Believe it or not, what I’ve actually been doing these past couple of months is remodeling the family room. There is a gorgeous view behind the house and I’ve always wanted to move the gas fireplace and put in a picture window and window box seat in that alcove. We’re almost finished and it is turning out just about as nice as I imagined it.

  12. Randy said,

    WJ: They claim 24 cubic feet with the back seats down. I wouldn’t write home about cargo capacity with the seats up – less than my BMW Z3 I think. ;-) BTW, I didn’t pick the car for it’s high power per se. Just wanted a car that could get on the freeway, or move out of someone’s way, quickly. Over thirty years later, I still have vivid memories of driving an under-powered dealer loaner Pinto station wagon while my car was being repaired for the umpteenth time. I think it managed zero to 50 in about a minute-and-a-half.

    Tim: It is fun to drive, isn’t it? Can imagine that they really zoom on the Autobahn. BTW, this same car and engine averages 47mpg in the UK. Here in the US, it is lucky to get 32mpg. Only difference: smog control equipment.

  13. karen said,

    :0) I’m very glad, Randy– that you are doing well- physically and mentally.

    Maybe you can take a pic of the view from your new window seat, too.

    My love and best to your Mom.

  14. michael reynolds said,

    Oh, hell yeah. That’s a pocket BMW right there, my friend. A buddy of mine had one, drove me around in it, amazing torque, just fun as hell to drive. Unquestionably the coolest small car around.

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