MotoringFile Spotlight: Marvin Price

The MotoringFile Spotlight is finally back. This time we focus on a first time MINI owner, Marvin Price:

Well I took the plunge. I’m the proud owner of a brand new 2005 MCS JCW. (I have no wife and kids, so I could get away with the JCW package!).

Ya know, I’ve wanted a Mini for some time now. I knew I liked the cars. I knew I’d enjoy driving one, but what I didn’t realize was just how much I’d enjoy it.

I’m a full time Macintosh consultant and part time photographer working in the Los Angeles, Hollywood area. I drive the streets of Los Angeles daily. I previously drove a BMW Z3 which I loved, but after nearly 10 years, it was getting a bit long in the tooth, harder to maintain, and much of the joy was no longer present. I began researching a new car.

It turned out that all of my requirements for a vehicle were met by the Mini. So I bid my reliable old Z3 farewell, and stepped into the Mini. My perception of automobiles has now been changed forever. Let me explain.

Los Angeles is a malevolent maze of horrible roads, some say the worst in the nation. It’s an insurmountable grid designed in hell. The concept of rush hour is made moot by the fact that it is always rush hour. Bumper to bumper traffic, morons in SUVs, red lights, horns, mindless pedestrians, countless busses, non-stop road construction, clogged freeways, and no left turn signs, are only a smattering of the obstacles commuters deal with on a day to day basis. Controlling road rage leaves one with a level of stress probably comparable to battle fatigue in some cases. And what has the esteemed new Mayor of Los Angeles offered us as a solution? More traffic cops.

Consider driving in Los Angeles and you know that it is not of minor consequence when I report that the Mini Cooper has somehow made this all fun again! This car is a British Racing Green, fire breathing, hyper agile, urban Euro-ninja. It is definitely quicker than my Z3 2.8 was. After a week of driving it, I can honestly say this car was built for Los Angeles. It traverses the irrationality of our infrastructure as easily as platitudes roll off the tongue of the new mayor.

I can’t wait to get back out there now! The car is highly responsive and that can make a difference of 20 minutes to an hour when I make a split second decision to take a side street rather than a major boulevard.

Driving isn’t the only difficult part of commuting in Los Angeles. They’ve essentially created a city in which you cannot go anywhere without lugging your automobile with you, and THEN they dare you to park it. Leave it anywhere for just a minute too long, and a member of the LA Troll army will pounce and slap you with a fine for anywhere between $40 and $80. It’s so bad that I consider parking tickets just part of the cost of doing business in Los Angeles and find ways to charge back for them. The Mini makes parking easier as well though. It fits nicely into small places and still leaves room for gargantuan SUV doors to swing open without necessarily leaving a dent.

And the milage! A tank of gas lasts much, much longer! The Z3 was going through $3.30/gallon gasoline like there was no tomorrow. The Mini holds more gas, and it burns it much more slowly.

In short, I am blown away.

I now completely understand the obsession.

Marvin L. Price

  • RB

    Nice write up thanks for sharing. It’s pretty much how I see my experiences here in LA LA Land.

    LA roads the worse, I must beg to differ on that point. Having recently driven a Cooper from Boston area and my MCS from Charlotte NC., both to Pasadena, this year I found many worse road conditions on my way home, especially in Arkansas and Albuquerque New Mexico.

    If you use Assael BMW/MINI ask for Tim West for SA, he’s the best there. Otherwise steer clear of that place.

    Also I need a Mac consultant, if interested please send me an email describing your services…..RB

  • jdmarino

    That’s a sweet looking ride.

    I’m a new stick-shift driver. My normal commute is 2.5 miles in an uncrowded city (White Plains, NY) I’m going on my first road trip next week to Boston. It’s good to know the MINI is an urban warrior (Boston’s streets are bad — and they’re NOT aligned in a grid.)

  • Chad

    “This car is a British Racing Green, fire breathing, hyper agile, urban Euro-ninja.”

    -that is awsome!

  • David Van Oosterwyk

    Slow news day, Gabe?

  • tsukiji

    Welcome to the cult.

  • rB

    DVO……….I don’t understand that remark? How many times do we need to beat to death the GP car or whatever. It’s nice to have a bit of the human element don’t you think?

  • nina simone

    Driving, made therapy. 😀

    Wonder, wonder.

    Beautiful baby. Welcome & congrats, Marvin. In all the cosmos, you’re in just the right place.

  • Siddhartha

    “Slow news day, Gabe?”

    Ease up there, brah. Commentaries like these remind us that we are part of a special Motoring community. Tell me you weren’t awestruck by your new MINI back in the day. I know I was,and still am. Good read, Marvin!

  • tom

    I agree with Siddhartha – Oosterwyk needs to get a life – big time! I always enjoy hearing about new owners and their Minis. I like hearing about Mini owners going to get another Mini, so keep it coming – gives me the new Mini fever! Oosterwyk, you need to go back to your online porn.

  • greg

    I enjoyed this and only wished for more pics-nice color combo! I’d like to hear from more JCW owners. Especially those who have modded beyond JCW. I need ideas and advice for mine.

  • Kurt

    I’ve driven up and down the east coast, and in L.A. There is no competion, Boston has the worst roads. L.A.’s roads might have been designed in hell, but Boston’s were actually built there, then transported to Mass.

  • minihaha

    Nice article Marvin, the comparisons to your old BMW were interesting. Anything that makes your daily commute more enjoyable has to be a bonus.

    Oosterwyk’s comments are out of line.

  • Ian C.

    Nicely done; I wonder if I would have enjoyed LA driving more in my MINI, than in the Chrysler 300 hyper-hearse I rented

  • David Van Oosterwyk

    Don’t take me serious. I enjoy reading anything MINI. I’m not knocking the spotlight. I enjoyed reading the article, too. I usually check Motoringfile first thing in the morning for my news. Gabe does a great job of fereting out new information on anything MINI.

    Gabe, sorry if you took it the wrong way. Keep up the great work!

  • Jon

    Nice backpedaling…

    Anyway, I like the spotlight segment, Gabe. Can’t wait to read about other MINI owners, and what they’ve done to their MINIs.

  • Nathaniel Salzman

    I’m also very interested in what exactly a “Mac Consultant” is. Full time Mac Consultant, part time Designer wouldn’t be a bad gig – basically the opposite at the moment.

  • HPuck35

    Liked your writeup on the Mini. I live in LA also and love driving my Mini around town. LA roads aren’t the worst. I grew up in Boston and as others have noted, Boston’s roads are about the worst; huge pot holes, they don’t even know the concept of a left turn lane, many 5 and 6 way intersections, no street signs, crazy drivers (old saying in Boston was “If you don’t like the way I drive, stay off the sidewalks!”; and yes I have seen cars driving down the sidewalks at (ch)rush hour), etc. The frustrating thing about LA is sometimes you do find an open road with room to have fun and that makes the traffic filled roads hard to deal with. In Boston, you have no prayer of finding a good open road, so you just resign yourself to the misery.

  • Marvin Price

    Nathan, I’ve been an IT pro for the better part of 20 years. Done everything from manager large IT departments to being head of advanced technology for a bank. Then I made the mistake of sitting down and playing with a Mac (sorta like the same thing that happens when you test drive the Mini).

    Since then I’ve done all the same things, only with emphasis on the Macintosh. I put in networks large and small, troubleshooting for clients, hardware/software acquisition, software development, integration, all the normal stuff that an IT guy does, only I do it for lots of companies and individuals. Most of my clients are in creative areas, particularly motion graphics folks, however I work with lawyers, writers, musicians, architects, scientists, etc. In LA there is a large Mac base.

    Look into ACN (The Apple Consultants Network) for more information.

  • Marvin Price

    Well I see I need to stay out of Boston! My comment about LA roads was based on experience and an article that came out in the LA times a while back.

    Driving my old Z3, if I hit a pothole, it often felt like I ran into a wall. The Z3 was a great drive, (not as much fun as the Mini), but the streets beat the poor car to death. I was forever getting alignments, replacing bent wheels, and tires, etc.

    In LA, if they slap some tar into a pothole, that bubbles out and dries uneven, the road is considered repaved.

    One thing about the Mini, I seem to be able to avoid potholes more effectively.

    Based on what you folks have said though, I guess I should count my blessings.

  • Nathaniel Salzman

    Thanks for the info. I originally came from a very technical/engineering background and then made the shift to creative design work. I didn’t realize the virtues of Mac until I was forced to work on one daily at an internship and I haven’t looked back since. I enjoy the tech side of dealing with the Mac (in many ways because it’s so much easier to deal with, with fewer issues than the PC’s it seems) so the role of a Mac IT consultant wouldn’t be too far a stretch for me (sort of my unofficial side duty here in the studio anyway). Thanks for the resource and congrats on the MCS! I want almost that exact spec, except with the white roof. Have you, or do you plan to, integrated an iPod into that bad boy yet?

  • GuessWho

    That is a great write up… I can’t stop laughing about how you describe L.A…..

    “It’s an insurmountable grid designed in hell.”

    That is timeless…. 😀

  • tanya

    Forget the grid, dude. Can you say Malibu canyons? Mulholland Drive? I thought you could…

  • Marvin Price


    Already put the Dension ice-link plus in for the iPod. Very cool. All the reviews I read here are spot on. It’s best to use the iPod’s UI though. I have two different iPods and if I use the ice-link’s UI, the iPods will often get hung up requiring a reset (if they will). Sometimes I have to just wait them out.

    If I use the iPod’s UI, no problems whatsoever.

    One of the iPods I have is the new iPod with video. Kinda cool being able to play movies while stuck in traffic.

  • rB

    Too bad you can’t get the AutoUp anymore.

  • MINIme

    Congratulations! Love the wheels. You are a lucky guy. Wish I had JCW kit but I am really enjoying the MCS anyway. Which interior do you choose? LSD?

  • tanya

    Too bad you can’t get the AutoUp anymore.

    Just curious, would this “Autoup” mod crush the trachea of a small child? Cuz that would be bad…

  • j/c

    Always nice to see these personal touches, especially when it’s a fellow Mac person.

    Hey Marv, the Malibus have their own rush hours. Wanna get popped? Drive the Santa Monicas!

    Plenty of cool roads as you approach Kern County. Down south, San Diego County has plenty of party pavement.

  • rB


    If there’s a RESPONSIBLE ADULT in the car that can’t happen.

  • tanya
    tanya…………………… If there’s a RESPONSIBLE ADULT in the car that can’t happen.

    I’ll take that as a yes.

  • rB

    I’ve never tried it so I really don’t know. But it’s kinda like the warning on a hair dryer……………

  • tanya

    Yeah, those annoying warning labels. Even one life saved is definitely not worth the aesthetic coruption of our beloved home appliances. Oh, good news! No warning label on the MINI window switch, so no worries there.

  • Gabe

    Thanks Marvin for doing this. Great write-up. If anyone else is interested in the MotoringFile Spotlight, knows someone who would be a good edition, or has any other suggestions, just let us know via the contact link at the top of the page.