What do you do when someone clips your brand new MINI at a double left hand turn almost spinning you into a telephone pole? Make sure they have insurance for one.

Last Saturday night, driving south on Sheridan Rd. on the north side of Chicago, I was unceremoniously hit and nearly spun out in one of the busiest intersections around the city.

Here’s what happened. I was driving southbound, approaching a traffic light where both left-hand lanes turn left. I was in the right of the two lanes. As we were turning, the driver of the A4 (obviously not familiar with the intersection) decided at the last moment to go straight. His right front met my left rear and, while we were both traveling at roughly the same speed, bumped me hard enough to nearly spin my MINI. Luckily I was able to immediately dial-in some opposite lock and drift through the intersection without losing control. A good thing, considering I was headed toward a sturdy-looking traffic light support.

I immediately assumed the worst: massive bodywork damage, rear bumper hanging off the car, and that nice 18″ wheel in shambles. However, like many accidents, the hit that felt so violent at the time actually turned out to be much less dramatic. To my surprise, I found only a badly marred wheel, some bent plastic trim and what looked to be a slightly deformed inner plastic fender. Amazingly, there seemed to be very little real damage. In fact, it appeared that the only metal damage on the car was a small bend in the metal lip that lies under the plastic wheel arch. My initial thought was, how did this happen? From the best I can tell, the impact’s energy was dissipated by both my car immediately beginning to spin after the impact and that black plastic wheel arch trim. In fact the A4’s hood even hit the exact point of the plastic trim where it attaches to the car. This point is actually a round indentation, which I can only imagine is the strongest portion of the rear corner panel. This, and the plastic seemed to absorb the impact without transferring much of the damage to the metal itself.

So the police reports have been filed, blame has been accepted (thank goodness) and I’ll be calling my dealer bright and early tomorrow morning. While it may be unlikely, I’m still holding out a little bit of hope that I might still be able to drive it down to Indianapolis for next weekend’s US Grand Prix in my new MCS.