Today’s Nice Price or No Dice Mini is one of four KISS tribute cars, each wearing an interpretation of one of the band members’ iconic face makeup. If that rocks your world, let’s see what such a tribute might demand.
You know a car is pretty special when its biggest fans lovingly refer to it as “the brick.” Volvo adopted a squared-off, boxy design architecture for their cars in the middle of the 1960s, and have ever since been known and adored for that look.
For whatever reason, brick-like Volvos became counterculture-cool and today finding a decent one, especially one like yesterday’s clean and manual-equipped 1985 240, means it’s time to do a little happy dance. We danced away on Monday with the Volvo’s modest $US3,800 ($5,151) asking price too, and it came away with a solid 70 per cent Nice Price win.
I recently learned that when Elvis Presley first showed up at Sun Studio’s Memphis recording studio to, in his words, record some country ballads for his mum, he caused a bit of a calamity with his long sideburns and — this was 1953, remember — a hint of eye makeup.
Elvis didn’t invent rock and/or roll, but he did make it ok for dudes to don a bit of makeup before climbing on stage to shake a hip to the music. This idea of rock stars and makeup reached its illogical conclusion in the early 1970s when a band out of New York City called Kiss hit the scene.
They weren’t the first band to create an over the top stage presence, but their arrival with full-on face paint and wildly ornate black and silver costumes ensured no one else would have quite the shock value. It might seem normal today to run into a Juggalo or two in the checkout line of your local CVS, but back in the ‘70s, almost nobody else was doing this shit to the extent that Kiss was.
Here’s the thing though — that was back in the 1970s. And, while Kiss holds some sort of record for being one of the highest-selling rock bands of all time when was the last decade they had a song on any sort of chart? Also, when was the last time any the members creaked out on stage and rocked the house down?
I wouldn’t know because I’m not a fan. Like, at all. I do know enough about the band, however, to be able to call out the original members by their stage personas: Paul Stanley’s Starchild, Gene Simmons’ Demon, Ace Frehley’s Spaceman, and Peter Criss’ Catman. I know this because I saw it parodied in This Is Spinal Tap.
That all makes this 2011 Mini Countryman Starchild commemorative edition so perplexing. I mean, holy cow. How big of a Kiss fan would you need to be to drive this Mini to things like Sunday church or meetings with your probation officer?
The car is apparently one of four such customs — one for each band member — that debuted at the 2011 New York Auto Show. As a fun aside, I once saw Gene Simmons (sans makeup) woodenly participate in the unveiling of a bunch of static Lotus models at the Los Angeles Auto Show a few years back so I guess there’s precedence. Awkwardly, none of those Lotus midels ever got built so I hope Simmons got paid up front.
Anyway, this Mini has been decorated to approximate Paul Stanley’s Starchild makeup and, according to the ad was painted by a “BMW artist.” The car comes with all four band member’s autographs on the side-view mirror caps and a certificate of authenticity denoting it to be the real deal. The four cars were originally conceived to be auctioned off for UNICEF and raised something like $US200K ($270K) for the cause. Now they are out in the wild, and this one could become yours for far less.
The Mini Countryman under the eclectic paint appears to be otherwise stock and pretty standard. That means the 90 kW 1.6-litre four driving the front wheels through a six-speed stick.
The car comes with a mere 3,701 km on the clock (again, where would you drive this non-ironically?) and a clean title. There’s probably not all that much that could have gone wrong with it over so few miles and nothing unwarranted is called out in the ad.
The asking price is $US30,000 ($40,662) and before we get into that, you have to consider — is this Countryman just a gateway drug that will draw you into an obsessive endeavour to collect all four? What would kind of life would that look like?
I guess we really will have to consider this car’s price and whether it’s a start down such a scary Rock and Roll and Countryman odyssey. What do you think, should a Kiss fan add this Mini to their concert tchotchke collection at its $US30,000 ($40,662) asking? Or, is that price right out of a Psycho Circus?
H/T to Mike C. for the hookup!