The shifter and the steering wheel are the two most touched parts of the car and their feel is important. I love my 2-spoke wheel and although I liked the design of the shifter, I felt it was too high and did not like its plastic feel.
After loving the Italian leather of the Isotta steering wheel cover I put on my Focus, I wanted to get a shift knob from the same brand. I decided on the black and chrome Asfalto and found a source that ordered it for me for $65 instead of the $85 direct price.
Aftermarket short shift kits for the MINI must go in from underneath the car and involve removing the exhaust. Many don't actually shorten the height (which I wanted), just the throw. So I decided to save some money and just cut the stick! This would be required anyway as the aftermarket knob would not fit on the stock shaft. Note however this will prevent the stock knob from attaching again.
I cut about a half to two-thirds of an inch off the top with a hacksaw; the metal proved too tough to cut through with a Dremel. I then ground away the plastic neck molded around it with the Dremel. Note this plastic ring changed in late '03 and I believe may be easier to remove from the older style. Here is the stick before and after:
The new knob is then affixed using its three set screws on a ring which the knob is then screwed on to. (The photo shows the shift boot in its stock location, I later I pulled the boot all the way up to touch the chrome base of the knob.)
updated 5/11/05 ©Josh Wardell