While the Hummer is automatic, the Mini is a six-speed manual, which he prefers for the Mini. "It's like driving a go-kart, it's fun to drive, you rev it, you shift it. I've only had a few cars that had automatics."

Although the Mini is "phenomenal" the way it is, Bodden is looking into adding more horses to the Mini. In his past life as jet mechanic, he wrenched at Lockheed and McDonnell Douglas and worked on the Stealth Bomber as well as his own Camaro. But that's changed now.

"The only reason I'm not a gearhead mechanic today is because technology has passed by the backyard mechanic. Even with oil changes, there was a time when there were these $19.99 Jiffy Lube oil changes and that was cheaper than doing it yourself."

Car he learned to drive in

Growing up in Queens, Bodden got his license as soon as he could. "I've always loved cars and bikes, and it's one of the reasons I knew I was leaving New York because you can't enjoy them the way you can in L.A. or anywhere in the West where there's room."

Bodden took two lessons at a driving school and practiced on his mom's 1969 Chevy Nova. "It was a straight-six with an automatic," he says. "The thing I always remember was her looking for that brake pedal on the passenger side, because she always thought I was driving too fast. She would push her foot down out of habit and I'd be like, 'There are no brakes on that side. I got it.'"

He became the cool kid with a license. "I had a friend, Dana, and we were all part of the same group and her boyfriend couldn't drive; he was a friend of mine and she had a Mercedes SL -- the two-seat convertible, and her dad used to let me drive her around in it like she was a spoiled kid," he recalls. "That was fun. It was the first Mercedes I drove."

First car bought
At 18, Bodden moved to L.A. to work at Lockheed in Burbank; his daily driver was a 1977 Honda CB 400 motorcycle. He then bought his first car -- a 1967 Chevy Camaro small-block 350 with a Muncie four-speed.

"I wanted a hot rod, a musclecar, and I guess I was a Chevy guy, so I was set on my first car being a '60s Camaro," Bodden says. "I couldn't afford a '69 Z28, that's what everybody wanted and I couldn't afford a Corvette."

Favorite road trip
Bodden's favorite road trip is driving to Vegas. "I think it's because I grew up in New York, so the first time I drove through the desert I never realized there was that much nothing anywhere," he says. "It was the enormity of it, the emptiness. To this day I still love it. I love driving, so anytime I'm working in California, Nevada, Arizona, I'll always drive."