All Runs Cancelled Until Further Notice

Hello Members. I hope you are all doing well. In light of the latest directive from Governor Newsom for Safer at Home, ALL Nor...

Dave & Anne Sitter - Member Profile

Meet Dave and Anne Sitter, NorCal Mini Club Directors, and their Mini Cooper Family:

Dave has always been a car guy his entire life – he is a lifelong career employee of the automotive industry. He’s owned many cars through the years including a few Fords, VWs, 2 Hondas and a Mitsubishi. He’s had trucks, cars, SUVs…. He’s also owned 3 Harley Davidson motorcycles and a Honda. His passion has always been in the automotive and motorcycle arena. A Corvette is still on Dave’s bucket list…….

For Anne, cars were simply a mode to get from point A to point B. Animals and animal welfare have always been, and continue to be, her passion. As a teen she shared a VW Dasher with her brother. She bought a Ford Escort and then a Mitsubishi Mirage later in her early 20’s. However, after seeing a beautiful red Ferrari convertible on the streets of Pasadena in 1978, her dream car became a red convertible Ferrari. With Ferrari being just a dollar or two out of her price range, when the long-awaited chance came in 2000 to purchase her “red convertible” she bought a red, 2000, Mitsubishi Spyder with all the bells and whistles, electric top, black leather interior…. She was single. It was a dude magnet. Other than that car, other cars were simply “a way to get me from here to there”.

Dave and Anne met in late 2003 and in early 2004 they combined their families of cars and animals into one household that included a Ford Expedition, Mitsubishi Mirage, Honda Civic, Mitsubishi Spyder and a 2000 Harley Davidson Wide Glide…. Plus, a total of 3 dogs and 5 cats. They married in December 2004 and each spouse officially adopted the other spouse’s “kids”.

There were a few other cars and more Harley Davidsons in between the time they met and the time they joined the Global Mini Cooper Family. However, the Sitters bought their first Mini Cooper in 2017 because Dave wanted a good, reliable, small commute car that could be easily parked at his office. Parking is a premium at the dealership and finding a spot can often be challenging. Anne was reluctant since she had no knowledge of Mini Coopers; She was also still angry because she had to get rid of her red, convertible hotrod a year prior. She had been firm on “it has to be a soft top!” because she was still pouting. One day Dave sent Anne a photo of the 2013 Mini Cooper soft top he found at Mini in Santa Clara. Because Anne loved convertibles and knew Dave really wanted a Mini Cooper, she agreed. They bought him in March 2017 and named him Ringo.

Once they joined NorCal Minis Anne started seeing different kinds of Mini Coopers on the monthly organized runs. Finally, she decided she wanted a Mini Countryman to call her own. She and Dave researched for several months, upwards of about a year, and then started looking. Having never had heated seats before, she was determined to make that a “must have” on her Countryman because Ringo’s seats were so warm when the heaters were on. It’s the little things…. No seat heaters, no purchase. She and Dave finally purchased a pretty, silver, 2015 Countryman they named Sterling in June 2018. Once he was home, Anne realized that, while the heated seats were A-MAZING…. her favorite part of part of Sterling wasn’t his heated seats or his beautiful silver paint that hid dirt so well…. It was the fact that he sported a handsome “Hidden Mickey” (Disneyland fans will get it) right on his dashboard in the form of his speedometer and heating vents.

Sterling is often used for long drives to LA to visit family and Disneyland, while Ringo is a warm weather, top down, commuter car for Dave. The Sitter’s COVID19 quarantine conversations have included talk of “what is our next Cooper… JCW? Electric??” and they both have done a little google surfing on what is out there. For now, they will be keeping Ringo and Sterling in the family and will be rotating them on runs depending on where the run is heading. Sometimes they ask each car which one wants to partake and have found, interestingly, that the boys do work together to figure out which one is best for upcoming runs.

This time away from the club physically has been a bummer but The Sitters, Ringo and Sterling are looking forward to the day when we can motor again as a club. The Cooper Boys are missing their Mini cousins and we are missing our Mini Family. In the meantime, stay safe and healthy, but keep on motoring.

Patrick Phillips - Member Profile

I live in Petaluma, CA which is a car town. If it’s not a truck or normal commuter car then it's mostly American classics, custom rods & muscle. Drove SUVs most my life, didn’t really even notice Minis that much until…

Last summer of 2019. Drove our Jeep up to Oregon to visit family. Long drive so we break it up into two days, stopping in Dunsmuir, CA. Stayed at this cool hotel that’s actually made up of train cabooses. The Railway Inn or something like that. I know many of you reading this know of this place because… there were Minis everywhere! I guess NorCal Minis or a similar club had stopped there as well. So I started checking out the Minis, and took lots of photos. Some cars that really stood out:

Daddy’s Little Monster with Harley Quinn graphics on the bonnet.

A blue Clubman with cool skull graphics on the A-pillars & wheel caps.

An orangish-yellow S with license plates that read “DB KUPR”.

Frankly, all the Minis were cool. I mean, REALLY cool. What the hell was happening? Why was I suddenly attracted to these very interesting little cars? Why couldn’t I stop thinking about them, or taking their damn picture? After the trip back from Oregon, I started looking at options for our second car. Set my Craigslist search filter from 1955 to 1975 hoping to catch an American classic that had been restored & in good shape. Maybe a 70s Bronco, or a Chevelle, or maybe even a Caddy. But soon, I found my fingers setting the search filter for…

Minis! There they were again! Burrowing into my brain, intoxicating me with their whimsical swagger & charm! So I gave in to the obsession, this mad Mini crush. I had 3 rules in my new search; low miles, low price but high performance. A very tough target to hit. But, after a few test drives of other Minis, the universe was kind enough to allow me to find a 2010 Clubman John Cooper Works on Craigslist. I had done enough research to know what the JCW package means. A nice man named Max in San Rafael was selling his. Six-speed manual transmission, beautiful black paint with a hint of colored sparkle, alloy wheels, sport exhaust, a low & aggressive stance, the entire clutch recently replaced & something called “walnut blasting” done to the manifold. And only 51K miles. I went to see it, and it was love at first sight. True Mini love. 

Max & I reached a reasonable number to purchase the car. I’m forever grateful to Max for letting me buy the coolest and funnest car to drive that I have ever owned. I love everything about it. The engineering, the simplicity, the interior themes & styling, the big performance crammed into such a little car. The way it sips gas compared to SUVs! I’m new to the Mini space, but I get it. I get it, and I’m so very grateful. 

This current pandemic is real, and it’s a very hard reality. Condolences to those who’ve lost loved ones, or who have fallen ill. My sincere hopes for your recovery, and for those you know who are trying to recover. My thoughts & prayers are with everyone here. Stay safe, and stay sane. Hope to motor with you soon.

Patrick Phillips
Petaluma, CA