Saturday, February 28, 2009

We Have Been "Pended" By CafePress courtesy of BMW

If you go to our web store at CafePress you will see that the NorCaL MINIs logo design has been "pended." We received the following e-mail. Apparently BMW and CafePress are upset with our logo design.
Your image has been pended because it did not comply with BMW's CafePress user guidelines. Please review the information below.

You can view all the images which have been pended by clicking on the following URL (or copying and pasting this URL into your browser): [ url removed protect administration of site]

Images Pended: 33030827

Once you have remedied the issue you can email cup@cafepress.com and we will review your images, product selection and product titles. If they are in compliance we will reinstate your images.

BMW has some very specific guidelines regarding use of pictures of BMWs, Mini Coopers, or Rolls Royce.

Generally the guidelines are:

1) NO sale of BMW merchandise by any BMW clubs or club members

2) NO use of your BMW, Mini Cooper, or Rolls Royce pictures on any CafePress product where the image is placed on the left upper chest area (for example http://www.cafepress.com/cp/customize/product.aspx?clear=true&no=245, http://www.cafepress.com/cp/customize/product.aspx?clear=true&no=218, http://www.cafepress.com/cp/customize/product.aspx?clear=true&no=217)

3) NO use of any of the BMW, Mini Cooper, or Rolls Royce trademarks in the title of the product.

You can find examples of CafePress user content that BMW does not object to here.

You can find BMW's guidelines for CafePress users here.

Please make sure you adhere by the above rules when creating your merchandise or your images may be pended, which will prevent them from being used on products.

If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact us.

Content Usage Associate

CafePress.com

CUP@cafepress.com


Hmmm. It all sounds as if someone settled rather than fight a lawsuit. You know, with free speech and non-infringing original designs. How could anyone have a "wordmark" that prevents us from using the word MINIs?

Larry wrote and asked what it was that we did that offended BMW and CafePress' sensibilities? Was it the drawing of the MINI or the word MINIs in NorCal MINIs in the logo? The response Larry received was "MINI."

Please be patient while we do a MINI redesign of our NorCal MINIs logo. We wish to MINImize any difficulty you may have with getting NorCal MINIs merchandise. We can't fight dictators with electrons and no money. Hopefully our MINIature squabble will not offend the economic powers that be. At a MINImum we will endeavor to put it to rest. We will stop here and stop MINIng this for all that it is worth.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Ouch! Whammer JAMA

The Japanese Automobile Manufacturers Association, Inc. (JAMA) reports the following harrowing statistics:

Automobile Production in January 2009 - 576,539 units, down 400,436 units or 41.0% (January 2008: 976,975 units)

Automobile Export in January 2009 - 233,859 units, down 338,377 units or 59.1% (January 2008: 572,236 units)

Car and Driver Review Of 2009 MCC

Car and Driver provides this "First Drive" Review of the new 2009 MINI Cooper Convertible.

Worst and Least Depreciation

Chuck Tannert at MSN Autos (with special thanks to The Auto Channel) rates the five worst and the five best on depreciation. The MINI was the best retaining 67% of its value after three years. The worst was the Ford Freestar which maintained just 27% of its value after three years.

New Release MINI Pop Art Umbrella

Colin Mathews reports on the new MINI Pop Art umbrella for TheCarConnection.com.

Consumer Reports Includes MINI In 2009 Top Five Economical Cars

ABC News reports that Consumer Reports has announced that the MINI was one of its top five choices for the Most Economical Car in Consumer Reports' 2009 annual auto issue.

Linus, There Is (Was) A Great Pumpkin.

Auto Insurance For Traffic Tickets?

We wonder what type of loss reserves Terrence Boyd has for his company. According to Ken Belson of the New York Times Mr. Boyd's company, "Ticket Assurance," for $15.95 per month, will pay up to $1,000 in moving violations and $500 in non-moving violations. Two driver and family plans for $24.95 and $29.95, respectively are also available. Individual tickets cannot exceed $350, and there is no insurance for felonies, drinking and driving, and reckless driving violations.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Is This My Good Side?


If you are coming to Keith's Run on Saturday, or to any other NorCal MINI event, you and/or your car might find yourself on the front of Authentic NorCal MINI Merchandise. So be prepared, what is better than boxer shorts with your car and face on them?

Prediction That Cars Will Interface by 2012

Wired Blog Network reports that Cohda Wireless has come up with a system that makes each car a node on a huge communication network. The vehicles can communicate with each other and warn drivers of potential collisions. Combining a WiFi Network and GPS the system would help minimize traffic jams and curb emissions by assisting in the avoidance of traffic congestion. Expect the system to be road-ready by 2012.

Are you prepared for the next step? Big Brother watching you in your car through the interface?

Fin Starts Early With Rally-prepped Mitsubishi Lancer Evo

From Carscoop eleven year old Finland Heuvel, Jr. navigates the course under the watchful eye of his mother in the passenger's seat.

Learn How Your Turbocharger Works


If you have a 2007 or later MINI or a new MINI Convertible you probably have the turbocharged engine. (The prior generation used a supercharged engine which blows - turbos suck.) You should know how a turbocharger works, but, if you don't, check out this Popular Mechanics article and you can figure out how to get more power out of your exhaust sucking turbocharged engine.

Remember May 30 - June 7, 2009 Is British Car Week

Get out the goggles and classics for this one week a year celebration of British Motor Cars. Find out more here.

MINI's 2009 Convertible Live Online Media Event

MINI USA has set up this website with comprehensive informaton, news, reviews, photographs and video from the launch of the 2009 MINI Convertible.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Official NorCal MINIs Merchandise

You Asked For It! This is the Authentic Stuff. It Is Just The Beginning.

New Clubman Spoiler


MotoringFile has this first look at the new R55 spoiler

Alternate Ending To "Back To The Future" Movie Unearthed

Most Dangerous Times To Drive


Forbes.com provides in pictures the most dangerous times to drive based on National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, AAA's Foundation for Traffic Safety and University of California at Berkeley's Traffic Safety Center research studies. According to Forbes.com, between 5:00 pm and 7:00 pm on any Saturday in August, on July 4th, during the extended Thanksgiving weekend, while using a cell phone, while speeding, while not wearing your seatbelt, after drinking, and on the first day after a snowstorm, are the most dangerous times to drive.

Amateur Speed Demons Sign Up Now!

You can be one of fifty who get to haul ass in a Ferrari, a Porsche, and an AMG Mercedes on a minimum of 6 and maximum of 13 closed public roads throughout the USA for a new reality TV show. More info is available here at Driving Sports. There is one BIG catch - it will cost you $50,000, exclusive of food and lodging, to reserve your spot. Quite steep, but, if you break one of the cars you don't have to buy it. (However, that $50K would make a nice down payment on one.)

AMVIV Update

White Roof Radio has this AMVIV Update.

Master Polish Criminal Terrible Driver

The New York Times reports on the Irish police force's investigation of a Polish driver with 50 identities in Ireland - Prawo Jazdy. The brillance of law enforcement should not be overlooked!

Driving One Of The World's Best Driving Roads

Fifth Gear's Tiff Needell takes on Jebel Hafeet Mountain Road in Abu Dhabi, U.A.E.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

2008 MINI Cooper Diesel Reviewed By Car and Driver

David Gluckman provides this Car and Driver review of the Cooper D.

SI Swimsuit Models Subjected To Rides Of Their Lives

Weather for Saturday

So far so good. Weather forecast is for cloudy skies and temps in the 60's. 

Dial Up Your Car

How would you like to totally control your car through your iPhone? Well, KickingTires reports that Rinspeed's new iPhone-controlled electric car, the single seat iChange, which at the push of a button expands to accommodate two other passengers, is set to debut at the Geneva Motor Show.

The Evolution Of The R55 Clubman Design

MotoringFile has posted this wonderful article on how the R55 Clubman came to be.

Sam Abuelsamid's First Drive Impressions Of the 2009 MCS Convertible

Sam Abuelsamid writes this first drive review of the 2009 MINI Cooper S Convertible for Autoblog.

Speaking of Cop Cars - Check Out Hoover, Alabama's Newest Cruiser

This repainted Porsche 911 is the newest Hoover, Alabama police car after being seized and forfeited for harboring 10 kilos of cocaine, then, outfitted and painted by the PD for public patrol and relations, according to Autoblog.

Ergonomic Police Cruiser

Motor Trend discusses the new Carbon Motors' Police Cruiser. What could be better than an ergonomically -designed rear seat for handcuffed passengers to feel all comfy!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Your Next Commute Car - The Scorpion Prodigy

This single seat 3-wheeler does 0 to 60 mph in 3.3 seconds for only $40,000.00. Check it out in this article at Worldcarfans.com.

Anyone Got An Extra $3M Laying Around?

According to this article from The Auto Channel a rare 1959 Ferrari 250 GT California Spyder will be the highlight car of the "Pebble Beach of the US East Coast" - The Automobiles of Amelia Island Auction. The car is powered by a V12 engine, producing 240 bhp from its 2953cc. They expect it to bring $2.9M at auction.

Turn Left, Do A Few Laps, Then Come On Up To The House

Worldcarfans bring us an article and Google pictures of the coolest driveway in the world for a car fanatic. Check it out.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Weather forecast for Keiths Run #5/Mines Rd

So far the weather forecast says a 30% chance of rain. Check back before the run as weather conditions can effect this road. Snow and ice will cause a postponement.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Anyone need window tint or dent repair ?

Does anyone need window tint or dent repair? If so we will set up a vendor for our detail day next month. Let us know by the end of Feb. Post your request in the signup area for the event.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Can You Get Us Tickets for Las Vegas 11/3 - 11/6? Please!!!!!

Edmund's Inside Line reports today that The SEMA show will be at the Las Vegas Convention Center November 3 through 6, 2009. SEMA, - well here is what it's all about, and if you can get eight or so of your very best acquaintances in (nod, nod, wink, wink) we would be ever so grateful!

The SEMA Show is the premier automotive specialty products trade event in the world (PLEASE NOTE: THE SEMA SHOW IS NOT OPEN TO THE GENERAL PUBLIC). It draws the industry’s brightest minds and hottest products to one place, the Las Vegas Convention Center. As part of the AAIW, the SEMA Show attracts more than 100,000 industry leaders from over 100 countries for unlimited profit opportunities in the automotive, truck and SUV, and RV markets. SEMA Show 2008 drew over 50,000 domestic and international buyers through two million square feet of exhibits. The displays are segmented into 10 sections, and a New Products Showcase featured nearly 2,000 newly introduced parts, tools and components. In addition, the SEMA Show provides attendees with educational seminars, product demonstrations, special events, networking opportunities and more…

"Touchless" Car Covers?

A tent made especially for your MINI! Thank you for the report MotorAuthority.

0NLY ONE WEEK TILL MINES ROAD

Don't forget to sign up so we have a correct count. This run is a benefit for the American Cancer Society.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Ever Heard of A MINI Cooper Ray?

This one was new to us. Zer Customs reports that a special edition MINI will premiere at the Geneva Motor Show designed for the Italian market. The MINI Cooper Ray is powered by a 55 kW 1.4-liter engine that requires 5.3 liters of fuel to run for 100 km with a top speed of 175 km/h.

BMW's UK Labour Problems


BMW is summarily laying off workers all over the UK and Unite, the UK's largest Union, ain't none too happy about it. Check out this diatribe by Tony Woodley as only the Brits can:

You have treated your workforce with utter contempt. The difficulties of the car industry globally are well known, but the manner in which BMW has sought to address the reduction of its volumes at the Cowley plant in the UK is nothing short of disgraceful. You would not treat a dog this way, never mind loyal and committed employees.


Read the entire article at The Auto Channel here.

Live Internet Launch Of New MINI Convertible


At 8:00 am this morning! Right Here!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Meetup with MidCal this weekend in Santa Cruz!

  They have invited us to come along for a ride from Santa Cruz to the Yankee Pier restaurant in San Jose. For all the details and to sign up go to the comments on the next page. 

Monday, February 16, 2009

What A Difference A Day Makes For 850 in Oxford

Yesterday we reported that the Oxford plant was to be shut down until February 23 and talk of 850 being laid off was "speculative." According to this news report from UPI that speculation has become reality and the laid off workers are none too happy.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Oxford Will Close Through February 23

BBC News reports that, due to the downturn in MINI sales the Oxford plant will close today through February 23, but talks of a layoff of 850 workers are "speculative."

20 Reasons A Car Is Better Than A Woman


TopSpeed had the cajones to post this today - the day after Valentine's Day (sorry ladies no offense intended):

20 Reasons a Car Is Better Than a Woman:

Women don’t come with idiot lights
You can turn on a car whenever you want
It’s ok for your good friends to borrow your car every once in a while
It’s an advantage if a car carries a lot of baggage
You’re expected to go fast with your car
Upgrading parts on a car doesn’t lead to fights
You want to know the owner history on a used car
It’s a good thing when your car is full of gas
Chrome is cheaper than diamonds
Cars get better with age
Maintenance intervals on a car are less frequent
A car doesn’t care if you drive another car
You always know the mileage on a car, not always on a woman
People don’t mind if you carry around magazines with naked car parts
The rubber lasts longer with a car
Your car is not offended if you try to sell it on the street
A car doesn’t mind waiting until after the football game to spend time with it
Cars are always into leather
It only takes soap and water to make a car pretty again
You can have multiple cars at once

Keith's Run Approved By Tom Stienstra

In today's SF Chronicle Outdoor section Tom Stienstra reviews Mines Road.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Detail Day Inspiration





For great inspiration for NorCal MINIs' March 21, 2009 Detail Day over at Johns European, check out this 4 day detail of a MINI Cooper S by Detailer's Domain over at Autopia.org. Let's get 'em all clean and shiny!

Hi-Tech Dashboards

Dan Nosowitzs at Gizmodo reports that Hughes Telematics expects to bring downloadable applications to dashboard consoles near you in 2010. Much like an iPhone, the consoles will have monitor and  system test programs, web-connected security cameras and even Twitter integration. 

Damn, I Broke A Nail

Lee Redmond WAS the holder of the Guinness World Record for the longest fingernails.  But, no "longer."  According to Michael Harley at Autoblog Ms. Redmond was ejected from a vehicle during a car accident and broke her nails.  We wonder whether she'll now pick up those cell phone calls herself.  

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

A US Diesel MINI or 2 or 3?

USA Today ran an article in which they indicate MINI told them MINI may introduce a diesel powered MINI to the US in 2010 or 2011.  If built, it will have "a new-generation clean-diesel engine rather than a modified version of the overseas diesel," according to MINI VP Jim McDowell.  There may be a diesel option for several MINI models in the US within the next few years..

Monday, February 9, 2009

Morning Tea for the Ladies - Pleasanton during detail day - March 21, 2009

Join us for the "Queen's Sumptious Morning Tea" at the English Rose Tea Room in downtown Pleasanton. We have reservations for twelve, so sign up now to participate! 

Tea Time Menu:
A splendid assortment of Tea Sandwiches
An Array of Delicate Savories
A Warm Scone served with Preserves
Lemon Curd and Clotted Cream
Fresh Fruit in Season
A Delectable Variety of Sweets and Treats
Accompanied by a Pot of Our Fine Loose Tea
Or Iced Tea of the Day

Cost:  $23.00 per guest through the club's Paypal or hand a check to an officer before the event.
Address:  163 W. Neal St., Pleasanton, CA 94566 (off Main St.)
Please R.S.V.P. to Lori Skoglund by midnight of March 17th.


Sunday, February 8, 2009

California Fix-It Ticket Fines to Almost Triple


The Mercury News reports that cash strapped California is looking to Fix-it tickets as a cash cow. Fix-it tickets are scheduled to jump to $25.00 from $10.00. If you are late in taking car of the problem the ticket jumps to $50.00. If you have another outstanding minor traffic ticket it could jump to over $100. Regular traffic tickets will be bumped by $35.00. Parking tickets are to go up by $3.00.

Is this the Legislature's new budget strategy? No new taxes just huge fines?

Your First Car And Your Last Car


Remember your first car? Not the first car you ever drove - the first car that was yours - lock, stock and barrel.

How many cars have you had since then? Five? Six? Seven? Ten? Fifteen? More?

Believe it or not, according to UPI, Graham Rudd of Beccles, England, age 65, drove the same car to work when he started his job and 48 years later when he retired - a 1936 Ford Popular. Then, again, he only put a little over 2,000 miles a year on the vehicle and didn't own it continuously for all 48 years.

Decisions, Decisions - But You Can Only Choose One

BMW Blog provides a side by side visual comparison of the BMW Z4, Mercedes SLK, Porsche Boxster and Audi TT. This only begs the question. If you must choose, and can only choose one of these, which one would you choose?

Give us your take in the comments link below.

Mr. Clean - The Car Wash

Proctor & Gamble must be steaming mad at dirty cars. Known primarily for household cleaning products, Proctor & Gamble is now pimping a franchise opportunity for its brand name "Mr. Clean". The Wall Street Journal reports that P&G has acquired the franchise assets of Atlanta-based Carnett's Car Wash with 14 locations and plans for a nationwide chain of Mr. Clean Car Wash franchisees.

Mr. Clean wears his earring in his left ear. What is that all about?

Saturday, February 7, 2009

More Bad Economic News For MINI

Carscoop reports that BMW Group's global January sales were down 24.2% and MINI was hit the worst, down 34.5%, compared to last year's sales. BMW blames the MINI drop on the lack of availability of the MINI Convertible due to the end of its production in mid-2008 in anticipation of the introduction of the new Convertible this March.

See The New JCW Aerokit For The Clubman

MotoringFile released these pictures of the upcoming JCW Aerokit for the Clubman. The top photograph shows how the standard Aerokit will look. The bottom photograph shows the Aerokit with the optional painted arches.

The Giants vs A's tickets for 6-13-09 have been ordered

We sent in our order for the tickets. Members that ordered tickets will be sent a email with their total price when they arrived. 

Friday, February 6, 2009

The Tech Session for this Saturday has been postponed

   The tech session has been postponed till the spring. New date and time soon.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

If You Happen To See The Most Beautiful Car In The World

According to TTAC Classic & Sportscar Magazine asked 20 car designers to choose the most beautiful car ever designed. The winner - the Citroen DS!??! The MINI also received votes but so did the Triumph TR4 - go figure.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Man Drives Stolen Car To His Trial On Car Theft Charges

Trust us. This is an amazing local story. . . and the Yorkie pooch picture will make sense once you read it.

Check Out Craig Garfield and His Family Autocrossing

MSNBC has the footage (with a MINI) for the Nightly News.

Progressive Automotive X-Prize Contestants


If you have never heard of this contest the idea is to design, operate and exhibit a production-capable car that meets federal safety guidelines, with a working business plan to produce and sell 10,000 annually by 2014. The car must deliver at least 100 MPG and CO2 emissions no greater than 200 grams per kilometer. The winner gets ten million dollars ($10,000,000.00). Engadget comments, with pictures, on 20 of this year's contestants.

What Do You Want To Sit On?


Trying to decide whether your seats should be leather or leatherette? Here is an article over at BMW Blog that weighs the pros and cons of each to help you decide.

Mods Out Of Control

We all like to add a little "bling" to our MINIs through mods, and MINI is not the only car to mod well, but this modded Smart, as reported by Auto Motto, has just gone too far.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Even MINI Feels The Economic Meltdown

Bad economic news as MINI sold 15.5% less this January than MINI did last January. However, read this quote for Jim McDowell, the Vice President of MINI USA. Would you say he is "hopefully optimistic?"