Friday, July 31, 2009

The People Who Own This Place Think They're Underwater


If you happen to be in Berkeley, CA you might want to take a drive down Matthews Street and see the Fish House. Made from recycled styrofoam and cement blocks, it is said to be waterproof, fireproof, and resistant to earthquakes and sound.

[Source: Roadside America]

This One Has Your Fingerprints All Over It


A chromed Lamborghini Murcielago LP640. Also, don't miss the parked Carrera GT, Lamborghini Murcielago LP670-4 SV and pink Lamborghini Gallardo Superleggera in the video.



[Source: TopSpeed]

How Fast Can You Go Before The Parking Ticket Blows Off Your Windshield?

83 mph according to this "scientific" study by Detroit News auto critic Scott Burgess.

[Source: via Jalopnik]

Bumper Sticker Comes With MINI Bought Under Cash For Clunkers

These stickers have been given to MINI dealers to give their Cash for Clunkers customers.

[Source: Jalopnik]

Looking To Buy A Navigation System?

Automobile Magazine compares the TomTom XL 340S, Magellan Maestro 4350, Garmin nüvi 765T and the Rightway Spotter Dale, Jr. Edition. We don't know which is best but we do like that the Rightway Spotter Dale, Jr. Edition gives voice commands in Dale Earnhardt, Jr.'s southern drawl.

Tired? Retire To The Tire Lounger

Made from discarded tires the Tire Lounger is presently only a concept.


[Source: Hometone via AutoMotto]

MINI JCW Clubman Review

theSwitchback reviews the MINI JCW Clubman and is euphoric. It concludes that it is "THE most enjoyable MINI currently being assembled at the Oxford production facility."

Thursday, July 30, 2009

August 15 Skyline Run With Emphasis On Sky (updated 8-4-09)


Don't miss this beautiful NorCal MINIs' run that starts off at the Denny's at Serra Monte Shopping Center in Daly City at 9:30 a.m., takes us to Duarte's at 11:30 in Pescadero for a bite (mmmmm! Artichoke Soup); then down Highway 85 to Skyline Boulevard and on to Highway 92 all the way to the aviation museum in San Carlos (admission $10 adult $6 seniors and children).

Make sure to bring your school supplies for the big NorCal MINIs' School Supply Collection.

Sign up by responding to your email invitation or, if you don't get one, by emailing us at info@norcalminis.com.

New Zipcar Street Theatre Advertisements

Zipcar gave out mock parking tickets to pedestrians who passed their radar speed display.




[Source: psfk]

Matchstick Mini

This MINI, situated on Aukland, New Zealand's North Shore, has been painstakingly covered with matchsticks. The roof is done in a matchstick Union Jack. The project took three years. You can see the video here.

[Source: 3news.co.nz]

What Comes In The MINI-E Swag Box?

The MINI Cooper Butterfly Effect Promo Video

MINI Cooper Documentary By Full Sail University



Awesome film on MINIs and mods.

Parallel Parking A MINI In A Tight Space

How Do Turn Signals Work?



[Source: SearchAutoParts.com via About.com]

Now That's A Demolition Derby

Watch the mayhem and destruction caused by seven motorhomes in a demolition derby at the Orange County Fair.

Hope They Make A MINI Toolbox

These car logo tool boxes are available for about $100 at What On Earth? We just wish they made one in the form of the MINI logo.

[Source: via AutoMotto]

First Motor Vehicle Sales Advertisement

The Winton Motor Carriage Co. is believed to have run this as the first automotive advertising in print urging consumers to "dispense with a horse." When? July 30, 1898 - 111 years ago today. Where? In Scientific American. Winton stopped producing cars in 1924 and was bought by GM in 1930.

[Source: Wired]

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

No Church For Me

According to UPI.com a seven year old Utah boy took his family's car and led police on a chase because he didn't want to go to church. Two deputies pursued the vehicle as it drove through parking lots and stop signs before stopping in the driveway of the boy's family home. Here's video -

This Would Get Me To Take The Car To The Shop

UPI.com reports that a Swedish man discovered a bag containing about $60,000 in the back seat of a car loaned to him by a repair shop. Fortunately for the prior driver the Swedish are rather honest. The man said he was able to contact the man who previously borrowed the car from the garage and made plans to return the money to its rightful owner.

"Classic Cars" 1999 (Minis On Men & Motors)

Check out this great program produced on the 40th anniversary of the Mini with historic racers and comments by John Cooper and others. It is well worth your time to watch both parts.


Driving Like A Jerk Has Its Place

A Swedish physics study has determined that there is less of a risk of a traffic jam if a significant fraction of drivers break the rules and drive like jerks by doing things like passing on the wrong side or changing lanes too close to an intersection. The study determined that the risk of traffic jams was lowest if 40% of drivers drive like jerks.

We doubt this study because there continue to be traffic jams in the Bay Area.

[Source: via Slashdot]

BTS Statistics To Ponder


The Bureau of Transportation Statistics has issued its 2008 State Transportation Statistics Report. Interesting statistics to ponder include:

California Road Conditions (2007)
Very good - 1,800
Good - 7,958
Fair - 22,865
Mediocre - 11,805
Poor - 9,810
Not reported - 212

California Road Bridge Conditions (2008)
All Bridges - 24,412
Structurally deficient - 3,199
Functionally obsolete - 3,886
Percentage of state bridges structurally deficient - 13% (Worst state: Pennsylvania 27%) (Nationwide average: 12%)
Percentage of state bridges functionally obsolete - 16% (Worst state: Massachusetts 39%) (Nationwide average: 13%)

California highway fatality rate per 100,000 population - 11 (Nationwide average: 14)

California safety belt use - 95% (Worst state: New Hampshire: 64%) (Nationwide: 82%)

California mean travel time to get to work - 27.3 minutes (Worst state: New York - 31.5 minutes) (Best state: North Dakota - 16.1 minutes)(Nationwide: 25.3 minutes)

California vehicle miles traveled per capita (2007) - 8,982 (Most: Wyoming - 17,914) (Natonwide average - 10,045)

In 2005 4 out of the top 10 urban areas with the most traffic congestion were in California. No. 1 is Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana, CA. San Francisco-Oakland, CA was No. 5 and San Jose, CA was No. 8.

California gasoline tax rate - 18.00 cents/gallon. (Highest: Washington - 36.00 cents/gallon) (Lowest: Georgia - 7.50 cents/gallon)

Driver Text Message Dictation

According to a Virginia Tech study texting drivers have a 23 times greater risk of a crash or near-crash than those who are not texting. To address this safety issue ATX Group plans to introduce hands-free text messaging by voice. The system will allow dictation of customized messages with minimal driver distraction and will read text messages aloud to drivers.

[Source: Computerworld and Automotive News via Cnet's cartech blog]

Bye, Bye Sky

With Pontiac gone, and Saturn for sale, GM is closing their Boxwood Road plant in Delaware thereby terminating the Saturn Sky/Pontiac Solstice.

[Source: autoblog]

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Drink Your Coffee BEFORE You Drive


Here's what can happen if you do it while driving and drop your cup. He first hit a parked car, then went over a curb, through a fence and into the shallow end. Here is raw video of the result.

[Source: kgw.com]

Anyone Want To Buy 24 Rolls Royces?

Hans-Günter Zach, through September 15, 2009, is taking bids for an assembly of cars that comprises 24 Rolls-Royces, 3 Bentleys and, if desired, 50 pieces of antique furniture. A significant part of the revenue from the sale will be given to charity. You can view all of the cars at Classic Driver.

New Motor Vehicle Game For Hot Summer Days

Learn to play Car Sauna, brought to you by Top Gear -



[Source: via egmCarTech]

395 HP 4x4 VTEC Mini

Why wait for the MINI Countryman when you can get this monster from Mini Tec?



[Source: via autoblog]

Minimalism Carvertising

This May in Germany Advertising Agency Webguerillas GmbH aired a MINI commercial featuring a simple black pen versus several markers. The plain simple pen wins out over the mass of empty ink-ridden markers and the viewer discovers that the contest has resulted in an inked representation of a Mini Cooper.

[Source: Trend Hunter Magazine]

The Rental Car Rally

The Rental Car Rally is a competitive road trip starting in New York on August 21 and ending in Detroit. There is no set route, but each team must hit pre-defined checkpoints, Checkpoints include an abandoned ghost town in Pennsylvania with a mine fire burning beneath the streets and a drive thru strip club. Each team is scored on a combination of odometer reading, team style, and hijinks. There are three types of tickets for the event:

Basic (entry plus briefcase full of fireworks, smoke bombs, condoms, chaw.)

The Captain Chaos (the above plus exec hotel suite, steak dinner, stripper in your suite.)

The Jason Statham (all the above, plus a syringe of pure human adrenaline.)

Speeding is prohibited and each team must provide photographic evidence of each checkpoint. Scoring is based on three factors: lowest odometer reading, best team style (both costume and vehicle), and freelance “feats of daring-do”.

[Source: via psfk.com]

An Amazing Race For The Clinically Insane

The Rickshaw Challenge takes place in India and "traverses every possible micro climate; from metropolis, tropical jungle, arid desert, ancient valleys and the epic coastline known the world over as, “God’s own country,” in a three-wheeled vehicle with a two stroke engine. The Rickshaw Challenge runs four events per year and the Mumbai Xpress 2009 starts this Friday, July 31.

[Source: via autoblog]

How The ?????



[Source: Business Pundit]

Car Built For Blind Drivers

In response to a challenge issued by the National Federation of the Blind Virginia Tech’s Robotics and Mechanisms Laboratory built a semi-autonomous vehicle out of an all-terrain buggy that uses a laser range finder and sensory technology that allows a blind driver to operate it. The driver wears a vest that vibrates in different places for different signals. The back, stomach and shoulders all mean different commands, except when the whole vest vibrates, which essentially means “hit the brakes now!” It also has a system that blasts compressed air through tiny holes in a screen to create a tactile map that the driver can feel to determine the car’s immediate surroundings.

[Source: KickingTires]

MINI's theOpenone.com Is Launched

This morning MINI launched theOpenone.com, a website that helps owners keep track of 2009 and 2010 MINI Convertibles top down time and compete for prizes based on down time.

[Source: MotoringFile]

Monday, July 27, 2009

Promotional Video For The 2009 MINI Cooper S JCW

Egomaniacal Pimp Or Extremely Religious?

Wanted: Spellcheck For the WI Dept Of Transportation

Every word, except "Exit," is misspelled. The exit sign is for "Business 51" to "Rothschild" and "Scofield" in Wisconsin.

[Source: nbc15.com]

No MINI Diesels For The U.S.

MINI USA has given up trying to bring a R56 diesel MINI to the United States. This is because "the costs for converting the European Diesel engine to US specifications are just astronomical for a three- or four-year production run" and MINI USA would have to price the car "at 40%-50% more to pay for the re-engineering required," according to MotoringFile.

Put A Cheetah In Your Car

Check out the new Cheetah auxiliary rear view mirror. It clips to your present mirror and detects speed and red light cameras. According to AutoMotto, it
"has directional camera alerts, Advisory speed limit announcements, GPS speedometer display with discreet compass, and “Rescue ME” GPS co-ordinates announcement. The camera costs $250."


[Source: via buy.com/Uncrate via AutoMotto]

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Diamond Encrusted Mercedes

This is proof Saudi Arabian princes have more money than sense. It cost $4.1 million to make. If you want to touch it, it will cost you $1,000.

[Source: Auto Repair Help & Car Insurance Questions]

MINI Cooper S Convertible Gets An Interesting South African Review

The MINI Cooper S Convertible received a rather interesting review from the South African website Bizcommunity.com. How is this for an opening line:
Besides being totally impractical and damn expensive, the new Mini Cooper S Convertible has a ride hard enough to shake the fillings from your teeth and a body flex that any belly dancer will be proud of - yet it is one of the sexiest, fun-to-drive cars on the road.

There is also this less than stellar analysis:

Alas, the roof might look good, but its very presence is the cause of some irritation. When it's up the visibility is woeful, as Jeremy Clarkson described it so accurately: “It's like sitting in a post-box”.

And, because the roof doesn't fold away completely like in most other modern convertibles, the view out the back doesn't get much better when the canvas is down.

With the roof up, the Convertible tends to shudder and shake. In topless mode this gets even worse and the body also flexes quite a bit.

And if this isn't disconcerting enough the car humps and thumps and the steering shudders something awful on rough roads, thanks to the hard combination of stiff suspension and run-flat tyres.

And while we're muttering, the backseats are for shopping bags or poodles with jewelled collars, not for anything with two legs. There just isn't any space for even a tiny tot's legs between the back of the driver's seat and the back seat.

The boot is about the size of a small wall safe which actually suits the poser owners. And I've actually seen this. Chic chick strolls out of the V&A, Louis Vuitton dress bag over the shoulder and when she gets to the topless car, she simply flops the bag on to the back seat. All in full view, of course and much classier than shoving it into a boot, don't you think?

Yet, the reviewer waxes:

But most of the Convertible's foibles are quickly forgotten and forgiven when you fire up the sporty 1.6-litre engine, blip the throttle to the lovely burbling music from the double-barrel tailpipes and head for the hills.

MINI Cooper S Wins Green Car Award For Second Year In A Row

The MINI Cooper S won one of Britain's What Car? Green Car Award for the second year in a row. Steve Fowler, editor-in-chief at What Car?, commented:
"The Mini Cooper S is a home-grown hot hatch that's big on performance and style, yet treads far lighter than rivals because of its smaller carbon footprint."


[Source: via timesofmalta.com]

Awesome Mini Dragster

Six Way Adjustable Power Motorcycle Seats

[Source: Gizmodo]

National MINIs For Kids Weekend

MINIs For Kids, a Southern California based not for profit that "is comprised of members from various MINI clubs with a heart for children and a cause greater than ourselves" is promoting October 3-4, 2009 as a "National MINIs For Kids Weekend." They seek donations during this weekend for the Loma Linda Ronald McDonald House and have planned runs and events in the Redlands, Lake Arrowhead area. They also seek runs by MINI clubs throughout the US to raise funds for the Ronald McDonald House. More information is available at the MINIs for Kids website.

MINI Countryman The Result Of BMW Contract Agreement Fulfillment

MotoringFile has published an article that reveals "The Secret History of the MINI R60 Crossover." Apparently, BMW had a contract with Magna Steyr in Austria for construction of two generations of the X3 crossover but BMW moved production to its South Carolina plant. In order to move production it needed to come up with a crossover vehicle for Magna Steyr to build to fulfill the contract. Thus, BMW created the MINI (soon to be called) Countryman. In essence, MotoringFile tells us there was no consumer demand for a MINI crossover. Rather, it was created by BMW to avoid an expensive breach of contract that would have otherwise occurred when BMW decided to move the location of X3 production.

First Known MINI-E Accident

autobloggreen reports that MINI-E No. 438 was involved in a minor fender bender in stop and go traffic when it was hit from behind by a large white van. The accident left a dent in the rear hatch. The MINI's electric powertrain is said not to have been a contributing factor in the accident.

MINI Motoring Graphics Offers Customized Graphics And Wraps

MINI Motoring Graphics says they offer 5 million options to cover part or all of your vehicle. The roof graphics are about $500 and may be used on both regular MINIs and the MINI Clubman with or without a sunroof. MINI Motoring Graphics says the graphics are
"printed with only the finest vinyl and laminate available [and] are completely removable without damaging, scratching, or otherwise defacing your MINI."

They also offer "wraps."



[Source: Ridelust]

John McDonald A MINI Driver And Maxi Hero





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Watch this news video from Southern California about John McDonald who pulled over in his MINI (you can see him do so in the video) and extricated a trapped young girl from a burning car on the San Bernardino Freeway. John, we salute you!

Car And Driver Doesn't Like The 2009 MINI Convertible

Car And Driver did a "short take road test on the 2009 MINI Convertible" - not the S. The sticker price for the vehicle was $32,050 that Car and Driver calls "a heap of dough for a softtop version of Mini's cute coupe." Car and Driver was turned off by "copious amount of cowl shake" and said "the powers verges on the anemic." Car and Driver's verdict,
"[a]ll its faults aside, the Cooper functions well as a cruising convertible but not much else. Our advice: Forgo the automatic and, if you can afford it, step up to the turbocharged S."

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Gone Fishin'

Faster - George Harrison

We miss you George -



[Source: YouTube via Robyn Saunders of Miniology at Facebook]

Bad Foods For Kids In The Car


Motherproof.com lists the six foods she you should not have given her kids in the car:

• Cheetos, Doritos or any cheesy snack: Cheesy snacks are so good, but they coat the fingers with a thick, atomic-orange powder that begs to be wiped on car seatbacks.

• Ice cream: Some parents make the mistake of allowing a cup of ice cream — “Hey, at least it’s not a cone, right?” — in the car. Rookie move. Even in a cup, that ice cream will be melting into the backseat before you can say “Here’s a napkin.”

• Bagel with cream cheese: One bite and the cream cheese is oozing out of the bagel and onto your child’s shirt. If you’re lucky, it’ll stay on the easy-to-clean shirt and not get on your car’s hard-to-clean upholstery.

• Caramel dipping sauce (for apple slices): Yes, I actually gave this to my son after an emergency trip through a McDonald’s drive-through. Yes, both the boy and the car were sticky. Yes, I might be an idiot.

• Milk: Most first-time moms learn this quickly after leaving a sippy cup of milk in the car for a day or two. Don’t even get me started on how long a sour-milk smell can linger.

• Chocolate: I’ve tried giving my kids M&Ms, thinking it was the safest chocolate for the car, but I was so wrong. While M&Ms don’t melt as quickly as some chocolate — love that candy shell — they do fit perfectly into the cracks and crevices of my car, just waiting for that hot summer day when they can melt into the carpet.

Food in the car has never been a problem for us. You just don't eat, or drink anything but water, in the MINI.

JCW Package Review

Winding Road Magazine provides an overall positive review of the JCW package. The article starts on page 21.

Iran's Collector's Cars

Jalopnik has photographs from a classic car show this weekend at Tehran's Niavaran Palace. The former Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi's own personal ride was also there.

Is This The New MINI Broadspeed Coupe?

[Source: modtor.com via Auto Spies]

Gain 10-20% Better Gas Mileage For Free

That is the claim of the website FuelClinic.com where you create an account and track your gas purchases. After a few purchases the site calculates your fuel usage stats and, then, makes recommendations for you to follow to increase your mileage.

[Source: FuelClinic.com via Wired via TheCarConnection.com]

A Delicious Use For Your Dashboard

Try this recipe and bake chocolate chip cookies on your dashboard on a 100+ degree day.

[Source: Baking Bites via the New York Times]

Velcro These To Your Garage Door And Be The Envy Of Your Neighbors

The UK Mail Onlinewrites about a trend where homeowners affix realistic images printed on plastic sheets on their garage doors. From the MG to the beach these images are weather and fire-resistant and held in place by industrial strength Velcro. More images are available in the article.