Friday, October 30, 2009

How Much Would You Pay For This?

It is a 1950 Aston Martin DB2. The car has been in the same family for 52 years, and comes with an extensive history file, an original purchase invoice and a great deal of correspondence, including letters from David Brown dating back to 1955. Brown bought Aston Martin in 1947 and his initials give the DB models their name. How about $500,000? That was the selling price at the RM Auctions in London on Wednesday.

[Source: The New York Times]

Aqui Es El MINI Time Machine En Espanol

[Source: MiniTimeMachine @ YouTube]

Driving The MINI JCW

[Source: Miodzio438 @ YouTube]

MINI Cooper Clubman Pinball

[Source: Miodzio438 @ YouTube]

50 Years Of Ugly

BusinessWeek has posted a gallery of what it considers the 50 ugliest cars of the past 50 years. It includes the pictured 1998 Fiat Multipla.

MINI-E Puts Electric Car Durability In Question

Electrical components are very sensitive to the elements and, apparently, to potholes. The founder of GM-Volt.com was driving a MINI-E when it came to a dead stop in a construction zone after hitting a pothole. The power electronics unit failed (for the second time), putting the car into neutral and preventing any movement. Thus, major questions arise for MINI and GM as to how to make sophisticated electronic vehicles more durable.

[Source: GM-Volt and The Truth About Cars via gas 2.0]

Is It A Bat Something?


We wouldn't call it a Batmobile although there is an odd similarity. Made by a designer named "Koon" from an 1984 Ford Granada, it sports a hood mounted electrical circular saw blade. We have a feeling your auto insurer won't like this one. However, it is up for auction at eBay with very little time left.
[Source: carscoop via AutoMotto]

Be Extra Careful When Driving On Halloween



According to Safe Kids USA child is twice as likely to be killed while walking from 4 to 10 p.m. on Halloween than on any other night of the year. So we urge you to be extra careful if you are out driving on Halloween.
[Source: MotherProof.com via cars.com KickingTires]

MINI And JCW Release Vintage Clothing Collection

MotoringFile advises that MINI and John Cooper Works have released a vintage line of clothing. The theme to the clothing is "Keep It Wild." Check out the slideshow of the new duds.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

How Small Is A Nanometer?

[Source: NanoNerds @ YouTube]

MCS Cabrio Ninjas

[Source: Miodzio438 @ YouTube]

MCS Cabrio Best Buddies


[Source: Miodzio438 @ YouTube]

A Case Of Clubmanitis

[Source: Miodzio438 @ YouTube]

Bad Driving May Be In Your Genes

UC Irvine neuroscientists have discovered that people with a particular gene variant performed more than 20 percent worse on a driving test than people without it. About 30 percent of Americans have the variant.

[Source: Slashdot]

Taking The Kitty For A Ride

MINI Wins Gold Star

The MINI Cooper S received an Australian Wheels Gold Star Car award for best Premium Compact vehicle between $30,000 and $50,000. It scored over 90 points out of a possible 100, excelling in the in the areas of purchase price, resale value, fuel and service costs and safety. The 2009 Wheels Gold Star Car Awards are about the drive experience of the vehicle and the overall ownership proposition from a financial perspective, critically assessing the purchase price, retained value, insurance cost, fuel costs, warranty coverage, servicing costs, safety and drive experience. This year BMW Group dominated the awards.

[Source: The Auto Channel]

One Of Only 75 Lamm Autohaus Mini Convertible Conversions Is On eBay



On eBay (or go here if the ad disappears) is this Mini convertible, one of 75 Lamm Autohaus Mini conversions done by a German Mini dealer prior to the official Rover Mini Cabriolet. Although it is marked a 1970, it is not. It is equipped with the dual-point fuel injected Plus version of the 1275-cc A-series engine which wasn't made available until 1991. The interior of walnut burl and red-piped leather was first introduced with the Mini Cooper 1.3i.  The asking price is $18,500.

[Source: via Jalopnik]

Guys, Look At This - Girls, It Is All For Charity

Jalopnik says Lana Jones Magazine is producing a "2010 Glam Cars" calendar featuring lingerie models and exotic rides with the proceeds to benefit SIDS research.

Traffic Barrel Monster Hitchhiking Through Michigan

[Source: Jalopnik]

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

A Car Repair Shop Waiting Room That's Gone Too Far?

Check out Elle Auto Care in Alberta, Canada. They have a spa menu - for you and your car

Express package (45 minutes) ……………………...…. $99
Oil and lube, Mini car detailing + Express manicure

Classic package (1 hour)…………………………….…... $129
Oil & lube, Regular car detailing + Classic manicure

Spa package (2 hours)………………………….….....….. $269 best value
Oil & lube, Full car detailing (incl. interior shampoo and steam clean) + Spa manicure

*please call for other Spa services or package pricing

Isn't this just a little bit too much?

The BMW Wind Tunnel Hairdo Test

[Source: via BimmerFile]

2010 MINI Mayfair And Camden Debut

Two special-edition 2010 Cooper hatches, dubbed Mayfair and Camden, each will add $4,500 to the price of a Cooper or Cooper S, have debuted.

The Mayfair trim package has exclusive, optional metallic-brown paint, driving lights, traction control, unique mirror caps, bonnet stripes, sill plates, fender vents, and an anniversary grille badge. It also has a very nice Toffee leather interior.

The Camden has unique 17-inch wheels, a white-silver exterior, a black, white, and teal interior, and most of the Mayfair’s bundled accessories. It also comes with "Mission Control" which monitors everything from the accelerator to the windows that then permits a computer to select from 1,500 phrases to comment on your driving. Some have criticized the voices as "shrill." Check out a few samples for yourself:

Greeting – Mini Cooper Camden Mission Control

Buckle Up – Mini Cooper Camden Mission Control

Don’t Run the Air Con with the Sunroof Open, Stupid – Mini Cooper Camden Mission Control

[Source: Car and Driver]

MINI To Return To The Philippines

The Manila Inquirer reports that the MINI will launch in the Philippines January 15-16, 2010, with a MINI Driving Experience Event November 19-20, 2009 and a soft opening in December.

Stop Behind Busses With Flashing Lights

As this MINI's dash mount camera proves kids pull stupid, dangerous, stunts.

[Source: lacning74 @ YouTube]

Women Are More Prudent Than Men During A Vehicle Breakdown

In a study by UK car care specialist Comma male motorists were found to be almost three times more likely to be killed or injured on the hard shoulder of the road when than their vehicle breaks down than women. Thus, Comma suggests that all stranded motorists wear high-visibility vests since they can increase the distance at which other road users can spot stranded drivers by up to 400 percent.

According to Philip Hodson, a Fellow of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy, the fact that men's stubbornness and self-delusions about their own abilities are to blame for so many more male motorists being injured or killed.

He said: “Men tend to be ego-driven, meaning that they prefer to be seen as the ‘rescuer’ in situations like a car breakdown. They will, more often than not, tend to believe that they can fix the problem even if, in reality, they couldn’t even begin to comprehend the car’s technology.

“Women, on the other hand, are more realistic – about their own technical competence, the danger involved in the situation or even just that they don’t want to get their hands dirty. So they are naturally more inclined to follow the safety rules.”

[Source: The Auto Channel]

MINI's Product Release Strategy

According to BimmerFile BMW's release strategy forward for MINI is, first, release of the 2010 Countryman. Four doors and optional five seats make this the biggest MINI ever produced. Expect a full range of Countryman models including a standard JCW and a very limited edition lightened JCW R60. The Countryman is likely to be the first MINI to offer diesel power in the US.

Arriving in concept form in 2010 is likely the MINI Moke Concept. The Moke is expected to have a stripped down interior and an exterior devoid of a full roof, like a small version of the four door Jeep Wrangler.

MINI has designs on the board for a R60 derived four door GTI type of vehicle presently known as the MPV Concept. It is lower to the ground and without the faux off-road baggage of the Countryman.

As we have reported MINI will release the production version of the Coupe and Roadster in 2012. In 2013 you can expect MINI to roll out a replacement for the R56 hatchback with at least one three cylinder gas engine. Finally, it is believed that BMW has a MINI Vision Concept on the boards, similar to the BMW Vision Concept but, on a smaller scale.

Google Offers A Free Turn By Turn Mobile Map Application

Now in beta and downloadable from the Google Apps mobile website, Google Maps Navigation is a free mobile application with search-driven voice controls. Unfortunately, it is only presently available for phones with Android 2.0. Versions for other operating systems are in development.

Addresses are input by both text and voice. However, exact addresses are unnecessary. Business names and restaurant types as well as soft queries like "that museum that has the king tut exhibit" will return a list of suggested locations. The application draws traffic information from several different sources and advises of traffic conditions by color coding routes and displays estimated arrival times. The program will display maps in landscape or portrait mode.

Here is a video of how it works.

[Source: via Gizmodo]

More Krinked MINI Pictures

[Source: Carscoop]

ProDrive MINI Countryman WRC Delayed But Under Development

According to Autosport, as reported by MotoringFile, Prodrive has been developing the parts for a "theoretical new generation World Rally Car" based on the Countryman. However, due to delays in the debut of the Countryman (Prodrive believes will be at the Paris Auto Show and not at March's Geneva Motor Show) development has been slowed as the result of a lack of a vehicle for parts fitment and testing.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Detailer's Note: Autoglym Coming to North America

For the past 44 years Autoglym, based in Letchworth, U.K., has manufactured car care products. However, until now, none of their 60 auto car products have been available in North America. According to CarandDriver.com In January, Autoglym will commence sales in North America with seven of the 60 products. Vinyl & Rubber Care, Instant Tire Dressing, Custom Wheel Cleaner, Rapid Detailer, Super Resin Polish, Perfect Palm Applicator, and High Definition Wax will be among the imported products. The HD Wax is a solid, carnauba-based wax that Autogylm says will last about six times longer than other waxes. It goes on very easily and, most notably, comes off with almost no effort without leaving dreaded wax flakes behind.

Krinked MINI


DUB has this one from the Vicious Gallery.

Pizza Car Prototype

The Triton No. 1 is "an experimental pizza-delivery vehicle" that indicates it "was presented to Famous Pioneer Auto Show, Murdo So. Dak. by Tom Monaghan, Founder of Dominos [sic] Pizza and [the] owner of the Detroit Tigers.” Was this the original 30 minutes or less delivery system that Monaghan scratched?

[Source: Wired Autopia; Photo: Flickr/hugo90]

Italian Aftermarket Design

Here is Italy's Cadamuro Design's take on the MINI Cooper S.

The Washington Post Disappointed By The 2009 Base Clubman

The Washington Post reviews the 2009 base Mini Clubman and feels it is inferior to other vehicles that go for much less such as the Hyundai Elantra Touring.

MINI-E Trials Coming To Australia

The Age reports that BMW Australia expects to have a MINI-E on the road in Australia by next June. Interestingly, word from officials at BMW Australia is, when the electric vehicle finally goes into production, it may not be a MINI at all but may be badged as a BMW.

South African Review Of The MINI-E


Thomas Falkiner, writing for The Times in Johannesburg, reviews the MINI-E. After a drive he "was staggered at just how good the switch to volts can be."

More Autonomous News: Autonomous Drifting And Beyond

Volkswagen Automotive Innovation Laboratory has not just be programming cars to park themselves. It has also been hard at work with Stanford University on autonomous drifting and off road rallying. Check out this video.

[Source: The Truth About Cars]

Autonomous Parking System Needs To Become Self-Aware

Check out this video of a prototype autonomous parking system inexpensively assembled by Volkswagen Automotive Innovation Laboratory. Very cool. However, it does need an obstacle detection system so that pedestrians and roving animals are not sacrificed in the name of automation.

[Source: Gizmodo]

Monday, October 26, 2009

MCS In The German Countryside

Very nice camera work on this one with an old B&W feel.

[Source: fabriziodaloisio @ YouTube]

Greek Athens Mini Club's 50th Birthday Celebration

By MiniLover007 @ You Tube

Amazing Run Without A Maze

Only deep mud stopped NorCal MINIs from getting lost at night at the Petaluma Pumpkin Patch And Amazing Corn Maze. After a beautiful late afternoon run up Dry Creek Rd, and over Sonoma Mountain, Glen Ellen and its environs, almost without incident, we made our way to the maze.Unfortunately, the maze was closed due to deep mud from recent rains (they really should up date their website more often). Consequently, in true NorCal MINIs' fashion, we retreated to Moylan's Brewery & Restaurant in Novato for dinner. Lisa and Pat made our reservations and Moylan's graciously set us up in our own room (might it have been a defensive maneuver on their part against our rowdy group?)

If you have additional photographs send them to info@norcalminis.com and we will add them to the slideshow. If you post them publicly on-line elsewhere, send us a link and we will list it.

50 Years Of MINI

Presented by One Pound Pictures - 50 Years Of MINI.

MINI Flash Drives


Flash Rods now offers quite a variety of 4 GB MINI flash drives.

Hit And Run SUV BMW Driver

[Source: via BimmerFile]

Forget The Sign. What Does The GPS Say?

[Source: burbia]

Countryman Will Not Appear At Detroit Auto Show

egmcartech reports that the MINI Countryman, originally scheduled for the Frankfurt Motor Show, then announced as delayed until the January 2010 Detroit Auto Show, has again been delayed and it appears now that it will not debut until the March 2010 Geneva Motor Show. The delay is attributed to the BMW X3 transition from Austrian to U.S, manufacture.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

2005 MCS Newest 24 Hours Of Lemons Contestant

The 24 Hours of LeMons is a series of races that require that contestants not pay more than $500 for their race vehicles. Team Union Jack Racing members run a car salvage company and had paperwork allegedly "proving" that their total vehicle cost was under $500 based on it being a salvaged roll-over victim offset by the sale of its interior parts. They were permitted to race but were levied a 1,066 lap penalty.

[Source: Jalopnik]

How Ken Block Does It

CarandDriver.com discusses the math Ken Block uses to make a Subaru Impreza WRX STI launch, fly and land safely.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Sign Up Today For Tomorrow's Halloween Pumpkin Run

Tomorrow is NorCal MINIs' Halloween Pumpkin Run. For members a run map will be posted in the NorCal MINIs' Google Group. We will run some great backroads and then visit the Petaluma Pumpkin Patch and Amazing Corn Maze to attack the Maze at night! (Night Maze costs $9.00/adult.) There will be plenty of other attractions as well.

We will leave promptly from the northernmost Walnut Creek BART parking lot at 3:30 pm and should arrive at the Petaluma Pumpkin Patch and Amazing Corn Maze at about 6:00 pm. We will return at about 8:00-8:30 pm (so we can all attend West Fest on Sunday.)

RSVP to your email invitation, add yourself as a Guest to the event on our Calendar Of All Motoring Events or by email to info@norcalminis.com.

Remember Being A Teenager And Blowing Things Up?

Ever blow up a MINI RC?

[Source: BobbyBonger @ YouTube]

Wow! Check Out Those Special Effects

We have seen lots of MINI tribute videos, but, none have compared to this Italian one by BREDDOGMAGIED @ YouTube. It is his car and the guy is a wizard with video special effects.

MINI Convertible Doggy Bliss

[Source: bfulkerson1024 @ YouTube]

MINI Is "Krinked"

"Krink" is silver paint drip graffiti pioneered by New York artist-entrepreneur Craig Costello, also known as "KR." KR will travel to Hamburg, Germany, to "Krink" a MINI that will go on public display October 28, 2009.

[Source: MINISpace]

This Is How You Rally A MINI

MotoringFile directed us to this great footage of driver Giannis Tsigris flat-out around the Lake Doksa Circuit Greece.

The R60 Crossover Now Has An Official Name And It Is The . . .

Countryman with optional "All4" all wheel drive. It will debut in January at the Detroit Auto Show.

[Source: MotoringFile]

VW Spider Bug

[Source: Tinypic]

Thursday, October 22, 2009

If You Want A Tesla Roadster Move To Colorado

autoblog advises that, amazingly, Colorado is offering a $42,083 rebate, a 38% discount, on the 2009 Tesla Roadster until December 31st. The incentive will be paid in the form of a State income tax credit.

The Perfect Drift?

[Source: YouTube via CarDomain Blog]

Which Alternative Fuel Vehicle Is Most Crashworthy?

The Prius, VW TDI or the Tesla? Based on this accident in Denmark we say it is the VW.

[Source: Autopia at Wired.com via Jalopnik]

Will A Golf Ball Dimpled Car Get Better Gas Mileage?

Mythbusters put it to the test. The answer may surprise you.

[Source: Megavideo via autoblog]

Traffic.com Releases Apps For The Blackberry And iPhone

Now you can follow traffic conditions and learn the severity of delays, accidents, congestion, construction, weather, and events as you drive on Navteq's Traffic.com free traffic applications for the Blackberry and iPhone. The applications also allow you to save favorite roads and road segments for quick access, and provide mass transit data. They also point you to discounts at participating merchants.

Become A Modern Day James Bond

Remember the scene in Tomorrow Never Dies where 007 uses a mobile phone to drive his BMW 7 Series from the back seat? Well, now there's an app for that!


[Source: via CarDomain blog]

The Italian Job Charity Tour

This, the 20th anniversary of the Tour of classic Minis, started Monday in Turin, Italy. The charity has raised well over £2 million for children's charities since it started. Participant visited the roof-top Fiat test track in Turin as seen in the film and could drive the banked circuit. To recreate the famous traffic jam scenes from the original movie, the Turin police also staged a town-wide traffic jam on Tuesday and escorted the Minis through the town centre. Another stop was made to run the historic Monza F1 circuit near Milan. The Tour will now go to Rome and Imola before returning to the UK on October 31, 2009.

[Source: Miniworld]

How Do You Identify A MINI Driver?

[Source: via MotoringFile]

Introducing The Cement Mixer Disco Ball

[Source: Subba via Jalopnik]

Sparkle and Bling

This is the Lexus LF-A Crystallised Wind that is at the Tokyo Auto Show. It is composed of acrylic glass and was constructed for last April's Milan Design Week exhibition at the Museo della Permanente art gallery in Milan, Italy.

[Source: Daily Telegraph via Gizmodo]

Motorhome MINI

Observed and photographed by Surfink @ NorthAmericanMotoring.com last Sunday on Highway 101 South near Ojai.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Heels On Wheels Columnist Katrina Ramser Reviews The 2009 MINI Convertible


We learn Katrina's bias right away - " . . .to own a MINI Convertible is to be the queen of your vehicle species." Her criticisms - "{each seat in] the second row is so small it makes the Toyota Yaris and Honda Fit look like mid-compacts," "it does get expensive fast with all the options," and "I'd be lying if I said an automatic 118-horsepower 1.6-liter had enough gusto."

[Source: The Auto Channel]

Video Graffiti

[Source: Wooster Collective via Bonnie Burton via Gizmodo]

Vintage Minis Race At Infineon

From September 2009.

[Source: YouTube via Don Racine @ Facebook]

Happy 50th Birthday From Sandia MINI

[Source: Sandia MINI via YouTube]

Lots Of Dealer Incentives To Buy A New Car This Month


Edmund's reports that lots of dealer incentives are back now that inventory is again piling up following Cash for Clunkers. According to Edmund's the MINI Cooper, as well as these other vehicles, are Deals of the Month based on nationally available cash rebate, interest-rate and lease incentives and Edmund's True Market Value® price:

Audi A4 Convertible

BMW X5

Cadillac Escalade Hybrid

Dodge Charger

Honda Insight

Mazda6

Edmund's says, right now, these vehicles you can buy new for less than the cost of a one year old version of the same vehicle:

Ford F-150

Honda Accord

Infiniti G37 Coupe

Lexus IS 350

Mercedes-Benz CLK350

Volkswagen Passat

Volvo XC70

[Source: via The Auto Channel]

Playland Not At The Beach

Many of you older San Franciscans may remember the amusement park "Playland At The Beach." Playland opened in 1928, a 10-acre amusement park along the Pacific Ocean. It closed Sept. 4, 1972. At 10979 San Pablo Ave., El Cerrito, CA, "Playland Not At The Beach" sports a museum full of Playland memorabilia. The museum houses one of the original Laughing Sals, photos of Playland and its rides including a ride called "The Lost Continent of Deepest Darkest Africa," and the Big Dipper, a popular wooden roller coaster. There is an elaborate scale model of Playland and artifacts and artwork hang on the walls. Several rooms are filled with a 300,000 hand-carved pieces of a gigantic miniature circus created over a 70 year period (1939-2004). There are also interesting carnival attractions including a Feejee mermaid, an Atomic Fish, a Devil Boy and a large Cabinet of Curiosities. The museum maintains about 30 vintage pinball machines, along with other arcade games. Admission price covers unlimited play on any of them.

The Museum is open Saturdays and Sundays 10am-5pm, holidays and for private events.

[Source: RoadsideAmerica.com]

VW Half Pipe

Skateboarding is not a crime but this may be!

[Source: YouTube via AutoMotto]

What MINI Will Be Up To In 2010

MINI has announced that, next year, it will stage the North American debut of the Roadster/Coupé at the Los Angeles Auto Show. The R60 Crossover will debut in early January 2010 at Detroit's North American International Auto Show. The lifecycle refreshes of the R55/R56/R57 may debut in March at the Geneva Motor Show.

[Source: MotoringFile]

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Understanding Art Cars . . . Or Not

Remember the Camera Van produced for a movie about people and art cars? Well, when you see Camera Van's friends in this news story you may want to see the movie. How many people do you know where feather headdresses when interviewed on television?

[Source: YouTube via The Truth About Cars]

Recession? 50 Neiman Marcus Ltd. Ed. Jags Sellout In Hours




The fifty $105,000 2010 Limited Edition Neiman Marcus Jaguar XJL Supercharged, featured in Neiman Marcus' Christmas Catalog, sold out in slightly more than four hours. The special black Jaguar is powered by a 5-liter V-8 engine rated at 470 horsepower.
[Source: The New York Times]

Solar Electric MINILUX Can Power The Energy Grid But . . .

Check out this vehicle. It is all electric and doubles as a solar panel to power the energy grid when idle. It is basically an electric car covered in solar panels and requires a roadway energy exchanger in order to power the grid. At maximum capacity the solar cells return excess energy back to the grid. The car would have an annual driving capacity of 9,000 miles in mild locations like the US east coast, but 16,000+ in sunnier locales like California. Unfortunately there are two big problems. The solar cells cost $10,000/sq. meter and in cities skyscrapers largely shadow the cells.

[Source: Eco Cars | Jukka Rautianinen via gas 2.0]

Two MINI JCW World Championship 50 Cars Will Go To New Zealand


MINI has built a total of 500 Mini JCW World Championship 50 cars and two of them are headed to New Zealand in April 2010. The Mini JCW World Championship 50 cars commemorate 50 years of the classic Mini and victory in the F1 Drivers' and Constructors' Championship for John Cooper's racing team. John Cooper's son, Mike, inspired the commemorative car and his signature appears on both the fascia and one of the bonnet stripes, signed as "John Cooper." The cars are based on the JCW. They are painted "Connaught Green," a green racing color of British racing and sports cars of the 1950s and 60s, with white bonnet stripes to mirror the colors of the Cooper F1 cars. The vehicles have carbon-fiber bonnet scoops, rear diffusers, exterior mirror caps and tailgate handles. Inside,leather sports seats are finished in black with red piping. There are red knee-rolls, armrests and stitching on the floor mats, gearshift and handbrake gaiters. The fascia and door-grip finishers are also in carbon fiber.

[Source: New Zealand Herald]