Lodging Planner for Lake Tahoe Weekend Run - May 18 - 19, 2024

Saturday and Sunday overnight run to South Lake Tahoe. Enjoy the backroads, less traveled, and even more scenic than your usual run up the f...

Remember To Sign Up For NorCal MINIs' Holiday Party

Come out to NorCal MINIs' end of year Holiday Party and Run on Saturday, December 11, 2011. We will have a sumptuous buffet dinner at Chevy's Fresh Mex Restaurant at 5877 Owens Dr., in Pleasanton, CA, after a holiday-themed MINI run. We will also raffle off a plethora of MINI merchandise. The cost is only $20 per person and includes dinner (Payment must be made in advance.)

This year NorCal MINIs will be support two fine charities with the Holiday Party and Run. As we have for the past half-dozen years, we will collect new, unwrapped toys for patients at Children's Hospital & Research Center Oakland (If you can't bring them to the Holiday Party bring them to MINI of Concord for the Second Annual Holiday Lights Tour and Casino Night on Sunday, December 12, 2011.) In addition, local food banks have indicated that donations are down and the need for food is dire. Therefore, we ask that every attendee also bring a can of food to be donated to the local food banks.

Don't wait!!! RSVP and pay by using the Paypal button below. For the pre-dinner run meet up at East Bay MINI at 5:00 p.m. - dinner is at 6:00 p.m.

Everyone Seems To Want To Compete With MINI

Even Cadillac is getting into the act with this compact urban city model - the Cadillac Urban Luxury Concept, powered by a turbocharged 1.0 liter, 3-cylinder engine with a stop/start system and electric assist technology that sports mileage figures of about 56/65 mpg city/highway. Niki Smart, the British designer of the vehicle, wants the concept to go to production. The Concept debuted at the LA International Auto Show.

[Source: Autocar via worldcarfans.com]

Baby It's Cold Outside . . .

. . . consequently you may need four winter tires rather than all-seasons radials if you live in cold climes, even if there is no snow on the road. autoevolution tells you why and, in this video, Tire Rack shows you why:

Do As I Say Not As I Do . . .

. . .since it has made Xavier McAuliffe a millionaire. McAuliffe is the main man behind GoSafe, the organization that operates the network of speed cameras throughout the UK. While avoiding areas patroled by GoSafe cameras Xavier was clocked via the good old radar gun doing up to 87 miles per hour in a 37 mile per hour zone. According to autoevolution:
Xavier McAuliffe and the GoSafe consortium are currently rolling out camera-equipped vans which will be used to “make the roads safer” as the consortium says. The vans have already attracted the wrath of those who would rather not see them on the roads. One such van was set on fire [last] Friday.

Tuned Police MINI-E At The Essen Motor Show

Appearing at the Essen Motor Show is this police dress tuned MINI primarily fitted with AC Schnitzer aftermarket parts and offered as part of the Tune It! Safe! campaign of the Federal Transport Ministry and the Association of Automobile Tuners Association (VDAT) in Germany.


Imitation Is The Sincerest Form Of Flattery

The Chinese Chongqing Lifan Industry imitation MINI, called the "Lifan 320," will start production next year in Russia. Lifan expects to sell the 1.3 liter, 87 horsepower, vehicle  in Europe.

[Source: autoevolution]

Steps To Avoid The Holiday Mall Package Thief

Help Eliminate Auto Thefts (HEAT) provides advice on how to minimize the chances your car will be broken into and your personal items and holiday packages stolen. It suggests:

  • stay alert and watchful – stop doing what you were doing and lock and secure the car
  • park in well-lit, high-traffic areas – the more visible your car is, the harder to steal
  • place valuables and purchases in the trunk or out of view – eliminate temptation for wannabe crooks
  • remember where your car is parked – so you don't call the police for nothing
  • move your car – when you keep bringing stuff to the car and leave for another shopping round, remember to move you car and again eliminate temptation for wannabe crooks
  • if threatened by a carjacker with a weapon, give up the car – and its contents, we might add, provided the contents aren't people
  • if you witness an auto theft or carjacking, call the police immediately - after all, you too might be at the other end of the rope

[Source: autoevolution]

Eight Classic Minis To Participate In Rallye Monte Carlo Historique 2011

MiniWorld advises that eight classic Minis will compete in the Rallye Monte Carlo Historique 2011 which celebrates the 100th anniversary of the Rallye Monte Carlo. The field includes 1967 Rallye Monte Carlo winner Rauno Aaltonen. Details of the rally route are available at www.acm.mc.

Will It Go Round In Circles

According to autoblog and The New York Times, much to the confustion of American drivers traffic planners in the US have recently fallen in love with roundabouts as a traffic calming device. In the mid-West, since 2004, hundreds have been constructed in Kansas, Wisconsin and Maryland, among other states, and many more are on the way throughout the country. Roundabouts purportedly lower speeds, virtually eliminate intersection head-on collisions, lower emissions since there is less starting and stopping and don't require electricity to operate.

Unfortunately, US drivers have absolutely no idea when to yield or how to successfully navigate them.

[Source: The New York Times via autoblog/Photo Credit: Una Smith via CC 2.o via autoblog]

MINI Forgoes Spell Check

[Source: @beanieE via Jalopnik]

2011 MINI Countryman A Top Ten Future Collector Car

Hagerty Insurance, a company that specializes in auto insurance for classic cars, each year provides a top ten list of vehicles on sale for under $100,000 US that it prognosticates will become collector cars. This year the 2011 MINI Countryman made the list. Hagerty strongly recommends that speculators buy the All4 JCW version of the Countryman S to maximize future return on investment.

[Source: MOTORYP via Ride Lust]

The R58 MINI Coupé Is On The Way

MINI is set to unveil the production version of the R58 Coupé at next year's Frankfurt Auto Show (the R59 Roadster will be revealed a few months later.) According to MotoringFile, the Coupé will weigh as much as 150 lbs less than the hatchback with a more rigid chassis. As AutoGuide.com points out, with the next generation of MINI Cooper hatchbacks getting a variety of 3-cylinder powertrains, the 4-cylinder Coupé will be the MINI performance leader. The Coupé will sport an electronically deployed spoiler that rises from the car at speeds around 50 mph. that is functional and creates downforce on the rear wheels. MINI is expected to debut the car in S and John Cooper Works trimand there is an ongoing debate whether it will offer a lower-priced and less powerful Cooper model.

Not Half Bad!

Check out these half scale replicas of an E-Type Jaguar and Porsche Speedster powered by 110cc gas engines. They take the company Pocket Classics 450 man hours to build and cost £10,000. Pocket Classics also builds tribute versions of the Mercedes 300SL, Willys Jeep and Bugatti Type-35.

[Source: AutoMotto/Photo Credits: Solent News and Photo Agency]

You Spent How Much On eBay For That Car?

Booth Babes of the 2010 Essen Motor Show

Carscoop provides a photo gallery of the Booth Ladies at the 2010 Essen Motor Show including surprise Booth Babe Dutch actress and TV persona, Brigitte Nielsen.

Winter Holiday MINI At MINI Of Concord

Just in time of the Second Annual Holiday Lights Tour & Casino Night that will be presented by MINI of Concord and NorCal MINIs on Sunday, December 12, 2010, MINI of Concord has prepared this cool graphic Winter Holiday MINI!

Even More MINI United Rumors

Jon @ totalMINI.com speculates that MINI United will take place at the Circuit Paul Ricard located on the south coast of France, close to Marseille on the 24th, 25th and 26th of June 2011. However, even he admits that the venue and dates are not confirmed. So, really, noone knows anything other than that MINI United will occur in 2011.

Reminds Us Of Johnny Cash's "Cadillac One Piece At A Time"

BimmerFile reports that a BMW employee and one of BMW's suppliers to its Bayern, Germany plant have been arrested for allegedly pilfering BMW car parts and selling them on the internet, including car seats, for a total loss to BMW of approximately $4 million.

V8 Skateboarding By Tony Hawk

Expert skateboard rider Tony Hawk is scheduled to ride this 630 horsepower Supercar V8 equipped skateboard next Saturday and Sunday at Australia's Sydney Olympic Park. Good luck Tony. We suggest full leathers, helmet, gloves and a prayer.

[Source: via Car Advice]

This MINI Has Gone To Hell

Called "'lil DEVIL," the graphics are by Mini Pirate.

[Source: Mini Pirate @ totalMINI.com]

MINI's Official MINI Connected Demonstration

Senior Engineer of BMW's Group Technology Office in Palo Alto, CA, Rob Passaro demonstrated select MINI Connected features at the LA International Auto Show.

[Source: MotoringFile]

Australian MINI Challenge Discontinued

MotoringFile reports that MINI is pulling all corporate support for Australia’s MINI Challenge series. Thus, next weekend is likely the last running of the Australian MINI Challenge.

Stop The Damn Bleating It's Driving Us Nuts

[Source: You Drive What?]

San Francisco Has A Worse Rush Hour Than Los Angeles

cars.com's KickingTires blog discusses NAVTEQ's list of freeways with the slowest average rush hour in North America. Here are the rank ranked conclusions:
North American Freeways With the Slowest Typical Rush Hour

1. New York City – Brooklyn Battery Tunnel (northbound)
2. New York City – Washington Bridge (eastbound)
3. Montreal – Autoroute 15 (eastbound)
4. Philadelphia – U.S. 202 (southbound)
5. Montreal – Route 138 (westbound)
6. New York City – Washington Bridge (westbound)
7. Los Angeles – State highway 1 (eastbound)
8. Boston – U.S. 1 (northbound)
9. Dallas – State highway 366 (eastbound)
10. Toronto – Don Valley Parkway (northbound)

Cities With the Worst Rush Hours

1. New York
2. Washington, D.C.
3. San Francisco
4. Seattle
5. Los Angeles
6. Philadelphia
7. Chicago
8. Dallas-Fort Worth
9. Atlanta
10. Houston

Looking To Buy A Used MINI?

[Photo Credit: AutoP10.com]
The National Motorists Association provides helpful tips on what to look for when shopping for a used car including how to profile the current owner to determine whether the vehicle has likely been properly maintained; the curb appeal and cleanliness of the vehicle; the vehicle's history; the price; and certain "signs" of vehicle problems such as overspray on the trim, signs of overheating, check engine lights, vehicle tracking, blue smoke, noisy/slipping clutch, interior wetness and engine clicking noises.

Learn How To Drive In Winter Weather

[Photo Credit: Dennis McKenzie @ MINI FINI]
CarJunky.com provides tips on driving in the winter including encounters with black ice; what to do if you lose control; how to treat other drivers; and driving in snowstorms. It also recommends that you drop by Michelin's Winter Driving Academy
. . . . developed by Canadian experts for Canadian drivers to help you adopt simple, effective habits to conquer your winter driving fears.

Car Features Nearing Extinction

LeftLane discusses the following list of 12 car features that it expects will soon cease to exist and explains why:

1. Spare tires
2. Accessory gauges
3. Cigarette lighters
4. Hubcaps
5. Separate CD changers
6. Keys and remote fobs
7. Roll-up windows and manual locks
8. Headlights you have to turn on yourself
9. Cassette players
10. Daylight mirrors
11. Dipsticks
12. Gasoline engines

What Do You Think Of These Graphics?

This MINI will be at the upcoming Essen Motor Show. This Louis Vuitton themed S by CoverEFX Vinyl Works also sports OZ wheels and a worx racing shortshifter.

[Source: BIGBLOGG.MOTORING (in German]

Modded Mini Moke For The Australian Surfer Dude Or Dudette

Down under this modded 1979 Mini Moke is up for sale for about $15,000 US on eBay. It is customized with "Pure Orange" paintwork, white interior, padded grab bars and 17-inch white mag wheels. It's one of the nicest Mini beach buggies we have seen.

[Source: via Carscoop]

MINI Owners Can Access Owners' Manuals Online

All MINI Owners' Manuals (PDF), from 2002 to 2011, are available online in the MINI Owners' Lounge.  If you are a US owner you can access the Owner's Lounge by registering using your vehicle's VIN or Production Number.

NorCal MINIs Wishes You All A Happy Thanksgiving

[Photo Credit: AGreeenLiving]

WRC Driver Dani Sordo May Sign With MINI

Spaniard driver Dani Sordo does not yet have a ride for the 2011 WRC now that he has left the Citroen Total World Rally Team. MINI has offered him a deal for MINI 2011 comeback season to WRC racing. However, before he signs he will be testing the Countryman WRC and will wait awhile to see if Ford offers him a deal.

[Source: autoevolution]

Seattle Street Ice Ballet's Greatest Hits

With the cold, cold winter storm this week Seattle took a big hit . . . so did Seattle's motorists. Here is the Seattle Street Ice Ballet number one single "I Can't Get No Traction."

[Source: via Autoholics]

On This Thanksgiving Day Autoblog Is Thankful For . . .

Hot hatches! Or, as autoblog puts it:
Take a bow, Mazdaspeed3, Mini Cooper S, Subaru WRX, Volkswagen GTI and the like – this Thanksgiving, my heart goes out to you.

Keep Your Hands On The Wheel Even After You Win

Yes! Yes! Yes! Oh NOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!

[Source: via Jalopnik]

MINI's "Hot Wheels" Campaign

[Source: CooperGuy @ NorthAmericanMotoring.com]

Audi A1 And Alfa MiTo Don't Scare MINI

autoevolution reports that MINI is not afraid of the Audi A1 or Alfa MiTo - two new MINI competitors. In fact, it is MINI's position that these vehicle will not harm MINI sales - at least in Australia.
"I'm sure you're aware of certain competitors that are really looking at our markets to take our sales away, and we're just here to say that ain't going much further," Mini Australia national manager David Woollcott told drive.com.au. "It's important for everybody to distinguish the rational argumentation and the emotional. The emotional [factor] we know that we have [with Mini]," he added.

"There's a lot of things we can do [to counter rivals] but it's untested. We haven't had a competitor in this environment. That's clearly why those competitors want to see what Mini's doing. We're just saying that if you want the emotion, if you want the cheekiness, if you want the go-kart feel, then we [offer] that scenario."

Auto Mechanics Guide To Deep Frying A Turkey

Jalopnik features step by step instructions on how to deep fry a turkey using an engine hoist.

Limited Number Available! The MINI Snowboard

The German site BIGBLOGG.MOTORING has posted that, through December 15, 2010, MINI is taking orders for 300 MINI Snowboards developed by Burton in association with MINI. The boards will come in two sizes - 153cm and 158cm. No information is given on whether these can be ordered in the USA, but, they can be ordered through MINI customer service in Germany(telephone number 01802-64 64 66 or by email at MINIKundenbetreuung@MINI.de).

MINI Countryman Gets Five Star Euro NCAP Rating

The MINI Countryman received a five star Euro NCAP safety rating following crash testing of the vehicle. This means it provides adequate protection to both the occupants of the vehicle and the pedestrians according to European standards.

[Source: via autoevolution]

MINIUSA Launches Dedicated Countryman Configurator Section

MINIUSA now has a section of its website configurator dedicated to the 2011 MINI Cooper Countryman. The configurator has every option possible with selections in five different categories, Design, Packages, Performance, Instruments and Accessories, each of which are divided into more sub-categories. It also provides basic pricing information for all the upgrades, all the way up to the $40,000 mark once all the options boxes are ticked, and allows for your configured Countryman to be sent directly to your nearest MINI dealer.

[Source: via MotorAuthority]

Expect Jammed Roads Starting Today

[Photo Credit: Solaris Motors]
AAA reports that public anger over U.S. airport security measures and extra airline fees will contribute to a record number of people driving this Thanksgiving weekend. AAA advises that less than 4 percent of Thanksgiving travelers plan to fly, with 94 percent choosing to drive. Overall, traveling will be up more than 11 percent over 2009 but the percentage of fliers will be the smallest in a decade. The 2010 Thanksgiving travel period is defined as Nov. 24 through Nov. 28.

[Source: UPI.com]

Turning Night Into Day

Classic rally cars from the 2010 Rally Costa Brava.

[Source: formfreu.de (in German)]