Tuesday, August 31, 2010

NorCal MINIs Will Hold Annual Meeting On October 23, 2010


Make sure you are available for breakfast on Saturday, October 23, 2010. This will be the annual general NorCal MINIs' Membership Meeting to plan and vote on NorCal MINIs' events and runs for 2011. The breakfast location and time for the meeting will be announced soon!

Even if you can't make the meeting you may offer your event and/or run proposal for voting. Anyone may propose a run but only 2010 NorCal MINIs' Members are entitled to vote.  Members may vote in person or by proxy at the breakfast meeting. Send your 2011 event and run proposals to info@norcalminis.com early so they can get facetime before our 2010 Members prior to the meeting.

New Rumor! 2011 MINI JCW May Get Some Engine Changes

MotoringFile tells us that it has leaked info that MINI may have changed its mind about no changes to the JCW engine for 2011. Initially, MINI had advised that there would be no further changes in the engine after 2010 going forward. MotoringFile promises more details soon.

Double Double Entendre

Witty or just smell bad?

[Source: Hooniverse]

MINI Invasion 2010 Photo Galleries

Tata Steva started this thread at NorthAmericanMotoring.com of wonderful pictures from MINI Invasion 2010. The galleries are worth a good look!

They Don't Teach Parallel Parking Anymore

But, it really should be taught and here is proof -




[Source: via That Will Buff Out]

Parking Ticket Cameras On Street Sweepers?

The Truth About Cars reports that the California state Senate last week gave preliminary approval to legislation giving local governments the green light to install automated ticketing machines on street sweepers to generate parking tickets. The legislation would go to the Governator upon a final vote by the Senate and an Assembly vote to approving the upper chamber’s amendments. The Truth About Cars comments,
Under the program, a private company would install and maintain the cameras set up on streetsweepers to prey on the owners of vehicles who may be confused by unclear signage or otherwise unaware of the sweeping restrictions. The private company would mail tickets to owners two weeks after the photographs are taken. A similar program failed in Chicago, Illinois after officials realized that the camera photographs needed to capture images of the vehicle and the parking restriction signs together for the ticket to hold up in court. For the California program, the for-profit vendor will have the final say when a motorist contests a ticket.

It's Like Little Kids Playing With Toys

Check out this KRON Channel 4 Golden Gate Bridge pile-up accident simulation. Reminds us so much of sandbox play. Unfortunately, it was created to depict an actual two-year old accident.




[Source: via Jalopnik]

Kelly Blue Book Reviews The 2010 Clubman JCW

With no major changes on the MINI Cooper Clubman for 2010 Kelly Blue Book provides an extensive review of the JCW edition for 2010 and finds
The MINI brand's reputation for go-kart-like driving dynamics has not been compromised due to the Clubman's larger size.
However, it cautions,
The MINI Cooper S Clubman features large wheels and a sport-tuned suspension that contribute to a hard ride on pockmarked roads. Try the S before you buy, especially if you live in an area where roads tend to be rougher. Also, a small dealer network limits sales and servicing options, a real problem for buyers in more rural states.

New Motoring Advisor At East Bay MINI

East Bay MINI has hired Lindsay Jung, a San Ramon Valley High School grad with a BA in Cognitive Psychology from UC Irvine, as a Motoring Advisor. Learn more about Lindsay on East Bay MINI's Facebook page..

BMW & MINI Lead In Push For Run-Flat Tires

According to autoweek.com BMW and MINI are the biggest embracers of runflat tires in the auto industry and the trend will continue. Tom Baloga, BMW's vice president of engineering, is quoted,
It's a matter of safety as changing a tire along the side of the road is a dangerous proposition. Plus, the space where the spare tire used to be was quickly consumed in the new models for some other task. As automakers work to reduce the weights of their vehicles, eliminating the spare tire--even if it's a space-saver--helps cut curb weight.
Baloga points out that runflats are better for the environment but don't perform like conventional tires.

As Matt Edmonds, vice president of the Tire Rack in South Bend, Ind. says in the article,
People are sometimes surprised about the poor ride of run-flats. It's not uncommon for people to switch from run-flats to [even] snow tires and comment that the ride is so much better.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Technical Info Released On The New MCSD

MotoringFile partner BigBlogg has the first technical info on the diesel engine for the new MINI Cooper S D. It is based on the 2.0 turbocharged BMW diesel found in the BMW 1 and 3 series and is reported to boast 141 hp and 300 Nm of torque from 1.750 rpm to 2.500 rpm. Fuel economy is anticipated to be fuel economy between 4 liters and 4.5 liter per 100 km (55 to 60 mpg). The diesel is expected to be released next spring in Europe but, unfortunately, will not come to the US.

Sprays And Plate Covers Not Likely To Defeat Red Light Cameras

The Institute of Transportation Engineers Journal has publishedthe results of an extensive Los Angeles Police Department evaluation of the effectiveness of license plate covers and sprays designed to defeat automated ticketing machines. The results showed that the countermeasures did not work well under actual field conditions. The report found:
“The countermeasures had no effect on plate legibility under dark conditions, with the exception of V-2 (license plate shield), which occasionally caused a slight increase in front-plate legibility in half of the images,” the study found. “All rear plate images were clearly legible, with no significant difference between the test plate images and the control plate image. A citation could have been issued in all cases.”
Some measures did better than others, such as Photoblocker that, when combined with sun glare, did make plates about 20% less legible for the cameras. Maybe that is why Pennsylvania has banned Photoblocker.

[Source: Thenewspaper.com via The Truth About Cars]

Darth Vader's Audition For The Tom Tom GPS Unit



[Source: Ridelust]

What To Do In Case Of An Accident

Pity this poor soul who must deal with a scratch by God while playing pool. Just in case FindLaw provides this article on the eleven things you should do after a car accident. You might want to print it and keep it in your glove compartment just in case.

It Doesn't Remove The Bad Taste In Your Mouth

Peppermint wheels do nothing for the gag reflex.

[Source: You Drive What?]

MINI Extends Product Range Because Of Stalled Sales

Automotive News reports that MINI's product plans, such as the Countryman, revamped Clubman, Roadster, Coupe, Traveller, MINI Minor and Spacebox, are all intended to get MINI sales started again. According to the article, this year, MINI sales have stalled.

Study Shows Men Can Save $3,000 Per Year Driving

If they would just ask for directions!

[Source: autoevolution]

The Girls And Cars Of The Moscow International Autoshow 2010

Ohhs and ahhs courtesy of English Russia.

Countryman Targeted At Families

According to MINI product manager Hans-Joachim Leonhardt, as quoted by Automotive News, MINI's "main aim [with the Countryman] is to unlock a wholly new target audience, young families with kids, sporty youngsters, folks from modern milieus -- everyone can now drive a Mini.”

What's Next? Automotive Mascara?

Yes, make them blink in disbelief with Car Lashes - eye lashes for your car. Who thinks of these things?



[Source: via autoblog]

Friday, August 27, 2010

NorCal MINIs' Friday Upcoming Event Reminders

NorCal MINIs' Avenue Of The Giants Overnight

Don't miss this great event. On Saturday September 11, 2010, we will stop at the Chandelier Tree (bring a picnic lunch) ($5/car) so we can take pictures of our MINIs as we drive through the tree. Then it is on to Shelter Cove, CA, a jewel of a small village on the cliffs overlooking the Pacific. You can review the full itinerary by clicking here.

We have blocked rooms at the Inn of the Lost Coast where we have been able to negotiate a room rate of $130 ($149 including room tax). The Inn has a beautiful hot tub and large decks. Every room has a panoramic view of the Pacific and a patio.

To reserve your room phone 707-986-7521 or toll free 888-570-9676
and tell Justin that you are with NorCal MINIs

Inn space is limited and going quickly although there are other local lodging options. Make your reservation today.

Bring your FRS Radios. After you have a confirmed reservation please RSVP to your email calendar invitation or send an RSVP to info@norcalminis.com.

NorCal MINIs Run To The Delta Blues Festival
On Saturday, September 18, 2010, NorCal MINIs will run to, and attend, the Antioch Delta Blues Festival.  You can check this year's talent line-up here.
Mark the date for this great run and show.






 Monster Sierra Passes Run
Endless twisties and fall colors.  Get ready for the NorCal MINIs' Monster Sierra Passes Run scheduled for Saturday, October 9, 2010.  This is an all day run through ther Sierras.  Starting in Sonora we will traverse the Sonora Pass, Monitor Pass, Luther Pass and Carson Pass; stop for Markleeville for lunch and end up in Jackson for dinner.  Bring a co-driver and experience more switchbacks and fall beauty than you can shake a manual stick at!  Watch here and your email for more information and, for members, look for your NorCal MINIs' member invitation.

This Eye Candy Is Available On Craigslist

Be careful, it looks like it could be a lemon!

[Source: Craigslist via That Will Buff Out]

MINI's VIP Countryman Track Day At The Bedford Aerodrome

In the UK MINI held a VIP track day for the Countryman at the Bedford Aerodrome in the rain. MINI also brought a German MINI Challenge car outside. However, the Roadster and Coupe concepts remained indoors. BigShow has posted some great photos over at NorthAmericanMotoring.com and provides this video:


Augmented Driving Reality App For The iPhone

Once the iPhone is fixed to a special mount, the Augmented Driving program offers lane departure warnings, vehicle speed, the tilt of the road and can pick out vehicles ahead of you. Check out Augmented Driving's website for more informatio aqnd watch it in action here:




[Source: autoblog]

State Farm Releases Android App To Curb Distracted Driving

State Farm's Android application automatically responds to text messages while on the phone is in motion, is free and can be downloaded here. State Farm also has a video demonstration, but, we wonder whether the whole application is itself a driving distraction.




[Source: autoblog]

Garmin nüvi's Recalled

Garmin has announced a voluntary recall of nüvi personal navigation units to replace a battery that could potentially overheat, causing a fire risk. To see if yours is listed, Garmin has set up a recall website that allows you to enter the serial number of your particular unit. Only units manufactured within a specific time frame are subject to recall.

[Source: Ridelust]

autoblog Reviews The Countryman For Aol Autos

autoblog concludes in its article for Aol Autos:
Porsche now sells more Cayennes annually than it does Caymans, Boxsters or 911s. And while the Countryman is a slightly different argument – it's slated to be the most expensive Mini – it's excellent driving dynamics coupled with a functional interior will show the world that Minis aren't so Mini anymore.

Mr. Stoopid's Flights Of Fantasy

Jalopnik has a cool photo gallery of Oslo-based artist Fred Lammers' (AKA Fred Boss AKA Mr. Stoopid) bizarre vintage concept cars and hot rod art.

Our Thoughts Are With The Pitney Family

BMW Vice President Jack Pitney was killed in a tractor accident on his farm on Aug. 26, 2010 at the age of 47. Mr. Pitney started with BMW in 1995 and was instrumental in convincing the company to sell MINIs in North America. He was also MINI's first U.S. boss.

[Source: autoweek.com]

Rolling Right Hand Turn Fines To Be Cut?

The Truth About Cars reports that the California Legislature has approved a cut in fines for rolling right turns and stop lights and signs. The fine now is $500. Under the bill Assemblyman Jerry Hill (D-San Mateo) introduced the fine for such turns will go from $500 to $250. Let's see if the Governator signs it.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

MINI Connected To Be Available On September Orders

MotoringFile reports that the "MINI Connected" option, which adds a new 6.5” hi-resolution screen (the same as on the 2011 Nav system), Comfort Bluetooth with Smartphone prep, a Combox control box (interface the iPhone with the car), Voice recognition, and a joystick controller to access all features just as the MINI Navigation uses, can be requested in September orders and will be available in November builds, with cars with the option showing up at dealers around November or December.

Whole New Meaning To The Terms "Off-Road Vehicle"

Ford - explorer jump over other truck


[Source: Streetfire.net via Ridelust]

Driving To A Different Drummer

At least they fit in the boot.

[Source: fanta @ NorthAmericanMotoring.com]

Late Night Rural Drive. As You Come Around A Curve You See This

[Source: pictureisunrelated.com via Hooniverse]
It answers the question "how did the chicken cross the road" but not "why?"

Dude, That's Not What We Meant By Greyhound Racer

[Source: CarDomain Blog]

Got Leather Seats? Learn How To Clean Them

CosminTX, a professional detailer, sets forth at Autopia.com how he goes about it and posts before and after photos.

What Will The MINI Traveller Be?

With the Clubman, the addition of the Countryman, and the expected production of a shorter Countryman called the "Canyon," what could MINI be considering for the name "Traveller?"  Rumors continue to float around the 'net but AutoGuide.com, based on an article in Automobile, believes the Traveller will be a small van or MPV and will first appear around 2013.

If You Can't Get Around, Go Over

This is the most amazing racing pass ever!




[Source: via Jalopnik]

Which Is The Most Fun - Honda CR-Z, MCS Or Mazda MX-5?

This month's edition on Winding Road Magazine attempts to answer the question.

[Thanks to Erik from the tip!]

Ever Wonder What It Is Like To Crash A Dragster?

This video may be the closest you ever get.




[Source: via Jalopnik]

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

So What Does The 2011 JCW Look Like In The Flesh?

It it here yet but poster deniax at North American Motoring couldn't wait to see what the 2011 JCW really looked like. He had MINI UK, where the vehicle is already available, send him some "live" photos which he has posted here.

Who You Going To Call When The Toilet Backs Up?

[Source: You Drive What?]

Can We Live In Your Garage?

CarDomain blog posts photos of some drop-dead gorgeous garages. When can we move in?

Ultimate Mobile Game Console

[Source: That Will Buff Out]

The Ultimate "Theft-Proof" Car?

[Source: The Car Connection]

Aftermarket Bolts-Ons That Can Slow Your Car

Ridelust explores five common "performance" add-ons that can significantly decrease performance.

I Gave. How About You?


[Source: Hooniverse]

What Has Jim O'Donnell Been Up To?

BMWNA CEO Jim O'Donnell is preparing to host a special Teen Driving School at U.S. Cellular Field in Chicago, IL on September 7, 2010 starting at 10 AM. Teens from the local community will improve their driving skills and increase their road knowledge through classroom instruction, driver awareness activities and hands-on driving exercises. In coordination with the special Teen School BMW will launch its “DRIVE IT HOME – DON’T TXT & DRIVE” campaign to reinforce the message that texting while driving is one of the most dangerous actions a person can do behind the wheel.

[Source: BMWBlog]

Pee For Energy Independence

UK researchers discovered that using urine instead of water as electrolyte in fuel cells results in an increased hydrogen stripping capacity. Imagine in the future running your house and car on pee. When that happens invest in a series of diuretic roadside snack shops!

[Source: Gizmodo]

Worst Designed U.S. Roads And Highways

Popular Mechanics found some of America's worst examples of highway design and talked to experts about what makes them so bad and the lessons learned from such construction. The closest one to Northern California is The Alaskan Way Viaduct, Seattle that shows up with at least 3 of the top 5 errors in road design.