Thursday, September 30, 2010

MINI In Paris

[Source: via autoblog which has a full photo gallery]
Today at the opening of the Paris Motor Show MINI debuted the Countryman WRC. MotoringFile interviewed Ian Robertson, member of the Board of Management, Sales and Marketing BMW Group, and Prodrive Chairman and Chief Executive, David Richards about the vehicle. worldcarfans.com says the Countryman WRC "will compete in 6 of 13 rounds of the 2011 World Rally Championship. MINI plans to fully compete in the 2012 season." AutoGuide.com has coverage of the reveal and the official MINI Press Release complete with vehicle specifications.

[Source: AutoGuide.com]
MINI also brought the Scooter-E concept to Paris.

You can follow the Paris Motor Show BMW and MINI Press Conference live here.

Italian Artist Maurizio Cattelan's Sculpture L.O.V.E. Graces The Milan Stock Exchange

How appropriate!

[Source: The Atlantic Wire]

Get Free Admission To The 2010 Niello Concours At Serrano

Each year autodealer Niello puts on the Concours at Serrano. This year the three-day event starts Friday, October 1, 2010, at 4525 Serrano Parkway, El Dorado Hills, California 95762, and celebrates British marques.

Ordinarily tickets are $35.00 in advance and $45.00 at the gate. However, if you take a test drive of a new MINI before Saturday at Niello MINI located at 2020 Fulton Avenue, Sacramento, CA, 95825, you will receive a voucher redeemable for one ticket to the event.

[Source: Niello MINI's facebook]

One Way To Stop Someone From Stealing Your Smart Car

[Source: Gizmodo]

MINI Cooper S JCW Wins The 2010 Targa Newfoundland Open Class

Each year the Targa Newfoundland is run on for seven days onthe paved, open roads of eastern and central Newfoundland. The "Targa" (competitive sections) are about 20% of the course and are closed to the general public. This year, the Targa Open Class was won by a MINI Cooper S JCW driven by the team of Kenzie and Bourbonniere.

Electric Power-Steering System Failures May Be An Industry-wide Problem

Yesterday we reported that the NHTSA was investigating power steering pump failures in 2004 and 2005 MINIs. The Auto Channel cites James R. Healey at USA Today for the proposition that "it also could be harbinger of a deluge of future steering complaints as automakers overhaul the most basic control system on a car, often making it feel unfamiliar." While electric power-steering systems (EPS) can add 0.1 of a mpg, or more, by eliminating drag on the engine caused by hydraulic pumps, they are hard to tune to make them feel similar to the age-old hydraulic systems. The NHTSA since about 2006, has "seen an increase in investigations of vehicles equipped with electric power steering," but, it is not known if this is because EPS is inherently troublesome or now simply more common according to the agency.

Anyone Lose A New Turbocharger Near The Bay Bridge?

Jalopnik reports that Vaultpsu, a VW Vortex member, stopped by a gas station off Rt. 50 near the Bay Bridge and found a box labeled "turbo" that contained a new turbocharger. Vaultpsu is willing to help get it back to you. You will need to identify the turbo and provide proof you own it or bought it via a receipt or serial number.

MINI Space Launches MINI Club Finder

MINI Space has launched a MINI Club Finder on its website. We have added NorCal MINIs and expect we will appear in a day or two. The Club Finder allows you to hook up with MINI Clubs when you move or are out motoring in new territory.

This Is Why You Should Not Entirely Rely On Your GPS

Robert Ziegler, a 37-year old driver from Switzerland blindly trusted his GPS system which put him on a mountainside goat trail. Once he got stuck on the trail the only way out was via a heavy lifting helicopter.

[Source: autoevolution]

Gigamot Racing Wins MINI Challenge Final At Salzburgring Again

The German blog bigblogg.motoring reports that, for the second time in as many years Gigamot Racing has won the MINI Challenge Finale at Salzburgring. The MINI Gigamot No. 39 was driven to victory in a drizzle. Here is in car video from the Finale filmed by Fredrik Lestrup of Caisley International -




[Source:

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

BMW Dedicates A Website To Project i

BMW's research division called ‘Project i’ was created to develop solutions for congested city motoring through a range of technologies that BMW could introduce across its fleet or even under a rumored fourth brand. The first development of Project i was the MINI E. The Megacity Vehicle will be the first true Project i production model.

BMW has launched a new website (www.project-i.com) dedicated to its Project i that provides information and news on sustainable mobility of the future.

[Source: via MotorAuthority]

Mmmmmm Baked Goods

UPI.com reports, on September 28, 2010 in Wichita, KS, a stolen Little Debbie truck was found abandoned with the airbags deployed and a trail of empty boxes leading from the truck to the road. The truck had been lifted from a Wal-Mart on the south side of the city at about 4 a.m. No arrests have been made and the truck was returned to its owner.

Be on the look out for a carjacker on a sugar high with sticky fingers and coffee cake crumbs attached to his or her lips.

The Airbag Is Thirty Years Old

Daimler is celebrating the airbag's 30th anniversary. The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration says that, in the US alone, airbags have helped to save around 28,000 lives since the technology was first introduced.

[Source: autoblog]

Wonder What That Was

[Source: Ridelust]

UK Grand National New MINI Show Is October 3, 2010

The UK Grand National New MINI Show on October 3, 2010, will be held at Aintree Racecourse in Liverpool, UK, a horse-racing facility. The Show, the first in the UK designed exclusively for the new MINI, will award trophies for the best modified and unmodified MINIS.

Many British Isles based MINI clubs are expected to attend.

[Source: newminishow.co.uk]

Should Bras And Shirts Be Mandatory In Drifting Competitions? [NSFW]

We sure hope not!





[Source: Drifter.hu Promo Video (DRIFT DIDI) - XPROVID Films @ vimeo via Ridelust]

2004-2005 MINI Power Steering Failures Being Examined By NHTSA

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has opened an investigation into potential power steering problems for the 2004-2005 MINI because, according to the NHTSA's website:
The Office of Defect Investigations has received 54 complaints and a confidential number of field reports alleging an unexpected loss of power steering assist while driving the vehicle. When the power steering assist stops working it requires increased force to steer the vehicle. Some drivers reported experiencing difficulty while trying to steer or control the vehicle. The reports indicate that the loss of power steering assist may be related to a power steering pump failure."
Up to 80,000 vehicles might be effected if there is a recall due to this perceived issue. MINI claims it has no confirmation that any accidents have occurred due to steering pump failure.

[Sources: via Carscoop / MotoringFile]

Midnight Rider Limo For The Ultimate Rolling Party

It holds the Guinness World's Record for the "Heaviest Limo." Suitable for 40 people, it sports a staff of five, including at least one bartender, and front and rear lounges.




[Source: via Ridelust]

Getting Ready For Geneva

Although the Paris Motor Show does not open until this weekend preparations are already underway for the 81st Geneva International Motor Show in 2011. Yesterday, the official 2011 poster for the event was revealed. The poster, according to Management of the Show, chose a young woman at the wheel of her cabriolet for the poster to accent the human element theme as competitors for the poster were inspired by the following ideas:
The most innovative automotive technology is nothing if the human factor is not at the centre of the thinking behind it. An automobile must provide us with individual transport, while reflecting our automotive lifestyle. It must be safe and easy to use, so that we can enjoy our driving without any problems. However, thanks to the latest technologies, it must also protect our human values.
The poster is available on the website www.salon-auto.ch and can be downloaded in high definition.

[Sources: autoevolution / The Auto Channel]

Kelly Blue Book Reviews The 2010 MCS JCW

Yesterday, Kelly Blue Book (KBB) published reviews of several vehicles in the MINI family. One is of the 2010 MINI Cooper John Cooper Works 2-door hatchback. KBB concluded that you would like this vehicle -
If you want high style and high performance in a small package, the 2010 MINI Cooper is for you. It combines excellent handling and charming looks with a remarkable level of options available from the factory. Drivers who crave uniqueness will love the ability to tailor their MINIs to match their tastes.
However, it also concluded that you may not like it -
If you regularly travel with more than one passenger or need lots of cargo space, the larger MINI Clubman wagon may be a better choice. Despite excellent use of the available space, it is still a very small car. Also, the MINI's ride may be too jarring for those more interested in comfort than performance.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Make Sure You Register For East Bay MINI's Rally This Sunday

East Bay MINI's Rally is scheduled for this Sunday, October 3, 2010. The Rally will start at 9:00 a.m. at East Bay MINI's showroom at 4340 Rosewood Dr, Pleasanton CA.

IT IS ENTIRELY FREE AND WILL BENEFIT THE TAYLOR FAMILY FOUNDATION! Expect a great BBQ, fun, games, raffles and prizes along with a run through some of East Alameda County's best MINI roads.

Register on-line here.

We look forward to seeing all of you there! LET'S MOTOR!

What Color Are Cars In Your World?

[Image Source: Random Thoughts]
According to regional data released by Ford here are car colors and cities with the highest percentage of buyers for those colors.

Black: Boston, Detroit, New York, Miami, Chicago
Blue: Washington, Pittsburgh, Seattle, Chicago, Detroit
Gold: Miami, Memphis, Orlando, Phoenix, Houston
Gray: Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York, Seattle, Philadelphia
Green: Boston, Philadelphia, Washington, Pittsburgh, New York
Orange: Phoenix, Los Angeles, Miami, Denver, Seattle
Red: Cincinnati, Kansas City, Minneapolis, Chicago, Pittsburgh
Silver: Los Angeles, Phoenix, San Francisco, Orlando, Boston
White: San Francisco, Memphis, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Dallas

[Source: SFGate.com]

How Many Ways Can You Say This Driver Is Handicapped?

[Source: That Will Buff Out]

AutoGuide Reviews The New Cars In Europe For 2011

AutoGuide.com's article reviews all of the new 2011 cars to be released in Europe including the MINI Countryman.

Five Point Turn Champion

There are many types of great driving. Some show their superior skills on a road course - others on a rally course. Some drag race. Others run the oval. Then there are tractor pulls and stunt drivers. However, none are better than this truck driver pulling a trailer who negotiates a five-point turn on a ten foot wide dirt road between a mountainside and a cliff. We salute you!




[Source: via Ridelust]

Saab Negotiating For Use Of The MINI Countryman Platform

MotoringFile reports that a deal between Saab and BMW will be announced September 29 that permits Saab to buy BMW engines. The article speculates that the engine version to be purchased is the yet to be released 4 cylinder turbo as BMW has said in the past it wouldnot sell its 6 cylinder engines to other mainstream manufacturers. Spyker (Saab’s parent company) continues to negotiate terms with BMW for use of the MINI Countryman platform which would become the basis of the planned 2014 Saab 9-2.

Quick! To the Batmobile!

DC Comics has licensed Mark Racop of Fiberglass Freaks to build a life size, fully road legal replica of the 1966 Batmobile from the TV series complete with rocket exhaust flamethrower, GM 350 crate engine, center console aluminum trim, Radir wheels with accurately shaped bat spinners, and a quality paint job. So, Robin, put in your order now!

[Source: via Dark Roasted Blend via AutoMotto]

BMW/MINI Ranked Most Reliable In Their Classes

The third largest automobile club in the world, the German car club Allgemeiner Deutscher Automobil Club (ADAC) (the German equivalent of AAA), conducted its annual reliability survey. The results were based on an analysis of two million break-down call-outs. BMW/MINI was determined to be the most reliable brand in two different categories, second and third in other categories, and was named the most reliable overall brand.

Here are BMW/MINI's rankings this year and the results from last year:

– Class victory in the “small cars” category: MINI (last year: second place)
– Class victory in the “offroader/SUV” class: BMW X3 (best-in-class for the fourth year running)
– Second place in the “offroader/SUV” class: BMW X5 (last year: fifth)
– Second place in the “executive car” class: BMW 3 Series (last year: third)
– Third place in the “small family car” class: BMW 1 Series (last year: third)

[Source: CarAdvice]

What Do You Do With A Worn Out Car?

1800Recycling.com suggests beds, like in the rooms of the V8 Hotel, a variety of automobile planters and a Stonehenge replica.

[Photo Credit: Frank Hoppe]

High Levels of DUI Violations Span California

[Image Credit: Jalopnik]
Insure.com has released its ranking of the top 20 major metropolitan cities in the U.S. in terms of percentage of drivers reporting alcohol-related driving violations. Four of the 20, and the top two, are in California. The study looked at applications for car insurance among drivers from the largest U.S. cities. The two cities with the highest percentage of drivers with a alcohol infraction on their record were San Diego and San Jose, CA. Here is the entire top 20 list in order:
1. San Diego, CA
2. San Jose, CA
3. Charlotte, NC
4. Phoenix, AZ
5. Columbus, OH
6. Indianapolis, IN
7. Los Angeles, CA
8. San Francisco, CA
9. Austin, TX
10. Jacksonville, FL
11. San Antonio, TX
12. Dallas, TX
13. Houston, TX
14. Fort Worth, TX
15. Memphis, TN
16. Philadelphia, PA
17. New York, NY
18. Baltimore, MD
19. Chicago, IL
20. Detroit, MI

[Sources: via Jalopnik / egmCartech]

Monday, September 27, 2010

We Will Always Have Paris

The Paris Motor Show starts Thursday. MotoringFile has posted MINI's Official Press Release. Before the show here is MINI's Scooter E concepts unveiling (again courtesy of MotoringFile):










In this video via MotoringFile scooter designer Adrian Van Hooydonk provides an extended walk through of the scooters.







In its official Press Release MINI says it will also debut the ProDrive MINI Countryman WRC at the show. MotoringFile says Autosport has reported that the Prodrive MINI team will be testing the new WRC Countryman roughly one week a month for the remainder of the year gearing up for a mid-2011 racing debut for the car and that Marcus Gronholm is scheduled to tell Prodrive whether he has accepted their offer of a contract to drive the car next season.

Don't Take The Limo In San Francisco

Drive the MINI and this will never happen to you!

[Source: That Will Buff Out]

Learn How To Clean Your Convertible Soft Top

autoevolution has an excellent article with step by step directions on how to clean and dress convertible soft tops.

UK Winter Countryman Advertisement



[Source: via YouTube]

How Likely Are You To Be Ticketed?

According to ISO Quality Planning, the company that helps insurance companies estimate risk which ultimately results in the amount of premium your insurer charges, according to Ridelust has determined which vehicles are most likely to be ticketed. If you drive a Hummer H2/H3, you are, according to the research, the most likely to be ticketed since you'll receive them 4.63x more often than average. Scions are not far behind receiving tickets 4.6x more often than average for the tC and 4.03x more often than average for the XB. Close behind is the Mercedes Benz CLK63 AMG, which was issueed tickets 3.97x more often than average.

Here's the remainder of the top 10. Note that there is not a MINI or BMW among them.

Toyota Solara Coupe, ticketed 3.06x more often than average
Mercedes-Benz CLS63 AMG, ticketed 2.76x more often than average
Scion XA, ticketed 2.75x more often than average
Subaru Outback, ticketed 2.66x more often than average
Audi A4, ticketed 2.64x more often than average
Toyota Matrix, ticketed 2,64x more often than average

Were You Ever Stopped By This Cop?

The Truth About Cars reports that this is, or may soon be was, Sacramento, CA police officer Brandon Mullock. Allegedly due to Officer Mullock at least 79 accused drivers have been notified the police officer that charged them with drunk driving had likely falsified at least one piece of evidence. Consequently, Sacramento County District Attorney tossed their cases. The DA opened an inquiry into Mullock’s conduct after a deputy district attorney preparing a DUI case for trial watched a dashcam arrest video and noticed that the raw footage differed substantially from Mullock’s written account of the incident in a police report.

The DA said most of the defendants were convicted in a court of law despite Mullock’s legally unsound decision to detain the motorists, despite his misuse of preliminary alcohol screening and despite wild inaccuracies in his field interviews.

The district attorney’s office has provided each convicted motorist with documentation they can provide to insurance companies and employers to remedy some of the damage done.

He Is The Fastest Man In His Class

Check out Luke Caulde's ride and background In The UK MINI Challenge Series -




[Source: DunlopInsideRacing @ YouTube]

They Deliver!

[Source: via That Will Buff Out]

53rd Annual SF International Auto Show Dates Announced

The San Francisco Chronicle|SFGate.com 53rd Annual International Auto Show, billed as "northern California's premier, largest and most spectacular auto show," will run at Moscone Center in San Francisco November 20 – Saturday, November 27: 10:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m. and Sunday, November 28: 10:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.

In addition to the 2011 model vehicles, there will be exhibitions of alternative fuel and hybrid vehicles, the Academy of Art University Classic Car Collection, the Aftermarket Alley with tricked-out vehicles and aftermarket products, the AAA Greenlight Showcase, Dominator Hot Rods, racecars and a glimpse into the future with prototypes and concept vehicles.

Admission is $9 for adults with children 12-years and under free when accompanied by an adult. Tickets can be purchased at the door. For more information visit www.sfautoshow.com

[Source: via The Auto Channel]

See Anything Incongruous In This Vintage Car Advertisement Photo?

There are trees with leaves on them in the background?  What?  That's Wrong?

[Source: via gotryke]

Thursday, September 23, 2010

NorCal MINIs' Friday Upcoming Event Reminders

East Bay MINI Rally
On October 3, 2010, join East Bay MINI on the "Midway Rally Loop," followed by a BBQ Lunch at the dealership. Entrants will get a "Quick Clean Detail" for ONLY $20 and all proceeds will be donated to a non-profit charity. Register in advance here. The rally starts at 9:00 a.m.

Let's All Motor With East Bay MINI!










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 after the East Bay MINI Rally.









NorCal MINIs' Annual Membership Planning Meeting

Make sure you are available for breakfast on Saturday, October 23, 2010. This will be the annual general NorCal MINIs' Membership Meeting Breakfast 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 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.

The Future Of Cars Has Some A - Peel!

[Source: via Break]

MINI E-Scooter Performance Numbers

According to BMWBlog:
Dubbed MINI Scooter E Concept, the model is e two-wheeler electric scooter. The electric motor is placed behind the rear wheel, and its fuel autonomy is estimated at around 62 miles. Top speed is 31 mph.
MotoringFile says:
While the 31 mph top speed places this scooter concept in what is arguably the most accessible conventional scooter speed range (50cc), it really limits where this vehicle can realistically travel. Though you’d be cruising in style, you’d be relegated to only the most urban of downtown avenues or the sleepy streets of your favorite suburb. The upside? In most states you’d be road legal with just your driver’s license — no motorcycle endorsement required. The 62 mile range is impressive and would be more than adequate for the urban commute plus plenty of nonchalant shopping, even if you couldn’t get there in much of a hurry. Here’s hoping for a future JCW version with a bit more oomph!

Stuck On Highway 61

[Source: via Jalopnik]

Here's How You Should Really Wash A Motorcycle



[Source: Ridelust]

Why A MINI-E Scooter?

MotoringFile asks "Why a MINI-E Scooter?" According to MotoringFile because

"BMW has a deep history with motorcycles";

"[It is] simple, fun, zero-emissions, urban transportation [that] could fill a real niche in the years to come."' and

"With the right mix of performance and battery life, a real life MINI Scooter E would be a lot of fun."

Diesel Really Kicks Butt!



[Source: via psfk.com]

Drag Racing With Six Makita Cutting Wheel Motors

With six Makita cutting wheel motors cobbled together for 36-hp total power. Toolstation's "Bolt Lightning" has a top speed of 70 mph.

(Source: via Jalopnik]

Best And Worst States To Drive In


Driving in America

My Prius Is Shot To Hell

[Source: CarDomain Blog]