WHAT'S COMING UP?

2019 Annual Holiday Party & Run

This is a MEMBERS ONLY Event Your Hosts For The Run: Christine & Michael Toibin Come join us at East Bay MINI for another PJs...

It's On! KISS Them Goodbye For Charity

The KISS MINIs are now on eBay for a ten-day Father’s Day Charity Auction. The four Countrymans are each autographed by the entire band and custom-painted with the iconic makeup for each band member. All of the proceeds will benefit UNICEF to help children in Japan and other emergency relief efforts worldwide.

[Source: via MotoringFile]

Looking For A GP In NorCal?

In 2006 MINI made a limited run of 2,000 MINI JCW GP's, the ultimate MINI OEM street legal road racing car. The vehicle originally sold for about $32,000.

Chief Charlie @ NorthAmericanMotoring.com, located in Santa Clara, CA, has MINI GP No. 0032 up for sale, with a few upgrades and all original parts for $26,750.00 or Best Offer and it has less than 4,000 miles on the odometer!

Interested? Write carolla@scu.edu or call (408) 590-2179.

This MINI Sets Off Your Spidey Sense

Dubbed the "Black Widow," this MINI Clubman owned by Veronica, the wife of Whistler NC @ NorthAmericanMotoring.com, comes off smooth as silk!



You're An English MINI One Driver? Could You Cut My Hair?

A new study made by UK women’s car insurance specialist Diamond has determined that the most popular car among hairdressers in the UK is a MINI One hatchback. According to the study a MINI One is three and a half times more likely to be driven by a person working as a hairdresser than anybody else.

[Source: rpmgo.com]

Reflections On David Bowie's Classic Mini

David Bowie's classic art Mini, made in 1999 for Mini's 40th Birthday, is completely chromed out, including the windows!

[Source: Jalopnik]

Drifting For Burgers

Watch as Professional driver Vaughn Gittin Jr. drifts through a Carl's Jr. drive-thru. Would you like fries with that?




[Source: via LeftLane]

The Vilner MINI Cooper

This MINI is built by aftermarket specialist Vilner and may even out do the upcoming Goodwood MINI editions. The Vilner MINI package sports an interior that includes an expensive, brown Nappa leather upholstery that features various Alcantara inserts including the trademark diamond pattern. The same pattern continues with the roof liner as well as its doors. The doors have a smooth black leather, while their factory plastic was sprayed in grey. The rear view mirror of this Mini was also covered in a leather/Alcantara combination.

The exterior features a matting foil with a pearl effect and black mat, various chrome accents on the tank cap, rings around the headlights and stop lamps, and door handles. Vilner also equipped their new MINI with 18-inch wheel-rims.

Prices have not yet been released.

[Source: ZerCustoms]

Do You Think This Car Is Too Fruity To Drive?


[Source: That Will Buff Out]

Oliveira Fails To Finish Rally Argentina

Brazil World Rally Team’s Daniel Oliveira was forced to retire from Rally Argentina on the second day after problems with damaged suspension, and a slide off the road on Saturday. The damage to the MINI John Cooper Works WRC was such that the 25-year-old withdrew from the race. He expects to return to try his luck at Rally Greece June 16-19, 2011.

[Source: MINIMotorsport]

The Most Important Formula For Car Interiors

Okay you engineers and math heads do you know what this formula is used for? This formula is known as the "Fourier Transform." As Wired explains
Sounds are waves. The Fourier Transform analyzes a given wave, and produces the equivalent of its audio opposite. When that's played, the two more or less cancel out, muffling your audio environs.

[Source: via Gizmodo]

Who Said The MINI Was Too Small For Camping?


Automotto has posted an article that discusses ten cool camper/trailers/motor homes for the road.  It includes the VARIO Perfect Platinum that includes a hydraulic operated car garage that houses a compact car.

The Sole MINI At Rally Argentina

Brazilian Daniel Oliveira will drive his MINI John Cooper Works WRC at Rally Argentina. It will be the sole MINI John Cooper Works WRC vehicle at the event. Following a 29th place finish at Rally Italy, he is targeting an improved showing at Rally Argentina:
"Sardinia wasn't the best way to make my debut in the WRC version of the MINI John Cooper Works. On the final day in Italy we took the opportunity to find the set-up for the Argentinean event. I feel at home in Argentina; I know the roads, and I am confident many Brazilian fans will be there, cheering me along. That's why we decided to introduce the new livery on the MINI, which shows the Brazilian and Argentinian flags together."

[Source: MINI Motorsport]

Ignorance Is Bliss

Dude, can't you read the sign? It is a PICTURE for godsakes!




[Source: via That Will Buff Out]

Catchin' Some Air


Taken at the 'Ring's Flugplatz for autoblog.

For The Gearhead Backyard Mechanic Woman In Your Life

Get her the "Honeycomb pendant with cord" that is really a set of four wrenches that hangs around your neck that fits 8, 10, 12, and 14mm bolts. The wrench necklace is a bargain at $55.00 and is available at Blend Creations.

[Source: Gizmodo]

Podium For Team Octane At Victoria Day Speedfest

Team Octane driver Michel Sallenbach, at the wheel of his #46 MINI Original Accessories JCW Cooper S, podiumed at Victoria Speedfest held last weekend at Mosport International Raceway as part of the Castrol Canadian Touring Car series. Here's what it was like:


High Octane BBQ

Is that a hemi?  That's what were talking about!

[Source: Hooniverse]

Ten Used Convertibles For Under $20K

Ridelust lists the 2005 MCS Convertible as a best buy in used convertibles for under $20K. Others that made the cut included the 2008 Mazda MX-5 Miata, the 2006 Toyota Camry Solara Convertible, the 2002 Porsche Boxster, the 2007 Ford Mustang (V6), the 2004 BMW 325Ci, the 2006 Pontiac G6, the 2007 Chrysler Crossfire, the 2007 Saab 9-3 Convertible, and the 2005 Audi A4 1.8T.

Eco Knievel - Evil Knievel's Green Brother

Watch as Eco Knievel jumps his electric motorbike over a Prius.




[Source: via gas 2.0]

NorCal MINIs' 2011 Mt. Lassen Overnight To Be A Thing Of Beauty


NorCal MINIs has an incredible time planned for a beautiful and economical Mt. Lassen overnight.

Fantasy Cakes and Fine Pastries
We will meet up at 10:00 a.m. on July 9, 2011, at Fantasy Cakes and Fine Pastries in Vacaville, CA. Fantasy Cakes and Fine Pastries is located at 122 South Orchard Ave. Suite B, Vacaville, CA and offers cakes, pastries and cookies that are works of art.









We will then motor to Los Mariachis Mexican Restaurant located at 604 Main St., Red Bluff, CA for a magnificent traditional Mexican lunch.


Following lunch we will drive to our accomodations to check in. We have blocked a group of rooms and arranged a group rate of $92/room/night on Saturday for resort accommodations at the Gaia Hotel and Spa located at 4125 Riverside Place, Anderson, CA. This is a beautiful full-service pet friendly, eco-conscious hotel just south of Redding. You must book your room before July 2, 2011 to get this special rate and be guaranteed a room.

 Call toll free 877-778-3977 and tell them you want the NorCal MINIs group rate when you book your room.

As the sun starts to set we will gather at the Sundial Bridge  in Redding and pick up a picnic lunch for Sunday.










After the sun sets we will make our way to dinner at the best family Italian restaurant between Sacramento and the Oregon border-  Nello's Place located at 3055 Bechelli Lane, Redding, CA.










After dinner, if you are so inclined, we will head off to the Post Office Saloon and Grill located at the Downtown Redding Mall, Redding, CA for live music and after-dinner drinks before returning to the Gaia to rest up for Sunday.









Come Sunday morning, weather and road conditions permitting, we will motor to Bumpass Hell in Mt. Lassen National Park. Bumpass Hell is the largest concentration of hydrothermal features in the park. We should see mudpots, fumaroles and boiling lakes on this 1.5 mile hike.

Bring a flashlight because after our hike we will explore the inside of a lava tube - a long tubular cave formed by lava.

Following our lava tube adventure we will motor to McArthur-Burney Falls Memorial State Park to have lunch near one of the most beautiful waterfalls in North America.









After lunch we will go to the historic lumber town of McCloud. McCloud is a company built mill town with a rich past. In McCloud, tall pine and old growth forests surround you, and you will experience the scenic splendor of photogenic Mt. Shasta, which towers above town. Local shopkeepers offer a wide range of unusual quality gift items, jewelry, local crafts, antiques and traveling necessities.

Our overnight will end as we return to Interstate 5 at Shasta City.

Don't miss this great adventure. Book early and tell us you are coming in response to your email invitation or, if you are not a member or lost the invitation, by emailing us at info@norcalminis.com.

This looks to be a wonderful weekend motoring escape.  We hope lots of you can make it.

A Bird With Large Cajones



[Source: BREAK]

2012 Fiat 500 Sport Versus 2011 MINI Cooper

In the June 2011 issue Car and Driver compares the 2012 Fiat 500 Sport to the 2011 MINI Cooper. Below is video from the website of the review. Car and Driver concludes:
The Mini Cooper’s more flexible powertrain, more capable chassis, and greater comfort combine to make a car that is as fun as it looks. No doubt, the 500 has style. But the Mini has style and agility.


Saudi Arabian Women Arrested Seeking The Right To Drive

Saudis prohibit women from driving automobiles. With the winds of revolution throughout the Middle East Saudi Manal al-Sharif started a perilous campaign to earn women the right to drive. Sharif posted videos of herself driving on YouTube and started Facebook and Twitter accounts that prompted other Saudi women to do the same. The Saudi government then stepped in and arrested Sharif, had her videos removed from YouTube. her Facebook page deleted and ran a duplicate of her Twitter account which posted messages indicating that she had stopped her efforts. You can still see her original protest videos below and read the whole report on Sharif at the New York Times.








[Source: autoblog]

Cram It In The Boot And Flush

Karrock @ NorthAmericanMotoring.com proves a boxed toilet will fit in the boot of the MINI with plenty of room for toilet paper.

Indy 500 Philately

A new commemorative postage stamp, issued on the first day of qualifying for the Indy 500, shows Ray Harroun's winning Marmon “Wasp,” the distinctive yellow-and-black car he personally designed and drove to victory in the first Indy 500 in 1911.

The Marmon is returning to Indy for race day, when it is scheduled to lead a heritage rally of past race winners.

[Source: The New York Times - Wheels]

Olympic Diver Learns To Drive A MINI

Seventeen year old Tom Daley, an Olympic diver and member of the BMW London 2012 Performance Team, has received a new MINI One D Hatch in which he will take his first driving lessons as he prepares for the July FINA World Championships in China.

Daley will be enrolled in the MINI Drivers at Goodwood programme, the UK’s first dedicated motor circuit-based young driver training programme which is focused specifically on teaching safety and developing good driving habits.
Like every other 17 year old I can’t wait to get behind the wheel of my first car, but in my case having my driving licence will be a huge help in my training and preparation schedule for the Olympic Games. When I learn a new dive, it’s all about practising until I get it right. I’ll apply the same practice and determination to learning to drive,”
said Daley.

[Source: autoevolution]

This Is Why You Buy A MINI Not A Motorcycle

Cracked.com pens our sentiments for not buying a motorbike in its article "6 Things Nobody Tells You About Owning A Motorcycle." These are just six of the many reasons to opt for a MINI over a two-wheeler.

MINI World Rally Team Garb On Sale

Grandstand Merchandise, located in the UK, has for sale Dani Sordo and Kris Meeke MINI World Rally Team Caps and a MINI World Rally Team T-shirt for 19 GBP and 30 GBP, respectively, That's a whopping $31 US for each cap and $50 US for the T-shirt exclusive of shipping and handling.

Hey, Slow Poke! Stop Hogging The Left Lane!

The National Motorists Association has launched a publicity campaign for this June, called "Lane Courtesy Month," to urge drivers not to block the left lane. Lane courtesy is keeping clear of the left lane unless passing slower-moving vehicles to create smoother traffic flow on multilane roads and highways. Many states have "keep right" laws, which make it an infraction to block the passing lane--regardless of whether you are driving the speed limit.

[Source: Autoweek]

Join NorCal MINIs At The Penn Valley BBQ Cook Off Championship

On Saturday, June 4, 2011, join NorCal MINIs as we run to the Penn Valley 2011 Smokin' In The Oaks BBQ Cook-Off State Championship and Mounted Shooting Competition. We will meet up in West Sacramento at 7:30 a.m.. From Eastbound Highway 80, take Enterprise/West Capitol Exit which is just over the causeway. Right @ stoplight and right into culdesac containing 7-Eleven, Starbuck's and Denny's. Park along the culdesac.

Entry to the event is free if you donate a non-perishable food item so bring along a can of food for the Yuba County food bank.

This event is open to everyone - members and non-members alike!.  Members, please respond to your email invitation,  If you do not receive an invitation or are not a Member and would like to join us  please email us at info@norcalminis.com so we know you are coming.

Make sure you bring your FRS radios, an appetite for BBQ, good music and an appreciation for expert marksmanship.

Vodka And Road Painting Don't Mix

Here's proof. Check out the broken center line on this Russian city road.




[Source: pasternaktor @ YouTube via Jalopnik]

MINI Countryman ALL4 On Ice



[Source: Megamodo @ YouTube via MINI Countryman Motoring]

Banks And NADA Fighting For The Right To Rip-off Consumers

[Photo Credit: World Hyundai]
Automotive News reports that The National Automobile Dealers Association and groups of captives, credit unions and banks support congressional Republicans' efforts to curb the independence of a fledgling consumer agency which would have power to regulate dealer-assisted financing for auto consumers. The groups also are trying to dissuade the U.S. Federal Trade Commission from adopting standards for dealer-assisted financing. The dealer and banking groups are opposed by consumer advocates who contend that the federal government needs to actively protect car customers from car financing abuses.

A Minute With The MINI Roadster Testing On The 'Ring

According to MotoringFile the Roadster "is in the suspension testing stage and will soon move to final engineering."

Here's a minute of the Roadster testing on the 'Ring courtesy of Car Magazine via MotoringFile.


How Many Illegal Immigrants Can You Fit In One Van?

We lost count. How many do you see scurry away after the fleeing van gets into the accident?




[Source: via That Will Buff Out]

MINI Coupe JCW Has A Paquette Moment Testing At Nürburgring

Apparently MINIs are not for the birds. Worldcarfans.com caught this spy shot of the prototype MINI Coupe JCW testing at Nürburgring. Following in the footsteps of former NorCal MINIs President Larry Paquette the photo clearly shows the car managed to hit a small bird which got stuck in the grill.

Men More Stressed Out In Traffic Jams Than Women

Acording to a recent study by satnav firm TomTom, recounted by autoevolution, men's stress levels are seven times higher than a woman's when stuck in heavy traffic. The study checked the saliva in drivers' mouths for levels of stress chemicals while in a traffic jam. The levels for women in the study increased by 8.7 per cent while stuck behind the wheel - but for men shot up by no less than 60 percent. Conversely, women are more stressed when it comes to parking.

Hands-on Up And Down For The MINI Roadster Top

To the chagrin of many potential MINI Roadster owners according to MotoringFile the vehicle will be equipped with a manual top purportedly to save money and weight. Frankly, we'd rather see them save the money on the anticipated electronically deploying rear spoiler and make the top go up and down with the push of a button.

Cabrio owners, have you ever had to put the top up at a red light while motoring because of the weather? Good luck with that in the new Roadster.

Your Tax Dollars At Work

Ah, yes. The Presidential limousine, "The Beast." Armored, bulletproof, powerful and able to handle any potential threat to the leader of the free world.

Wrong. Watch as "The Beast" is disabled by a speed bump in Dublin while transporting the POTUS. You'd think with all that technology and security the damn thing would have better ground clearance.




[Source: via Carscoop]

Awesome Red Bull Ring Grand Opening In Tilt-Shift Photography

This tilt-shift video is of the Red Bull Ring, a racetrack in Spielberg, Styria, Austria purchased by Red Bull founder Dietrich Mateschitz. Red Bull announced a reconstruction of the entire facility in 2008 to host DTM (German Touring Car) racing. The video is of the track’s grand re-opening last weekend:




[Source: Ridelust]

MOTD 2011 Recap

This year MotoringFile went to MINIs On The Dragon 2011 and recounts its journey in this article which culminates with this advice:
If you can swing it, add The Dragon to next year’s plans. You and your MINI won’t regret it.

A Close Shave Via Helicopter



[Source: via Gizmodo]

Fiat 500c Convertible Versus MINI Cabrio

AutoSpies.com has a photo gallery of the Fiat 500 and a MINI from this week's New York City press launch of the Fiat 500 Convertible and asks, in part:
While MINI has long had a deeply loyal following, there is something to be said for the Fiat 500. First off, it's new. It seems that even though the Cooper has underwent a redesign, it is well...old. Maybe even "played out" at this point.

In addition, the Fiat is around $6,000 cheaper when you compare base model prices between the Fiat and the MINI. That's a huge gap at that price point.

With that said, take a look at our photos down below and let us know: what's it going to be? The Fiat or the MINI?

Games With Cars

As if Motor Polo and Car Paintballing were not fun, and a dangerous enough use of an automobile (see today's prior post) the Germans play "Car Jousting." According to Vice:
In Schleswig-Holstein, a deserted wasteland between Hamburg and the Danish border, jousting is having its renaissance. Where their grandfathers relied on horses, the kids now wave their lances from the windows of super-charged stock cars in a massive, unregulated, drunken festival of danger, speed, and mud.
The article says "[a]bout 60 cars align in three parallel rows":
Metallica blares from the speakers. The passengers lean out of the windows, reaching into iron quivers welded to the outside of the cars and pulling out their lances. There’s a whole family inside a baby blue Opel Kadett: dad behind the wheel, mom on the passenger seat, kids in the back. Cars slither around, revolving around themselves, kicking up mud that rains down on everyone like meaty hailstones. The combination of horsepower and “champagne” doesn’t lend itself to precision driving, and in a very slurry way, things are completely out of control.
Wonder whether Car Jousting injuries are covered by insurance?

MCS Countryman Reviewed By Car Advice

Calling it "a MINI on steroids" the Australian website Car Advice reviews the MCS Countryman. Its conclusion:
There are some press cars you are glad to hand back, and there are those that you’d rather hang on to. The MINI Cooper S Countryman falls into the later group. It’s the ‘almost’ MINI Copper S performance and handling, coupled with compact SUV-like practicality that has produced a unique package, which can be lot of fun.

First Autoball Then Car Paintball

Hemmings Blog features photos of, and an article on, the 1961 pastime of "Motor Polo" or "Autoball," which was played with a total of six cars, and six players per side: three drivers and three passengers. Go to the British Pathe archives for an explanatory video.

Since then auto sports have progressed. Now we shoot paint balls at each other in the new sport of "Car Paintballing." According to autoevolution it is the latest trend:

The activity involves attaching a paintballing gun to the bonnet of the car which is then operated by a passenger who is able to fire paint filled bullets at various well positioned targets whilst the driver skids around the carefully designed course.The gun is operated by a remote control from inside the car where the passenger can position and aim the gun ready to shoot.

MINI of Concord Is Looking For A Few Good Service Techs

[Photo Credit: Today's European Cars]
This note from Gary Daniel who is the Parts Manager at MINI of Concord:
We are looking to hire a couple new MINI technicians and we have an ad currently running on craigslist. . . .
Maybe there is an out of work MINI mechanic out there amongst your members or visitors. . . .

If you have got the right stuff MINI of Concord has an online employment application here. Tell them you heard about the job from NorCal MINIs.

Are You Experienced? Then You Likely Can't Pass A Driving Test

edmund's Auto Observer writes about a study by LeaseTrader.com of 500 men and women each with at least five years of driving experience that were given the same ten sample driver's exam questions as those found on written driving exams across the country. Those with the most driving experience, more than 20 years, scored nearly 18 percent lower than younger drivers. Men scored an average of 59 percent answers correct while women answered just 46 percent correct. Men had difficulty answering a question about the procedure for approaching a stopped school bus on the other side of a divided highway. While most men said you should watch for children and be ready to stop, the correct answer is stop and wait until flashing red lights are off.  Women had the most difficulty addressing the appropriate speed limit on primary and secondary state and federal highways. While most women said the speed limit is 65 mph the correct answer is actually 55 mph. Drivers of more than 20 years scored an average of 46 percent correct; between 10-20 years experience scored 58 percent correct; and between 5-10 years 64 percent correct. Not one person scored every question correct and more than three quarters of the entire exam population answered four or more questions incorrectly and, thus, failed.

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