Livermore to Castle Air Museum - Sun., February 25, 2024

Our February run will take us over backroads through the hills and valleys of the East Bay and out to the Central Valley and Castle Air Muse...

What About That MINI Roadster Manual Top?

The top may be manual but the execution is mechanical. Car and Driver observes,
The top is manual, a center-mounted latch on the windshield header allowing it to be jettisoned on the fly by Vitamin D addicts in need of a sudden fix. When stowed, the top rises no higher than the bodywork, preserving both the chopped Mini’s sleek styling and a semblance of rearward vision (unlike the Cooper convertible). Raising the roof is made easier by a button between the rollover bars that activates pneumatic springs. These springs release the top from its stowage well and pop it into a more easily reachable position.

We have but one gripe with the Roadster’s fabric roof at this point: it comes only in black, “in keeping with British roadster tradition,” according to Mini. Considering that its tin-topped twin brother offers a choice of three contrasting colors for its roof—with optional racing stripes available to match the body, no less—we half expected the Roadster to have racing stripes sewn into the fabric. But basic black it is—all the more reason to keep it stowed.

"Meet The New Man In Town"

One.0.Five Marketing, an honors seminar consisting of 17 business students at Colorado State University (CSU) today is set to launch a campus-wide campaign
for MINI of Loveland. The class is being sponsored by MINI of Loveland in order to complete their marketing challenge - designing, implementing, and analyzing a marketing campaign to promote the new MINI Cooper Countryman and MINI of Loveland.

The class has contacted NorCal MINIs and we will be covering their progress and campaign. We also hope to have a few guest posts from the students.

Check out these marketing ideas from their latest press release,
. . . the students will be creating buzz for the campaign by plastering campus with posters and handing out free MINI Countryman inspired t-shirts to students on campus. The posters and t-shirts will prompt students to visit MeetTheNewManInTown.com, which will feature a countdown to the main event, “Meet The New Man in Town,” on November 7th and 8th. At the main event, students will get a chance to meet and interact with the new MINI Countryman on the CSU Plaza. In addition, students will be able to enter a Design Your Own MINI Contest for a chance to win more prizes.

In conjunction with the main event, One.0.Five Marketing will be running another event dubbed “Fuel Up with MINI,” which will consist of distributing coffee sleeves throughout the CSU community that feature different MINI Countryman attributes. The first 10 students to bring the coffee sleeves in to the MINI of Loveland dealership will receive a $10 gas card.

Registration Opens For MINI Thunder III

Ever thought of tracking your MINI? How about a little instruction, and a lot of track time and fun? Here is the best deal a MINI driver can get on the West Coast. Stormin' Norman's MINI Thunder III. Join sponsors Norm Nelson (Shasta MINIs), O2 Motorsports, Niello MINI, Mini Mania, Miniology, Revolution MINI Works and Thunderhill Raceway Park for this all day track event of HPDI (High Performance Driving Instruction) at the SCCA track at Willows California.

This track was designed and built by the members of the San Francisco SCCA. It's a wonderful track with great facilities.


MINI Thunder III is limited to 120 MINI/MInis. This will give enough time and instructors for every driver. There will be groups ranging from first timers to advanced.

The cost is $199 per entrant or $275 for those that want to share a Mini. This includes loads of track time, turn workers, tow-trucks, flaggers, instructors, lunch, & T-shirts. For shared entries the 1st T-Shirt is included for the primary driver and the second to be purchased @ $15 in sizes of S,M,L, XL, 2XL.

T-Shirts will be available in sizes small, medium, large, XL, and 2XL, larger shirts (3XL, 4XL, etc) must be purchased in advanced and will be at $25.00 ea.

This event is for MINI/Mini Coopers only, any model or variation.

Gourmet Food Trucks At East Bay MINI November 5

MoGo BBQ and Grillstars will be at East Bay MINI on November 5, 2011, from noon until 3 pm, as the second in a series of Gourmet Food Truck events.

MINI Roadster Stars In "Another Day, Another Adventure"

[Source: via MotoringFile]

Forbes Says MINI Does Customer Experience Right

Scott Davis writng for Forbes points out companies that do not provide a customer experience and ones that do it right. One of the three that Davis flags as doing it right is MINI,
Customers create their own experience with the MINI-Cooper, and about the only thing missing as they design their cars online is that inimitable new car scent. The MINI’s ”configurator” allows prospective buyers to select and virtually try out the many options for a new Mini. It’s an involving experience that deepens their understanding of the options available, sparks their enthusiasm for a MINI, and, importantly, heightens their level of investment in the brand. Importantly, unique, engaging communications with MINI don’t stop once you have purchased your car—they want the entire experience to be a driver of on-going loyalty and ultimately strong word of mouth. Now, MINI’s using post-purchase communications to solicit customer-suggested improvements in helping the design of the next version of the cars. Brilliant!

Chinese MINI Police Car

shanghaiist reports on a MINI police car parked outside a police station in the city of Tianjin, China.

NorCal MINIs Wishes You A Happy And Safe Halloween

Enjoy this video of a great 1144-channel extravaganza of LED house lights for Halloween. We agree with How-To Geek,
This DIY LED display falls deeply into the “We think it’s awesome; glad he’s not our neighbor” category.

Production Version Of 2013 MINI Roadster Revealed

Autoweek reports on the production version of the 2012 MINI Roadster that is scheduled to make its public debut at the Detroit auto show in January prior to going on sale in North America in mid-2012. It says, in part:
Mini is talking up the dynamic properties of the roadster, suggesting that its lightweight fabric hood gives it a lower center of gravity than other models. The steel body structure adopts the same stiffening measures as the coupe, including a substantial brace at the rear that is said to boost overall rigidity to a level comparable to that of the hardtop. With a weight distribution biased toward the front, officials also claim the new open-top has better traction than earlier Mini models.
NetCarShow.com has more photos of the Roadster than you can shake a stickshift at!  BMW Group's PressClub USA press release calls it "SPONTANEOUS, OPEN, IRRESISTIBLE".

When The Police Think You Walk On Water

Check out this video of a amphicar taken by a sheriff as the vehicle pulls away from the Marine Patrol.

[Source: martinsuper73@YouTube]

A MINI Adventure

As part of its Wanderlust campaign MINI asked model Anouck Lepere what adventure she’d go on if she had a MINI Cooper Countryman. The New Yorker in April showers decided she'd take her friends on a shopping therapy trip, then drive over the bridge to New Jersey. MiNI and videographers tagged along and made this video entitled Bridge And Tunnel:

Wanderlust from Tales of Endearment on Vimeo.

[Source: Tales Of Endearment]

Japan's MINI Crystal Special Editions

MINI has launched the "Crystal Edition" in Japan. This special edition, borrowing the name of the well-known Crystal Palace building in London, comesd in High-Class Grey Metallic with a black roof, “Crystal “ bonnet stripes and a set of twin-blade 17-inch lightweight alloy rims. The interior,has crystal motif sport seatswith a Satellite Grey finish and Carbon Black elements. The lower area of the dashboard, the door panels and the floor mat edges use a leather finish with the list of optional extras including the same material for the dashboard.

The Crystal can be ordered in Japan Cooper and Cooper S forms.

[Source: autoevolution]

Shop For The Holidays At MINI's Online Shop

Okay MINI lovers, MINI's new Lifestyle Collection will soon be in MINI's US Online Shop and it includes this cool folding MINI bike! Its a perfect place to shop for holiday gifts for you, your MINI and MINI Lovers everywhere.

[Source: via autoevolution]

Time For The 2012 Miss Tuning Calendar

WorldCarFans.com has a big photo gallery of the 2012 Miss Tuning including photographs shot for the calendar.

Get Your Ferrari Ripped Off As You Detail It

[Source: PeinLankaster@YouTube]

MINI Space Masquerade Halloween Contest!

Check out this MINI Space Competition:
Being the imaginative community that you are, we suspect you’ve got some clever ideas up your sleeve for this Halloween that might even involve MINI. Master pumpkin carver? Think you can pave a new career in “automotive costume design?” Planning on morphing yourself into your household MINI? Maybe even a pet? We want to see it!

If you want to take part in the MINI Masquerade Halloween Contest, send your original pictures to info@minispace.com for a chance to win a goodie bag. It’s our own little way of trick or treating. Next week we’ll post our winners and runners-up here on MINI Space and on Facebook, to show the world what creative souls haunt the MINI community.

So get out the sewing machine, mix up some paper maché, and take a stab at the MINI Masquerade Halloween Contest. We can't wait to see all the entries!

Give Cars Instead Of Candy This Halloween

[Source: Hooniverse]

2012 MINI Cooper Convertible Gets An 8.6 Out Of 10

The Car Connection gives the 2012 MINI Convertible an 8.6 on a scale of 10. Its dislikes:

  • Quirky, non-ergonomic interior elements
  • Electric power steering feel isn't great
  • Price quickly adds up with options

Its likes:

  • Easy, functional convertible top
  • Go-kart handling, peppy acceleration in S and JCW models
  • Highly customizable
  • Lots of available add-ons

Its bottom line:
Part hatchback, part convertible, and all fun, the 2012 MINI Cooper Convertible is in a class by itself--literally.

MINI Ray Gets Love Down Under

The MINI Ray is the low-cost budget MINI version introduced in Australia and not available in the US. This is the second year of production for the vehicle. Paul Pottinger for AdelaideNow reviews the vehicle and says,
I'll keep one for a daily driver until my daughter's of age to take it over.

DIY: Fix A Transmission Leak

EBMC03@ MINI2 posted the accompanying photo of a transmission leak. AutoMotto provides this "How To" article on how to fix it.

MINI WRC Will Go For It All Next Year

With the abbreviated MINI WRC Team season all but over after two podium finishes and a 4th/5th finish in their latest race, the Rally of Spain, after only participating in about half of this year's WRC schedule, driver Kris Meeke thinks they can chase down the WRC title next year,

[Source: via MotoringFile]

Even New Zealand Has It And We Want It!

What gives?  MINI is now selling the MINI Cooper D in New Zealand but not in the States? David Thomson for DriveSouth based in New Zealand slots the handling as ". . . sitting somewhere between the standard Cooper and the Cooper S . . . .

What You Lookin' At, Sonny?

[Source: via Hooniverse]

"A Practical Beast"

That is what Jonathan Bell concludes in his review on Wallpaper* of the new MINI Coupé.

90210 Actress AnnaLynne McCord's Messy MINI

Papparazi for MailOnline caught 90210 starlet AnnaLynne McCord visiting a a West Hollywood lingerie store in her MINI and took the opportunity to photograph the interior of the vehicle (and Ms. McCord and her boy toy Prison Break's Dominick Purcell). Looks like Ms. McCord is one sloppy sultry siren. Check out the interior shots. 

Spurlock's New Film Includes Conversations With MINI

Documentary filmmaker Morgan Spurlock , widely known for his film Super Size Me discussed his new film, POM Wonderful Presents: The Greatest Movie Ever Sold, an exposé on product placement in movies and television shows, at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.. Spurlock attempted to contact 650 different companies to interview them for the film, many of them refused to participate. MINI agreed to participate but required that Spurlock not “disparage the country of Germany” while a MINI was in the scene.

Read the entire article about his lecture comments at The UWM Post. ..

Mini Mania Kicks Off Celebrations for the MINI's 10 Year Anniversary in the US

We have received this exciting press release from Mini Mania:
Mini Mania Kicks Off Celebrations for the MINI's 10 Year Anniversary in the US
The November Party Includes Valuable Giveaways, Favorite Products and Mods, and a Look Back at the First BMW MINI to Race in the United States.

Nevada City, Calif., October 24, 2011 –  Mini Mania, the nation's oldest and largest supplier of classic and BMW Mini Cooper parts and accessories, today announced the celebration of “10 Years of the MINI” in the U.S. starting November 1, 2011.  In November 2001, Mini Mania raced its brand new MINI Cooper – the first BMW MINI in the U.S. – against a fleet of classic Minis at the Laguna Seca Raceway in Monterey, California.  In celebration, Mini Mania is looking back at the last ten years of the MINI, highlighting its favorites in MINI products and culture.

Mini Mania's celebration launches from minimania.com/10 on Tuesday, November 1.   There visitors can check out a retrospective of that very first MINI and the 2001 Laguna Seca race.  Mini Mania will be giving away three gift packages worth hundreds of dollars to new friends who sign up.  Winners will choose their favorite of the three packages designed for performance, luxury or maintenance.  The company will also debut a series of DIY and product review videos at minimania.com/10 featuring first-hand insights from Mini Mania staff.  Additionally, the Mini Mania team has put together Top 10 lists of its favorite performance upgrade products, luxury items for the MINI, and best products for optimizing the MINI for comfort and commute. To round out the celebration, Mini Mania has put together slideshows of the most famous Minis of all time, the team's favorite Mini mods, and some of the most unusual and artistic Minis ever created.  

A sneak look a the celebration can be found this week at www.facebook.com/MiniMania.  More information about Mini Mania and 10 Years of MINI can be found at www.minimania.com

Since 1974, Mini Mania has specialized in developing and supplying Mini Cooper parts and accessories for the U.S. market.   Today, Mini Mania supplies products for both classic and BMW Minis.  Located in the heart of Gold Country in northern California's Sierra Nevada foothills, Mini Mania   is the largest supplier of classic Mini Cooper parts in the U.S. Mini Mania's dedicated staff strives to provide their customers access to a wide range of parts and accessories to meet individual needs, from performance upgrade kits to convenience accessories like bike racks and iphone brackets. 

Additional information about Mini Mania and its products can be found at http://www.minimania.com

Blinded By The Light

[Photo Credit: T4R.org]
John Kelly, a columnist for The Washington Post, drives a MINI and thought the often blinding lights of other drivers were because you sit less than three feet off the ground. Apaarently, he discovered he might be wrong.
When the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration invited Americans to weigh in on the issue in 2001, it received 4,000 comments. Motorists blamed the height of headlights on SUVs, drivers who use their fog lights and the increasing usage of HIDs: those blue-tinged high-intensity discharge lights.

Launching The MINI Coupé In NYC

Apparently MINI took "launch" quite literally. MINI erected "a 30-foot tall MINI space shuttle in the middle of New York’s meatpacking district" and had four MINI ambassadors in full astronaut suits handing out brochures and answering questions.

[Source: MotoringFile]

CoverEFX 01 MCS

The CoverEFX 01 massively modded MINI Cooper S is displayed in an extensive photo gallery at Wan Bao TU.

2012 MINI Clubman Gets An 8.4 Out Of 10

The Car Connection gives the 2012 MINI Clubman an 8.4 on a scale of ten. Its dislikes:
  • Lack of precision in electric power steering feel
  • Backseat access tough despite door
  • Prices climb quickly with added equipment
It likes:
  • Excellent handling despite slightly larger size
  • John Cooper Works power
  • Comfortable ride for a small car
  • Cargo space
Its bottom line:
More capacity, more practicality, and just as much sport and style, the 2012 MINI Cooper Clubman strikes a balance between family and fun.

Here's The Amish Version Of The MINI

[Source: Bryan Allain]

MINIs Some Of The Least Flexible Sales Prices

TrueCar evaluates negotiating power of the consumer for a new car through its Flex Price Score.  In September MINIs came in across the board with some of the least flexible scores.  This means there is not much wiggle room for negotiation.

Least and Most Flexible 2011 Vehicles (by Vehicle Category)
Vehicle CategoryLeast Flexible ScoreMost Flexible Score
Large CarChevrolet Impala Score: 7Toyota Avalon Score: 86
Large SUVChevrolet Tahoe Score: 4GMC Yukon Hybrid Score: 69
Large TruckCadillac Escalade EXT Score: 15Ram Dakota Score: 90
Luxury CarAudi A3 Score: 1Mercedes-Benz R-Class Score: 98
Luxury Sport CarAudi S4 Score: 3Chevrolet Corvette Score: 97
Luxury SUVAudi Q5 Score: 2Mercedes-Benz GLK-Class Score: 93
Midsize CarSubaru Outback Score: 15Honda Accord Coupe Score: 93
Midsize SUVFord Edge Score: 13Nissan Murano CrossCabriolet Score: 96
MinivanChrysler Town & Country Score: 11Nissan Quest Score: 88
Small CarNissan LEAF Score: 1Ford Focus Score: 99
Small SUVMINI Cooper Countryman Score: 9Mitsubisihi Outlander Sport Score: 94
Small TruckSuzuki Equator Score: 24GMC Canyon Score: 88
Sport CarMINI Cooper Hardtop Score: 16Mitsubishi Eclipse Score: 100
Subcompact CarScion xD Score: 2Toyota Yaris Score: 91
VanChevrolet Express Cargo Van Score: 39Ford Transit Connect Score: 56

Wimmer RS Outfits MINI Clubman JCW Showcar

Mac Audio, a manufacturer of amplifiers and loudspeakers, has tapped German tuning specialist Wimmer RS to create a showcar version of the Mini Clubman John Cooper Works. Check out the incredible install and other interior and exterior mods at Carscoop.

This Racer Gets The Bird

Did you see how the crash occurred?  Probably not. Luckily, you can watch it over and over again.

[Source: via Jalopnik]

DIY: Change Your Own Spark Plugs

AutoMotto provides a step by step guide to changing automotive sparkplugs.  Surprisingly you don't need one person to hold the spark plug and 35 to rotate the car!

The Alternate MINI WRC Team Cars Race

MINI Motorsport posted this photo at Facebook of MINI Techs at play during Rally de España.

MINI Thailand Builds An Artificial Reef

MINI Thailand built a cement replica of a MINI that has been installed off Thailand's Turtle Island providing a habitat for the island's wildlife while giving novice divers a place to practice without interfering with the natural reefs that lie clustered just beyond the coastline.It is believed that the structure will help the endangered animal population and corals in the area.

[Source: MINI Space]

Will Drive You To Drink

Check out this 480 hp V8 bar stool!

[Source: Ridelust]

DIY: Change The Oil And Filter On A R56 2008 MCS

WonderHowTo provides this instructional video:

DIY Paintless Dent Repair With Popcorn

[Source: via Ridelust]

Fun Economical Way To Go Green

Motoring.co.uk calls the MINI Cooper D and SD "without question the most fun way to go green and keep some cash in your pocket" Due very low Co2 emissions and returns 74.3 mpg they are exempt from the London Congestion Charge. As the article points out,
The Mini Cooper D will accelerate to 60mph in 9.9 seconds before reaching a top speed of 121mph, 1mph more than the 1.6 petrol model. The latest Mini Cooper SD is capable of 0-62mph in just 8.1 seconds. The Mini Cooper SD is also available as Mini Clubman, Convertible and Countryman. Even the ALL4 all-wheel drive version of the latter, by far the heaviest and least efficient vehicle in the Mini range, manages 57.6mpg, 130g/km CO2, and 0-62 mph in 9.4 seconds and 121mph.
This all begs the question. MINI, when are you bringing them to the States?

No Way Am I Paying For This!

[Source: via Carscoop]

Automobile's 4 Season Update On The 2011 MCS Countryman ALL4

Automobile updates its long-term test review of the MINI Cooper S Countryman ALL4 at three months and 6,641 miles and gets a wide variety of opinions from its editors - some very good and some not so good.

Diggin' It In The Dirt In A Classic

[Source: JoNniixD@YouTube]

Car Safety Engineers are Male Chauvinists

Three researchers at the University of Virginia, who studied US crash data from 1998 to 2008 to determine the impact of a driver’s gender on their chance of being injured in a crash discovered the odds of a seatbelt-restrained female driver sustaining severe injuries were 47 per cent higher than those for a seatbelt-restrained male driver involved in a comparable crash. The higher risk factor for women was related to the position of head restraints in cars, which generally failed to account for the different size and strength of women's necks. Women are also more likely to sustain lower extremity injuries because of their shorter average height compared to men.

[Source: Car Advice]

MINI In Second Half Of Consumer Reports Reliability Ratings

According to this article in the Los Angeles Times Consumer Reports rates Volkswagen, Mercedes-Benz, BMW, MINI, Audi, Porsche and Jaguar in the second half of its reliability ratings. The top half of the ratings are dominated by Japanese brands, Jeep and Lincoln. The reason European brands lag behind, according to David Champion Sr., director of Consumer Reports' Automotive Test Center in East Haddam, Conn.,
"When you look at the problems these vehicles have, they are mainly electrical or electronic issues, . . . ."

Stick It In The Boot

Zero Basic makes these cool 4GB flash drives. Each is a highly detailed rendition one of eleven 11 selected historic versions of the Mini complete with tire treads and working headlights. The entire review is at Everything USB and they can be purchased at GizmoAgent for $35.90.

East Bay MINI's 2nd Motor-Tober Rally Is This Friday

Make sure you sign up for East Bay MINI's Second Annual Motor-Tober Rally on Friday, October 28, 2011, from 3:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

According to East Bay MINI's post on their facebook photo gallery once you sign up here go to here to register so that you can go-kart race Foxy at Umigo.

OKTOBERFEST DINNER: 6:30 p.m. at East Bay MINI

Is The MINI Coupé A Male-Targeted Car?

Nargess Shamnanesh-Banks writing for TimesOfMalta.com at first thinks the new MINI Coupé is targeted at men,
"The floating roofline that is at the heart of its design adds a somewhat masculine touch.

“The roof graphic is almost emulating a baseball cap turned the other way to have an attitude, personality and status,” Anders Warming told me when the car was first revealed.
After seeing how much cosmetic customization is available she concludes
"Surely the Coupé is a car that will appeal to women and the modern man in equal measures."

Jalopnik Provide Classic Mini Rally Wallpaper Photo

. . . or as Jalopnik calls it,
[y]our ridiculously cool Rally Mini wallpaper . . .

Taking Lunch To Work

[Source: You Drive What?]

What Makes This MINI Countryman So Good?

According to Jalopnik it is the vanity license plate that matches its personality.

Got A Direct Injection Engine? For Now Run The Cool Plugs

Matthew Beecham on just-auto reports on spark plug research.  Of interest to those of you with direct injection engines are these remarks:
Direct injection or GDI (Gasoline Direct Injection) is becoming the fuel delivery system of choice for automakers. With the first commercial introduction in 1996 by Mitsubishi, nearly all automakers currently offer at least one advanced powerplant equipped with these systems - with more platforms scheduled.

However, Louis Camilli, founder and president of Enerpulse Inc believes that there are operating nuances with GDI that continue to prevent wholesale adoption of the process. He told us: “One is that, in some engines, devastating knock occurs during lean operation with no warning. A second is that not all combustion chamber designs are suitable for stratified charge lean operation using GDI. These are engineering issues that will be resolved over time and may be mitigated using the Pulstar high-power discharge ignition. To date the only change to the design of spark plugs has been the migration to a cooler heat range with added thickness to the insulator projecting into the cylinder for added mechanical strength.”

Tire Deformation During Spirited Motoring

We all know that tires deform a bit - physics and the elasticity of rubber demand it. But watch this video. Lee Alexander strapped a Replay XD to the suspension of his Radical Ventures Stohr DSR and took on Road Atlanta. The shot show how much a tire deforms under track abuse, and depicts the rotor cycle through extreme temperatures.

[Source: autoblog]

girlracer Falls For the MINI JCW Coupe

girlracer really likes the MINI JCW Coupe. In her review she states,
The JCW Coupe has immense pace, making fast and safe progress on twisting roads. The sports suspension, although firm, did a good job at absorbing the poorer road surfaces and gave the Coupe superb balance and a flat ride through bends driven at speed. The cornering grip was huge and the very sharp steering response makes it a hugely rewarding car to drive. Top speed of 149mph is impressive on paper so the legal maximum speed of 70mph is nothing to this car so it’s effortless and refined. On the motorway the JCW Coupe is just another well equipped fast small car but it really comes alive on twisting back roads and of course it should be a competitive track-day car. But I suspect its real appeal will be to that affluent customer, young and young at heart, who just want a Mini that is a bit different and makes a statement.

That's One Way To Get Pumped

This guy really gets hosed!

[Source: via autoevolution]

Riding The MINI Roller Coaster

[Source: culturepub@youtube]

Damn Car Drives Like A Brick!

[Source: You Drive What?]