Sonora Run - Sunday June 9, 2024

Your Host(s) for the Event: Paige Lane Route: https://maps.app.goo.gl/tGNYaz7VcvVDeXPLA Download the map for off-line use  - in case we lose...

NORCAL MINIS Hopes You And Reminds All . . .

Join NORCAL MINIS in 2012!!!

Annual Membership is only $25.00/family and entitles you to a host of discounts from vendors and Dealers that support NORCAL MINIS, email invitations, a say in where we run and what we do and access to Members Only events and our Members Only Google Group.  Just use this Paypal Button to join:


That's right!  Now you can order NorCal MINIs' branded merchandise from Lands' End through

Just choose the merchandise that suits you and choose the NorCal MINIs' logo you desire.  This is real Lands' End quality from Lands' End.  What could be better than that?


Join NORCAL MINIS as we take San Francisco Bay ferries to San Francisco for a progressive lunch on Saturday, January 7, 2012.

Here is the Itinerary:

From The North Bay:  Your ferry leaves the Sausalito Ferry Terminal for San Francisco's Pier 41 at 10:55 a.m. (Please arrive early to buy your round trip ferry ticket.  You will return to Sausalito from Pier 41 on the last ferry back which has a 5:20 p.m. departure time). You will arrive at Pier 41 at approximately 11:20 a.m.

From The South And East Bay: Your ferry leaves the Vallejo Ferry Terminal at 10:00 a.m. (Please arrive early to buy your round trip ferry ticket.  You will return to Vallejo from Pier 41 on the last ferry back which has a 6:30 p.m. departure time).  You will arrive at Pier 41 at approximately 11:20 a.m.

We will meet up at Pier 41 and make our way down Fisherman's Wharf for clam chowder at Boudin at the Wharf.  We will then stroll down the open fisherman's wharf stalls for take away crab and seafood  cocktails.  We will then make our way through street performers, vendors and endless shops to the Buena Vista Cafe to finish off the afternoon with Irish Coffee. We will then make our way back to Pier 41.

Come Out And Play! 

This event is open to Members and Non-Members.  Members, please respond to your email invitation for this event.  Non-Members, and Members that have lost their email, tell us you're coming by emailing us at info@norcalminis.com.  Please also tell us which ferry you will be using so we know when to expect you in SF. 


You Asked For It - You Got It!

An overwhelming number of 2011 NORCAL MINIS' members voted to attend a Track Day at a Northern California Racetrack in 2012.  That's exactly what NORCAL MINIS will do.  

Join NORCAL MINIs at -

Here Are The Particulars

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.

For those that just want to come out and see what’s up you are welcome at no charge. For those who come to observe there be “ride-alongs” with instructors and coaches during the sessions for FREE, and parade laps at lunch!

Staying In Willows

Stormin' Norman, Thunderhill Raceway Park and NORCAL MINIS have thought of everything.  You may find yourself rather tired as the day at the track starts early (7:00 a.m.). You might want to stay in Willows before or after the event. Therefore, we have located the following lodging deals for your lodging pleasure:

In order to get the MINI Thunder/SCCA rate for Willows, CA hotels, you must 
CALL the hotel directly (do not register on-line)
Tell them that you are attending MINI Thunder III and are requesting the Thunderhill/SCCA rates. The following rates apply if you call:

Holiday Inn – Nightly Rate $109

Baymont – Nightly Rate $79

Travelodge – Nightly Rate $ 59

For more information about participation in MINI Thunder III contact Stormin' Norm Nelson at 530-246-9943 or pooper@wildblue.net


NORCAL MINIS will run to Willows for this event. Check back for information on where and when in the Bay Area NORCAL MINIS will assemble for the run to Thunderhill for MINI Thunder III.


Run with NORCAL MINIS to MINI THUNDER III on either:

Saturday, February 18, 2012 (Preferred By Participants) 
Sunday, February 19, 2012 (Preferred By Observers)


Don't Drink And Drive. On New Years Get A Free Tipsy Tow

AAA is proud to offer its Tipsy Tow program from 6:00 p.m. Saturday, December 31st to 6:00 a.m. Sunday, January 1st. Just call call 800-222-4357 (AAA-HELP) for a free tow home of up to ten miles. Tell the AAA operator, "I need a Tipsy Tow," and a truck will be on its way. You don't need to be a AAA member to take advantage of this service.

Whatever you do -


 According to AAA:
. . . It takes only one or two drinks to impair vision, steering, braking, judgment and reaction time.

AAA estimates that a first time DUI conviction can cost up to $12,000 in fines, penalties, restitution, legal fees, and added insurance expenses. You can't put a price tag on a crash that causes an injury or death.

If you've been celebrating by drinking alcohol, don't get behind the wheel. Give AAA a call and we'll make sure you get home safely.

Mini Cooper vs Scion tC vs Honda CR-Z vs Volkswagen Beetle vs Hyundai Veloster vs Fiat 500

The MINI Cooper comes in first in this Motor Trend comparison of "[u]nusual [s]uspects" that asks "Which of These Six Oddballs is the Anti-Establishment King?"

KABC-TV L.A. Reviews The MINI Coupe

[Source: KABC-TV]

Purchasing And Pulling A "Toad"

Dick Eastman's RV writes about his new MINI that he calls "toad" because it is intended to be towed behind his RV on a two wheel dolly.

The Wall Street Journal Looks At The Countryman

[Source: The Wall Street Journal @ YouTube]

Who Says Miata Drivers Have No Balls?

[Source: via Jalopnik]

Here's What Autocar India Thinks Of The Mini Cooper S/Mini Countryman

[Source: autocarindia1 @ YouTube]

Some Fans Angered By Meeke's Release

The Belfast Telegraph indicates rally fans are descending on the MINI WRC Team angered over Kris Meeke's release from the racing team.  Meeke will continue to be a team member but will be limited to vehicle testing not racing for the remainder of his two contract.  The article asserts,
Much of the anger is directed at Mini and its parent company BMW who are being accused of not being fully behind the rally project even though the WRC Countryman was impressive in its six-round debut season and was voted Rally Car of the Year.

In an article headed "Bad for Meeke but BMW will suffer too", Autocar's Steve Cropley wrote: "While the promising Mini WRC team struggles to keep its head above water, BMW is spending an estimated 20 times more on a programme in the German DTM touring car series which, even if successful against Audi and Mercedes, will have zero impact on the brand's value or strength outside German borders.

"The fact that a promising international competition effort looks like being allowed to wither in favour of DTM - along with BMW's former F1 involvement and its international saloon racing programmes - shows just how parochial the company's top management is inclined to be."

It is no secret that the Mini project has been badly under-funded from the start and was heavily reliant on securing a major sponsor.

Never Shoot The Gap!

This is an amazing Russian video.  Looks like a speeding vehicle successfully shoots the gap between a truck and a police car.  Can you or can you not believe your eyes?

[Source: via CARSCOOP]

Campana Thrilled To Drive MINI At Monte Carlo With Sordo

Pierre Campana told www.Crash.net
. . . he is thrilled to have been given the chance to compete with MINI on the opening round of the 2012 World Rally Championship in Monte Carlo
Campana will partner with Dani Sordo for the Monte Carlo Rally, the season opener. Campana is quoted,
“I am thrilled to have been selected by MINI to join their squad for Monte-Carlo following our achievements this year,” he said. “It is a rally I know well and enjoy. I won the 2WD class last year, so I am pleased to bring my experience and to showcase my abilities on such a competitive event.

“I have enjoyed my time driving the MINI John Cooper Works WRC car in WRC and French championship events this year with Drive-Pro and together with the French Federation support, and I am honoured to be able to continue my association with this tremendous manufacturer into 2012 with this Monte Carlo participation.”

Ho! Ho! Ohhhhhhh!

[Source: via Hooniverse]

Autos.ca Offers 2012 MINI Countryman Buyer's Guide

Canadian site Autos.ca now features a Buyer's Guide on the MINI Countryman that provides a summary of 2012 changes, features, specifications and pricing (in Canadian Dollars).

The Perfect Slot Car Set-up

Don't you just want to put this in your den? Apparently you can since they are built to order.

[Source: SlotMods via BornRich via Gizmodo]

Borusan Cancels Sponsorship Of Burcu Çetinkaya

Todays Zaman reports that Borusan, BMW's Turkey distributor, may have cancelled a sponsorship agreement with Turkish women's rally champion Burcu Çetinkaya on the grounds that Çetinkaya  co-hosts is a TV Show with a headscarved woman. Borusan on Wednesday "ruled out claims that the cancellation was due to an anti-headscarf attitude."

Purportedly Borusan had agreed in principle to give Çetinkaya 100,000 euros and the right to use two MINI Cooper Countryman ALL4's in 2012 but three months later began to host a TV program on automobiles on Kanal24 along with Merve Sena Kılıç, a headscarf-wearing woman. On the show Çetinkaya even test drove the MINI Cooper and assessed the automobile's performance with Kılıç. Todays Zaman article claimsm -
Çetinkaya received a warning from Borusan Holding MINI Brand Manager Hakan Bayülgen after her photos with Kılıç were printed in the Hürriyet's supplement.

“We have seen your photos in the press with the MINI and a woman wearing a headscarf. This has created an image problem for us. Abroad [referring to BMW general headquarters] does not want this,” Bayülgen told Çetinkaya. He also told the woman that his company is disturbed by Çetinkaya's “religious” image.

Several days after this warning, Borusan cancelled the sponsorship deal with Çetinkaya, citing economic problems.

2011 In MINI Motorsports

MINI Motorsports has a great retrospective of the success of MINI on the global motorsport scene in 2011.

A Gingerbread MINI To Go With Your Gingerbread Garage

We already posted a link to instructions on how to build a MINI Gingerbread Garage. Now, MINI Space provides instructions on how to make your own Gingerbread MINI to park in it!

Dani Sordo 5th In Voting For World Rally Driver Of The Year

www.crash.net advises that MINI WRC driver Dani Sordo came in fifth for World Rally Driver Of The Year based on reader's votes.  It characterizes Sordo -
After being dropped by Citroen at the end of 2010, Dani Sordo had a point to prove this year and prove it he did.

Indeed despite only taking in six events, ahead of MINI gearing up for a more comprehensive programme in 2012, Sordo shined. He scored first time out with the John Cooper Works car in Sardinia (when he was sixth). He then took the first podium with the car in Germany (in only its third event and first on asphalt), before almost winning in France - ending up just 6.3 seconds off the lead. He was fourth in Spain too.

His only low's came in Wales (when he went off the road in SS5) and in Finland, when he had to retire on the final day after his car started to overheat. He had been running 7th overall.

Still, overall it was a very good season for the 2005 JWRC champion and you gave him an average mark of 7.27 out of ten, placing him fifth in Crash.net's World Rally Driver of the Year vote.

Time For Winter Tires

As temperatures and snow fall summer tires lose grip and can actually crack.  BMW Blog reminds you that "winter tires are critically important to winter driving" if you live in a cold weather area.

Word Of Advice If You Just Had An Ice Storm

Don't park near tall structures.  Here's why -

[Source: via Just A Car Guy]

NORCAL MINIS' Logo Land's End Merchandise

That's right!  Now you can order NorCal MINIs' branded merchandise from Lands' End through

Just choose the merchandise that suits you and choose the NorCal MINIs' logo you desire.  This is real Land's End quality from Land's End.  What could be better than that?

You will always be able to access the store through the link under our logo on the front page of the 

JCW To Become More Of A Sub-brand

The Detroit Bureau drove the Countryman All4 JCW in Austria, and reviews the vehicle.  A few days later they had the opportunity to speak with Dr. Kay Segler who will take over the top spot at MINI in April and Segler intimated that JCW will likely become a sub-brand of MINI:
He noted that the John Cooper Works variants will become more of a sub-brand, going forward, though not exactly the equivalent of BMW’s vaunted M.
“Not every model, but selected ones will be offered as a JCW model,” explained Segler. “Contrary to the BMW M models, they are not especially developed, and therefore will not be as strong technically. But The JCWs will get the suspension, engine tuning and JCW body and trim details.”

He said that Mini is constantly looking for higher sales and building the JCW sub-brand is one of the measures. “But JCW-models will not be offered everywhere. For instance in India, homologation will cost around $30,000, so there is no business case for bringing it to the market there.”

Countryman Get Another Nod As A Top 10 2012 Crossover

[Photo Credit: Automotorblog]
This time the top ten nod comes from INAUTONEWS.

2012 Dakar Rally Beckons

Friend and former NorCal MINIs' Member Brian Adkins (Wyvern Motorsports) posted these statistics on his Facebook Wall about the 2012 Dakar Rally:
2012 Dakar by the numbers
4: the number of titles up for grabs at the Dakar, including the motorcycle, quad, car and truck categories
9: the record number of victories at the rally, held by Stéphane Peterhansel with six wins on motorcycles and three in cars. Vladimir Chagin holds the record for the most victories in a single category, with seven wins in trucks.
14: the number of racing days at the 2012 Dakar. Timed specials will be contested on each stage, from January 1 to January 15.
27: the number of countries visited by the Dakar since its inception, with Peru making its debut this year
20, 3, 5: the age in years, months and days of the youngest competitor in the rally, Argentinean Lucas Bonetto (quads)
50: the number of nationalities present at the rally
71, 3, 19: the age in years, months and days of the oldest competitor in the rally, Francisco Claudio Regunaschi (cars)
133: the number of French competitors in the race, representing the biggest national group with 18% of the total
190: the number of countries where pictures of the Dakar will be broadcast, by a total of 70 TV broadcasters
210: the number of organisation vehicles used at the rally on a daily basis (40 cars, 11 helicopters, 12 airplanes, 55 trucks, 5 buses, etc.)
260: the number of journalists following the entire rally, with 1,800 accredited members of the media (technicians, consultants, occasional visitors, etc.)
450: in cubic centimetres, the maximum permitted cylinder capacity for the engines of motorcycles taking part in the rally. This is the first time that this limit is imposed on all the competitors.
742: the number of competitors taking part in the race (pilots, co-pilots and mechanics)
980: the number of competitors participating as members of assistance teams
1,200: the estimated total hours of Dakar footage broadcast by TV channels from all over the world (based on 2011 data)
1978: the 1st edition, dated 1979, kicked off on December 26 of that year
8,373: the number of kilometres covered between Mar del Plata and Lima, with 4,406 kilometres' worth of special stages for motorcycles and 4,191 for cars
15,500: the number of carbon equivalent tonnes offset by the Dakar as part of the Madre de Dios project against deforestation, for a total sum of USD 200,000
302,703: the number of fans following the Dakar's official Facebook page a few days before the start of the race
510,000: in dollars, the grant paid by the Dakar over four years to the Un Techo Para Mi País foundation, devoted to building emergency housing in South America
710,000: in euros, the amount dedicated over seven years to the Actions Dakar projects, which promote good environmental practices in eastern Senegal
5 million: the number of spectators who came to see the Dakar start, finish or pass by in 2011, in Argentina and Chile
73.5 million: the number of page views on the www.dakar.com website during the 2011 edition of the rally
280 million: in dollars, the direct and indirect economic windfall generated by the Dakar for Argentina, as estimated by a study conducted by this country's government in 2011
1 billion: the number of TV viewers who watched pictures of the Dakar in 2011
Follow the 2012 Dakar Rally, starting New Years' Day, on the

Campana's Role As MINI Factory Driver At Monte Carlo Huge Honor

MaxRally reports Pierre Campana believes is outing as an official factory Mini driver in Monte Carlo is a huge honour. It quotes Campana,
"I am thrilled to have been selected by Mini to join their squad for Monte-Carlo following our achievements this year," said Campana. "It is a rally I know well and enjoy. I won the 2WD class last year, so I am pleased to bring my experience and to showcase my abilities on such a competitive event.

"I have enjoyed my time driving the Mini John Cooper Works WRC car in WRC and French championship events this year with Drive-Pro and together with the French Federation support, and I am honoured to be able to continue my association with this tremendous manufacturer into 2012 with this Monte Carlo participation."

A 12cc V12!

Simply incredible machining -

[Source: via The Truth About Cars]

You Own A 2011 or 2012 With MINI Connected? MINI USA Wants Your Help

MINI USA's Official Facebook Page sports a survey for owners of 2011 and newer MINIs with MINI Connected about MINI Connected.  It appears to be a customer satisfaction survey to determine what features need to be improved or changed and what users would like to see in the future.

MINI USA's Red Bull Crashed Ice Sweepstakes

MINI USA and its partner Red Bull are giving you a chance to win two VIP passes to the Red Bull Crashed Ice World Championship, round-trip airfare to St. Paul, MN, accommodations, and access to the Red Bull After Party. You can enter the sweepstakes here.

Umm, Reverend, You Might Want To Rephrase That

[Source: Popcrunch]

What Colors Will Your Clubman Be?

Kelley Blue Book has a feature that allows you to try on the different colors for the exterior and interior of a MINI Clubman, Coupe or Hatchback.

"Which Oddball Coupe Would You Drive?"

That is what Motor Trend asked its digital editors. Associate Online Editor Erick Ayapana chose the MINI,
I’m a fan of sleepers. And this bunch — with faces only a mother could love — couldn’t be further from the word. They all scream “look at me!” and their 0-60 mph times are precariously close to double digits (save the tC). But if forced to buy one at gunpoint, my imaginary $20,000 would be wired transferred to the Mini. Its styling may be retro, but it should hold up well in the long run. Its 0-60 mph time of 8.1 seconds definitely won’t win any stop light battles, but what about that handling? As associate online editor Benson Kong wrote in his recent test, the Mini Cooper completed our figure-eight test in 26.6 seconds at 0.63 average g, on par with the Honda Civic Si, Mazda RX-8, and 2009 Volkswagen GTI. Impressive indeed. Numbers aside, the Mini is simply a blast to drive.
So did Associate Online Editor Karla Sanchez,
I would drive the Mini. Although the ergonomics are a mess with buttons placed in the last places you would expect them to be, I love the driving experience, more so the tight steering. It’s super agile and fun to throw around.

Speed Calls Countryman One Of The Top 2012 Crossovers

[Photo Credit: Motor Trend]
Speed identifies its top ten 2012 crossovers and includes the Countryman because -

"The lifted, four-door variation of the Mini Cooper provides access to back-country adventure with style and entertaining drivability."

The Burp In Edmunds Long-Term 2011 MCS Countryman

Mike Magrath, Features Editor for edmunds Inside Line, brought their long term test Countryman in for service after it threw a Check Engine Light that then disappeared about 24 hours later. MINI's service says they'll do thaton the S and tells Mike why.

One Of The "Coolest All-Wheel Drive Sleds For The Winter"

Motor Trend lists the MINI Cooper S Countryman All4 among its "12 coolest all-wheel drive sleds for the winter."  About the vehicle it says,
The Mini Cooper S Countryman All4 may be the biggest Mini made but it’s still a blast to drive. The Countryman’s turbocharged four-banger loves to rev and if you allow the turbo to spool up in Sport mode the thing just begs you to go extra-legal speeds. Essentially what you have with the Countryman is a street legal scamp that’s more rally car than SUV, making it a fantastic choice for some late night snow-covered parking lot hoonage.

The Vancouver Sun Reviews 2012 MINI Cooper S Coupe

Graeme Fletcher and Derek McNaughton, writing for The Vancouver Sun, review the 2012 MINI Cooper S Coupe.  Fletcher decides,
If you’re in search of a practical set of wheels, don’t bother driving the Mini Cooper S Coupé — the cabin does not accommodate much more than the two occupants. However, if you want a mode of expression, this car is right up your alley. It demands attention and calls it to its occupants. That, however, is not its most endearing trait. The Mini Cooper S Coupé proved to be as much fun to drive as it’s possible to have while wearing loafers. Every trip, even the most mundane, just seemed to reinforce its enormous fun factor.
while McNaughton says,
That firm ride, coupled with 181 horsepower from a 1.6-litre, turbocharged inline four cylinder that presents most of its 177 lb.-ft of torque as early as 1,600 r.p.m., makes for a car that feels as swift as a sea lion in pursuit of salmon. There is a pinch of lag from the twin-scroll Borg-Warner turbo, but once underway, the pull from the little four is enough to elicit a series of sustained hoots and smiles, especially when mated to the tight-shifting six-speed manual that seems to have a clutch, and throws, weighted just right. I don’t doubt Mini’s zero to 100 figures of 6.9 seconds, as lighting the tires through second gear wasn’t much of a challenge, but just as impressive was the stability of the Coupe at high speed: A 1,240 kg car shouldn’t feel as stable as a Mercedes C-Class at 140 km/hr, but the Coupe manages to pull it off, and with respectable fuel economy, too, averaging 5.8 L/100km, according to BMW. Bringing a taller sixth gear (or a seventh gear, now that Porsche has raised the bar with a seven-speed manual) would boost economy even more. A lower highway r.p.m. at highway speeds, bringing it down from about 3,000 r.p.m. to a more desirable 2,000, would also settle the cabin that much more.

MINI To Be Showcased At India's Auto Expo 2012

At least that is what CarTradeIndia's Editorial Team has posted.

Austin Cooper One Of Best To Change Rallying

AutoMotto lists the Austin Cooper as one of the ten best cars that changed rallying forever.

Michael Jordan Likes Sitting In A Countryman

Michael Jordan, Executive Editor at edmunds Inside Line, dislikes almost everything about the 2011 MINI Countryman except he loves the driving position offered by the drivers' seat.

Meeke Released -Won't Race For Prodrive In 2012

autoblog reports that, due to a lack of sponsors to pay for them Kris Meeke and his co-driver have been released by Prodrive and therefore will not drive a Prodrive MINI WRC in during the 2012 World Rally Championship.  The seat in the vehicle is being auctioned off to the highest bidder.

Dani Sordo will continue to race for Prodrive in his pursuit of the Championship.

Woman Wins MINI From Argentinian Casino

According to ON24 at Argentinian Casino Sante Fe (Google Translate translation):
Ninfa, a resident of the city of Santo Tome, was the winner of the Mini Cooper and cash. Luck found on Sunday December 25 with a maximum bet of $ 7.50 per visitor was favored with the car and $ 77,000 in cash

Medium Healer Used To Promote 2013 Roadster

A spiritual healer named Joseph was used by MINI USA to promote the 2013 MINI Cooper S Roadster and is interviewed by The Gleaner.   Joseph was asked to bless the Roadster,
. . . so that no harm would come to it, which Joseph did by administering some 'protection oil' all over the car.

Road & Track Says 2012 MINI Coupe "A Lot Of Cool For The Buck"

John Lamm, writing for Road & Track, says, in part,
Driving the Coupe is, in technical terms, a hoot. We had the John Cooper Works version with its 208 bhp and 192 lb-ft of torque with 207 on Overboost. With the Getrag 6-speed that gives you 0-60 in the mid-6s. How could it not be fun?

​Or somewhat expensive.

JCW Coupe versions start at $31,900, Coopers at $25,300 and normal Minis at $22,000.

​Still, a lot of cool for the buck.

Autocar Looks At The MCS Hatchback And Countryman

[Source: via Bloomberg UTV @ YouTube]

Lotus End Runs MINI With Own Upcoming City EV

WORLDCARFANS.com discusses what Lotus CEO Dany Bahar has revealed about the upcoming Lotus City Car:
Speaking with Auto Express, the executive commented "There's no point in trying to fight the MINIs, and the small BMWs and Audis unless you have a special offering. Our car will be an EV or range extended EV and [it] will offer performance of no other small car."

Romans' Illuminating Comment

edmunds Inside Line's Senior Automotive Editor Brent Romans likes the Countryman's Xenon headlights.

Sordo To Run 10 WRC Events For MINI

www.crash.net says Dani Sordo will do at least ten WRC events with the MINI in 2012 according to Sordo's official website. Sordo said he will test for several days in January with the MINI John Cooper Works WRC car ahead of the Rallye Monte Carlo, the opening round in the 2012 World Rally Championship, which runs from January 17-22. In related news Kris Meeke will sit out the Monte Carlo Rally, the WRC 2012 opener possibly because of funding issues. However, www.crash.net says Dani Sordo and Pierre Campana will pilot the factory MINI John Cooper Works WRC cars in the event.

Taking A Ride With Rauno Aaltonen

Lorraine Sommerfeld writes for thestar.com about her experience "hurtling down the side of an Austrian mountain in a modified 1997 Mini" with "The Flying Finn" during MINI's Austrian introduction of the Countryman All4 JCW. Sommerfeld also reviews the Countryman for its fitness for a Canadian winter.

Matthew Foster Wins MINI's Best Test Drive Ever. Period Contest

Matthew Foster is from Portland, Oregon.  His six words to describe the ultimate test drive were stewardess, salt flats, paratroopers, sushi and Falconer. He won an all-expense-paid trip to Los Angeles to star in the commercial he helped envision. Here's Matthew's Test Drive:

[Source: via MotorAuthority]

The Story Of Santa Cyber Clause

Did you know the new and improved Santa "Cyber Clause" drives a MINI?  He does according to this tongue in cheek poem posted by Michael Pilla at JennyMilchman.com:
Twas the Tweet before Christmas

And all through the ‘net, there were last minute specials,

And shopping time yet!

Photos were sent to the cloud with great care

So family and friends would be able to share.

The usual gadgets, some small and some large

Were all neatly plugged in for their overnight charge.

And Mom on her iPad and me on my Mac

Were Skype-ing our friends while having a snack.

When then our connection was lost to the router,

I yanked off my earbuds to see what was the matter.

A tingling I felt, from my head to my toes

Spying a red mini cooper — festooned with logos!

Flying faster than video on 1080p

The driver called out his sponsors, as clear as can be…

Now ebay, now Apple, now Am’zon and Zappos

On Google, on Priceline, on Fedex and Fios.

I knew in a moment, without any pause

It was the new and improved Santa —”Cyber Clause”.

Struck speechless was I, much like a mime

But I had to go greet him and grab some face time.

His clothes were Armani, to give him his due

He looked healthy and rested, and much slimmer too.

No more with the sleigh, or toys in the sack

That was old Clause, with the bad back.

“I’m the Mayor of Christmas,” he chortled with glee,

As he checked in with FourSquare, before speaking to me

“With gadgets, and cards”, he briefly explained

“My job’s become easier, no need to strain

I’ve streamlined my workshop, there’s much less to do

Put a factory in China, reindeers in a zoo.

I layed off some elves, I now work part time —

Since I developed an app to keep kiddies in line.

No more written lists of those naughty and nice,

I get real time updates, don’t have to check twice.”

He dropped off some gifts that were both pretty and small

And sucked down the Red Bull I left in the hall.

Then quick as a wink he dashed out to his car,

It started right up, and was bright as star.

He texted my Droid as he drove out of sight —

“Like me on Facebook” and have a good night!

Want To See A Few Slides?

[Source: meanerdanu @ YouTube]

Automobile Updates Its Review Of The 2011 MINI Cooper S Countryman ALL4

Automobile has updated its review of its long-term 2011 MINI Cooper S Countryman All4 now that it has been driven 12,366 miles.  Initially, there were haters among the staff, especially associate editor David Zenlea. Now, however,
Zenlea was, however, able to come to grips with some of the persistent Countryman complaints: "Long trips have a way of putting cars into perspective and clearing away some of the white noise. After driving to Boston and back, I'm willing to rescind my complaints about the clutch -- I adjusted to it after a few days, as would any real owner. Ditto for the interior ergonomics. The iDrive-like interface works very well, particularly for controlling an iPhone. And the steering, gearbox, and engine remain entertaining."
Even without making a long road trip, associate web editor Jake Holmes, one of the Mini's sharpest critics, also has mellowed somewhat with familiarity. "The things I initially hated about the Countryman -- the poor clutch take-up, the odd switch positions -- are now becoming second nature. Perhaps the Countryman is not poorly designed but is just designed differently from other cars we drive, and we'll get used to it over time." We shall see.

CoverEFX MINI Cooper Works 1 Of Top 5 2011 Small Car Tunings

Lidia Todorova chooses the CoverEFX MINI Cooper Works as one of five top 2011 small car tunings in this Automobile Review article.

2011 MINI Cooper Clubman JCW Called "Car With The Most Personalities"

In discussing CNET's 2011 Car Tech Award Men's Vanity gave the 2011 MINI Cooper Clubman JCW the moniker "Car With The Most Personalities." It reasons:
Mini Cooper has a Mini Connected feature running, which speaks with 3 different voices. Male voice with British-accent comments the fast start, whereas you get comments about weather by female voice. We are sure while traveling lonely on long distances, these voices will definitely provide you with additional comfort. Mini Connected is an optional feature of any new Mini Cooper.

It Costs About $3.07 To Drive 25 Miles In A 2008 MINI Cooper

At least that is the claim at www.fueleconomy.gov, a US Federal Goverment website.