Monday, February 28, 2011

Definitely A "Chick" Car

[Source: You Drive What?]

Teen Drivers' Heads Examined For Risky Driving Behavior

Dr. Laurence Steinberg who, in 2010, chaired the National Academies Committee on the Science of Adolescence, discusses teenage brain development, driving and risk taking in edmund's Auto Observer. Every parent with a teenager needs to read this. If you don't you need to get your head examined!

JCW Upgrade Tuning Package For The 2011 MCS

MINI has announced that a a John Cooper Works Tuning Kit will be available for the 2011 MINI Cooper S, MINI Cooper S Clubman and MINI Cooper S Convertible. The kit will raise horsepower to 200-hp and torque to 186 ft-lbs, with an overboost function that increases torque even more to 199 ft-lbs. It includes an optimized engine management (reprogrammed ECU) and a new air filter system that boost 0-62 mph acceleration to 6.8 seconds and raise top speed to 145-mph. A new muffler with stainless steel exhaust tips, and 18-inch Cross Spoke Red Stripe wheels will also be available. No pricing for the Kit or other accessories has yet been announced. The kit is also set to debut at the Geneva Motor Show.

[Source: AutoGuide.com]

Here Comes The Perpetual Auto Connection

Wired's Autopia discusses the upcoming plethora of always on perpetually connected in car mobile technologies that were displayed at this year's Consumer Electronics Show, what they do and what you can expect in the near future.

Learn About The MINI Brand From MINI

[Photo Credit: I Love Dust]
MotoringFile had the opportunity to get inside the "MINI House" at BMW's Munich Corporate Headquarters and takes the opportunity to discuss the tour and the MINI Brand in this article.

Wanted: Road Sign Painter

ESL applicants accepted.

[Source: Hooniverse]

Hi-Res Spyshots Of The MINI Roadster

Check out the hi-res gallery of MINI Roadster spyshots over at WorldCarFans.com.

[Source: via MotoringFile]

Do You Know How Hard Your Suspension Works?

This video of a Mazda Miata's rear suspension should give you some idea. Wow!




[Source: YouTube via autoblog]

MINI Debuts "MINI Yours"

"MINI Yours" is MINI's new high-end exclusive options program that includes options, limited edition models and accessories. Here are just some of the options on the list:

Highclass Grey metallic
Laguna Green metallic
17-inch light-alloy wheels in Twin Blade Spoke design
Soda Mirrors with hologram effect
Lounge Leather seats in Satellite Grey with Highclass Grey and crown pattern
Full Walknappa leather trim for instrument panel (upper section of the panel is black and – depending on the seat upholstery – the centre section is Polar Beige or Satellite Grey)
Leather gearshift lever gaiter with contrasting stitching in Polar Beige or Satellite Grey and a two-tone leather steering wheel with matching colour scheme for the hub.

MotoringFile says there will be even more options this summer and a new special edition that’s even more ‘bespoke’. You can read the official MINI Press Release and view a gallery of the first MINI Yours project - the new MINI Clubman Hampton at MotoringFile.

Oops! The Do What I Say Not What I Do Edition

Meet former Gainesville, FLA Mothers Against Drunk Driving chapter president Debra Oberlin. This is her mug shot from when she was was arrested last week for drunk driving in Gainesville after being pulled over for veering across lanes of traffic at about 1:10 a.m. Oberlin failed a field sobriety test and had a measured blood alcohol level between .234 and .239 according to two Breathalyzer tests.

[Source: Gainsville.com via The Car Connection via You Drive What?]

Friday, February 25, 2011

NorCal MINIs' Friday Reminders

Join NorCal MINIs In 2011

On March 1, 2011, NorCal MINIs will purge its records of those that have not paid for their 2011 Membership.  Failure to pay by March 1, 2011 will cut off access to NorCal MINIs' Google Group,  discounts, email invitations, and admission to exclusive NorCal MINIs' events.

DON'T LET THIS HAPPEN TO YOU! 

2011 NorCal MINIs' annual Membership is only $25.00/family.  Use the Paypal Button to join us in 2011:





Your NorCal MINIs membership will help us support the following fine charities in 2011:

ALS Association
American Cancer Society
Animal Rescue Foundation (ARF)
Children's Hospital of Oakland
Coastside Hope
Humane Society


Sign up today and LET'S CONTINUE TO MOTOR!!!!!

Run For Absent Friends Sunday, March 6, 2011

Postponed from February 19, 2011 due to road and weather conditions the Run For Absent Friends is now scheduled for Sunday, March 6, 2011. At this memorial run, formerly known as "Keith's Run," we will pass the hat for contributions to the American Cancer Society (ACS). ACS is a nationwide, community-based voluntary health organization dedicated to eliminating cancer as a major health problem.

We will meet for this run at 10:00 a.m. on Sunday, March 6, 2011 in the parking lot at Robertson Park in Livermore, CA. located at S. Livermore Boulevard at Concannon Blvd.

Even if you are unable to make the run we hope you will participate in our fundraising effort for ACS. We have made it easy. Just click on the Paypal Button. You may also choose to honor someone with your donation. Let's make cancer a thing of the past.






Down In Monterey Run Sunday, March 20, 2011
Please note that the date of the "Down In Monterey Run" has been changed to Sunday, March 20, 2011 at the request of our run organizing committee.  They are working on a stellar day for NorCal MINIs and friends. Make plans now to join us on this journey to and through beautiful Monterey County. Meet up time and location will be announced by the end of February 2011.

Thinking About Buying An Ultra Gauge For Your R53 MINI?

UnXpectedError @ YouTube provides this extensive video review of the device:


Touch This Car And Heads Will Roll

Now that's a lot of cabbage!

[Source: That Will Buff Out]

Reminder To Traffic Cops - Don't Drink And Direct Traffic

Check out this video of a drunk Russian Traffic Officer directing traffic.





[Source: via INAUTONEWS]

Prototypes For The Classic Mini


According to mab01uk @ totalMINI.com these photos are of the two 1957 experimental Mini prototypes built and used for testing. He says:
They were nicknamed "Orange Boxes" disguised with Austin A35 grilles and mainly tested at night. The under bonnet photos clearly show the 950cc A-Series engine mounted the opposite way round to later production Minis, reasons for the change were given as carburettor icing and weak A35 gearbox syncro problems. The changes required the addition of a third drop or idler gear and also changed the cooling fan from sucking air in, to pushing air out into the other front wheel arch more efficiently. The 950cc engine was also reduced to 850cc to keep top speed down relative to the early braking power available at the time!
The battery was up front but was later of course moved to the boot. . . .

Honda Designs 2012 Civic Dashboard By Leaving 2011 In The Sun


The 2011 Civic dashboard is on the right. The 2012 is on the left.

[Source: The Truth About Cars]

Gaming In A Classic Mini

David Gawhtorpe has designed a gaming chair from the nose of a classic Mini and it is for sale. The Mini chair comes with a built-in Xbox 360, 500W amp, speakers, strobe lights, lasers, a small refrigerator at the back and a remote controlled smoke machine. It also sports a rumble pad under the seat cushion. It can be yours for only $12,967.

[Source: MotoringFile]

"Grab A Seat" Has New Meaning In Anaheim, California

Police have arrested two car burglars in Anaheim, California who specialized in breaking into SUV's, ripping out the third row of seats and taking off without touching any other portion of the vehicles. According to the article at autoevolution:
[L]ocal police officers joined forces with Orange County Auto Theft Task Force, the Los Angeles, Torrance, Riverside and Inglewood police departments and the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department to locate and arrest Veshan Wooden, 22, of Hawthorne and Automii Joseph, 23, of Los Angeles.

Both were suspected of car burglaries in Southern California, with 64 thefts reported only in Anaheim, Sgt. Bob Dunn was quoted as saying by The Orange County Register.

"It only took them one or two minutes to get these seats out," Dunn said.

But stealing third-row seats proved to be quite a profitable activity as the two thieves managed to sell parts worth no more no less than $100,000 from selling them to auto parts stores. And, to give you an idea on how much such a product costs, each owner had to pay between $1,200 and $1,400 to get a new third-row seat for a large SUV.

Car Advice Reviews The 2011 MINI Cooper Clubman S

The Australian website Car Advice has an extensive review of the 2011 MINI Cooper Clubman S. Its conclusion:
Overall, the updates to the engine, exterior and interior of the 2011 Mini Cooper Clubman S has enhanced an already enjoyable package. If you can look past the third door being on the wrong side, this little Mini brings practicality and fun together for the first time.

How To Change Tires When You Are In A Real Hurry



[Source: via Jalopnik]

Thursday, February 24, 2011

MINI Success Now Seeks 300,000 Sales Annually

BMWBlog recounts how the new MINI has become an "important player in the compact premium segment," MINI's curent and anticipated models, and recounts MINI CEO Wolfgang Ambrecht's recent interview for Handelsblatt where he announced a medium term forecast of a sale of around 300,000 units annually after a prosperous 2010 when the MINI brand reported its best year ever with 234,175 cars sold.

A Countryman And '60's Mini Cooper On The Col de Turini

TopGear traversed the Col de Turini - a high mountain pass in the French Alps famous for a stage of the Monte Carlo Rally, and one of TopGear's candidates for the greatest driving road in the world - in a Countryman S and a '60's Mini Cooper during the winter and provides this annotated pictorial discussion of the journey.

Thank The Lord It Is Recoilless

Who mounts an M20 75mm recoilless Anti-Tank Rifle to a 1956 Vespa? There are more photos of this weaponized scooter at The Official Fireball Tim Blog.

CarSeek Reviews The 2011 MINI Cooper

CarSeek comments:
It delivers peppy performance, a nonconformist attitude and loads of driving fun. And of course, everywhere you go, heads will turn and necks will crane.
It concludes:
he 2011 MINI Cooper handles with pleasing agility and performs crisply, seemingly despite its cute/ugly appearance. Front passengers have ample spaciousness for comfort, but rear passengers need to be small in order to fit in well. The new MINI Cooper has a payload capacity of just 816 pounds, so consider that. It is front wheel driven and requires 17.5 feet of turning radius. Overall, it's an exciting vehicle. Just be sure that it's really what you're after because the novelty and cuteness are only worth so much.

CarSeek also provides this video of the interior of the 2011 MINI Cooper S:


Beating A Speeding Ticket With A Smartphone

AOL Autos recounts the story of Sahas Katta. Katta received a radar ticket for over 40 in a 25 mph zone. At the time he was running Google MyTracks on his Motorola Droid. MyTracks is an Android app that uses the phone's GPS to record and plot where the user has travelled, allowing you to log a jog, bike ride or drive. After looking at the data and doing some research, Katta discovered that he never violated the 25 mph speed limit so he decided to fight the ticket.

The entire account is at Skattertech, however, at trial the officer could not recall when he was last trained on the use of radar or when the gun was serviced. After Katta introduced the GPS data from his Droid, and after reviewing the evidence and Katta's clean driving record, Katta was found not guilty of the speeding violation.

MINI Launches Facebook MINI Motorsports Fan Page

MINI has launched a Facebook MINI Motorsports Fan Page "to promote the brand’s participation in motorsports around the world." MINI wants fans to post photos and videos from MINI Motorsports events.

Mini Vehicles Garner Big Interest At Shannon's Australian Auction

The Auto Channel reports major interest from enthusiasts around Australia in the smallest vehicles in Shannons March 7 Classic Auction in Melbourne. Two Morris Minors are attracting particular interest because of their original, restored condition. It advises:
The 1951 Morris Minor Convertible is a sought-after early split-window, carry-over model. Fitted with the desirable 'salt & pepper' hood, it has been the subject of a fastidious restoration and is in excellent running condition today.

It has been converted to run on a 12-volt electrical system and all books and period brochures. Because of its exceptional condition, Shannons are expecting it to sell in the $10,000-$15,000 range.

The final of the 42 vehicle lots in the auction is a 1961 Morris Minor Traveller Station Wagon that has been in the hands of the current owner for the past 25 years and still shines from a restoration to a very high standard that was carried out some years ago.

Shannons are expecting it to sell in the $12,000-$18,000 range.

British small car enthusiasts also have the choice of two unusual Minis – a cut-and-shut ‘Shorty based on a 1965 locally-delivered 998cc Mini created as a promotional vehicle for Tiny Town Motors ($4,500-$6,500) and a rare 1988 Rover Mini Mk V.

Originally delivered in Japan, the right-hand-drive Rover is in good condition and is an attractive proposition for collectors at its expected $7,000-$9,000 selling range.

More Spy Shots Of The 2011 MINI Coupe

These spy shots were sent to The Auto Channel by Jon Spinner and show the vehicle being tested on the M1 in the UK.

Okay Kids, You Can Skate Home From Here

[Source: That Will Buff Out]

Rocketman Shows Up In The Flesh And More

In advance of the Geneva Motor Show MINI displayed the Rocketman Concept during Milan Fashion Week at the Istituto Europeo di Design, one of Europe’s most prestigious design schools with a focus on automotive and product design. The reveal also included this avant-garde art film interpretation of the vehicle by director Marcus Tomlinson and model and actress Lily Cole:




In related news MINI released this amazing video that relates the Rocketman Concept to the original Mini.




[Source: via MotoringFile here and here]

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

No Thanks Dad, We'll Go With Mom

[Photo Credit: womendrivers.net]
Parenting says that, in a poll taken of kids, 30% said Moms talk to their children in the car than Dads but 70% said there is a greater risk of near-misses, excessive speed, risky driving, or road rage with their dads. Yet, when it came to skills, the kids polled said Dad was better at reversing and parking, and Moms are more likely to stall the car or get lost.

[Source: via egmcartech]

California Stop Now Reckless Driving In Virginia

The Virginia House of Delegates and a state Senate committee approved legislation that would make a rolling right-hand turn on a red light a reckless driving offense. The effect of the bill would be to change the penalty for a California stop into a class one misdemeanor carrying six license points, a fine of up to $2,500, up to one year in jail and a six-month driver’s license suspension.

[Source: The Truth About Cars]

A Hazard Of Rural Living

Sounds like a joke but here's the scoop - a poster at Reddit who lives on a ranch came out to finda bear sitting in the passenger seat of his VW Jetta. "It drank 4 beers, ate a bottle of Mallox, and crapped all over the place." Jalopnik has got the crappy pictures to prove it!

What Else Will Be Of Interest At The Geneva Motor Show?

How about this BMW Vision ConnectedDrive roadster concept?

With a futuristic design and technological innovations it "highlights how cars can be part of a networked world." Antennas replace side-view mirrors and transmit information to the outside world, capture navigation data and assist in monitoring traffic and the environment around the car. It also has a 3-D head-up display that fuses the view of the road ahead with virtual content.

[Source: AutoWeek]

Slow Down When You Enter These Cities

The National Motorists Association has compiled a list of the top ten worst speed trap locations in the US. Fortunately, none are in Northern California (who would have thunk?) however, be extra careful driving in these cities:

1. Houston, Texas
Speed traps: 373

2. Austin, Texas
Speed traps: 189

3. Las Vegas, Nevada
Speed traps: 187

4. Colorado Springs, Colorado
Speed traps: 186

5. Jacksonville, Florida
Speed traps: 175

6. Denver, Colorado
Speed traps: 165

7. Orlando, Florida
Speed traps: 165

8. Dallas, Texas
Speed traps: 156

9. Chicago, Illinois
Speed traps: 153

10. Los Angeles, California
Speed traps: 151

[Source: Yahoo! Autos via Autoblog/Image: Mark Wilson/Getty]

Looking For Carbon Fiber Touches For Your Second Generation MINI?

NewMINIStuff, an aftermarket MINI outfitter in the UK has got it all and ships to the US.

Great Android Phone App For Your Motoring

Garmin has released its "Mechanic App" for the Android phone operating system. The App can calculate total distance, average speed, and estimated mileage. When you pair the app with Garmin's ecoRoute HD module ($90 accessory), the app will be able to read real-time performance data and show live gauges, throttle position, intake pressure and more.

[Source: Android Market via Gizmodo]

You Need This To Show You How To Open A Door?

In case you didn't already know how to exit your MINI:

video

Sorry, No Beer Allowed Aboard

Check out Planters' new wheels for Mr. Peanut - the "Nutmobile." It is a alternative energy vehicle that runs on biodiesel, electric, solar and wind turbine power. Here's a wee look at what it is made of:


[Source: Wired's Autopia]

Mars Ain’t The Kind Of Place To Raise Your Kids

MINI has revealed its MINI Rocketman Concept in advance of the 2011 Geneva Motor Show. The vehicle is full of unusual touches and gets back to nearly the size of the original Mini. Check out the video that provides a good look at the concept vehicle. The Rocketman uses carbon spaceframe construction, wide-opening doors with double-hinge joints and integrated sills, a two-part tailgate that consists of one section which is attached to the roof and opens extremely high, and a lower section which extends out of the body in the form of a drawer, a wrap-around greenhouse with an illuminated glass roof, projector-style rear lights, and LED fiber optics, among other touches that are sure to be seen on the next generation of MINIs. Best of all the vehicle is estimated to get 94 miles per gallon of diesel. Thus, even if the Rocketman is approved for production don't expect to see it in the US.




[Source: via MotoringFile]

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Too Much Technology In Today's Cars?

Ridelust points out that the average new car now has "at least 30 ECU’s which control the different functions of the automobile." With all that technology the shade tree mechanic is bordering on extinction. Rarely on a new car can you fix the alternator, power steering pump, brake booster, plug wires, do an oil change or brake job in your own garage. In fact, Ridelust says, "Hell, the only reason to open the hood now is just to make sure the engine didn’t fall out." Technicians nowadays are not what most would consider the typical “grease monkey”, but highly skilled individuals who operate multi-million dollar equipment on a daily basis. So rhetorically it asks is there too much technology, not enough, or just the right amount? And, if it is this complicated now what will it be like in 30 or 40 years?

Hey! Hay!

The last straw!

[Source: That Will Buff Out]

Make A Car Phone Mount From A Coffee Cup

It's cheap and easy. All you need is a disposable coffee cup and a pair of scissors. Learn how to do it in this Mechanical Mashup video that was featured at lifehacker.


MotoringFile Still Needs Help Picking A Countryman

MotoringFile still can't make up its mind about which 2011 MINI Countryman long term tester it wants. It has chosen four fully spec'd vehicles and now wants readers to vote their preference. You can read the specs and vote here.