Thursday, March 31, 2011

East Bay MINI's March Madness Program Ends Today

Through the end of the day today East Bay MINI is running a March Madness lease deal for a 2011 MINI hardtop just $199/month for 36 months; for a 2011 Clubman $219/month for 36 months; and for a Clubman S $269/month for 36 months. There are also a number of financing deals. See East Bay MINI's Facebook page for more information, conditions and limitations or go directly to East Bay MINI and ask.

No Clue What's Under The Bonnet

A survey of UK drivers found that four million of them (17 percent of female and 6 percent of male drivers) don't even know how to open the hood on their vehicles. 67 percent were more concerned that their car looks good, compared to the 13 percent who wanted to make sure it ran well. Only one in eight drivers were capable of checking their tires, topping up fluid levels or changing bulbs. 2.6 million have never even had their car serviced.

[Source: Daily Mail via allcartech]

Home Depot Racing Stripes

Why spend the big bucks for MINI racing stripes when you could just go to Home Depot for multiple colors of duct tape?

[Source: Jalopnik]

How To Make Meat Cars

There is some NSFW language in the video, yet, you just have to watch EpicMealTime's video on how to make a meat car. As autoblog says:
The body of the meat car is something like a highly modified sherpherd's pie, but instead of corn, they used macaroni and cheese. Bacon permeates everything the team does, from the ground beef and bacon skin of the shepherd's pie, to the beer and bacon grease batter, to the bacon grease buttery mashed potatoes.

Keeping things rolling along is a set of four salami wheels wrapped in onion tires and garnished with a healthy dose of chrome. These may be cars made of meat, but they do actually roll. Top that off with a candy (yes, actual candy) paint job, and you have a stylin', 23,266 calorie meat ride.


Phase Two Testing Of MINI-E Starts In Berlin

BMW Group and Vattenfall Europe have begun phase two of the MINI-E test fleet in Berlin. They have transferred 70 MINI E electric vehicles to private customers (30 units) and fleet users (40 units). The aim of the study, funded by the German Federal Environment Ministry (BMU), is to optimize the charging strategy through the use of wind energy for charguing stations for the MINI E to achieve the best possible ecological charging. 20 MINI E users will be able to use the prototype of a route planner for smartphones which can display the charging stations along a selected route.

[Source: Green Car Congress]

Don't Need Those Yellow Pages? Turn Up The Bass!






[Source: via autoblog]

The TotalMINI Diesel Challenge

Sorry Americans, you cannot attempt this since MINI won't send diesel MINIs to the US.

TotalMINI admin crew Jon and Kev will attempt to drive a factory standard MINI Cooper D from MINI HQ in Bracknell, UK all the way to John O'Groats - that's 676 miles - on one tank of diesel! It means they must average 76.6 mpg.

Will they make it? Don't know, but, it is all to raise money for Breast Cancer and Leukemia Research. You can donate here and follow the Challenge here.

[Source: via love:mini]

Yes, Things Can Go From Bad To Worse

Check out this hill climber. Not only does he suffer an engine fire before he reaches the top of the hill, but, well, watch the video and you'll see.





[Source: via That Will Buff Out]

Ready For BMW's April 1, 2011 Advertising?

Every year in April Fools Day BMW creates a tongue-in-cheek advertisement. Get ready for tomorrow. If you want to review BMW's past attempts at humor check out DUB Daily which has posted a variety of BMW's  prior April 1 advertisements.

Wow! Nice Rims!

[Source: You Drive What?]

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Many Register For MOTD

MINIs On The Dragon (MOTD) is an annual event where MINIs congregate in the Smokey Mountains to run US 129 known as "The Tail of the Dragon" with its 318 curves in 11 miles.  As of Monday, according to snooter @ NorthAmericanMotoring.com, 696 MINIs from 37 States and Canada are signed up for this year's 9th annual event which scheduled for April 27 through May 1, 2011.

Living Through A Car Accident

msn autos provides these tips on staying alive if you are in an auto accident:

1. Call 911, Answer Questions, Get Off the Phone;

2.In Minor Collisions, Move Out of Traffic and Get Information;

3. In Serious Collisions, Do Not Move Vehicles; and

4. Leave Everything Where It Is.

Some other tips:

1. Don't get out of the cars and stand around;

2. Snap a few pictures with a cell-phone camera if you're concerned about documenting the scene;

3. Exchange information with the other motorists involved;

4. Jot down notes of what happened and seek out witnesses to get contact information for those willing to go on the record with what they saw; and

5. Turn on flashers and headlights so other motorists can see you better.

A MINI Snowjob

This is one of three entries in NorthAmericanMotoring.com's March 2011 Photo Contest. Don't forget to send your photos for entry in the NorCal MINIs Photo Contest!

Aftermarket Motorcycle Airbag

[Source: That Will Buff Out]

Is The MINI "Cool?"

Ridelust discusses cars that some find "cool" and others find "uncool." One is the 2011 MINI. Others? The 2011 Cadillac CTS-V Sport Wagon; the 2011 Mazda Miata; the 2011 Porsche Boxster; the 2011 Audi TT; the 2011 Chevrolet Camaro V6; the 2011 Ferrari California; the 2011 Nissan 370Z; the 2011 Honda CR-Z Hybrid; the 2011 Mitsubishi Eclipse GT; the 2011 Fiat 500; the 2011 Chevrolet Corvette Base; and the 2011 Ford Mustang V6. Which ones do you think are "cool" and which ones are "uncool?"

A Compromise For Bike Riders That Disdain Helmets

Here it is, direct from the July 1964 edition of Popular Science, the "Hair Helmet,"  a fully protective "skin tight waterproof" helmet that comes in a "variety of hair colors and hairdos."

[Source: Burbia]

Shush! Nothing To See Here

BMW has released this video of its super secret "Plant Zero" where it designs prototypes.




[Source: via Jalopnik]

Men Won't Ask For, Or Take, Directions

A survey has shown that 83 per cent of male drivers regularly ignore directions from their sat navs while fewer than three-quarters of women disobey the GPS devices. Two thirds still keep a paper route map in the car "just in case."

[Source: INAUTONEWS]

The BMC Mini Tractor

Fireman Mike @ NorthAmericanMotoring.com has posted photos of his MINI BMC tractor from the mid-60's and advises:
Designed by the Ferguson tractor group, the intention was for a small, 'MINI', tractor for the small farms of Europe. It was the classic case of bad timing, the market shifted to larger farms, hence larger tractors, just look to the US market at the same time. The Mini was sold over in the US as a utility type, golf course mowing and such, for a couple of years but never took off. BMC sold it under the BMC and Leyland name before dropping the line about 1970. 
Mine came from Florida and is currently in restoration mode, meaning in pieces in the garage. I hope to have it done in the next couple of years, parts sourcing being a major issue. The Grey Mini is a proper color, a small number were done in Ferguson grey, the Red is the color sent to the US and is proper for mine.

What Are His Chances Of Beating That Ticket On Appeal?

MotorAuthority reports that US Supreme Court Justice Anthoiny Scalia (seen in the photo in the middle), known for his questionable reasoning, is also an awful driver. About 9:00 a.m. on Tuesday Scalia rear ended anotrher vehicle causing a four car pile up on the George Washington Parkway. Scalia's car was towed. There were no personal injuries just vehicular mayhem. He was given a $90 ticket for following too closely. We suggest he appeal it all the way to the Supreme Court!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The MINI Family Video



[Source: MINI YouTube Channel]

The Physics Applicable To Clown Cars With Math Formulas


Car and Driver has run an article on the physics of clown cars and shows how they cram so many clowns in various vehicles. It even provides the math formulas to determine how many clowns will actually fit in a given vehicle. Check out this fun read with expert clowns explaining how it all works.

More Photos From Down In Monterey Run Added

Vickie has sent us more photos from NorCal MINIs' stellar Down In Monterey Run. Check out the updated slideshow and gallery that consists of Vickie's and Ken's photos.

 Thank you again Mick and Vickie for planning a great day in Monterey County.




Truth In Advertising A Used Car

No words necessary. The video speaks for itself.




[Source: 2114Lada @ YouTube via Carscoop]

Araujo Optimistic About Future Of The MINI JCW WRC S2000

An unfortunate thing happen to driver Armindo Araujo. While on Saturday of the Rally de Portugal he was in seventh place overall and gaining with his MINI JCW WRC S2000 he was hit by engine and tire problems prematurely ending Araujo's race. Araujo felt he had not yet called on the full potential of his vehicle when engine problems struck. He is optimistic that they will due well in the future. Next up for the MINI WRC Teams and MINI Cooper private drivers is the Rally d'Italia set for May 5 through 8, 2011.

[Source: MINIMotorsport.com]

Gas Already Over $5 Per Gallon In Parts Of California

Check out the gas prices in the photo. It is of a Death Valley, California Chevron station charging $5.40 for a gallon of regular, and $5.62 (.9) for each gallon of 91 octane “premium”. The price of diesel is $5.77.

Ouch!

[Source: Gas 2.0]

"Cram It In The Boot" Ad Agency To Get The Boot?

BMW of North America has launched a comprehensive review of its U.S. advertising and is seeking a firm or two for national brand creative, regional and dealer creative work, and multicultural marketing. The review is to be completed this fall. The current BMW brand ad agencies will have to compete with newcomers for the business and will get the chance to again pitch their agencies for future work.

[Source: Automotive News]

This Steering Wheel Costs More Than Your Entire MINI

The steering wheel for a 2011 F1 car costs about $50,000, is made out of carbon fiber and will unlatch in less than five seconds in case of an emergency. The buttons and toggle switches control on-off functions, including the adjustable rear wing and the engaging neutral gear. The dials are used to vary brakes, clutches, differentials, engine rev limits and torque. The display located on top replays shifting point alerts as well as messages coming from the race managers. There is also a “drink” button which the drivers use to rehydrate.

Here is a video with the steering wheel of Ferrari’s last year F1 car.




[Source: rpmgo.com]

MINI AWD Hybrid Tests In Arctic Sweden

Spy photographers for autoblog have caught MINI testing an all wheel drive MINI Cooper with a hybrid drivetrain in arctic Sweden. It appears that the front wheels are powered by a gasoline engine and the rear wheels give a power assist via an electric motor. The rumormill says we can expect to see the hybrid MINI Cooper on the market in 2013.

Coconut Seatbacks With Pineapple Trim

edmund's inside line reports that Brazilian scientists are using pineapples, bananas, coconuts and other tropical fruits to make a new generation of automotive plastics that are stronger, lighter and more eco-friendly than traditional petroleum-based plastics. You can expect to see fruit plastic in cars in about two years. The plastics are also supposed to be more resistant to damage from heat, spilled gasoline, water and oxygen.

We just want to know how you go car camping in bear country with a car made of fruit.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Poor Result For MINIs In Rally De Portugal

The two teams driving MINIs in the WRC Rally de Portugal, Brazilian WRT and Motorsport Italia, failed to finish due to mechanical problems. The Brazil World Rally Team issued this statement:
Unfortunately, after four days of competition and more than 385.37 kilometres of tough stages, Oliveira’s MINI stopped within the last stage of race with a broken suspension, 13 kilometres from the finishing line. Daniel couldn’t fulfill his aim of finishing his first event in the WRC. However, the general outcome was highly positive for him and the team.
Motorsport Italia/BAMP's MINI Countryman WRC S2000 piloted by Armindo Araujo suffered a tire puncture on on day two, but was eventually forced to retire with engine problems.

[Source: love:mini]

Are Breast Implants A Defense To Driving Without A License?

Simona Suhoi, a Romainian TV star known as Simona Sensual for reasons you'll understand when you watch the video, may spend some time in jail. She claims her new breast implants caused her severe chest pain, so she hopped in the car to have the matter checked out even though she had a suspended license after an accident. After police stopped her she claimed she had no choice but to drive, given the severity of her pain and the lack of taxis. The bust (pun intended) could result in five years in prison if she is convicted of driving without a license. She has vowed to fight the charge.





[Source: The Register via Autoblog]

VIP Day At The Thunderhill Raceway Park

What are you doing Saturday, April 9, 2011?

That is the date of  the San Francisco Region Sports Car Club Of America's season opener at Thunderhill Raceway Park. Shasta Minis has been invited as VIP’s by the San Francisco Region of the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) to a day of club racing at Thunderhill Raceway Park. You could be a guest for this fun-filled, action-packed day at and on the racetrack! The VIP Day includes:

*Paddock Tour * Wander around the paddock and meet the people that put on the regional races including Grid, Impound, Timing and Scoring, and Race Control.

*Meet and Greet Drivers * Feel free to stop and talk to race teams within the paddock, ask them about their cars and their hobby of amateur racing. The only thing racers like to talk about more than they are their cars… (Make sure to have a lot of free time if you ask questions)

*Racetrack Tour* Go on a rarely seen no-public access tour of the racetrack itself, including the Cyclone (turn 5), the control tower with timing & scoring, or stand in the flagging box at Thunderhill on Turn 11.

*Guided Laps on Track in YOUR car(s)* Follow the Safety Car out of Grid and onto Pit lane to enter the racetrack for your personal laps at lunch. You can choose to drive your own car, or ride shotgun in the pace car for hot laps. Note for pace car rides you must be 18 years or older as these laps are during actual “hot lap” conditions. Children are able to take guided laps during lunch.

* Access to Starter’s Box* See the action from the Start/Finish box –perfect for photo opportunities – feel the wind in your face as the cars race by..

*Hand out Checkered Flags *be the real winner as YOU stand in the pit lane and hand out checkered flags to racers before they take their victory lap!

*Afternoon Social* after the last flag has dropped, join the SFR SCCA at the afternoon social, meet the people who run the races and enjoy snacks and adult beverages.

This is offered at $25 per person and includes lunch and the necessary insurance for your car on track.

Please let Norm Nelson know ASAP if you want to go - here is his email address - pooper@wildblue.net - as he says these VIP days are going fast. Shasta Minis will be the “featured VIP Club” for the day with special Shasta Minis corral parking.

This event is open to ALL MINI/Minis and ALL clubs and ALL Mini owners. MINI/Mini is the marque car for this season opening event. All are welcome even if you are not a member of any Mini club. If you are all clubs are welcome to bring and display their banners. For those of you that have never been to a SCCA race day, you will find it exciting and you will see lots of different cars racing. Thunderhill Raceway Park is located 7 miles west of Willows off I-5. It is about an hour and a half drive from the bay area.

MINI/Minis will be given VIP treatment with corral parking and parade laps at lunch. There is a club house to visit and lounge, and a grill for snacks, burgers, and sodas, a souvenier store, and several spots around the track for watching and taking pictures, plus you can walk through the paddock and visit with the drivers and see the cars up close.

The $25 cost for the day and includes lunch.

Please email pooper@wildblue.net so Norm can get a head count and your name on the list.

Buy That Aftermarket Car Stereo Right Now To Save

Autoblog advises that, according to CE Outlook, the price of car stereo components may be on the rise due toa 6 to 8% rise in the cost of metals like aluminum and copper combined with the substantial damage caused to many manufacturers by the Japanese earthquake and tsunami.

MINI Pirate Closes Shop

British MINI graphics shop MINI Pirate is no longer in business, although their website still exists, according to this post by Senna9113@MINI2.com made purportedly after discussions with MINI Pirate's former ownership.

Theme Song For An Extremely Rainy March In NorCal



Thank you Heywood Banks!

[Source: roran316@YouTube]

Getrag May Become Partially Owned By The Chinese

In quite a shift (pun intended) MINI's German transmission manufacturer, Getrag, is in talks to sell a 30% stake in the company to Dongfeng Motor Group Co.

[Source: Jalopnik]

GPS Data Determines Worst Commutes

The Daily Beast has released a list of the most congested roads in the US from data compiled by of INRIX from four million vehicle GPS navigation systems. The results show these to be the twenty worst commutes in ranked order.  One quarter of them are in California:
1. Riverside Freeway/Calif. Highway 91 eastbound, Los Angeles
2. Lunalilo Freeway/I-1 eastbound, Honolulu
3. California Delta Highway/Calif. Highway 4 westbound, San Francisco
4. I-95 southbound, Washington, D.C.
5. Bruckner/Cross Bronx Expressways (I-95 southbound), New York
6. I-35 southbound, Austin-Round Rock
7. Connecticut Turnpike (I-95 northbound), Bridgeport8. I-405 southbound, Seattle
9. Bayshore Freeway (U.S. 101 southbound), San Jose, Calif.
10. Kennedy/Dan Ryan Expressways (I-90/I-94 eastbound), Chicago
11. I-5 northbound, Portland, Ore.
12. Calif. Highway 78 eastbound, San Diego
13. I-494 eastbound, Minneapolis
14. Southwest/Eastex Freeways (U.S. 59 northbound), Houston
15. Southeast Expressway (I-93 northbound), Boston
16. Hampton Roads Beltway (I-64 westbound), Virginia Beach, Va.
17. Baltimore Beltway Inner Loop (I-695 eastbound), Baltimore
18. Schuylkill Expressway (I-76 westbound), Philadelphia
19. North Freeway (I-35W northbound), Dallas
20. Ventura Freeway (U.S. 101 northbound), Oxnard, Calif

[Source: via autoevolution]

The Truth About Cars Reviews The MINI Countryman

The Truth About Cars, which is usually extremely critical about MINI products, has reviewed the MINI Countryman and concluded:
The Countryman is no MINI Cayenne. With it, the look and feel of a MINI has been successfully transferred to a four-door, four-passenger, optionally all-wheel-drive vehicle. If you want a MINI, but need to fit four reasonably-sized adults and a couple of bags into it, this is your car. Just be aware that it is a European car, with a sticker to match.

Your Neighbors Can Hear Your Pizza Coming

[Source: That Will Buff Out]

Friday, March 25, 2011

NorCal MINIs' Friday Reminders

Join NorCal MINIs

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











NorCal MINIs' 2011 Photo Contest

One lucky photographer will receive a free 2012 NorCal MINIs' Membership, a limited edition NorCal MINIs' Cap and their winning photograph on the front of every 2012 NorCal MINIs' Membership Card. Here are the rules and instructions on how to participate:

1. All submissions must be emailed to info@norcalminis.com with the title "CONTEST SUBMISSION" in the Re: line and the submitter's name, address, telephone number and email address in the body and the submission attached thereto before midnight Pacific Standard Time on October 31, 2011.

2. All submissions must be owned by the submitter and the submitter warrants he or she has all rights and title to publication of the submission which rights, upon submission, shall become the property of NorCal MINIs. By submitting a photo to NorCal MINIs NorCal MINIs shall also receive a non-exclusive right to the use of the photograph and any derivative works in any manner that NorCal MINIs sees fit.

3. All submissions should be at least 640 x 480 and of business card size print quality.

4. The winning submittor shall receive a free 2012 NorCal MINIs Membership, a limited edition NorCal MINIs cap and their photograph shall form the basis of the 2012 NorCal MINIs Membership Card.

5. The winner will be chosen through an online poll of all submissions that will take place November 1 through 30, 2011. The winner of the contest shall be announced in December 2011 on the NorCal MINIs' website.

6. Poll takers will be instructed to vote for the photograph that best expresses the theme "NorCal MINIs."

We look forward to your submissions and we will publish them as they are received.

GOOD LUCK! 
We look forward to seeing your photos!

Pinnacles National Monument Run


On Saturday, April 16, 2011, NorCal MINIs will run to Pinnacles National Monument. The Monument is one of the oldest ones in the National Park System, having been designated by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1908. It received its name from "rock spires and crags that are remnants of an ancient volcano," notes the National Park Service. "The volcano eroded over millions of years as it moved northward along the San Andreas Fault. Rock debris in the form of boulders has weathered and settled, leaving behind spires of volcanic rock and talus caves."

We are working on a route, meet up location and time and will post more information soon!






Pacific Coast Dream Machines

Pacific Coast Dream Machines is Sunday, May 1, 2011 (the video is from 2010). Please submit your entry form [download it here] as per the instructions. The cost is $30 per machine for entries postmarked on or before April 15 and $40 thereafter. The entry fee entitles driver and one passenger admission to the event. Additional passengers are charged the regular admission fees: $20 for adults, $10 ages 11-17 and 65+. The event occurs at the Half Moon Bay Airport and gates open at 7:00 a.m. We will post an early morning meet up as the event draws closer so we can all enter the show together and park together. Please complete your registration ASAP!

A's vs. Giants At AT&T Park

NorCal MINIs has purchased a limited number of group centerfield bleacher tickets for the Saturday, May 21, 2011 meeting of baseball's Bay Area adversaries - the Oakland Athletics versus The World Series Champion San Francisco Giants at AT&T Park. Gametime is 4:00 p.m. The Giants will be giving away World Series Championship Caps to the first 20,000 fans so we will want to be there very early.

[Please note: NorCal MINIs' calendar originally showed this event scheduled for the Sunday, May 22, 2011 game. Apparently, that game is Little League Night and virtually all group tickets have been awarded to Bay Area Little Leagues. Therefore, this event was moved to Saturday, May 21, 2011.]

Tickets are $45.00 each but the supply is very limited and will be available solely on a first come, first served basis. Additional seats may be available on an individual basis through the Giants box office, however, we cannot assure you that they will be. This is a very hot premium game ticket.

Tickets will first be offered solely to current NorCal MINI members but only through April 30, 2011. If any tickets remain after April 30, 2011, they will be offered on the NorCal MINIs' website to the larger MINI community.

An email with a link to a Paypal Button for payment for the tickets has been sent to all 2011 NorCal MINIs members. If you are a 2011 NorCal MINIs member and lost, or did not receive, the email write us at info@norcalminis.com and we will direct you to the location where you may place your order.

Meetup location and time will be announced later.

Modding Your MINI Could Save Your Life

Check out this story posted at Autoholics which we republish in its entirety. Although it is a Subaru and not a MINI the story could just as well apply to a modded MINI:
Mods Saved My Life

By: Rob Einaudi
Posted On: 3/23/2011 9:36AM

Well, not my life. This guy's life. IWSTI.com member Aarvark was driving his modded 2007 STi down an Oregon road in a windstorm when trees started falling accross the road and then onto his car. From his post:

My faithful STi, with its brand new stage-two modification pulled us out from under a seven foot diameter tree. Its roof had stopped 5 inch branches from beheading us. Its Brembo brakes had kept us out from under the first tree. Its short shifter made getting into gear a fraction of a second faster. Its stage-two preformed the day before gave us the acceleration to get the roof of the car out from under the trunk of the tree while it was falling. The trunk of the tree fell less than two inches behind the rear seat where Heather was sitting. If any of these circumstances had been changed we all would have been dead.

Scary stuff! But did mods save his life? Or was it luck? The burly Subie b-pillars helped, too. More pics after the jump, and you can read the full story at IWSTI.com.

MINI Debuts In The WRC

Official MINI driver Daniel Oliveira is piloting a JCW Super 2000 version of the WRC MINI for the Brazilian team in the third WRC event - The Rally Portugal. Oliveira set the sixth best time of the Super 2000 cars through the 3.27-km run, with a time of 3mins 11.4secs, 13.8secs behind the leader. Today the drivers are tackling six more stages, covering 132.41 kilometres of gravel roads.

Ken Block is also competing at the Rally Portugal but flipped his car during practice. Here's the video of his crash.  Spectacular to say the least:




[Source: love:mini]

This UPS Truck Actually Delivers

[Source: Just A Car Guy]

MINI USA's Email Announces The 2011 MINI Clubman Hampton

This email was received by Eddyboi77 @ NorthAmericanMotoring.com:


This Car Has Good Bite And Tongue

[Source: That Will Buff Out]

Cold Wins For Kryukov and Pihlainen

In late February 64 athletes competed at minus twenty-two degrees in Moscow, Russia in the Red Bull Crashed Ice (RBCI) World Championship. Russian Pavel Kryukov took the MINI Rookie Award, while the overall winner in the Ice Cross Downhill competition was Artuu Pihlainen from Finland.

In RBCI, groups of four ice-skaters race downhill on an ice cross track. The races take place on a 350 meter-long artificial ice track. The MINI Rookie Award marked its debut in 2011 and honors the fastest novice on the RBCI track. This is the second time carmaker MINI has supported the Red Bull Crashed Ice World Championship as official automotive partner.

[Source: autoevolution]

Oh, Sure, That Will Stop Car Thieves

[Source: That Will Buff Out]