NORCAL MINIS' CALENDAR

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Half Of All Australian Drivers Are Road Ragers

The Motor Report discusses an Australian study by insurer AAMI that found -
Surveying 3740 Australian motorists, the study saw half of the respondents admit to yelling and swearing at another driver for what they saw as rude or dangerous behaviour.

Of the 50 percent that admitted to verbally abusing another driver, 82 percent felt it was justified.

* * *

The results also saw 38 percent of participants admit to delivering a "less than polite" gesture, with 81 percent of those feeling justified.

A worrying 18 percent also admitted to deliberately tailgating another motorist over a perceived slight, with 66 percent of those feeling justified.

Worse, 10 percent of respondents said they had been forced off the road by angry drivers, and two percent of those said they'd been physically assaulted.

Sandell Wants To Impress With MINI In The Sweden World Rally

Patrik Sandell will represent the Sweden World Rally Team alongside Dani Sordo in his first outing in a MINI WRC JCW at the Sweden World Rally in the second round of the WRC. Richard Taylor of ProDrive will run the car in Sweden. Sandell looks to impress the team according to this www.Crash.net article.

Photo Gallery Of 2012 MINI Cooper and Cooper S Hatchbacks

Motor Trend's photo gallery is rather extensive.

Plans To Increase WRC Exposure To Be Executed Without North One Sport

The plan put together by the championship stakeholders with former WRC promoter North One Sport to increase the visibility and coverage of the championship over the next three years was placed in doubt when North One Sport went into administration at the end of 2011. Now, however, FIA President Jean Todt says they will go forward with the plan without North One Sport.

The plan calls for increased television coverage and it looks like, at least in Europe, French television giant Eurosport is ready to take on the role of promoter.

In related news, MINI continues to seek additional investment in its WRC teams.

[Source: Autoweek]

Does The New MINI JCW Roadster Have A Twin Turbo?

gizmag claims it does.

Maine Sunday Telegram Looks At The Countryman

The Maine Sunday Telegram calls it "A Mini With Maxi Traction" to start its review of the MINI Cooper Countryman S All4. Scott Wasser, Executive Editor decides,

Possessing a nimbleness, quickness and agility that is rare in automobiles, the Mini's personality is about as far from "Hummeresque" as you can get. Folks who enjoy driving enjoy driving conventional Minis because they are engaging, responsive and rewarding.
The same is true of the new Countryman ALL4, at least in "S" trim. Its peppy engine provides quick takeoffs, its robust brakes provide secure landings, and its sport-tuned suspension slithers through turns like a snake.
The extra ground clearance and weight associated with ALL4 doesn't seem to adversely affect those qualities.
But the sport suspension and tires also result in a harsh ride that isn't for everyone. The same is true for the Mini's switchgear, which sometimes requires access to the owner's manual to figure out how to do something that should be intuitive.
Mini fans will consider those things endearing personality traits rather than character flaws. Given how much I enjoyed driving the latest and most practical Mini made, I obviously qualify as a fan.

MINI Bosses At Cowley Plant Commemorate Completion Of Exterior Of Body Shop

The Oxford Times reports that Cowley Plant MINI bosses gathered to commemorate the"topping-out" of the exterior of MINI's new Cowley Plant body shop extension.   According to the article -
The extension will provide extra capacity to accommodate the next generation of Mini models, which are expected to arrive from next year.

Women Better At Putting It In

A British study by NCP found women are better car parkers than men.  However, the study did not include parallel parking. 53% of female drivers parked centrally in a space as opposed to just 25% of male drivers.

[Source: INAUTONEWS]

Mini Enthusiasts Flock To The Annual Mini Fair

Express & Star reports on the annual Mini fair at Bingley Hall in the U.K.


Speedlux Provides Details On Special Edition Soho

The Soho is a special edition MCS with "a paint'n'kit job" according to Speedlux in an article with a large photo gallery of the vehicle.

MotoringFile Drives The Roadster In Portugal

Following its drive, as it gathers its thoughts, MotoringFile posts a large photo gallery of the New MINI Roadster.

Monday, January 30, 2012

New York Daily News Analyzes The 2012 MINI JCW Coupe

The New York Daily News calls the JCW Coupe an "ultimate city car - with some limitations". Its gripes are a harsh ride, crappy sound system, glitchy MINI Connect, and terrible Nav. system.

Chanel's Classic Mini Advertisement

[Source: via The Citrus Report]

Official Roadster Pricing Released

autoblog has posted MINI's official pricing for the MINI Roadster:
The tiny droptop will carry a base MSRP of $24,350 in the U.S., while the Cooper S Roadster will set you back $27,350. The top-of-the-line John Cooper Works Roadster, meanwhile, will command a sticker of $34,500 (*pricing exclude a $700 destination and handling fee). Should buyers wish to drop an automatic transmission into their Cooper Roadster or Cooper S Roadster, the two-pedal option will cost an additional $1,250, but the John Cooper Works Roadster is only available with a manual gearbox. Mini says 16-inch alloy wheels are standard on the base roadster and its S counterpart, while the topped-out JCW Roadster will roll on flashier 17-inch wheels.

This Guy's On A Roll

This is why good safety equipment is mandatory for those of you who track your cars -




[Source: via Jalopnik]

Auto Express Gives The MCS Roadster 4 Stars

Auto Express writer Jack Rix gets the wheel of a MINI Cooper S Roadster and gives it four out of five stars calling it the
"first genuine affordable roadster rival to the MX-5".

MTTS 2012 To Kick Off July 4th - End July 15th

BMW PressClub USA has announced a July 4, 2012 East Coast start date for MINI Takes The States 2012 and will conclude on July 15, 2012 on the West Coast.

Participant registration begins in April, but owners and enthusiasts can sign up now to receive updates at www.miniusa.com/mtts.

MINI In Labor Talks At Cowley Plant Over Saturday Hours

The Oxford Mail reports that MINI is in talks with labor unions over working Saturdays at the Oxford, U.K. Cowley MINI Plant.  Because of increased demand for MINIs and the release of the MINI Roadster. The Saturday shift is operating every week rather than just occasionally as it did last year. According to the article,
Plant convenor Chris Bond said: “Because we have increased volumes we are going to have to work every Saturday until March.

“We are trying to examine the shift pattern to alleviate problems.”

Autoweek Reviews The 2012 MINI Cooper S Coupe



Autoweek  provides a review of the vehicle.  Executive editor Roger Hart says it has "questionable looks". Editor Wes Raynal doesn't like it and thought it was ugly, expensive, had poor driver visibility and was generally uncomfortable.  Executive editor Bob Gritzinger calls the fun to drive factor "off the charts" but says it has poor visibility and hard to like styling. News editor Greg Migliore likes its looks and had an "absolute blast" driving the car.

It's Super Bowl Commercial Time Again

You don't have to wait for the game to see all of them. Here is Cars.com's 2012 Super Bowl commercial "Confident You":


JCW=M?

Digital Trends asks "Is BMW trying to make John Cooper Works Mini's version of M?

Friday, January 27, 2012

NorCal MINIs' Friday Reminders

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:











NORCAL MINIS OPENS LANDS' END STORE!


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?










NORCAL MINIS' TRACK DAY AT MINI THUNDER III


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' Meetups




FRIDAY RUN
(Participants)


NorCal MINIs has discovered that many of our Members will drive to Willows on Friday in order to participate in the Hooked On Driving event at Thunderhill Raceway on Saturday before they participate on Sunday at MINI Thunder III. If you wish to run to Willows, CA on Friday please contact Richard Stevens at carman3492@comcast.net or Kat Hsueh at minipenny@gmail.com to arrange a Bay Area  meet up for participants going on Friday.


SUNDAY RUN
(Observers)

Observers who are driving up Sunday will meet up at 8:30 a.m. in the parking lot on the corner of E. Main St. and Winters Rd. in downtown Winters (across the street from the Putah Creek Cafe at 1 Main Street, Winters, CA (If you want breakfast please arrive early and be prepared to leave promptly at 8:30 a.m.) 





NORCAL MINIS' RUN FOR ABSENT FRIENDS



Join NORCAL MINIS for the


"RUN FOR ABSENT FRIENDS"

An Annual Memorial Tribute Run 
Dedicated To Those With Whom We Have Motored Who Are No Longer With Us. 

+++


It is the annual tradition of NORCAL MINIS to pass the hat
for the American Cancer Society during this run.


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We will meet up at 10:00 a.m. in the overflow parking lot at the top of Mt. Diablo and will drive backroads to Livermore for lunch at Demitri's Taverna before we motor to the top of Mt. Hamilton.

Here's out route.






View Larger Map

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THIS RUN IS OPEN TO MEMBER AND NON-MEMBERS
 
NORCAL MINIS Members please respond to your email invitation or email us to tell us you are coming.
Non-members please email us at info@norcalminis.com to RSVP.




DO YOU KNOW WHAT'S HAPPENING ELSEWHERE IN NORCAL?


Check NORCAL MINIS' "Calendar of All Motoring Events" and find out!  You can always find a link to the "Calendar of All Motoring Events" in the left column. 

Look What I Pulled Out Of My Rear!

A Mini Moke!




[Source: via mab01uk @ totalMINI.com]

MotorAuthority Gives The 2012 MINI Cooper An 8 Out Of 10

MotorAuthority reviews the 2012 MINI Cooper hardtop and gives it an 8 out of 10 with this verdict:
We find the entire Cooper range to be light, nimble, balanced, and entertaining to drive. Steering feel is very good for a front-wheel drive car, with minimal torque steer even in the more powerful models. There aren't many cars in the Cooper's class that offer this much fun, and the excitement just grows as you add more power and move up the range.

Lady, There's No Way Around The Traffic Jam

Even driving on the sidewalk won't help.  See for yourself:




[Source: via autoevolution]

Double Paralympic Gold Medallist Learns To Drive A MINI

Double Paralympic gold medallist, Ellie Simmonds MBE, is learning to drive a specially adapted MINI One Hatch she received as part of MINI’s commitment to the ParalympicsGB in London 2012 and TeamGB. The MINI’s interior has been redesigned with a false floor in the driver’s foot well and pedal extensions. The car is just one MINI adapt in its role as the Official Automotive Partner of London 2012.

[Source: 3D-Car-Shows]

Lyrical Homage To The Mini Moke





[Source: via mab01uk @ totalMINI.com]

MINI RUSHOUR To Race In Italy

MINI RUSHHOUR 2012 is set to begin in Italy.  The event involves "[s]ix races, attractive prizes and a mix of fascinating racing action and MINI lifestyle" according to MINIMotorsport.

With a MINI Cooper S, and a specially developed racing kit, drivers will compete in two 30 minute races. MINI will provide "MINI Hospitality" with essential support for the racing teams. Each race weekend the top three participants will be awarded prizes - US-$ 1,000 for the winner, a set of four race tires compatible with the rules of the league for the second and a special maintenance kit for third place. The winner of the championship will get a MINI John Cooper Works Coupe Special Edition, the runner-up will participate in a round of the MINI Challenge Brazil, while third place overall driver will get a fantastic selection of articles from the MINI Collection.
The first race will take place at the Autodromo Paul Ricard in Le Castellet, France, at MINI UNITED on May 13. These are the dates for the following races:
10th June -- Autodromo del Mugello
8th July -- Misano World Circuit
22nd July -- Autodromo dell’Umbria – Magione
2nd September -- Autodromo di Imola
16th September -- Autodromo di Vallelunga

Officer, I'm Not Drunk; I Have A Cold

Researchers in the UK have found that driving with a cold - sneezing, runny eyes, fever and coughing - are just as dangerous as driving drunk.

[Source: Real Age via AutoGuide.com]

MINI Countryman JCW Prototype Driven

Shawn Molnar recently drove for Sympatico.ca the MINI Countryman JCW prototype but reserves final judgment:
If you write cheques with your heart, then you may want to distance yourself from Mini’s new Countryman JCW. Of course, if you write cheques with your brain, this car may still hold power over your pocketbook because it delivers the efficiency, practicality and utility to make it a well-rounded daily driver.

When sitting beside its nearest competitors, this Mini has the performance to thrash at Subaru’s WRX hatchback, the efficiency to best Hyundai’s respected Tucson, and enough style and verve to obliterate the Tiguan. If you can swallow that expected steep price tag of 45,000 Canadian dollars. In fact, this Mini's closest competition may come from within the fold: the $31,150 Countryman S model offers plenty of driving excitement at a bargain value next to the JCW.

We will reserve our final judgement until we've driven the production model . . .

Autosport.com Q & A With MINI Team Principal Wilcock

Yahoo.com recounts the question and answer session between MINI Team principal Dave Wilcock and Autosport.com on MINI's finish at the 2012 Monte Carlo Rally.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

JCW Likely To Become MINI Sub-Brand

According to Car and Driver:
Once the JCW Countryman arrives, Mini will offer John Cooper Works packages for all of its models, but Segler wants to further differentiate JCW products in the future. This means that cars wouldn’t so much be equipped with the John Cooper Works package, but rather positioned as standalone models.

Mini already considers the standard JCW powerplant—a turbocharged 1.6-liter four making at least 208 hp—a “unique” engine, and not a standard Cooper S mill with more boost. But we interpret Segler’s remarks to mean that the John Cooper Works engine will come in for additional work in the future; that could mean it will get some unique internals, or that the displacement will be increased. Segler’s sentiments also suggest that more hard-core, limited-edition models like the upcoming new-gen Mini GP could be produced.

Sophie Tatem's Exciting MINI Carbiolet Kayak Mounting

[Source: MINI UK on Facebook]

Go Ahead, Park It Anywhere

Oops!




[Source: via Jalopnik]

Are You Participating In Stormin' Norman's MINI Thunder III?

Are you going to participate? If so,

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER FOR THIS FEBRUARY 19, 2012 EVENT.

You will also get a T-shirt with the back graphic shown here!

Butterfly Effect On MINI ABS Parts From Fukushima Disaster

The Luminary Blog discusses the delivery of her new MINI Cooper and how replacement of a defective ABS part became an international ordeal due to the tsunami that hit Fukushima, Japan.

Photos Of The Two Millionth MINI Cooper Cabriolet

You can view a photo gallery of the vehicle at modifiedcars.com.

The Pothole Gardener

Steve Wilson, a resident of London, U.K., fills the City's numerous roadway potholes with greenery which, according to psfk, has earned him the nickname "the pothole gardener."  Here's a video of some of his work:


MINI+Burton At The Park City Mountain Festival Tour

Go to MINI USA's Facebook page for more photos and info!

Campana Reflects On His 7th Place Monte Carlo Rally Finish

[Photo Credit: WorldRallySport]
RallyBuzz has a short question and answer session with Pierre Campana who piloted a MINI to a seventh place finish in this year's MOnte Carlo Raly.

Booth Babes Of The 2012 Qatar Motor Show

Carscoop provides a fine photo gallery of these Middle Eastern ladies.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

MINI Wins 24 Hours Of Dubai

MINI Motorsport reports that the MINI of the Besaplast Racing Team dominated its class at the 24 Hours of Dubai. The team used a MINI based on the MINI John Cooper Works Challenge edition vehicles to secure the pole position and come in first.

Consumers Choose MINI As One Of America's Worst Car Brands

Perceptions are interesting things. Consumer Reports 2012 Car-Brand Perception Survey places MINI among America's Worst Car Brands 2012 but BMW among the best. Go figure. Here are the stats:


America’s Top Car Brands 2012
BrandScore
Toyota131
Ford121
Honda94
Chevrolet92
Mercedes-Benz84
BMW69
Volvo67
Cadillac63
Lexus54
Tesla51


America’s Worst Car Brands 2012
BrandScore
Infiniti16
Mazda16
Jeep12
Suzuki11
Mercury10
Land Rover8
Fiat7
Mini7
Mitsubishi7
Saab5

A Facebook MINI?

Daryl Chapman of Bauhinia photography caught this one and is displaying at on flickr.

WTF Was This Driver Thinking?

What would possess a Seattle driver to do this in the vehicle?  Search us.  However it is still fun to watch!




[Source: via Jalopnik]

Highlights Of The Next Generation MINIs

Automobile outlines the highlights of the upcoming next generation MINIs.  They include a MINI four-door hatchback expected the summer 2014; a four-door Mini Clubman in the summer of 2015; a MINIVan in the spring of 2016; and a MINI four-door sedan in the fall of 2016.

Make Safer Drivers; Require Kids Drive A Manual

ABCnews10 proposes that requiring kids to drive manual transmission vehicles will prevent talking on the telephone and texting by new drivers.


2013 MINI Prototypes Spied Testing In Daylight

Worldcarfans.com has posted new daylight spy photos allegedly of 2013 MINI hatchback prototypes winter testing

Winding Road Gives Its First Impressions Of Its 2012 Mini Cooper S Coupe Tester

Three Winding Road writers provide positive first impressions of the 2012 MINI Cooper S Coupe after they each get a week in the driver's seat.

Want To Buy A MINI B-Spec Race Kit?

MotoringFile advises that MINI of Charleston has released official pricing for the B-spec parts package for the R56 MINI Cooper. The kit will cost you around $6,000, plus tires and a roll cage.

The Telegraph Takes A Spin In The MINI Countryman

Erin Baker goes for a ride in the MINI Countryman and writes about it for the British publication The Telegraph.  Baker says, in part, about the experience:
But, without meaning to sound like a southern Baptist minister, where’s the soul? The interior is too contrived, straining to be cool; that large central speedo is annoying. The satnav design is achingly funky – all greys and whites – and hard to read at a glance. It reminds me of a friend who bought her baby a playmat in taupes and creams to blend in with her lounge. An instantly regrettable purchase.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Next Generation MINI To Sport Club Door

MotoringFile believes the next generation MINI hatchback may sport at least one club door like the Clubman.

Motor Trend Names MINI One Of Five Aging New Cars Still Worth Considering Of

Motor Trend places the MINI among its list of five aging new models it would consider.  It says -
Still in only its second generation, the modern Mini Cooper has inspired automakers everywhere, from Citroen (the DS3) to Fiat (500, anyone?). In a recent comparison test of six fun $20,000 coupes and hatchbacks, the Mini Cooper won over far newer vehicles.
From our Oddball comparison test: “The Mini won, of course, with its driving. The one-two punch of smart gearing and a thick power band make the most of the available power, and they’re accessed via a precise shifter and well-positioned pedals. The real magic comes from the solid chassis, sport-tuned suspension, and direct, communicative steering.”