Sonora Run - Sunday June 9, 2024

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Purchase Your 2014 NORCAL MINIS Membership

Purchase your 2014 NORCAL MINIS Membership NOW!

We have great monthly runs and events planned for 2014 with many extra goodies just for Paid Members.

Only Paid Members get a say in how and where we run and rally, and who we support with our runs and events; get NORCAL MINIS vendor discounts; receive email invitations to all of NORCAL MINIS' events; receive exclusive access to the NORCAL MINIS' Google Group; may vote on NORCAL MINIS' Membership matters; and may attend Members Only events.

Yearly Membership is only $25.00.  Use the Paypal Button below to join NORCAL MINIS in 2014!


Men's Journal Sees F56 As One Of Nine Hot New Hatchbacks

Men's Journal comments on nine new cars it believes are hot hatchbacks and includes the F56.   Here's how it charaterizes the MINI:
The original Mini Cooper of the 1960s was one of the original hot hatches, and its millennial revival in the early 2000s is credited with helping to engender America's love of sporty, premium small cars. So it should come as no surprise that the latest generation of this aerodynamically boxy hatchback – which was unveiled at the Tokyo Auto Show – adheres to precisely the same formula as the previous two: decidedly retro-styled but a bit more rounded, and with handsomely rendered details such as the halo-encircled headlamps. The big news is under the hood, where a high-output, turbocharged three-cylinder engine takes the place of the traditional four-cylinder, enhancing efficiency. Will this usher in a new era of fun, potent three-cylinder engines? It might.

What Does The 2014 MINI Cooper S Exhaust Sound Like?

According to MotoringFile, and subject to the quality of your speakers, something like this -

Magna Steyr MINI Production To End In 2016

MINI presently produces the Countryman and Paceman at Magna Steyr in Austria. According to Automotive News, MINI will cease production at the Magna Steyr plant. Thereafter, production will move to Oxford and the Netherlands. It appears Magna Styr will be re-tooled as reserve capacity for the manufacture of BMWs.

So, What Is That New MINI Going To Cost You?

Here is the Official Press Release:
New MINI Hardtop delivers premium value to US market

U.S. pricing for base Cooper is $19,950; Cooper S model is $23,600
Enhanced connectivity, new engines and upgraded interior make new MINI Hardtop more premium than ever 
Customers can now begin building and ordering their new MINI on MINIUSA.com

Woodcliff Lake, NJ – January 30, 2014…MINI USA today announced U.S. Pricing for the new 2014 MINI Hardtop which goes on sale in the spring. The base model Cooper will start at $19,950 and the Cooper S will start at $23,600 – plus a $795 Destination and Handling charge.
The new MINI Hardtop is a contemporary evolution of classic MINI design, with improved features and technology previously limited to luxury vehicles. It is powered by new ground-breaking three- and four-cylinder enginesand includes new comfort and safety technologies that bring MINI to the forefront of the premium small car segment. The new MINI Hardtop also includes state-of-the-art connectivity and premium technology including new driver assistance systems. 
“The product team worked diligently to sustain a minimal price increase over the previous model while adding a number of new technologies and features”, said Patrick McKenna, Head of MINI Product Planning and Events, MINI USA. “People will be amazed at the interior quality of this car combined with legendary MINI go kart handling and all-new BMW Group engines. The new MINI is a lot like nothing else.”  
Customers looking to purchase a new MINI Hardtop can now begin using the configurator on MINIUSA.com to build, customize and order their new MINI Hardtop. The configurator allows customers to tap into more than 10 million different combinations of accessories and colors to custom build their new MINI Hardtop. 
The new MINI Hardtop, which arrives at dealerships in the spring, is the next generation of the core volume model in the MINI product lineup, making up 40 percent of the total U.S. sales in 2013.

MINI USA Choose Finalists For Final Test Test Drive

Here is the Official Press Release:
Ten current and past owners to live out their fantasy test drive in the new MINI
  • Contest asked owners to submit how they would test drive the new MINI  

  • Ten winners will now live out their test drive experience and design a brand new “MINI Originals” package  

  • MINI community will vote on their favorite and the winning package will be available for order on MINIUSA.com and at select dealerships

Woodcliff Lake, NJ – January 28, 2014… The results are in! MINI USA has selected ten finalists, including one “Fan Favorite” voted on by the MINI community, to live out their Final Test Test Drive. Past and present MINI owners dreamed up and submitted photos and videos of their dream test drive as part of the contest to launch the new MINI Hardtop.
 In their submissions, past and present owners were asked to highlight what features of the new MINI Hardtop they are most revved up about testing before the third generation of the iconic MINI arrives at dealerships in the spring.
And the winners are: 
Brian and Michelle Colvard – Houston, TX (People’s Choice)
Alex Coyle – Virginia Beach, VA
Ryan George – Evington, VA
Thomas Grinton, Chicago, IL
Holly Holmes – Houston, TX
Thomas Lhamon – Flat Rock, MI
Adrienne Ray – Methuen, MA
Chris Revelle – Atlanta, GA
Rebecca Smith – Chicago, IL
Ann Yueh – Corona, CA

These 10 finalists will each have the experience of a lifetime when MINI USA makes their test drive come to life this February. The test drives will also be captured on video and shared with the MINI community at a later date.

Each Final Test Test Drive finalist will also have the opportunity to work with an illustrator to create a brand new “MINI Originals” package. The MINI community will then vote on the designs and one lucky winner’s package will be available for order on MINIUSA.com and at select dealerships across the country.

“We gave the MINI community the unique opportunity to experience the new MINI Hardtop however they wanted, and to test whatever features were most exciting to them,” said Tom Salkowsky, Department Head, MINI USA Marketing. “The response has been overwhelming and it was amazing to see how creative our community was in their submissions. We can’t wait to see the custom designs they will turn out next month.”

Over 800 entries were received during the 25-day submission phase. Friends and fans then had the opportunity to view each submission and vote for their favorite. MINI USA received over 11,000 votes in less than four days. The fan favorite automatically received a spot among the top ten finalists. The remaining winners were selected by members of the MINI USA product and marketing teams.

To view the top ten Final Test Test Drives finalists and their entries visit www.MINIFTTD.com.

"Proof That The Human Being Is Not Rational"

That is how Charles Jolicoeur of the Canadian site AutoGO thinks people are about the 2013 MINI Cooper JCW. He concludes:
The 2013 Mini Cooper S John Cooper Works Convertible is a complex car. It will make you swear out loud because of its rough suspension and weird interior, but it also turned out to be one of my favorite road tests this year because of its sporty behavior and his unique personality. In short, it will not please everyone, but if you like to have fun behind the wheel and get noticed by others on the road, you owe it to yourself to check it out.

Australia's 2014 MINI Showrooms

CarAdvice provides details on the 2014 MINI models set to appear in MINI Australia showrooms.

International Mini Meet 2014

International Mini Meet (IMM) 2014 is set for July 31, 2014 through August 3, 2014 at the Kent Showground in Kent, United Kingdom to celebrate the Mini's 55th anniversary. The IMM started in 1978 in Germany as a three day camping event. I grew in popularity, attracted visitors from outside Germany, resulting in an international event, which now takes place in a different country each year, and every 5 years in England in and around August. Go to the event website to find out more.

Coogan And Brydon Discuss "What Makes A Good Road Trip"

Comedians Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon discuss "What Makes A Good Road Trip" with Conde Nast's Traveler.  Here is their best advise for planning a trip to Italy:
Best advice to someone planning a trip to Italy?

Brydon: You could do worse than to follow the route we were on. Start up north than head south. We saw some absolute spectacular places.

Coogan: If you’re driving through Italy, rent a small car. It’ll help with the winding roads.

Brydon: A Mini Cooper is nice. In fact, if anybody from Mini Cooper is reading this now… [All laugh]

A Kiwi Cross-Country Trip In A Countryman

MINI Space recounts a trip across New Zealand in a MINI Countryman.

Future Three and Five Door MINIs Spied Together

autoevolution obtained spy shots of a three door and a five door MINI parked together in Northern Sweden. Mystery surrounds the women entering the cars and the cars themselves according to the accompanying article.

2014 MINI Cooper Cabrio Inside and Out

[Source: Alaatin61 @ YouTube]

British Plastics Federation Presents Great MINI Cooper In Dusseldorf

ETMM reports the British Plastics Federation presented the Great MINI Cooper in Dusseldorf, Germany as part of the vehicle tour designed to promote British manufacturing.

Remembering Mini Monte Carlo Rally Wins 50 Years Hence

MotoringFile reflects on Paddy Hopkirk's Monte Carlo Rally win fifty years ago and the Rauno and Mäkinen Mini wins of the mid-1960's with photographs and this Official MINI press release:
Official Release: Small car, huge win: it is now 50 years since one of the most spectacular victories in the history of international motor sport.  
On 21 January 1964, the Mini Cooper S won the Monte Carlo Rally for the first time. It was the pairing of Northern Ireland’s Patrick (“Paddy”) Hopkirk and his co-driver Henry Liddon that pulled off the big surprise, resisting the supposed superiority of significantly more powerful rivals in their small British car. Its faultless run over country roads and mountain passes, ice and snow, tight corners and steep gradients laid the foundations for the underdog-turned-giant-slayer to cement itself in both the hearts of the public and the annals of motor sport legend. Indeed, the classic Mini’s dominance of the Monte Carlo Rally continued over the years that followed, Hopkirk’s Finnish team-mates Timo Mäkinen and Rauno Aaltonen adding two further overall victories – in 1965 and 1967 – to the British manufacturer’s collection.

Now 80 years old, Paddy Hopkirk’s eyes still light up when he recalls the driving qualities of his winning car: “Although the Mini was only a little family saloon, technically it had a lot of advantages. Its front-wheel drive and front-mounted transverse engine were a great advantage, and the fact the car was smaller and the roads were ploughed, they were quite narrow, so I suppose that was an advantage. We were very lucky – the car was right, everything happened at the right time and came together at the right moment.”

It was the legendary “Night of the Long Knives”, the penultimate stage of the Monte, which put the Mini Cooper S with car number 37 and the now famous licence plate 33 EJB on course for victory that winter of 1964. Hopkirk crossed the finish line just 17 seconds off the pace set by his chief adversary Bo Ljungfeldt in the far more powerful V8-powered Ford Falcon. The handicap formula at the time – designed to even out the weight and power differences between the various cars – meant the classic Mini actually led the way in the overall standings. And Hopkirk defended his advantage in the sprint through the streets of Monte Carlo that rounded off the rally. At the winner’s ceremony he shared the cheers of the crowed with his team-mates. Timo Mäkinen’s fourth-place finish and Rauno Aaltonen’s seventh overall set the seal on the success of the Mini Cooper S and ushered in the era of the “Three Musketeers” in the Monte Carlo Rally.

The classic Mini’s victory was celebrated with particular excitement in its native Britain. Hopkirk received a congratulatory telegram from the British government and the Beatles were also among those leading the applause. “I got a telegram from the Beatles,” remembers Hopkirk. “That was followed by a photograph of the four of them autographed to me saying: ‘You’re one of us now, Paddy.’ And it’s very nice to have that nowadays.”

The triumph of the classic Mini in the Monte was lauded as a sensation by motor sport fans around the world. But this wasn’t a success that came entirely out of the blue: the small car developed by Alec Issigonis, then Deputy Technical Director at the British Motor Corporation, possessed an inherent sporting talent from birth. The first person to spot this potential was John Cooper. The sports car designer was the driving force behind construction of a more powerful version of the car. The Mini produced only 34 hp at launch, but its front-wheel drive, low weight, wide track and comparatively long wheelbase made it an extremely agile four-seater and paved the way for its forays onto race circuits and rally courses.

As early as 1960, big-name racing drivers like Graham Hill, Jack Brabham and Jim Clark were spotted testing the cornering flair of the John Cooper-tuned small car on the Silverstone Formula One track. However, the classic Mini was most at home in rally racing. Patt Moss, sister of grand prix driver Stirling Moss, piloted it to wins in the Tulip Rally and Baden-Baden Rally in 1962. And by the following year, the diminutive British car was ready to burst into the public consciousness at the Monte Carlo Rally. Preceding years had been a tough learning experience for the works team, but now they would make people sit up and take notice. Rauno Aaltonen and Paddy Hopkirk drove the 55 hp Mini Cooper to a 1-2 finish in their class, which was good enough for third and sixth places overall.

It was clear that the classic Mini was better equipped than any other car to pull off the classic David vs Goliath act. John Cooper had long suspected that the car had what it took. Back in 1959 he instructed Roy Salvadori to drive a prototype to the Italian Grand Prix in Monza. The journey itself turned into a race between Salvadori and fellow racing driver Reg Parnell at the wheel of an Aston Martin DB4. The result confirmed what Cooper had foreseen in his mind’s eye: the Cooper-prepared classic Mini arrived around an hour earlier than the much more powerful Aston.

Identifiable from a distance with their tartan red bodywork and white roofs, the six small racers dispatched by the BMC works team for the Monte Carlo Rally in 1964 were – at least on paper – fighting against the tide once more. The Mini Cooper S lined up at the start for the first time. Its new four-cylinder engine now had an increased 1071cc capacity and output had also been boosted to around 90 hp. This was a lot more than in previous years but still modest in the face of competition from the likes of the Mercedes-Benz 300 SE and Ford Falcon, whose six-cylinder and V8 units had three or four times more power at their disposal.

The 33rd edition of the Monte Carlo Rally began – as was traditional at the time – with a nod to the origins of the event, the cars starting from nine European cities before converging on the French city of Reims. The Hopkirk/Liddon partnership got their journey with the Mini Cooper S under way in Minsk, while for Rauno Aaltonen and Tony Ambrose the Monte adventure started in Oslo, and Timo Mäkinen and Patrick Vanson set off from Paris. The classic Mini successfully negotiated all these journeys and all six works cars were able to take their place in the 277-strong field in Reims. The first stage of the rally to Saint-Claude brought together the two cars which were to define the 1964 Monte from start to finish. Bo Ljungfeldt roared to the top of the time sheets in his Ford Falcon, but Paddy Hopkirk remained hot on his heels in his Mini Cooper S.

The next leg of the rally was made up largely of mile-long flat-out sections, but Hopkirk refused to let his big-engined rivals build up a decisive advantage. The “Night of the Long Knives” would become the day of reckoning; this was the classic Mini’s chance to demonstrate its talents to the full. “It was quite snowy that year, so we had done a lot of practising and preparing,” explains Hopkirk. “The Mini was particularly good downhill, and all the tests were up and downhill, so what we lost going up, I think we made up for going downhill.”

Irresistible handling, correct tyre choice, Hopkirk’s gifts at the wheel and the snow – which slowed the bigger cars down – all came together and ensured that Hopkirk was able to take over the lead on the 1,607-metre (5,270 ft) Col de Turini. However, it remained a tight contest all the way to the finish, with Bo Ljungfeldt, as expected, again posting the fastest time on the final stage through Monte Carlo. However, Hopkirk was also squeezing everything from his Mini Cooper S once again and hung onto his advantage to wrap up the win. “It’s not like rallying today when you know where you are. I had to do the final circuit, then the journalists told me I had won and I couldn’t believe it. It surprised the world and us, so it was very nice,” recalls Hopkirk.

The following year Timo Mäkinen and co-driver Paul Easter ensured the classic Mini would retain its title. They were helped by a new engine with capacity increased to 1275cc, but it was the Scandinavian’s driving skill that landed the decisive blow. Mäkinen was the only driver to remain penalty-point-free throughout the rally distance, despite the fact that the 1965 Monte Carlo Rally was providing one of the most exacting tests in the history of the event. Epic levels of snow and ice made the going seriously tough, but that didn’t stop the organisers including a second night stage through the Maritime Alps in the programme. Mäkinen and his Mini Cooper S appeared impervious to the deteriorating conditions. The Finn won five of the six special stages on the final leg of the rally and finished the event with a handsome margin over the second-placed car.

The most impressive and also most dramatic Monte Carlo Rally for the “Three Musketeers” was to follow in 1966. Mäkinen, Aaltonen and Hopkirk dominated the event from the start, and it was in this order that they completed a clean sweep of the top three positions overall at the finish. Public enthusiasm for the quicksilver classic Minis appeared to be boundless – as was the disappointment when the French race commissioners revealed their decision to disqualify the trio on account of lights that allegedly did not conform with official regulations. This was also the reason given for removing the fourth-placed Lotus Cortina from the classification, which meant that the Finnish Citroën driver Pauli Toivonen was crowned the winner.

The dream of a Monte hat-trick lay in tatters, but the “Three Musketeers” resolved to return at the earliest opportunity. In the winter of 1967 Hopkirk, Mäkinen and Aaltonen lined up alongside two other BMC works teams for the Monte Carlo Rally. And this time neither the rules nor the other cars could stand between the Mini Cooper S and victory. Rauno Aaltonen was joined by Henry Liddon – Paddy Hopkirk’s co-driver from the successful 1964 Monte – for his latest assault on the rally. The Finnish-British team clicked straight into gear. Aaltonen guided the classic Mini to what was this time an undisputed victory with 12 seconds to spare. And nobody was more pleased for the duo than Hopkirk: “Henry Liddon was really an outstanding co-driver. But the co-drivers never got enough credit, you know. They did a fantastic job in reading the notes and they were the office manager of the car.”

Hopkirk finished the 1967 Monte Carlo Rally in sixth place and also drove the classic Mini to fifth overall the following year. Aaltonen was third in 1968. However, the era of the small car that stormed to the summit of rally racing was clearly approaching an end. Its rivals had grown just too powerful and the sporting zenith of the classic Mini was now behind it. Memories of that famous triumph in the winter of 1964 will forever burn bright and the “Three Musketeers” have written an indelible chapter into the history of motor sport. As for distinctive headlight solutions, such as incurred the wrath of the powers-that-be back in 1966, they also live on as some of the most popular Original MINI Accessories – from black headlight housing and the evocative spotlights fronting the radiator grille to retrofit xenon headlights.

A Look At Miles Ahead

Automobile Magazine goes to Miles Ahead MINI Performance Motoring School at Indianapolis Speedway and writes about its experience.

"Luxurious Alternative To Crossover Rivals"

That is how the United Kingdom site The Week characterizes the MINI Countryman and provides these "Pros" and "Cons":
Pros: Generous load space, impressive engines, best-handling model in crossover class

Cons: High-spec versions are expensive, firm ride, cheap interior

Manchester MINIs Getting Wings Clipped

United Kingdom's Manchester Evening News reports on a one night crime spree in the town of Stockport where the miscreants nicked MINI wing mirrors.  Here is what the police have to say about it:
Crescent, Cooper Street, Meadows Close and Talbot Road in Hazel Grove were left without both wing mirrors.

Police say they can be easily removed from the outside by thieves with normal tools and are urging owners to buy a £10 anti-theft kit to protect their cars.

Sergeant Richard Lloyd from Hazel Grove station said: “In one night we had a spate of thefts where six separate cars had both wing mirrors stolen.

“We hope it's a one-off, but there are people out there out of pocket – we want to catch those involved.

“Apparently the problem is that they can be easily removed from the outside with normal tools.

“Mini sells a kit which allows you to the change the screws to protect the wing mirrors.” . . .

Will Drive Your Drink

Detroit Tuned sells MINI Ice Cube Trays to complement the perfect MINIac cocktail.  Just add water, or such other libation with a freezing point your freezer can handle.

F56 MINI Cooper Main Attraction On MINI Stand At Detroit

BMWBlog makes that claim in its article about the F56 at NAIAS 2014.

Jacob Black Reviews The 2013 MCS For Autos.ca

Jacob Black test drives the 2013 MINI Cooper S and writes about it for Canada's Auto.ca.

His conclusion:
The Mini Cooper S hatch is one of those cars you’d expect to see in any serious car collector’s garage – and it would probably be their favourite.

2014 F56 MINI Cooper S Worldwide Launch Delayed

Based on conversations with BMW/MINI executives MotoringFile indicates the F56 MINI Cooper S launch will "likely until at least March" and not in the U.S. until "late April" 2014 to allow for additional production options that are scheduled to be available in March.

Spy Photos Of New Clubman, Most Practical MINI

autoevolution hosts spy photos of the new Clubman and observes:
As you can clearly see, there are two doors on each side and two side-hinged doors for the boot. It's a simple and more practical look, similar to a Ford Tourneo, which maximized practicality. This could also be the most practical car MINI has ever built, bigger than the current generation Clubman and about the size of the Countryman at 4.1 meters.

Countryman As Lake Ice Tubing Tow Vehicle

Umm, this is not exactly safe, is it?

[Source: Nicholas Lerner @ YouTube]

A Design Analysis Of The MINI Rocketman Concept

MotoringFile revisits the design of the MINI Rocketman Concept and asserts it is a diminuitive version of the F56.

What Would It Take To Get You In This Sausage?

Oscar Meyer and Motor Trend are holding a Tweet2Lease contest where the winner will ride "shotbun" in the weinermobile. Here is the video as posted at Jalopnik:

The MINI Cabrio's Dash Is Really Hot

In fact, it can set you on fire!  Check this out:

[Source: Roy Tahtinen @ YouTube]

Learn How To Sketch A MINI Cooper

Driven Mavens @ YouTube shows you how:

2014 Fiat 500L Versus MINI Cooper Countryman

John LaBlanc compares the 2014 Fiat 500L to the MINI Cooper Countryman to determine which is the best urban family vehicle for Canada's Driving and gives the nod to the Fiat. LaBlanc concludes this about the Countryman:
For buyers who don’t mind digging deeper into their wallets or being beaten at stop lights by a Toyota Prius, the Mini Cooper Countryman is still very appealing to urban buyers looking for a small, fun-to-drive, five-door hatchback with the brand cachet, good residual values and luxury features that are part and parcel with the Mini badge.

Jalopnik Wants The MINI Paceman To Die In 2014

Jalopnik asks its readers "What Car Needs To Die This Year?" and proposes it should be the MINI Paceman. Its reasoning:
. . . But there is one redundant, useless, needless car floating around out there: the Mini Paceman. If for some reason, you want the bigger, non-mini size of a Mini Countryman without all that pesky convenience of an extra pair of doors, you'll be upset by this decision. So, too bad. If you want two doors and fun, there's plenty of genuinely Mini-sized Minis to choose from. If you want big and AWD, get the damn Countryman.

Go meet the dogs, you goofy, useless Paceman. . . .

2015 MINI Cooper Body Production

Untouched by human hands!

[Source: autocarsvideos4 @ YouTube]

Mcchip's Modded MINI Cooper JCW Racer

autoevolution highlights German tuner Mcchip's MINI Cooper JCW racing prject car.  Almost the only thing left that is BMW or MINI is the body:
From what we are able to understand, this project starts out with a MINI Cooper JCW track car they actually built last year. But because the car comes with a manual and a relatively small 1.6-liter turbo, they decided to do an engine swap.

A 2.0-liter TFSI from BMW's arch nemesis Audi has been picked. In its raw form, this four-cylinder puts out 265 (old S3 and outgoing TTS, old Golf R), but with a bit of Stage 3 magic it will have somewhere between 340 and 350 hp.

That's not the only affront to BMW engineering. the DQ250 six-speed DSG gearbox is also being installed into the car, together with a limited slip diff and a sequential-style gear stick. As you can see, tens of kilos of wiring and tens of hours of work are going into the car. Doctor Frankenstein would be proud!

MINI John Cooper Works Concept To Go Into Production

autoblog advises the MINI John Cooper Works Concept is 
"a mortal lock to hit showrooms in very similar trim.
Here is the official press release from the Detroit Auto Show upon which autoblog bases its assertion:
Setting its sights on pole position: The MINI John Cooper Works Concept. World premiere at the North American International Auto Show 2014 in Detroit.


Munich. Hallmark MINI style and technology lifted straight from the race track come together to mould the inimitable character of a John Cooper Works model, rendering the MINI sub-brand a byword for irresistible go-kart feeling and genuine everyday usability. And now a new contender for pole position has emerged to take this successful concept to the next stage and bring the promise of maximum driving fun to the small car segment. The MINI John Cooper Works Concept offers a look ahead to the next generation of the elite sports model. The study car will be presented for the first time at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) 2014 and flies the flag for innovative sportiness in time-honoured John Cooper Works style, with features including exclusive body paintwork in Bright Highways Grey, familiar MINI red colour accents, bespoke aerodynamic features and 18-inch John Cooper Works light-alloy wheels in a newly developed design.

The thrillingly sporty driving experience on board a John Cooper Works model is the result of an overall concept developed on the back of the brand's many years of motor sport experience. The precise interplay of the ultra-high-performance powertrain and chassis technology with the car's aerodynamically optimised exterior features ensures that the agile and surefooted handling we have come to know as the MINI go-kart feeling shines brightly in extremely sporty driving situations as well. The result is hardcore driving fun, taken into a new dimension by the MINI John Cooper Works Concept.

Perfect basis and extensive racing expertise deliver a new dimension in extreme driving fun.

The John Cooper Works Concept is based on the latest-generation MINI. Its origins are clearly recognisable in the longer wheelbase and wider track over the outgoing model, which has a direct effect on the car's driving characteristics. The model variants of the new MINI available from launch have already shown themselves to be more powerful, punchy and agile than their predecessors. Weight savings and improved aerodynamic properties have also contributed significantly to the new car's driving talents – and these developments likewise have a positive influence on the MINI John Cooper Works Concept.

Large air intakes – filling the space reserved for fog lights in the series-produced MINI models – and precisely formed air-channelling elements mark out the front apron of the MINI John Cooper Works Concept, which also features LED headlights and a black surround for the front grille. The model-specific John Cooper Works aerodynamic kit also comprises specially contoured side skirts and a rear apron with flaps and a diffuser element. The study car further features a roof spoiler and additional body components designed to channel air efficiently around the C-pillars for optimised aerodynamic balance at high speeds.

Exclusive body paintwork, familiar contrast colour.

The Bright Highways Grey exterior paint shade owes its expressive character to a special manufacturing process. The hand-polished surface layer is finished with a clear coat and the resulting lustrous sheen of the paintwork further accentuates the eye-catching structures of its pigment layer. Exuding purity and solidity, this paint finish is complemented by John Cooper Works hallmarks such as contrasting red for the roof, roof spoiler and exterior mirror caps. Also included are Sport Stripes – in Chili Red for the bonnet and boot lid, and in white for the roof. Additional red accents adorn the rim wells of the John Cooper Works light-alloy wheels, the callipers of the sports brakes, the side indicator surrounds and the contour lines of the front and rear apron. A red accent line also lends particular emphasis to the John Cooper Works logo on the radiator grille.

A further nod to the concept car's impressive sporting focus can be found in the centre of the rear apron. The MINI John Cooper Works Concept is fitted with a sports exhaust system including John Cooper Works silencer system, and the striking twin tailpipes with chrome finish also carry the John Cooper Works logo. With the new elite sports model destined to benefit from further development, these features suggest its enticingly sporting aura will not be restricted to visual features: an unmistakable engine soundtrack promises to share centre stage.

Spy Shots Of Five Door (Four Door Hatchback) In Scandanavia

worldcarfans.com has a gallery of photographs of the five door hatch testing in Scandanavia and notes it shorter front doors, flatter roof and extended wheelbase.

The One Question MINI Dealers Ask All MINI Owners

At the North American International Automobile Show 2014 Road & Track claims it learned MINI dealers have one question they ask all MINI owners to see whether th owners might be willing to sell their cars back to the dealer:
Does your MINI have a name?

Car Advice's Two Month MINI Countryman Ownership Report

Australian site Car Advice provides a two month report on its long-term MINI Countryman tester and, in part, observes:
While we’ve enjoyed our Mini Countryman so far, it is expensive. There are plenty of cheaper options out there, and a few without such expensive options that should be standard. But my wife loves it, and it’s hard to put a price on that.

Paddy Hopkirk To Drive MINI At Goodwood Festival Of Speed

The United Kingdom's Goodwood Festival of Speed is scheduled for June 27-29, 2014. It will celebrate Mini's 50th Anniversary of its first Monte Carlo win and Paddy Hopkirk will be present to drive a Mini and evoke memories of his 1964 rally performance.

Bet You Can't Do This With Your MINI

The Boothbay Register highlights the remote-controlled MINI model sent out on to frozen Booth Bay, ME with a video camera that produced this video -

A Car And Driver Q & A With Jochen Goller, VP Of MINI Sales

Car and Driver spoke with Jochen Goller, the Vice President of MINI Sales, at the 2014 North American Internatonal Automobile Show in Detroit.  Among the comments adduced from Goller:
C/D: Minis keep getting bigger. Is there a point when Mini isn’t mini anymore? Do you have a size limit?

JG: For 2014 our new-generation hatchback grew ever so slightly; it’s longer by 9 centimeters (3.5 inches), and I think the size of our core model we have now is the right one. The new hatchback is actually similar in terms of size and footprint to the Countryman we launched in 2010. But we’ve also found that some customers are saying “I need more space” and a second set of doors, so when you are talking about this segment I think different rules apply.

Dakar Winning MINIs Are Not MINIs

Jalopnik asserts the modded MINIs the X-Raid Team used to win at Dakar are not Minis. It argues they are X-Raids:
What Mini calls a Countryman is actually a custom tube-frame special built by two German companies: X-Raid and Heggemann Autosport. Heggemann makes the tube-frame chassis and X-Raid fills in everything else. The engine is a 3.0 liter BMW diesel straight six, an engine you will not find in any Mini showroom anywhere in the world. The clutch and brakes are from AP Racing and the differential comes from Xtrac. None of this stuff is secret — Car and Driver gave a full breakdown of these amazing offroaders last year and X-Raid details everything on their own website.

A Collage Of The 2014 MINI John Cooper Works Concept

[Source: Cars Zone @ YouTube]

A GOOD DESIGN Award For The MINI Paceman

Bimmerfile advises BMW Group Design won five GOOD DESIGN Awards, one for the MINI Paceman. According to the article:
The GOOD DESIGN™ Award is the world’s oldest design prize and ranks as one of the most distinguished accolades in this field. Founded in Chicago in 1950 by architects Eero Saarinen, Ray and Charles Eames and MoMa curator Edgar Kaufmann Jr., it is presented by the Chicago Athenaeum: Museum of Architecture and Design in cooperation with the European Centre for Architecture, Art Design and Urban Studies. For more than 60 years, this coveted prize has been awarded to designers and manufacturers in recognition of exceptionally innovative and visionary products, concepts and ideas that go beyond the normal horizons of everyday product design.

Mini Meet North June 13-15, 2014

Event organizer Tamer has posted this over at MINI2.com:
The new year is upon us and it time to start planning for Mini Meet North this year!

Mini Meet North 2014 will be held at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park (formally known as Mosport international Raceway) during the Canadian Historic Grand Prix hosted on June (13-15) 2014!!!

In 2009 we held the first ever Mini Meet North at Mosport International Raceway to commemorate the [M]inis' 50th Anniversary. It was such a huge success that we that we decided to make this an annual event. A full weekend of vintage auto racing and car shows, it's sure to be a great turn out with lots of media coverage.

Mini Meet North will be the featured event in this festival. Our goal is to have the largest Mini event ever in Canada. It will be a great opportunity for car enthusiasts and their families to share and enjoy their passion for such a great car.

All the entrants of the car show will be allowed to do a couple [of] parade laps on the Historic Mosport road race track [and] all the Minis will stay for a panoramic photo. A road rally has been planned, as well as a dyno to be set up for those who wish to test their cars and find out how much power they really have under their hoods. Plus a bunch of other events that are in works[,] including prizes!

If you wish more information please feel free to contact me via email at minimeetnorth@gmail.com. For more information, ou[r] website (My Blog | Just another WordPress site) will be up shortly (we are currently re-vamping it).

I'll be sending more info out in the the coming weeks!!!!!

Tamer (joltfreak)
Organizer / Host - Mini Meet North

MINI JCW Concept One Of Top Ten Concepts At NAIAS 2014

AutoGuide.com includes the MINI John Cooper Works Concept at the 2014 Detroit Auto Show as one of the ten best concepts presented at the show.

A Q & A With MINI USA's Product Planning Manager

Car and Driver features a short question and answer session with MINI USA's Product Planning Manager from NAIAS 2014. Here's one of the more interesting exchanges:
C/D: If Mini was going to expand its lineup to include an eighth entry, what would that be?

PM: That’s an interesting question. The number one reason buyers reject our largest five-door, the Countryman, is that it’s not large enough. But at the same time, we’re well aware of the need to keep the Mini mini. So today, at least, the Countryman is a bookend for how large we can go and still be Mini. So far, the Countryman has been a sales success; it’s the second-bestselling Mini behind the three-door hardtop and is bringing a different buyer into showrooms. Some buyers who like the idea of the Mini brand wouldn’t even consider buying one unless it had four doors and all-wheel drive. We think of it as a situation similar to Porsche’s Cayenne and Panamera expanding the brand beyond its orthodox sports-car roots.

BMW Power Compares The MINI Cooper S And Audi A1

The BMW Power blog by autoevolution compares the MINI Cooper S to the Audi A1, with an extensive photo gallery, and concludes:
In the end, prices might make the difference and that’s another strong point for the MINI, as the Audi is more expensive compared to a similar model.

Beat This MINI Ink

MINI Space profiles four MINIacs adorned with MINI themed tattoos.  Know anyone with better MINI ink?  Send photos and an explanation of how the tatt's came about to info@norcalminis.com so we too can highlight your MINI Ink!

MINI John Cooper Works Concept "Looks Hotter Than The GTI"

That is how Davis Adams at Digital Trends captions his article on his impressions of the MINI John Cooper Works Concept presented at North American International Automobile Show 2014 in Detroit.

Aye! Carumba!

Don't expect to take the scenic coastal route between Tijuana and Ensenada, Mexico anytime soon. According to autoblog, part of a toll road has collapsed and will take at least a year to repair - here's one of the article's three videos:

Driving Looks At The 2013 MINI JCW Countryman ALL4

Canadian website Driving provides "Two Takes" on the 2013 MINI John Cooper Works Countryman ALL4 and comes away with these ultimate impressions:
Overview Proof the idea of a big Mini can exist
Pros A Mini at heart, excellent steering, unique design inside and out
Cons Added weight and automatic transmission diminishes Mini’s trademark driving dynamics, price climbs quickly
Value for money Average
What would we change? More standard equipment. Even an armrest is optional

2014 Dakar, Final Stages: Peterhansel Defies MINI, Roma Overall Winner

Despite orders from MINI to take it slow in order to assure a Dakar MINI podium sweep, during Stage 12 Stephane Peterhansel overtook Nani Roma. won the stage and entered the final stage first in the overall standings.  As motorsport.com reports:
The French pairing Stéphane Peterhansel / Jean-Paul Cottret in the black MINI ALL4 Racing proved to be the quickest in the 350-kilometre special stage from El Salvador to La Serena. With this success, Peterhansel passed Nani Roma (ESP) in the overall standings and holds the first position, now. The second fastest time was set by Nasser Al-Attiyah (QAT) / Lucas Cruz (ESP) in the white MINI ALL4 Racing. Roma and his French co-driver Michel Périn took their yellow MINI ALL4 Racing to third place, with Krzysztof Holowczyc (POL) and Konstantin Zhiltsov (RUS) in the red MINI ALL4 Racing finishing fifth. While Orlando Terranova (ARG) / Paulo Fiúza (POR) came ninth, with their orange MINI ALL4 Racing.
In the end, however, MINI got its way. As Jalopnik reports:
Spanish Driver Nani Roma and French Co-Driver Michel Perin have won the 2014 Dakar Rally cars category in a MINI ALL4 for Team X-Raid. Their total time was 050:44:58.

Just over five minutes behind them was MINI teammate Stephane Peterhansel in second, followed by yet another MINI ALL4 driven by Nasser Al-Attiyah.
Fox News Latino tells how the final stage went down:
Roma, a Mini driver, made up the 26 seconds that separated him from France's Stephane Peterhansel, the leader after the penultimate stage, on the route from La Serena to Valparaiso.

In the final standings, the Spaniard finished with a time of 50:44:58, five minutes and 38 seconds ahead of the Frenchman.

South African Giniel De Villiers won the final car stage.
Here is part of MINI's official statement on the result, as carried by motorsport.com:
The 2014 Dakar Rally was one of the toughest of all time. The 9,374 km-long route led from Rosario (AR) across the Andes and the challenging Atacama desert to Valparaíso (CL) at the Pacific coast. The drivers had to face a lot of different weather conditions and soils. Gravel in the Andes and a lot of extremely fine sand in the hot Atacama desert. MINI mastered all the challenges and won 11 of the 13 stages. It was the third win in a row since MINI made its debut at the Dakar Rally in 2011. 
The great reliability of the MINI ALL4 Racing, which is based on the MINI John Cooper Works Countryman, was underlined by the fact that all eleven cars that had started into the event crossed the finish line in Valparaíso. Seven of them finished in the top-ten, including the ones of Monster Energy X-raid Team Orlando Terranova/Paulo Fiúza (AR/PT), who finished 5th overall, and Krzysztof Holowczyc/Konstantin Zhiltsov (PL/RU), who crossed the line 6th overall.

Here are the final top six positions in the standings as well as the finish positions of all MINIs that raced at Dakar 2014:
1. N. Roma (ESP) / M. Périn (FRA) MINI ALL4 Racing – 50h 44m 58s
2. S. Peterhansel (FRA) / J.-P. Cottret (FRA) MINI ALL4 Racing – 50h 50m 36s
3. N. Al-Attiyah (QAT) / L. Cruz (ESP) MINI ALL4 Racing – 51h 41m 50s
4. G. de Villiers (ZAF) / D. von Zitzewitz (GER) Toyota – 52h 04m 05s
5. O. Terranova (ARG) / P. Fiúza (POR) MINI ALL4 Racing – 52h 12m 42s
6. K. Holowczyc (POL) / K. Zhiltsov (RUS) MINI ALL4 Racing – 54h 40m 40s
9. M. Kaczmarski (POL) / F. Palmeiro (POR) MINI ALL4 Racing – 57h 43m 10s
10. V. Vasilyev (RUS) / V. Yevtyekhov (UKR) MINI ALL4 Racing – 57h 44m 32s
11. B. Garafulic (CHI) / G. Picard (FRA) MINI ALL4 Racing – 58h 20m 13s
12. F. Villagra (ARG) / J. P. Companc (ARG) MINI ALL4 Racing – 59h 05m 50s
19. S. Schott (GER) / H. Schmidt (GER) MINI ALL4 Racing – 64h 10m 36s
31. Zhou Yong (CHN) / Hong Yu Pan (CHN) MINI ALL4 Racing – 74h 19m 03s

How Much Of An Animal Lover Are You?

If you were driving down the road, like this gentleman, would you attempt this? As Carscoops reminds us:
Skunks are notorious for their anal scent glands that can spray a highly offensive and extremely difficult to get rid of smell as far as 10 feet (3 meters). The mixture can even cause temporary blindness if you're hit in the face, so this wasn't exactly a walk in the park…

BMW Board Member Schwarzenbauer's NAIAS 2014 MINI Statement

BMW Board Member Peter Schwarzenbauer is responsible for the MINI brand. The following transcript of Schwarzenbauer's comments at the NAIAS 2014 when presenting the MINI JCW Concept was released at BMW Group PressClub USA:
Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to MINI!
 It’s great to be back in the US again – MINI’s “home away from home”.
2013 was a huge year for MINI, with: 
- The 100-year celebrations at Oxford
- The premiere of the new MINI, which you see here behind me
- And to top it off, a record year in worldwide sales
Last year we delivered more MINIs around the globe than ever before with over 305,000 cars. We achieved this – above all – through strong gains in Asia and the Americas. Here in the US – by far MINIs largest market – the brand achieved its best year in sales ever with over 66.000 cars sold.
Two things are clear from our success here: Americans are big fans of the MINI brand and this market is really important to MINI.
On that note, I would like to say a big thank you to Jim McDowell for all of his hard and passionate work with MINI in the US. Jim has retired after eight years at the helm and we wish him all the best. His successor, David Duncan, will be looking to build upon the success story of MINI in the Americas. 
In Asia, the MINI community is clearly expanding. We achieved record deliveries in China, with sales increasing by more than twenty percent last year. Looking ahead, we are aiming once again for further growth in 2014. Of course, the new MINI will play a decisive role in providing for further momentum. 
We have taken a quantum leap in the interior, design, function and finish of this car. And it’s been turning heads since its premiere last November – the response to the new MINI has been overwhelmingly positive. We aim to grow even more – not just here in the U.S., but right across the globe. We are now laying the groundwork for the future. 
As we develop the MINI brand, I can assure you that we remain true to the heritage that defines it: 
- pure go-kart feeling,
- outstanding, iconic design.
- and extreme driving fun
For those fans looking for even more driving fun, all models are available as John Cooper Works versions. The MINI John Cooper Works Countryman ALL4 proved its power last year by winning the Dakar Rally. After the seventh leg of this year’s rally the MINI is once again in first place. And the story of John Cooper Works goes on: Today we are presenting a concept car, which delivers an insight into the future of the sportiest MINI. 
Ladies and Gentlemen, I’m pleased to present – here in Detroit – the world premiere of the MINI John Cooper Works Concept Vehicle!

New York Times Covers Debut Of MINI JCW Concept

The New York Times provides its first impressions on the MINI John Cooper Works Concept that debuted at the Detroit Motor Show.  It says it looks like:
"A small puppy with a mean bite."

New MINI "Bubblier"

Carbuzz starts its article on the new MINI:

The new third-gen Mini Cooper is here, but not everyone is happy about what they're seeing . . .[but] . . . the new Mini will become a huge seller. Brand loyalists, however, may not be so pleased with its bubblier dimensions. . . .