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MINI Motoring

It's a MINI blog adventure.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Well, the sea portion of the journey is over. It's time to motor on down the train tracks! I'm not sure when the MINI will be boarding the train, but this part of the journey will be about one week. When I can get the Maptech website to work properly, I will post pictures of the sea voyage for all to see!

eBay item 4553988453 (Ends 30-Jun-05 19:00:00 BST) - MINI Cooper Cabrio designed by VERSACE

Sunday, June 26, 2005
eBay item 4553988453 (Ends 30-Jun-05 19:00:00 BST) - MINI Cooper Cabrio designed by VERSACE

Winning bid: EUR 120,150.00
(Approximately £81,069.42)


Captain's Log. Stardate -318473.97

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Time: Jun-23-2005 00:00 GMT
Latitude: 52 48' N
Longitude: 32 48' W
Callsign: SFQG

Distance to Halifax: 2415 km (1501 miles) (1304 nautical miles)


Captain's Log. Stardate -318470.54

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Time: Jun-21-2005 18:00 GMT
Latitude: 52 48' N
Longitude: 18 18' W
Callsign: SFQG

Distance to Halifax: 3390 km (2106 miles) (1830 nautical miles)


2005 Mini Cooper S Convertible - Forbes.com

Monday, June 20, 2005
2005 Mini Cooper S Convertible - Forbes.com:
On the more approachable side, there's the subject of this review--the $24,400 Mini Cooper S Convertible, a car that, dollar for dollar, may be the most balanced and versatile soft-top sports machine ever devised.


Captain's Log. Stardate -318468.49

Time: Jun-21-2005 00:00 GMT
Latitude: 50 54' N
Longitude: 10 24' W
Callsign: SFQG

Distance to Halifax: 3956 km (2458 miles) (2136 nautical miles)


MINI Driver Psychological Exam

Hello MINI enthusiast,

We've devised a short experiment to find out what makes you tick.

So please turn up your speakers, (or put on your headphones if you're at work) and follow this link to begin the treacherous road trip into your mind.

See the comments if you want to know how I scored, but make sure you do the test first!


My MINI Specs

Sunday, June 19, 2005


Dark Silver Metallic
Black Roof and Mirror Caps
Black Bonnet Stripes
Chrome Line Exterior
17" S-Spoke Alloy Wheels - Style 85 w/run-flat Performance Tires

Panther Black/Panther Black w/Gravity Leather
Chrome Line Interior
Anthracite Roofliner
Anthracite Trim

Limited Slip Differential
Automatic Climate Control

Premium Package
  • Glass Sunroof, Heated Seats, Multi-Function Steering Wheel w/Cruise Control
Sport Package
  • Dynamic Stability Control (DSC), Front & Rear Foglights, 17" S-Spoke Alloy Wheels - Style 85 w/Performance Tires, Performance Run-Flat Tires: 205/45R17
Cockpit Chrono Package
  • Cockpit Chrono Pkg., On-Board Computer
All Weather Visibility Package
  • Electric Front Window Defroster, Auto Dimming Interior Mirror, Rain Sensor w/Automatic Headlights. Replaces green stripe windshield
  • Harman/Kardon Hi Fi System
  • CD Player
  • iPod and interface (http://www.ipodyourbmw.com/) ... Got this free for attending the Test Fly a MINI event!


Don Pasquale at Southampton

The Don Pasquale is seen in the background on the left. It's scheduled to leave for Halifax at 21:00 GMT.

The Don Pasquale

The ship's on it's way to the dock! It's at the bottom left section of the radar. Don Pasquale. It should be docking in about 3 hours.

Video - New Citroën C4

Saturday, June 18, 2005
New Citroën C4 ... Transformer Style


Poet’s wife killed in motorway car crash

Friday, June 17, 2005
Ham and High Broadway:
THE WIFE of poet Dannie Abse has been killed in a tragic road accident in South Wales.

Writer Joan Abse, 78, and her husband, 81, were returning home from a poetry reading on Monday at about 10.40pm when their Nissan Sunny car collided with a Mini Cooper on the M4 near Bridgend.

Their car careered off the road and overturned. Mrs Abse was killed instantly.



Thursday, June 16, 2005
My first 'experiment': accidentally erasing waves!

Once upon a time, years ago, I was driving through a number of stop/go traffic waves on I-520 at rush hour in Seattle. I decided to try something. On a day when I immediately started hitting the usual 'waves' of stopped cars, I decided to drive smoothly. Rather than repeatedly rushing ahead with everyone else, only to come to a halt, I decided to try to move at the average speed of the traffic. I let a huge gap open up ahead of me, and timed things so I was arriving at the next 'stop-wave' just as the last red brakelights were turning off ahead of me. It certainly felt weird to have that huge empty space ahead of me, but I knew I was driving no slower than anyone else. Sometimes I hit it just right and never had to touch the brakes at all. Other times I was too fast or slow. There were many 'waves' that evening, and this gave me many opportunities to improve my skill as I drove along.

I kept this up for maybe half an hour while approaching the city. Finally I happened to glance at my rearview mirror. There was an interesting sight.


Road Test: Mini Cooper S vs. Hummer H2


Insulting the MINI = bad

iPodlounge Forums - what do you guys think of the mini cooper?:

go for it if u want to. if u live in the usa then dont. a: they are pretty unsafe, B; u could get a wayyyy cooler safer suv. but if u like it then go for it!! thats all that counts!!

Yeah. This person is a moron. I currently drive a SUV, and they are NOT safer than a MINI Cooper. All you have to do is look at the IIHS website for some crash test results.

1. How many SUVs do you see with 6 airbags?
2. How many MINI Coopers do you see rolled over in a ditch?

grr... what is cool about an SUV? you go through gas like crazy, you pollute the environment, not to mention looking like an #######. of course, by your 'Location: USA!!', i would venture that you're a new found (post-911) patriot, supporting george bush and his war to get more oil to power more fuel guzzling suvs.

minis are NOT unsafe... go for it flav-- they're awesome cars that drive well!

Heh yep. MINI lovers get a tad testy when insulted.


Car Wax Test Results, NSeXcitement Magazine

Car Wax Test Results, NSeXcitement Magazine:
Zaino Z-2 Show Car Polish - $12.95 per bottle
Zaino Z-1 Show Car Polish LOK, 'Pre-Cleaner and Gloss Conditioner' - $8.95 per bottle
Zymol NSX Glaze - $144.00 per jar
Zymol HD-Cleanse - $25.50 per bottle
Meguiar's Gold Class, Liquid Clear Coat Car Wax - $12.95
Zymol Natural Liquid Auto Polish - $20.00


Josh Wardell’s MINI Cooper S » One Year

Josh Wardell’s MINI Cooper S » One Year:
One Year
Posted on Wednesday 15 June 2005 at 2:26 pm

One year ago today, I received my MINI. It seems almost unbelievable that it’s been that long, as it often still feels like I just got it; the excitement is still as strong as ever. Looking at the accomplishments, in one year my MINI has had more experiences than most cars have a lifetime; MINI events, competitive motoring events, an accident, and a ton of new friends made.


2003 Mini Cooper S - Long-Term Test Verdict - Motor Trend

Wednesday, June 15, 2005
2003 Mini Cooper S - Long-Term Test Verdict - Motor Trend:
Long-Term Test Verdict: 2003 Mini Cooper S
Instant fun--just add driver and premium fuel

By Editors of Motor Trend
Photography by Jeremiah Scott
Motor Trend, April 2005

After more than 40 years in production, the Mini Cooper has become synonymous with underdog motorsport victories, European urban commuting, and daring skirts. The original Cooper had a shape, personality, and heritage similar to the Volkswagen Beetle's--and when it came time for BMW to launch a second-generation, 21st-century Mini, expectations were the same as those for the New Beetle's: Mess with the formula, and you'll end a legacy.


Howstuffworks "How Manual Transmissions Work"

Tuesday, June 14, 2005
Howstuffworks "How Manual Transmissions Work":
If you drive a stick-shift car, then you may have several questions floating in your head:

* How does the funny 'H' pattern that I am moving this shift knob through have any relation to the gears inside the transmission? What is moving inside the transmission when I move the shifter?
* When I mess up and hear that horrible grinding sound, what is actually grinding?
* What would happen if I were to accidentally shift into reverse while I am speeding down the freeway? Would the entire transmission explode?

In this article, we'll answer all of these questions and more as we explore the interior of a manual transmission


BMW commits over £100m to Oxford MINI plant

BMW commits over £100m to Oxford MINI plant - Industry News - News & Events - Auto Industry:
BMW commits over £100m to Oxford MINI plant

13th May 2005

Dr Helmut Panke, BMW chairman, told the company’s shareholders at their AGM yesterday, “Given the great success of the MINI brand, we will be expanding the Oxford plant and will be making an additional investment at the plant of more than £100 million up to the year 2007.

“Most of these resources will go into the further optimization of production capacities, in particular a new body construction building as well as the modernization of the paintshop.”

Dr Panke continued: “MINI is a story of success only a few had really expected. At the beginning there were very many sceptics, who did not believe we would be able to successfully re-position the brand. The fact is, however, that today we are selling twice as many MINIs as we originally assumed. And precisely that makes it essential to provide new capacities through our capital expenditure in Oxford. At the same time we are setting the foundation for the ongoing enhancement of flexibility in production for various models within the MINI family.”


It's a Mini Adventure

Monday, June 13, 2005
So, we had a look at the BMW Mini. The Mini that we saw at the first garage had everything on it. Sun-roof, 17 inch alloys, everything. Bear in mind that I wasn't really looking at it too much. I like bigger cars. I've always driven a big car. I'm not a fan on smaller motors like the 'hot hatch' things like the Peugeot 106 or Renault Clio Sport etc. I ended up with a Lexus IS200... I loved it... I crashed it.. So I got another one. But this Mini ? Nah.. sorry...


Almost Time to Sail!

It felt like an eternity, but it looks like the MINI is built and is ready to navigate across the seas on June 19th.

Cargo Status History

Cargo Id : WMWRE33555T******
Booking Number : GBSOU32965
Bill Number :
Port of origin : SOUTHAMPTON
Voyage : ED517-DOP
Port of Destination : HALIFAX, NS
Priority :
Customer Ref. Nbr:

This information includes the status, status dates, and location of cargoes during transit with WWL and does not indicate availability of cargoes for delivery.

Status: BOOKED
Time(dd/mm/yyyy hh:mm): 12/06/2005 20:25



Saturday, June 11, 2005

R50R MINI Robot, eh?


I'll take the Red pill, please. Well, Dark Silver.

keke suv humping

Bob's Gauges

Friday, June 10, 2005

Bob's Gauges, originally uploaded by blu_iguana.

Holy gauges, Batman!


160 MINIs On Top of Mt. Washington

20040619-184929, originally uploaded by jwardell.

That's definitely desktop wallpaper material.


Minis On Top

20040619-185042, originally uploaded by jwardell.

All I can say is .. wow. It looks like these guys had a great time up Mt. Washington.


'Desperate' team won't be desperate for pay

Wednesday, June 08, 2005
People in the News: 'Desperate' team won't be desperate for pay:
People in the News: 'Desperate' team won't be desperate for pay

Weep no more for Teri Hatcher.

The breakout success of 'Desperate Housewives' will soon be breaking the bank for the hit series' top star. World Entertainment News Network reports that Hatcher has signed on for the show's second season at a significant upgrade in pay. Roll up the Brinks trucks for her haul.

Hatcher will now be paid $285,000 per episode, up from this year's paltry paycheck of $38,000. A source says of the brunette beauty, 'She has undoubtedly turned out to be the star of the show. Men find her sexy and women want to be like her.'

Pay raises also are on tap for other co-stars in the series -- Nicolette Sheridan, Felicity Huffman, Marcia Cross and Eva Longoria. Their raises are not likely to rival Hatcher's, but they will be significant, given that they are taking home (boo-hoo) $1,800 per episode this season.

Some consolation also will come from additional compensation dispensed to each 'Desperate' diva upon signing for a second season. Each is receiving a new Mini Cooper for those L.A. trips to the mini mart.


Radar clocks Mini at Mach 3 speed

BBC NEWS | Europe | Radar clocks Mini at Mach 3 speed:
Radar clocks Mini at Mach 3 speed
Flying along like a supersonic aircraft
A Belgian motorist was left stunned after authorities sent him a speeding ticket for travelling in his Mini at three times the speed of sound.

The ticket claimed the man had been caught driving at 3380 kph (2,100 mph) - or Mach 3 speed - in a Brussels suburb, a Belgian newspaper reported.

However, police later admitted that a faulty radar had been responsible for the Mini's incredible feat.


World’s most dangerous Mini computer exposed

World’s most dangerous Mini computer exposed:
World’s most dangerous Mini computer exposed

Computex 2005 Formerly Brit, now German

By Tony Dennis in Taipei: Tuesday 31 May 2005, 09:45
ARE THEY CRAZY? Apparently engineers have fitted the world’s smallest computer [Oh, yeah? –Ed.], to a BMW Mini Cooper cabriolet. They apparently stole the car radio to get it in.

Once again Chipzilla appears to be to blame here. The Mini Cooper was brought on stage in a key note speech by the ever-present Anand Chandrasekher at Computex to show just how powerful a PC can be if you put it in a car.

And just how dangerous. The PC is intended to be controlled by the driver. So he or she can use it to start a game that plays on head-rest mounted screens for the kids sitting in the rear seats.

Meanwhile, the driver can opt to play music tracks downloaded via a USB memory stick. Or view a photo album or check emails. Hopefully none of this will take place while tearing down the M1 at 70 mph.

More puzzling was the revelation that the Mini Cooper was the first car to be shown with its own built-in WiMax receiver. Hmm. That’ll work when you’re on the motorway? Not.


European First For GKN Driveline’s ‘Super LSD’

European First For GKN Driveline’s ‘Super LSD’:
GKN Driveline’s ‘Super Limited Slip Differential’, is now fitted to the highly desirable MINI Cooper S. This is the first production application of the Super LSD in Europe.

GKN Driveline, the world leader in automotive driveline components and systems has significantly extended its service to the industry in recent years with a host of advanced technology drivetrain assemblies from sideshafts to electronically controlled torque management products.

With 161 bhp and performance to propel the front drive hatchback from 0-60 mph in under 8 seconds, the MINI Cooper S requires optimum traction to deliver driver-friendly performance.

Graeme Walford, MD of GKN Driveline Torque Technology comments: “The Super LSD is an innovative, compact and cost-effective solution for performance cars and can be fitted in place of open differentials in front or rear axle or transaxle applications.

“The technical sophistication of today’s cars is such that every refinement is vital,” continues Walford. “We are thrilled that a premium brand such as MINI recognises that we have achieved a measurable advance in terms of driver-pleasing vehicle dynamics with our Super LSD.

With its torque-sensing technology, our product eliminates the flawed dynamics of some performance front drive cars while at the same time delivering excellent responsiveness and a sportier driving experience.”


Rail from Halifax to Toronto

Tuesday, June 07, 2005
CN's website is so difficult to get travel times out of. Their maps are terrible! Anyway, it looks like the train ride from Halifax to Toronto takes between 5 and 7 days, depending on which day of the week the train leaves. Assuming the car is loaded on the train the day after it arrives in port (which somehow I doubt), it would be north of Toronto in Concord, Ontario by July 4th.

Realistically, I would expect the car to sit for a few days before being loaded on the train. I'd also be very surprised if it got right on the train from the liner, so let's shoot for July 22nd. Of course, it has to be transported over from Concord to Toronto, get the PDI completed at the dealership, then have the iPod kit installed.

July 25th


Halifax Port Revealed

I did some detective work. Here's what I came up with:

Since the MINI is in production from June 6th to June 12th, I checked out the cargo ship schedules. The only port that makes sense en route to Toronto is Halifax, Nova Scotia. Sure, New Jersey is closer, but someone pointed out to me that the car would have to go through customs and all that crap. I'm not even sure if there is a rail link from NJ to Toronto anyway. Toronto has a port, but the cargo company doesn't seem to ship there.

Okay ... so the only cargo ship that goes from Southampton to Halifax in June is the Don Pasquale. Call sign ED517-DOP. It leaves Southampton on June 19th and arrives in Halifax on June 26th. Wallenius Wilhelmsen doesn't really make it clear where their port is (unless you're from Dartmouth / Halifax), but I'm pretty sure I found it by finding their postal code! Take a look:

Autoport in Halifax (satellite)
Autoport in Halifax (map)

Once in Halifax, it would go via rail to the Toronto area. Where in Toronto, I'm not sure. But I will find out! It's fun doing all of this detective work! Stay tuned.


How to track your MINI

Many of these links are from the MINI2 Forums, but I added a few of my own and updated dead links:

Wallenius Wihelmsen Carriers to get the vessel name

Schedules by Destination

Port Information

U.S. Coast Guard to get vessel "Call Sign" for tracking

Southampton Radar

Southampton Shipping Movements

Southampton Live Webcam

Oceanweather.com Use Marine Observation to track

SailWX Tracking

AISLive.com Tracking

Halifax Port Webcam

Port Of Charleston Vessel activity for next 30 days

NY NJ Port Schedule (Vessel activity currently down)

North East Marine Terminal

Canadian National Railroad


Week 23 Production

Well, it turns out the MCS is scheduled for production during week 23 of the German calendar. The German calendar goes from Monday - Sunday, so their week numbers are different than it is for most of us. Fortunately, I can read enough German to get me by! Here's what I found: The dates of Montag, 6. Juni 2005 to Sonntag, 12. Juni 2005 are within 23. Kalenderwoche 2005.

What that means is that my car will be assembled during the week of Monday June 6th 2005 - Sunday June 12th 2005. Woot woot! Once that is all done, I will be able to track the car's voyage over the ocean through the Wallenius Wilhelmsen ocean liner website.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Ooooh! Me so horny! Me love you long time!

Ungh sew gewd!

Ungh sew gewd!


IIHS Crashworthiness Evaluations:
Mini Cooper
2002-05 models
Vehicle tested: 2002 Mini Cooper
Class: Small car

Weight: 2,496 lbs.
Wheelbase: 97 in.
Length: 143 in.
Width: 66 in.
Engine: 1.6 L 4-cylinder
EPA ratings: 28 mpg city | 37 mpg highway

The Mini Cooper was introduced in the 2002 model year.


STRUCTURE/SAFETY CAGE: GOOD There was minimal intrusion into the driver footwell area and minimal rearward movement of the instrument panel.

RESTRAINTS/DUMMY KINEMATICS: ACCEPTABLE Dummy movement was reasonably well controlled. During rebound, the dummy's head leaned partway out the open side window.

INJURY MEASURES: GOOD Measures taken from the head, neck, chest, and both legs indicate low risk of injury to these body regions.


* Electronic stability control (optional)
* Antilock brakes
* Daytime running lights (programmable by dealer)


Ugh ...

Okay, I couldn't hold out any longer. I had to ask the salesperson what is happening with production. If I had it my way, I would know when the frame is completed, when the panels are put on, when the paint is started, when it is finished, etc. But at least I went two weeks without asking her! I sent her an email, so I should hear back from her soon.

Interior View

Rear View

Here are some images from the MINI website that show what my baby is going to look like from the front, back and interior. Please wipe the drool from your mouth before you get in.

Top Gear - MINI Cabrio Review

A huge New Mini fan, I've lost count of the number I've driven over the past three years, in places as far-flung as Minsk and Manhattan.

And yet, I've not really been looking forward to the Convertible. Why? Partly because soft-top versions of small cars are the sort of thing people who think they like cars (but actually don't) tend to go for, in the same way that anyone with a Celine Dion or Mariah Carey CD in their collection is more of a music hater than lover.

Transport as a trinket, in other words. Then there are the inevitable compromises: this car wasn't designed to be a convertible from the off, so in losing its head the Mini risks losing some of its terrific wieldiness too. '

'It also looks a bit funny. One of the standard car's stand-out features is its wraparound glazing, topped by a clever roof. For obvious reasons, the Convertible junks both and goes its own way, not entirely successfully. So chunky are the C-pillars that it's almost as if the new car is the Mini Convertible and van rolled into one.

A quick flick through the spec sheet reveals that a reverse parking sensor is standard even on the cheapest model. An interesting but unsurprising bit of BMW-sponsored generosity - I've visited submarines that have better over-the-shoulder rear three-quarter vision.

Nor is the Convertible's rear compartment much to write home about. Hood up, it's a bit of a dungeon and there's an unsightly gap at the side, which gives you a good view of the roof's inner gubbins. Then there's the rear seat. In fact, it's not so much a seat as a gentle hollow scooped out of some fabric. Designed, I would think, more with the Selfridges bag in mind than the human arse.

Especially when you discover how small the boot is. The lower half of the bootlid folds down like the original Mini's did - suspended on two slightly flimsy-feeling steel cables and a spring mounted retractor system - while you can unfasten the hood to lift up the top half, should you need to squeeze in a bulkier item. Like a toothbrush perhaps. Fold the seats away, and the luggage capacity increases to 605 litres.

Of course, it all makes sense when you get rid of the roof (of black, green or blue hues on Cooper models). It's a clever set-up, and the fabric itself is of impressively high quality.

Electro-hydraulically operated and fully folded in 15 seconds (via buttons on the A-frame above the rearview mirror), the roof operates in two stages. The first sees it slither back 40cm leaving a sunroof-like aperture, and operates at speeds up to 75mph. Press the button again and the whole lot arcs down.

Space was clearly at a premium, so the roof sits in a visible three-layer pile at the back of the car rather than hiding away completely. The glass rear window is another high quality touch, and the fixed rear headrests and aluminium roll-hoops look good, though oddly like two members of Kraftwerk in permanent transit.

Overall, and given the constraints, the Mini Convertible appears very tidy indeed. Vastly tidier than the last official Mini convertible of the mid-'Nineties anyway. Which was actually a pram.

And it's a great drive. It feels like a proper little roadster on the move, even with that upright windscreen and rising waistline, the air eddying satisfyingly around you.

The floor assembly and sills have been re-inforced, and there are extra crossbars and strengthened side panels. There's also a 'tube' of high-density steel in the A-pillars which can absorb one and a half times the car's mass in the event of a rollover (aided by those rear hoops).

All of which adds 100kg to the Mini's weight, blunting performance a bit: the Cooper version takes 9.8 seconds to reach 62mph, compared to 9.2 seconds for its fixed-roof equivalent.

The Mini's ride has always been on the firm side, so you'd expect any structural problems to be cruelly magnified now it's been converted. But there don't seem to be many. Even over coarse surfaces, there's no serious windscreen flex or noticeable shimmy through the steering wheel. It doesn't feel quite as solid as the current Mini - a very chunky little item - but it's still an excellent effort. Gearchange, steering and handling are all as good as ever.

The Convertible also ushers in a few other discreet changes. There's a revised front grille, some much needed improvements to the headlights, new detailing at the rear end, and a choice of vibrant new colours with the usual daft names. The car you see here is 'hot orange', but you could also have 'hyper blue' or 'black eye purple'. And people actually get paid to think these up.

Inside, there's a bigger doorbin, a new armrest, redesigned door handles, and the option of a 'body-coloured' interior. The main instrument display is unchanged, but as I'm the only person I've ever met who doesn't like it, this is presumably a good thing.

As is the car as a whole. Last year almost 100,000 convertibles were sold in the UK, many of which aren't anything like as fun or well executed as the Mini. Personally, I'd have junked the back seats, installed Ferrari 360 Spider-style fairings and roof, and made it even more of a roadster than it is. But then, I've never really seen the point of moisturiser.

First Things First - Learn Everything!

One of the first things you will want to do as a new MINI owner is read the manual. You don't want to look like a total fool when someone asks you where the heated headlight washer jets are. Or maybe you don't want to look as confused and frightened as your passenger when they tell you that they can't get out of the car because the door is locked and won't open. Perhaps you'd rather open all of the windows on your lovely MINI when people get too close, gawking at it.

Whatever your reasons are, visit MotoringFile to download your manual!

PDF Manuals
'02 MC/MCS Owners Manual
'03 MC/MCS Owners Manual
'04 MC/MCS Owners Manual
'05 MC/MCS Owners Manual
Official Navigation Manual
Unauthorized Owners Manual

The Motley Fool: Buying a Car

Sunday, June 05, 2005
The Motley Fool: FoolBooks - Buying a Car -- Worksheets:

Foolish Delivery Checklist

So you bought a new car and it's ready for you to pick up and drive off the lot. We know you're excited to get on the road, but it is important not to rush the delivery process. Below you'll find some general guidelines and a checklist for you to print out and use the day you pick up your new baby.


X-Ray MINI Cooper S

Friday, June 03, 2005


New MINI webring