Archive for January 2003

The MINI Cooper RS?

MotoringFile Sections: Uncategorized Jan 31st, 2003 No Comments

There's been several people recently that claim to have heard information on the new Cooper RS. The rumor is that it'll be a car that MINI produces in house and will have 200hp. Suspiciously it sounds a lot like the John Cooper Works MINI that was suppose to be sold through dealerships starting sometime later this year. That car also has 200hp.

Here are some of the latest threads (via minicooperonline.com):
2004 MINI RS

MINI Cooper RS

New MINI Options Coming Soon?

MotoringFile Sections: Uncategorized Jan 29th, 2003 3 Comments

The buzz over at mini2.com is that there will be a couple new options and add-ons in the UK available in late February and March. Whether or not these will be factory options in the US is yet to be determined. I imagine at the very least one could order them through a US dealer much like you can now with parts like the driver side shelf. Here's the list:

  • Chrome mirrors (ordered from factory with the car as opposed to bought from the dealer)
  • A chrome grill for the MCS (MINIUSA has initially said this won't be a US option but at the very least there will now be a Chrome grill that fits an MCS correctly)
  • A new console with armrest available in black or silver (with/without a phone holder for various mobile phones)

While I can't promise that this info is correct I'm guessing that it's probably pretty close.

Extra Brakelight Modification Instructions

MotoringFile Sections: DIY Jan 28th, 2003 6 Comments

By popular demand a couple of us have created extra brake light mod instructions. They detail how you can turn your unused rear fog lights into two new rear brake lights. It’s by far the cheapest mod you can make to your MINI (and one that greatly improves your visibility to others).

Some background: In Europe there are what is called rear fog lights. The idea is that they try to prevent the multi car pile-ups you see on highways when the fog is very thick. As many of you know the empty slot in the toggle switch row is filled with the rear fog light switch everywhere in the world but the US. For some reason it’s been determined that we don’t need rear fog lights. In fact there is an online petition for them to offer the lights as a retro fit kit on all MINIs.

Regardless a enterprising US MINI owner realized that the two rear fog light bulbs we’re actually still in the US MINI. So he decided to make an electrical jumper and turn those unused bulbs into extra brake lights. Both bulbs are the exact same wattage so they light up at essentially the same brightness. What has been found out since is that this change can be made simply with a paperclip and electrical tape. It’s a good solution for those that don’t want to do something permanent to their car. Of course soldering the connection with a real jumper is the best solution if you have the time and know how.

You can download the instructional PDF here. Thanks to Steve for doing the work and Michael for donating the MCS.

Legal stuff: You are solely responsible for any actions you undertake as a result of the information you obtain on this site. By downloading this PDF, you hereby release this site and its publishers from all claims, damages, or personal injury that result from your use of any information contained on this site and the PDF.

The January Drive Photos

MotoringFile Sections: Uncategorized Jan 27th, 2003 9 Comments

You can see the rest here. Thanks everyone for such a great drive. I can’t wait for the temp to hit double digits for our next one!


The New MINI designer speaks

MotoringFile Sections: Uncategorized Jan 26th, 2003 6 Comments

New MINI designer (now Ferrari/Maserati head designer) Frank Stephenson has an interview in this weeks Autoweek. Among the things he touched on was the process for the design conception of the new MINI:

AutoWeek: The transition from the world of Mini and BMW to Ferrari and northern Italy. It’s a fairly drastic difference.

Frank Stephenson: From the outside, it may seem like an awesome jump, but in this world of design, moving from BMW Mini to Ferrari-Maserati isn’t so hard. The one thing I’ve always wanted to do was be involved with an emotional product because I think to work on a normal, boring product is like prison. Working on the new Mini was my first real chance to let myself go.

AW: The period of development of the new Mini was an interesting time. We were all still unwilling to trust Germans running famous British companies.

FS: I got so many negative responses. I wasn’t worried about it. I could see the end product already in 1997. No matter what anyone said on the outside, inside we were all confident. The Mini stayed basically the same car from 1959 until 2000. We actually created an evolutionary process for the Mini, since it had never had one. We tried to imagine what it would have looked like as a new version for 1969, in 1979, 1989 and finally 1999. And that ’99 sketch that I did was my starting point. My brief was to make that model a reality. To pay attention to the past, but make it decidedly modern. The word retro is very negative in design-speak. It’s a sin.(AutoWeek)

This is a fascinating glimpse into the creation of the new MINI. I’d love to see a longer more MINI focused interview with Mr. Stephenson at some point. Anyone know where I could reach him :-)

Chicago Drive Update

MotoringFile Sections: Uncategorized Jan 24th, 2003 6 Comments

While it looks as if there might be a slight dusting of snow tonight by no means will that keep us from the drive. We’ll still be meeting at 8 and plan to leave around 8:30. Don’t forget to bring any FRS radios you might have so we can all communicate with each other. I’ll be in the Indie Blue/White Cooper and will have name tags and Sharpie’s if anyone is interested in wearing one (not the sharpie) Steve will be in the Red/White and will have the maps for everyone.

The forcast for Sunday calls for Mostly Sunny skies with a balmy high of 18°F.

Hope to see all you Chicago folks there!

New Mini Car Market Set to Emerge in U.S.

MotoringFile Sections: Uncategorized Jan 23rd, 2003 2 Comments

Could Detroit be on the verge of falling behind the curve in another hot new market segment? The answer should come in short order, as offshore-based auto makers begin to bring some of their tiniest vehicles to the U.S.

Long-held conventional wisdom is that Americans won?t buy anything smaller than a Chevrolet Cavalier and that they equate tiny with cheap and unsafe.

But the reception of BMW?s high-styled Mini Cooper seems to have convinced some that times are changing. ?The U.S. is the second biggest market for the Mini?the smallest car offered,? points out BMW Chairman Helmut Panke, appearing a bit surprised, himself, at the success of the award-winning car, which sold out its nearly 25,000-unit allotment here last year.”(Wardauto.com)


p>With the introduction of Toyotas Scion division and Mercedes Smart Roadster being imported to the US in the coming years it would seem that the premium small catagory is about to be the next big thing (no pun intended). I think that BMW deserves tons of credit for paving the way with the MINI and risking a lot with the rollout of a car that many thought could never be sold on these shores. It would seem that once again they've set the benchmark for others to follow.

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