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Archive for March 2003

The 2003 MINI AUX Radio Connector

MotoringFile Sections: Uncategorized Mar 30th, 2003 26 Comments

Update 2 – here's some info from a reader:

I just got off the phone with Aaron at Mini USA. After hounding him last week about the availability of this particular part, he finally spoke to Mini engineers, who said that this part is, I quote, “not compatible” with the US Mini coopers. He was told by engineering that it will not work. As to the actual Mini part, he still had no information on an expected date, other than to say to expect it “shortly”. He couldn't say if “shortly” meant 1 week or 1 month, but was able to guess that it would not be six months. So again back to square one.” – Loren

So unless we can get some sort of confirmation on the BMW part working with the MINI those waiting for the MINI aux port might want to wait for the “official” part and not get BMW's version.

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p>Update 1: [ Here's a new image of the actual piece (thanks to Geoff Stradling for the pic and info). There's also quite a bit of info regarding this and other homemade version on this MINI2 thread. ]

There are many people out there that have been waiting for this part for quite sometime. It allows you to plug in an auxuliary sound device (like an iPod for intance) into the radio and have it play through the speakers of your MINI. The following are the part numbers given for the Z4 but I'm told should be the same for the MINI:

With standard CD player: 65 12 0 153 501 Auxiliary Connection Retrofit Kit
With navigation system: 65 12 0 153 503 Auxiliary Connection Retrofit Kit

Unfortunately it's only available for 2003 MINIs as the wiring on radios from 2002 cars is different.

From my understanding the device will attach to the back of the head unit and the access point will mount in the glove box.

The True Story Behind the MINI's Exhaust Tip

MotoringFile Sections: Uncategorized Mar 29th, 2003 1 Comment

As many of you probably know there's an interesting story behind the MINI's exhaust tip and why it looks like it does:

Mini designer Frank Stephenson explains what a can of Budweiser and the new MINI have in common: “We worked a number of 24-hour days trying to get the full-sized clay model completed for presentation to the board of directors,” says Stephenson. “So when we finished the job with just hours to spare, I thought it appropriate that the team have a beer or two to celebrate. That's when I spotted the problem.”

That problem was the complete absence of an exhaust tip on the otherwise complete clay. Thinking quickly, Stephenson stripped the paint from his beer can, punched a hole in the bottom, and fixed it in place on the model.

It wasn't long before he was called on the carpet by his boss at BMW. “It wasn't the shape (of the tip),” he says, “everybody liked it because it was unique yet oddly familiar. He was concerned that I had wasted a modeler's time milling the piece when his time could be better spent elsewhere. That was when I felt the need to confess.”

That confession got him stunned silence followed by nearly uncontrollable laughter.(BMWworld.com)

While the beer can tip applies to both models you can see the influence a bit more in the Cooper as it's single tip is larger.

The Chicago Italian Job Rally

MotoringFile Sections: Uncategorized Mar 28th, 2003 48 Comments

As many of you know a remake of the Mini related cult classic “The Italian Job” is scheduled to open May 30th – only two months away! It'll star Mark Wahlberg, Edward Norton, Charlize Theron, and Seth Green along with several tricked out MINIs. For those who don't know much about the original “Italian Job” it featured Michael Cane, an abundance of Minis, and the best car chase of all time.

So while we're still pinning down the details of next month's Chicago Club formation meeting – I thought I'd 2nd Ron's idea of a Italian Job Rally when the movie comes out.

The ideal time for this meet would be on the afternoon of Saturday May 31st – a day after the movie opens. I was thinking we should plan to meet somewhere ahead of time and then drive to the theatre. Should we plan some sort of pre-movie lunch and small drive? We also need to consider what theatre would be best for this. I'm thinking something in an accessable suburb with a decent amount of parking. The one that comes to mind immediately is the Crown Village 18 in Skokie off of Thouhy and down the road from the Edens.

Anyone else have ideas as far location and a plan before the movie.

BMW to boost MINI's production

MotoringFile Sections: Uncategorized Mar 26th, 2003 3 Comments

More MINI related news from the latest edition of Autoweek

BMW AG expects to increase the number of MINIs it builds at its plant in Oxford, England, by about 10 percent in the next few years.

“It is something that will be done gradually,” BMW CEO Helmut Panke says. BMW built about 160,000 MINIs in Oxford last year with the factory running at full capacity and sold more than 144,000, with the United Kingdom and the United States its top markets. (Autoweek)


A Glimpse into the future with Bob Lutz

MotoringFile Sections: Uncategorized Mar 24th, 2003 2 Comments

With the introduction of the MINI One Diesel in Europe many people have asked why we in America won't be getting this vehicle. The easy answer is that the diesel in the US has sulfur content that is too high for this new breed of hi-tech diesel engines that the MINI One D has. But if you probe further into this question you'll find some interesting answers. This is an excerpt from an article in this week's Autoweek that is a glimpse into this issue.

U.S. clean-air standards that take effect this year will nullify the advantages everyone thinks the engines will bring to the U.S. market, Bob Lutz said in an interview at the Geneva auto show.

“We would like diesels,” Lutz said. “We think diesels are a major part of the solution for better fuel economy and cleaner emissions.

“But Europe has been very intelligent in setting (emissions) standards at a level where diesels are still feasible. In the U.S., we've done the opposite. Starting in '05, we enter a tier of standards so severe that even the cleanest of European diesels with the technology known today are not going to pass.”

…Reiterating a theme he and other GM executives have raised, Lutz said the best way to curb U.S. energy consumption would be to raise gasoline prices to European levels of about $4 per gallon over the next several years.

Although that obviously would wreck the market for large trucks – the industry's profit cow – Lutz said, “If we're really serious about fuel economy and cleaner emissions, the only way we're going to get there is to use the tax mechanism to curb demand.

“If you want people to eat less, you raise the price of food. Instead, what the government is trying to do with CAFE is fight national obesity by making the clothing industry manufacture only small sizes.”(Autoweek)

So this is yet more reasoning to keep the MINI One D away from these shores. I suppose this is America's loss – but if diesel's consumption advantages will be nullified than I at least understand some of the reasoning behind this move.

Another Weekend Another Mod

MotoringFile Sections: Uncategorized Mar 23rd, 2003 14 Comments

I love the look of the standard Cooper – in some respects more than the MCS. I like the shape of the bonnet and the chrome accents among other things. But there are several areas where the design details of the MCS are simply superior. Things like the chrome gas cap and the the S-lite 17″ wheels are fantastic additions to the car. But the piece that I've really grown to appreciate lately is the MCS side skirt on the lower side of the car.

The first thing most people notice about it in comparison to the Cooper's version is that it buldges out from the body giving the car a more muscular look. But beyond that I've found out It also offers more protection from small rocks that can get kicked up by the front wheels.

After just under a year of ownership I've found my Cooper's side sills to be riddled with small pit marks from from these stones that get kicked up (some if that is probably due to my 215/17/45 sized tires). It's been a real annoyance that after a wash the rear part of the side skirt looked like it had a light grey glaze over it due to all those small scratches.

So my solution was to find some side skirts (thanks David!) that had come off an MCS that was getting the aero kit. Installation was a little tricky but after a couple hours with little or no instructions we managed to get them fitted to my Cooper (thanks Steve!).


MINIUSA… happy first birthday!

MotoringFile Sections: Uncategorized Mar 22nd, 2003 1 Comment

One year ago today my wife and headed up the Knauz MINI for some test drives. We both managed to have the day off so we had all the time I the world to devote to the drives. The following is my post on Roadfly one year ago today:

Unfortunately this will have to be brief as I'm leaving for the weekend soon.

Thoughts:

First off the Cooper is a fine car. Almost fine enough to forget about the S. Especially considering I could probably get one next week. However with the S I'll be waiting until June (as I found out today). The Cooper's main weakness in my mind is the 45-70 acceleration. You must be “involved” with the tranny to get to 70 quickly. But that's part of the fun as well. The Cooper I drove had the 16s and was definately more harsh that my 325ci with 17s. But keep in mind it wasn't rough. It also didn't have the sport seats. I had to hang onto the wheel while cornering! I thing everyone getting a Cooper should seriously considering getting the sports seats.

The S was very nice. However it didn't “feel” as quick as I had expected. Because of the smoothness of the power it felt a bit laid back where I would have expected otherwise. The steering in both cars put my 325ci to shame. When I got back into it after the drives for the first time the steering felt very isolated and numb. I was shocked as I didn't realize that much difference when I was driving the MC and the MCS.

The car is small but it's so good looking. It's such a strange thing for such a small car to have so much presence.

Again I have to stress there was a lot less difference between the Cooper and the S than I had imagined. I think many people will go for the Cooper after they drive it. My wife wants me too (she wants something asap!). Still not sure though as I've been wanting the MCS for awhile. We put money down and could have one by summer. That being said the difference between the two is a lot less than the 50hp would suggest and the Cooper is much more compelling after the test drives.

I know there are a lot of people out there who are wondering about the sound. My wife managed to capture some freeway onramp accretion on her Cannon Powershot. it's not great quality but i think it gives you an idea.

MCS test drive video

As some of you know we ended up getting a Cooper as opposed to an MCS. Actually that night on our way down to St. Louis to visit some friends we and our beloved Volvo 760 were involved in a pretty bad head-on collision. We were okay but the Volvo was not. Because of that we needed a car pretty quickly… thus the Cooper that is parked outside my window right now.

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