Jun 29th, 2003
It's been a long time in coming but now MCS owners can officially join the chrome grille club. In the past those that wanted the the chrome look had to alter (cut) the MC four-bar chrome grille to get it to fit into the MCS hood. However with this new grille it should be a fairly straightforward installation. Here's the actual text from the service bulletin (supplied by an internal source):
“Aftersales is pleased to announce the release of a chrome grille for the MINI Cooper S. Available in the same three-bar pattern as the factory-equipped body coloured grille, the new chrome piece is an easy install and is sure to brighten up any Cooper S. It's attention grabbing styling lends a unique look.”
Here are the part numbers:
Grille (upper) – 51 13 7 122 473 – $72.25
Grille (lower) – 51 11 7 032 900 – $24.25
Jun 29th, 2003
For all you John Cooper Works fans out there:
Now Introducing John Cooper Works merchandise for serious motorers. The nylon Oxford windbreaker has the John Cooper Works badging embroidered on the left chest and MINI logo embroidered on the back neck. This sporty windbreaker is the ideal jacket, as its lightweight texture provides ease of movement and air circulation. The John Cooper Works Cap, Keychain, and Mug are also great additions to your MINI Collection.
p>You can see all the actual part numbers here.
Jun 29th, 2003
A source just passed along this information from a recently released MINI document:
Official tours of MINI production at Plant Oxford have started on 7 May 2003. This will bring MINI and the phenomenon of its successful market launch to both the community in and around Plant Oxford, as well as the growing global audience. External visitors will be given a chance to see at first hand the key steps in MINI production, and our trained tour guides will provide commentary and safe stewardship through the Plant.
Visiting production areas The tours will start in the Plant Oxford Info Centre, with the main focus of the tour being the Body in White (welding) and Assembly Halls. For Health and Safety reasons, visitors will not go into the paint facility, but instead be introduced to key highlights of the paint process with visual aids in the Info Centre.
How to book your group in If you have requests for a visit to MINI production at Plant Oxford then please direct these to:
In writing to : Plant Tours,
Communications Dept. (TO-K),
BMW Group Plant Oxford,
Oxford, OX4 6NL.
We regret that children below the age of 14 are not allowed on site for Health and Safety reasons. Our maximum group size will be 30 people. Plant Tours start at the times shown below, and last approximately two and a half hours.
AM Tour PM Tour
M to TR 09h30 13h45
Friday 09h15 12h45
Jun 27th, 2003
I'm sure many of you out there are familiar with the famed Belgian race course Spa. It's played host to many great F1 battles over the years as well as countless other motorsports events. Well now you get to see what it's like to lap the circuit in a MINI Cooper S. Ken at MINI2 posted the following video of his MCS lapping the track (warning for dial-up viewers – the video is 26MB in size and is in Windows Media Format):
“My video starts just before turn 12, Fagnes. Keep an eye on the silver Porsche that overtakes me on the F1 front straight about a minute and a half into the video. We loop around the 170 degree hairpin (turn 1 – La Source), and he just rockets away down the straight.
Here is a map of Spa for reference sake.
I put in about 180 miles of training on Tuesday. I was wore out afterwards but satisfied with finally getting a good foundation from which to start to improve my lap times. My best lap time was 3:13.03 (Spa is 4.4 miles/7kms long). That's still a good 4-4.5 seconds off the race pace which makes me a distant backmarker, but Tuesday was only my second full day of track time at Spa and my first trouble-free day.”
Jun 25th, 2003
Some of you may have seen photos of the recent New Hampshire MINI drive around the web. Here's a thorough review from Ian Cull:
The summer solstice saw perhaps the biggest local gathering of MINIs to date in the White Mountains region of New Hampshire. More than 70 MINIs and their owners, from New England and as far as Cleveland Ohio, gathered at the Loon Mountain parking lot (thanks to them) midday on June 21.
Steve, who did a magnificent job organizing and coordinating the events, handed out the specially designed “MINIs On Top” T-shirts, and numbered every car for the later prize givings.
After a lot of “meet and greet” and mutual admiration of each others cars, we set off along the Kancamagus Highway for a “parade” drive, being careful to maintain the speed limit at all times. We turned onto Bear Notch Road which winds pleasantly through the hills, stopping for lunch and completely filling the parking area!
After lunch we completed Bear Notch Road and dispersed to entertain ourselves for the rest of the afternoon – some enjoyed cider donuts (http://www.whitemountaincider.com), some slid down the Attitash Bear Peak slide (www.attitash.com) and some entertained their family at Storyland (www.storylandnh.com). We checked in to our hotel, then toured the craft
stores in Gorham.
About 6pm everyone gathered back at the start of the Mount Washington Auto Road; a BBQ was provided by the Auto Road, offering chicken, hot dogs, and burgers of the beef and veggie variety (also salad for the health conscious,
and excellent brownies for the less health minded!) Prizes were given out for the longest distance travelled (the owners from Cleveland won easily), cleanest (and dirtiest) MINI, best CD collection, and others. John also read out an official proclamation signed by Craig Benson (Governor of New Hampshire) declaring June 21 2003 “MINI Cooper Day” in New Hampshire – excellent!
After prize giving all the MINIs lined up at the start of the Auto road, then we proceeded up at a gentle first/second gear pace.
Eight miles later, all the MINIs successfully arrived ON TOP of Mount Washington; there were a few hot engines but no casualties.
Everybody gathered at the viewing area on top and called various friends back home to capture a screenshot from the Mount Washinton webcam (http://www.mountwashington.org/cam/deck/index.php); then we watched a superb sunset – the weather was incredibly good all day!
You can see tons of photos from this event here: minisontop.com.
Jun 25th, 2003
Straight from someone “in the know” over at MINI2:
New colours are a coming for the cabrio (confirmed): Hot Orange and Cool Blue.
Apparently, the interior trim will match the exterior(Hot Orange on the dash!?!), and there are some new alloy wheel designs in 16″ and 17″ on their way too.
p>This new info closely matches what I had previously recieved last month on the subject so I would guess it could very well be correct. You can see what might become “cool blue” here and “hot orange” here.
Jun 25th, 2003
It looks like MINI may have quietly solved the paint rub issue with new cars:
This looks like MINI's solution to the paint abrasion problem. I wonder if the mat can be retro-fitted. Of course, my mat has a cut-out around the intercooler intake, and I haven't looked at the underside of a Cooper. The surface of the mat is almost like the side-skirts and spoiler material. As I point out at the photos, one should probably make sure that the gasket faces are always clean, so they don't get abrasion. It's some slick engineering.
This is encouraging news for us with the paint rub issue. However I feel like I've seen a couple recent build Coopers that don't have this mat yet. If anyone out there with newer MINIs (MC or MCS) can take a look at the underside of their hood we could try track down when this change happened and how widespread it is. I'm also curious if this is just for the MCS or will eventually make it's way throughout the line.
For more information about the problem read this post and then this follow-up story. Here are more photos of the mat: 1, 2.