Jul 31st, 2003
You might have noticed some subtle change to the layout of the posts on the site recently. As always I'm playing with the layout and other small design details here and there to help improve both usability and look & feel. I guess as a designer that's the sort of thing that makes me excited to get up in the mornings.
Anyway if you do see small changes over the next several days don't be alarmed – I'm just trying to make this site a bit easier to use and nicer to look at.
Jul 31st, 2003
Meeting Place: Patrick MINI
Meeting Time: August 13th 6:00pm
I'm pleased to announce another upcoming Chicago MINI Motoring Club event. We will meet at Patrick MINI on the 13th of August at 6:00pm where legendary MINI racing veteran Phil Wicks will discuss his Midwest Driver Track Days at Gateway International Raceway. Phil will walk through all the details of the Track Days event plus (if we’re lucky) talk about his long racing career and what it was like to drive in the original Italian Job as a stunt man. The Track Days event will take place on August 30th at Gateway International Raceway just northeast of St. Louis. Chicago MINI Club Members will be offered a discount of 20%. So the Novice Class – usually $275 – is $220 and the Intermediate and Expert classes – usually $175 – is $140. Again this discount is only available to full members of the club.
This meeting will also be a great way to come out and see some of us for the first time if you couldn’t make it to the July Rally earlier this month. All are welcome to attend and we will be accepting membership applications at the meeting. Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you plan on attending this event.
Also a big thanks go out to Patrick MINI for letting us use their facilities for this meeting Ã¢â‚¬â€œ thanks Kevin! Of course this would be a great time to take advantage of our club discount at Patrick and pick up some of that fantastic MINI.
Jul 30th, 2003
From MINI PR:
“Woodcliff Lake, NJ, July 29, 2003 … MINI has announced that dealer-installed front and rear fog lamp kits will be available from late September.
Suitable for all existing MINI Cooper and MINI Cooper S models, the kits can be bought for the rear only or front and rear as a package. The kits have an MSRP of $75 for the rear kit and $199 for the front and rear kit combined, exclusive of installation charges.
Kit pricing includes an additional toggle switch for the front console. Installation includes ancillary wiring and reprogramming of the vehicle's software.”
These are very fair prices! A big thanks to Jason Livingood for setting up the initial petition last year and getting the ball rolling on this issue. I'm proud to say I'm number 14 on the list :) Of course we should also thank MINIUSA. It's rare for an automobile company to pay so much attention to what it's customers actually want – especially something that initially goes contrary to the auto company's wishes.
Jul 30th, 2003
I've updated my Cooper Remus exhaust review to reflect a full year of ownership. I've also had an opportunity to hear other systems out there and compare them to the Remus. It might be a helpful for anyone looking into aftermarket exhausts systems for their Cooper.
Check it out: motoringfile.com/exhaust
Jul 29th, 2003
Even if BMW Chairman Helmut Panke has personally moved back the introduction of the Four Door MINI to 2008 it hasn't stopped people from giving their interpretations of what the car might eventually look like. Granted I'd guess that by the time we see this model MINI will have launched the next general MINI platform, a new engine, and could very well have a slightly different look.
Here's Mr. Panke's original comments on the four door MINI from June's Automobile Magazine:
…”He wouldn't elaborate on what evolution [of the new 1 series] meant but we was more forthcoming about why a 5 door MINI [4 doors plus the hatch = 5] has been pushed back to 2008. “I would really like to do a second MINI model range. But I simply have not found the right approach. You see, brands need to be treated with diligence and care. There is certainly plenty of talent on the case, but we still need a little more time”.
You can read that initial article here. This photo is courtesy of www.stern.de.
Jul 29th, 2003
Here's a very interesting update on some of the software issues that a few of us have been experiencing. It was sent in by Phobol who was lucky enough to meet with engineers at the BMW Eastern Division Research Center:
I met with engineers today again, at their work place (more about it below) and they took my MCS for a drive, came back and said that, “yes, it's there” but they can't fix it for several reasons:
1. DMI is self adjusting and adapting, and to fix this problem they would have to change the adaptation logarithms.
2. They can't change software code, only versions because the software is owned by Siemens who in turn subcontracts Recarro to develop it. Neither of these companies want to lose full control of the software, so they won't let BMW group play with it.
3. It may have something to do with the “anti-jerk” feature designed specifically for front wheel cars, that adjusts the throttle to avoid the yank of the wheel. It kicks in just when you accelerate. What apparently happened is that Recarro only tested the software in England and Germany and figured that if it's good enough fo London and Munich, it's good for the rest of the world. WRONG!!! The heat factor plays a big role in when that “anti-jerk” kicks in and how much.
4. This is why the two engineers are going to Arizona next week. They will collect all the data they can and then relay it to Recarro who in turn is supposed to make changes to software.
This is a lot of info to absorb in half an hour, so I MAY be wrong about exact details (i.e. company names)
I was very impressed and surprised by the hospitality. Wonderful people making wonderful products. MINI is just one of them, and I am positive that all of the problems will be fixed soon, because they are aware of them and are working hard to get the fixes out to us.”
Great info – thanks!
Jul 28th, 2003
“Just been on a factory tour at Oxford today and all the MINIs being built had the shark fin antenna – looked good, but my Cooper S which I picked up last week doesn't have it!!”
“Also saw an all white Cooper S being driven around the plant.”
I've heard this but hadn't seen it substantiated until now. Thanks Andy! BTW that photo offers us more proof as it's an '04 MINI ONE D that does not have navigation.