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Archive for February 2004

Welcome to MotoringFile

MotoringFile Sections: Uncategorized Feb 28th, 2004 31 Comments

It's been over a year since Bridger.us/MINI was launched and during that time we've seen many accolades, articles and an incredible number of comments. However there was one thing that Bridger.us/MINI didn't have during this whole time – a proper name.

When I started the site I wanted to create a weblog that was all about MINI news, tips, how to's, and reviews (among other things) plus an area for comments and input from visitors. As a designer I also wanted a place that I could have a bit of a creative outlet. Overall I saw the site as a way to create something that was a bit more refined than the standard automotive forums site (which has been done to death all across the web). And of course it made little sense to create yet another MINI forums site specifically when there were already two solid ones out there. Simply put, my theory was if I got hits that was great, but I was going to create something that I'd want to read on a daily basis and not worry about making the site a popular destination. Before starting the site I wasn't even thinking it would ever warrant a real name or url. I figured most likely that only a handful of people would find it, bookmark and enjoy it and that would be it.

So as the site quickly grew early on it became clear to me that I had an opportunity to create a meaningful resource for the MINI community as well as build something to be proud of. Yet over the months there was just one key issue that kept rearing it's head – it was built on a url that was meant to be nothing more than a personal space for design projects and a general weblog. Granted the connection of the url (and subsequently my surname) to both the new and original Italian Job characters was a nice coincidence, it certainly wasn't enough to justify not giving the site a real name.

So after months of planning and debating, and much input from others, I've decided to change the name of the site from Bridger.us/MINI to MotoringFile (www.motoringfile.com). As some of you know MINI is very sensitive in regards to using the name MINI or Cooper on a private website (just take a look at what North American Motoring went through last year). With that in mind I wanted something that worked in terms of the MINI culture yet didn't use the term MINI in it's title. I also wanted the name to some how relate to it's place in the MINI world. MotoringFile seemed like a natural choice – and the domain was free :)

As many of you know this site is a bit more than a one person job. Because of that I'd like to also take this time thank the coder of the weblog software that this site is built on and constant behind the scenes site contributer Matthew Gifford. Without Matt this site simply wouldn't exist in it's current form.

So without further delay I'd like to welcome you to the MotoringFile. Have a look around and let us know what you think!

Cheers,
Gabriel Bridger

PS: Oh and don't forget to check out our new MotoringFile apparel in the CafePress shop section.

New 2004 MINI Accessories

MotoringFile Sections: Uncategorized Feb 28th, 2004 14 Comments

MINI will be releasing many key new accessories and MotoringGear products in the coming months – along with a couple JCW products. Here's a list of the more interesting ones:

MINI Accessories

  • Bluetooth phone kit / availability 3/04
  • 17″ R90 Wheel anthracite (same ones as seen on the MC40) / availability 8/04
  • 17″ Alloy Wheel / availability 5/04
  • Sport Link/Bike Rack (MINI FINI) / availability 5/04
  • Roof Decals for cars with a sun roof / availability 3/04

John Cooper Works Accessories

MotoringGear Products

Travelling in the UK via MINI

MotoringFile Sections: Uncategorized Feb 28th, 2004 12 Comments

I'll be taking the trek across the pond soon and wanted to share some of my enthusiasm as as well as ask a couple of questions.

I'll be renting a Chili Red MINI Cooper from MINI-Rentals for a portion of the trip. Once I re-master driving on the left side of the road I plan to hit some B-roads and see how the MINI feels in it's home environment. I should have quite a good sized write-up about renting a MINI in England and all it encompasses by the time I come back.

While the main purpose of the trip is to see friends and to generally get back to the UK we plan on making at least one very important MINI excursion. For the MINI portion of the trip I'll be picking up the Cooper from MINI-Rentals in Winchester, about an hour southwest of London. From there we'll drive to Oxford and eventually to the MINI plant were we have a 9:30 am tour scheduled the next morning.

(You can find more information about taking the plant tour for yourself in this article: Tours Of The MINI Plant In Oxford England)

While I have a general idea what kind of specific things I can expect, does anyone have any experience with this tour that they'd like to share? One thing I know for certain – it's not only easy to schedule a time via email but the Plant communications people make you feel very welcome. All of the customer service I've received so far as been astounding.

Now the other question I have is what sort of MINI accessories or parts should I be looking for that I can't get in the US. This is something I thought I'd have a long list about by this time but I can't seem to come up anything. Anyone have ideas?

Finally does anyone have recommendation for places to stay around Oxford near the plant? We've got pretty much all of our trip planned to this point except that leg. I'm thinking a nice little B&B would be perfect.

This will be my first visit to the UK that doesn't rely 99.5% on train travel – should be interesting!

Remembering Bat Boy…

MotoringFile Sections: Uncategorized Feb 27th, 2004 4 Comments

In news only slightly tangentially related to the MINI, The Economist reports that Eddie Clontz, editor-in-chief of the Weekly World News, died January 26th, aged 56.

Just a year ago, MINI owners were thrilled when Bat Boy became one of us after stealing a red-and-white MINI Cooper as it was being delivered to a Detroit dealership. I can't say that Clontz wrote the story, but he was the genius behind many of the Weekly World News' more peculiar journalistic exploits, according to The Economist's obit.

Product placement or not it was pretty amusing and in keeping with the rest of the Crispin Porter & Bogusky package. But without Eddie Clontz it couldn't have happened.

Let's morn the supermarket tabloid world's — and MINI owners' — loss.

Lee Johnson

Thanks Lee. I wonder how many new MINI owners have no idea what we're talking about :) If so follow the likls above for all the details.


MINI Cabrio Interior Trim In Depth

MotoringFile Sections: Uncategorized Feb 25th, 2004 12 Comments

This info comes from the latest MINI PR release:

cabrio

Finished with top-quality materials and the most refined surfaces, the interior of the new MINI Cabrio comes in three different colors: Blue, Beige, and Black. The dashboard and parts of the door linings are available in Silver, Anthracite, and with wood and aluminium-style trim.

Moving on to the seat upholstery, a choice of 3 different cloth covers, 3 combinations of cloth and leather, as well as three leather options in various colour combinations offer a broad margin for individual wishes and preferences.

Like the exterior, the interior is also available as an option with an attractive Chrome Package, trim in high-gloss chrome comprising features such as the rev counter surrounds, the surrounds on the central instruments and the cupholders accentuating the classic character of the car.

The Cockpit Chrono Package also available as an option emphasizes the sporting and elegant ambience within the MINI Convertible: In this case the central instrument features two circular dials presenting the level of fuel in the tank, oil and coolant temperature, as well as oil pressure. The speedometer is moved next to the rev counter on the steering column, the particular feeling of sports motoring being further accentuated in this case by the optional three-spoke leather sports steering wheel.

Be rest assured that those of the us in the United States won't see the leather/cloth combo. That being said the real interesting bit of info here is the “aluminum trim” which sounds as if it may be a new and previously unseen option.

A couple other additions to the interior that weren't mentioned in the official press release are the added storage areas. There's one below the row of toggle switches and another just below the handle of the parking brake. Look for more info in the coming days and weeks about these details.

The Best Roof Graphic Ever?

MotoringFile Sections: Uncategorized Feb 25th, 2004 16 Comments

Obviously that's a highly subjective thing but here's one that should probably belong on a short list of the best out there. I'll let Martin (Rakey on MINI2) explain for himself:

roof

A cold winters night in the pub with my mates in December 2002, told them I had test drove a MINI cooper S, and wanted one, but wanted to something a little different. So we sat, drank a few beers, and decided in homage to my previous mini cooper, it should be black and white, then I felt this was not enough. So talked about how I could make it totally unique, and we came up with hundreds of ideas for the car, roof graphics was the main area of discussion. My final choice was made, a classic iconic image of my favourite actor.

Well a few people knew I was planning this, but here it is finally done and on me car. I would like to thank them for their encouragement and support (you all know who you are), but a big thanks has to go to Mad Brummie for putting me intouch with Russell at Action Graphics.

(this was originally posted on MINI2 and has been reproduced here with permission)


Castagna to Produce Off-Road MINI

MotoringFile Sections: In the Press Feb 24th, 2004 9 Comments

This news comes from AutoExpress:

Wagon

“This official picture has come from Italian coachbuilder Castagna which, having already put the finishing touches to the estate, is now planning the Allroad. The new-style MINI has an increased ride height, plus bull bars at the front designed to appeal to SUV fans.

Extra trim down the sides gives a beefier appearance, while the timber frame of the Woody model is also fitted for a retro finish. Rather than being an out-and-out off-roader, this MINI makes do with front-wheel drive and will be capable of only very light off-road work, as it has few mechanical changes over the standard hatchback.

Based on the hand-built MINI estate, the 'soft-road' version will be sold as a bespoke aftermarket package. Owners bring along their conventional three-door hatchback, and the work then begins to create a much more individual look. With the estate conversion starting at �7,000, expect to pay at least �10,000 for the full SUV pack.

The work isn't endorsed by BMW, but bosses at the German firm will be keen to see how many buyers the Allroad attracts. If it's a success, BMW could be keen to produce some kind of small SUV as a rival to Smart's ForMore, which is due in 2006.”

For more information about MINI's own extended wheelbase MINI, see the post below.

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MINI Model Cheat Sheet

1st Gen MINI
R50: One & MC Hatch
R52: All 1st Gen MINI Convt.
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2nd Gen MINI
R55: Clubman
R56: Hatch
R57: Convertible
R58: Coupe
R59: Roadster
R60: MINI Crossover
R61: MINI Crossover Coupe
3rd Gen MINI
F54: Clubman
F55: Five Door Hatch
F56: Hatch
F57: Convertible
F60: MINI Crossover
F58: Traveller

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