Better Milage than a MINI? Surprised?

I don't think so. Seriously, there's a bunch of things that are misleading with this commercial. First off, they are comparing the hybrid model Escalade to a non hybrid MINI. If a hybrid model MINI existed it would certainly blow them out of the water.

Then they are comparing it to a MCSa convertible, which of all the models has the worst gas milage rating. MINI often advertises their best rating which is 37hwy/28city, almost double what they are advertising. I understand they are trying to make a point by juxtaposing their hybrid with the MINI and not necessarily saying by this Escalade instead. I couldn't imagine someone being in the market for these two polar opposites.

What's really funny is that GM/Cadallac then proceeds to tell you the price of the non hybrid model instead of what they just showed in the same commercial. I have seen this done in numerous advertisements from GM where they show you one model and tell you the price of something different. I wish they would be proud enough to just say the price of what they are showing instead of pulling a bait and switch. This all seems to be a desperate plea from a company that still has not done enough to adjust to the changing market. They need to get their act together pronto!


The New dcMINI

As the new year approaches, I thought I would play a bit with old blog and bring it up to date. I went ahead and sifted through the old blog links and got rid of the dead ones and found a blog template that I liked. Let me know what you think.

Just to get you familiar with what I have done, to the left is a list of MINI related sites that I stay up to date on. The cool thing is that the order of the list is based on which one has the most recent post. The same thing goes for the MINI Blog list to the right. If you want to be added to the blog list just let me know. On the left I also added a slideshow of recent picts from my online photos.

Happy New Year!


Fluid Leak/Air Bag Light

I had a couple issues pop up recently that warranted a quick trip to the service department. The first was a reoccurring issue with the air bag light going on when I had a passenger in the car. The second and more troubling was a fluid leak. I noticed spot on my garage floor earlier last week so I did a little investigating but I could not tell where the leak was coming from. I snapped a couple of picts of the leak under the car
So I dropped off the car on Thursday night and let them take a peek. They found the leak was due to a faulty gasket at the temperature sensor of the coolant. Turns out that the thick fluid that I initially thought was oil was actually coolant. They quickly replaced the entire sensor with the gasket. As for the airbag light, they ended up replacing the seat sensor which essentially requires to replace the entire bottom of the seat including the cushion.
So now my MINI is back in my garage and running great. I am glad I was still under warranty for these items.


Mini, Ooh Yeah!

A few months ago, Moby held a contest to direct the video to the song Ooh Yeah. The video features a naughty classic Mini carwash, circa 1972. Good stuff. Watch to see if they clean behind the wipers! Ooh Yeah! Don't worry, it's not real porn. Just don't let anyone see you watch it at work. ;-)
Official music video for "Ooh Yeah" from Moby's new album Last Night (out now on Mute). Directed by Matteo Bernardini © Mute Records 2008. YouTube



I have always been intrigued by logo designs, especially ones with a good concept. The MINI E badge is no exception as it not only clever but very well executed. The most recent one I was impressed with was Obama's Logo but I think MINI has a great one at bay. Kudos to MINI for putting the thought into this branding. I love the play with negitive space and the resulting plug that appears.

It's great to see how MINI is taking on the energy crisis head on. Hopefully this will be a successful endeavor and will result in these being available to the general public. I would certainly buy into this concept if it weren't for a few minor drawbacks. One being that not everyone has a garage to plug in the car every night.
Only lockable garages or similar buildings will qualify as homebases and power stations for the MINI E
If there were numerous methods to "fill up" and if it were at the very minimum just as fast and convenient as conventional gas, then I think this would catch on instantly. Read more about the MINI E on Motoringfile.


MC in Nobel Son

Professor Snipe returns! Here's a new movie that features an R50 as a full size remote control MINI Cooper that runs a muck in a shopping mall. Looks like it might be funny but it's no Italian Job. Check out the trailers at apple or at the official movie site. It should be out by December 5th so look for it then.


B&W Stamp

Just having a little fun with photoshop. This one is a little like an ink blot. what do you see?

Here are some more images I messed around with.


Good to be in Chicago

You can feel the air is thick with excitement. I hope we make history today.


dcmini Web Stats

It is interesting to see where dcmini visitors are coming from. Here are a few maps that describe this rather clearly. To read the maps, keep in mind that the darker the green area is the higher number of visitors came from there. The maps are from google's analytics service that is tied into the blogger services that they provide. All for free and quite the resource.

World Visitors

From that you could see that the US is still very strong among world visitors.  But it is nice to see that there are some people stopping by from Europe, Asia and Austrailia.  Even some from Africa and South America.

United States Visitors

That was surprising. Apparently most of you are from the great state of California (Beautiful state I might add). I wonder if this is proportional to the number of MINI dealers in each state. I notice no hits from Montana or Maine. Where as California has the most hits with its four major MINI markets.

CA and IL Visitors


Starved Rock 2008

From Starved Rock Run 2008
Once again I joined the CMMC crew for a wild drive down to Starved Rock. Wind was fierce on Sunday, causing us to be a bit more cautious while taking the back roads.
From Starved Rock Run 2008
It was a bit like an obstacle course in parts so it was fun. As usual check out everyone else's picts at the CMMC post and my picts below. Thanks to Arnie and Lena for taking a picture of us during the drive shown above. My picts can be found here. Happy Motoring!


Chevy Volt

The Chevy Volt has finally been officially revealed. And at first glance, it does look decent. In fact, I think this might be a good thing for the brand. For a few years now I have been looking at the Prius as a replacement for my daily driver, something easy on gas yet would not be a small car like the MINI is. The Clubman was starting to get the hint but as I look more at it, I am not sure it is enough. What I would like is a normal looking everyday car that had the benefits of a Prius but that did not look like an oddly shaped spaceship. As a quick knee jerk reaction, I think this might me a good fit for the mainstream car buying public.

Now the big questions here is how much. people are guessing as much as $40 grand but we'll see if they are smart enough to negotiate some government rebates or control the price to make this a little more affordable for the masses. Also looking at the interior, I am not sure how the center console works with the white casing and 2nd LCS display.


Diggnation on Cars

Kevin and Alex of Diggnation fame chatted a bit on the general public view of diesel and cars that are working to change that view. They were discussing a businessweek article about a ford that reached 65mpg but since it was a diesel engine, they just don't see the US buying them.  I could not help but think of all the jumping and screaming DB has been doing over at Moteringfile trying to get MINIUSA the bring the MINI Cooper D to the states with no success... yet. 
It also comes to the design of the car itself. I have never heard of people saying how good looking a Prius is but it's almost impossible not to mention the car's looks when talking about the MINI. Skip to about the 23 minute of this episode if you don't want to watch the whole thing when they mention how the MINI gets it right when it comes to small cars and god looks. I can't help to agree with their view on this.  Diggnation is certainly worth taking a look at.


MTTS 2008 Memories

Here's a post I had written back in July when MTTS Chicago was in full swing.

I was one of the many who attended the Chicago portions of this year's MINI takes the States. They really had their act together and it showed. From the BBQ in the park to the goodie bags to the Ridemakerz event, it was a pleasure to be there. I did not go to the Elkhart Lake portion but the rest of the party was a ton of fun. I wish I could have gone up to Wisconsin with the caravan and enjoy the concert but doing the local stuff was more than worth the $20 price.

On Friday, I headed down to the UIC/Maxwell Street for the owners meet and greet event. We were greeted by a number of people directing MINI traffic into the complimentary parking garage with big checkered flags. We then walked into the picnic grounds to meet up with other MINI owners, have some tasty eats and watch a movie outdoors. The movie didn't go so great since the park was semi lit and the projector was not that bright but it did make due for some. The MTTS event then continued without me on Saturday in Wisconsin.

On Sunday, the group headed back to Chicago for a meet up at Ridmakerz where we received a complimentary toy MINI courtesy of MINIUSA. These things are cool looking. We ended up getting the RC version which is neat but certainly not worth the regular price INHO. I don't think I would have paid full price for these on my own but they are still pretty cool to took at.
Check out the CMMC site for some great photos. I unfortunately didn't get to take many photos because of all the excitement but here is a link to mine as well. I hope this does become a regular event. Although if I could spare a couple weeks off of work, I think I would have really enjoyed the cross country drive like they did a couple years back.


Hit 25,000

Had this post in the queue and I forgot to post it. oops. ;-) So I rolled over my 25,000th mile back on July 25th. Seriously the novelty of trying to match the milage and dates has worn off but this time it was merely a coincidence. Anyways, my MINI is still running strong. My other daily driver is not doing so well though so I tend to take the MINI out just a little more often than normal. Not that I am complaining, it certainly is a joy to zip to and from work. Some would say a little too much fun. :-D


4th of July Parade 2008

Plenty of fireworks to go around this year. CMMC once again was invited to join the 4th of July parade, this year in Oak Lawn. There was a great crowd with plenty of young ones darting for the candy what we were encouraged to toss at the crowds. In fact the kids were treated to a load of free hot wheels cars that Cathy and Gary tossed out. The kids went nuts for those! Below are my picts from the event. You can check out everyone else's picts here. I had a wonderful time again and look forward to raiding the clearance items to add to my decorations for next year. Good times!


Snob in a ...

I came across this ginormous spoiler with a small car attached that I thought this was hilarious. I wonder what the MINI would look like with a spoiler that was as big as this one. ;-)


Dragon Recap

I finally had a chance to sit back and gather my thoughts on the 2008 MINIs on the Dragon. This was my first official MOTD that I had attended, but I have had the opportunity to drive though the dragon once before on a previous road trip.
We arrived late Thursday evening to find our cabin had almost gone up in flames, literally.  I was told that a tree fell on some power-lines that sparked a fire.  It took the locals a little while to put it out, but the scent of burning brush was still noticable when I drove up.  By morning we had the power back so that was good news. The first official event was the Dragon Parade Run on Friday morning. The weather was great and I had a blast running up and down the Dragon with a lot of other MINIs.
We then headed out to do some side trips to visit the Cherokee Indian Reservation and the Smokey Mountains. All in all, it was a great day for a drive.
On Saturday, I participated in the Draggin Dragons pine car races. That was so much fun. Our entry made it into the second round but having lost some much needed weight, we were outed soon after. We decided to drive into the city to grab some eats and drive through the mountains again before the farewell dinner.
The greatest thing about this event was being able to hang out with a bunch of MINI owners. It was wonderful to see just about everything you can get for the car in every color combo and flavor. From what I hear, the group was a good size this year but not over crowded as it might have been last year. The highway patrol was fairly tame, no scary moments for me anyways. Overall a very good trip to the Dragon. I highly recommend it if you can get out there. It is definitely worth it.
Below are a few more pictures that I took. Also check out pictures from our cabin mates Francis and Paul, as well as a video from Taylor at the CMMC site.


Cnet Clubman Review

Here's a Car Tech Cnet Review that I enjoyed. I saw many Clubmans on the dragon last week so it is certainly starting to become more popular. I really like the roof rack on the new clubman too.


Dragon Road Trip

I got the car packed and ready to go. By tomorrow evening I should be rolling through the Dragon with a few hundred other MINI enthusiasts. Should be a blast.
I drove the MINI to work this morning and my tire pressure monitor went on. No signs of a flat so far but it got me freaking out since I do not have the run flats anymore. I think my umbrella pressed the monitor button which triggered the light but if anything it was a great reminder to get some tire sealants for the long road ahead.


High Roller

The question is: "Why you would ever want to step up into a Miata?" All I can do is shake my head in disappointment..... and then point and laugh. HA!


$50 Fill Up

I was so glad to see a gas station as I rolled up with only 4 miles left on the OBC until I was completely empty. But as I left I wish I didn't need to fill up so much. This is my first fill up that reached the $50 dollar mark.... Ouch. And we haven't reached Memorial Day weekend yet when gas prices are outrageous.


MCS Wannabe

Ran into this guy yesterday with his dark silver vdub with centered exhaust. It gave me a a little laugh so I thought I would share it.


2 Years w/an MCSa w/Mods

So I had a few inquiries about my mods at my last CMMC outing.  They were from people who were about to take the plunge and start modifying their own MINIs but were still curious on some of the other details that are not so commonly discussed.  What was also interesting was that they sought me out because I had an MCS with an automatic transmission.  So I thought it might be useful to recap the things I have done and the experiences so far.

A Little History
I took delivery of my custom spec'd dark silver/black 2005 MCSa back in April 2005.  That was the model year that MINI first started offering an automatic transmission on the MCS.  I started right away with some minor interior accessories but I held off from doing any performance upgrades for a year just to be safe from any warranty issues.   Most of the mods I did my self but the engine mods were a bit out of my league and the last thing I wanted was car problems that could be blamed on the mods that were improperly installed.

Performance Mods
After a year of browsing the forums over at NAM and MINI2 I knew pretty much what I wanted to do. Nothing over the top but just the three most common things that people do to their MINIs; a pulley, intake and exhaust. I initially wanted the pulley for sure. the 15% reduction pulley seemed to be the most reliable from what I read. Although there was hardly any difference, the 17% and 19% had a few reports of running the supercharger a little too hot which would cause the component to fail sooner. Again, I wanted to play it safe so went with the 15% reduction pulley, aproximately the same size as the JCW upgrade.After reading even more, I found that since the supercharger is compressing more air it would be smart to upgrade the air intake. I had it explained to me with the analogy of sucking on a straw. If you are sipping a drink with a thin straw you need to work harder to get more of liquid through. If you increase the straw diameter, you then make it easier and faster to get the same amount of liquid through. The same concept applies air and the engine.  So I made up my mind to get an air intake upgrade as well.At the same time, with all that air going into the engine it needs to get out just as fast. The stock exhaust is good but is still restrictive so I started looking into replacing the exhaust as well. So in my mind it was not just a matter of throwing a pulley on, it was a matter of letting the pulley do it thing freely.  I opted for the Milltek exhaust for its great reviews and its similarities to the JCW exhaust upgrade.

Now the issue was who would do all this work for me and give me the peace of mind that is installed properly.  Again I turned to the forums and I found many reputable installers located all over the country.  Luckily Randy Webb of Webb Motor Sports was scheduling one of his last pulley parties in Chicago at the time.  I quickly signed up and had all three upgrades installed by him.So Far So Good
Currently, its been about two years since I had all that work done on my three year old MINI.  My milage is improved a little but it is relatively the same when compared to my pre mod figures, about 26 with short fast drives.  With the three mods, the car runs great.  Shifts are smooth and the engine is eagar to rev.  I have had no issues what so ever with the these mods.  The sound from the exhaust is pleasing, not too loud, and just enough louder to turn heads at high revs.  The supercharger whine is a welcome sound as well.  With the upgraded intake, the sound from the engine bay does travel into the passenger cabin a bit more but it's not obnoxious.  It's a nice way to get some audio feedback from the car.
Overall I can not be happier with adding the thing I did.  I would highly recommend doing these upgrades for some added fun around the bends.   It is definitely worth every penny.  Speaking of cost, you can find how much I paid for these and all my other additions here.



I thought this was silly. Shouldn't it be mini MINI Cooper? I guess it's not common knowlege that MINI is the make and Cooper is the model. Either way, it's a mini MINI. ;-) And the look on Conan's face every time he knows a writer's sketch is stupid is priceless. Plus that MINI has two stubby antennas. Weird. Scan to about 18 minutes in if it doesn't queue up.


Dragon Bound

Yup, that's right. I was bitten by the dragon bug last summer when I drove through but now I wanted to see what it's like when a whole bunch of MINIs take over. Registration is seems fairly low so well see how it goes. It might be nice for the roads not to be over saturated. Either way, I am excited to get down there and ride that dragon roller coaster!


Happy Birthday, I Think...

Not sure what I would celebrate as the birthday of my MINI; the built date or the delivery date. But a couple of days ago (3.18) marked the day my DS/B MCSa was completed at the factory and awaiting transport to the states. Three years so far and no signs of letting up.


2008 Spring Forward Drive

The annual CMMC Spring Forward Drive took us on a nice trip this Sunday up to Lake Geneva where we met up with the Milwaukee MINI club and ate a good lunch at a restaurant I like to go to a lot, Houlihan's.  After a quick stop at Culvers in Burlington, WI, we headed for some nice side roads on our way to Lake Geneva. Check out the pictures below.On a side note, there was a "MINI Motoring Against Cancer" Banner at the event which raised almost a thousand dollars for the American Cancer Society. The banner will be heading out to AMVIV and hopefully out to the dragon in a couple months.


Motoringfile NewsRoom

The MotoringFile NewsRoom was introduced today for all your MINI related and general auto news.  While still in beta form, it looks very polished and worth a bookmark or two.  dcMINI even made the list right on the front page, bottom center of the MINI news section.  Thanks Gabe.
A similar website has been in existence for many years, GoMotorong, but it seems that Mark Volgar might be selling (or has sold) the site according to dbmini.us.  Here's what Mark said about his RSS MINI site
I don’t hold claim to RSS feeds nor do I think that GoMotoring has claim that I made reading RSS feeds better. What I will say is that while numerous technophile users out there don’t see a need for my site, most users are very happy that I provide a one stop NEWS PORTAL for MINI related news. This shows in my repeat visit stats on the site. I never wanted to compete with NAM or MF, I just wanted to make the average MINI owner a spot to get all their information from one location and be able to go the site with the information they wanted to read.

When I got my MINI I surfed at least 15 sites a day and very few of them had anything new to say. GoMotoring took care of that problem for me and has now been quite useful for many, many MINI owners in the same way
I used to do the same almost everyday.  I would check out GoMotoring first, scan the page for any changes, and read any new items.  The problem for these types of sites is that personal RSS readers are a lot more convenient.  I now use Google Reader and I am glad I do.  I have all the RSS feeds for all the sites I like to visit, including a few non MINI related ones, all in one place.  And in addition I can mark items as read so they do not show up the next time I check for updates, a real time saver. GoMotoring used to be a time saver for me compared to visiting each site individually and checking for updates.  Now Google Reader is even faster and customizable.

It seems that there are a number of MINI related sites that are transfering ownership in one way or another.  NorthAmericanMotoring was recently sold and MINI2 was bought out a year ago I think.  A lot of things are changing and hopefully for the better.


New IPhone Button for dcmini

Those of you with an iPhone or iPod Touch can now add dcmini to your home screen with a cool new icon.  I gave it a shot and it seems to work fine.  I hated having a super tiny preview of the webpage itself show as the icon since the content usually changes from time to time and the icon doesn't.  I starting to see more and more sites be iPhone friendly and decided to do the same for dcmini.  Give it a shot and let me know what you think......   

boy do i miss warmer temperatures... it's freezing! :-)


It's My B-day and I'll Drive If I Want To

That's right.  The big two-nine came today and with great pleasure.  Since winter is in full swing, I usually do not get to drive the MINI so much... by choice.  But the weather is springlike today and just a little wet so I just couldn't resist.
I decided the MINI could use a little run through the puddles today on my ride to work. The temperature is just about right for the engine to zip in and out of traffic.  The MINI is just so peppy on days like today.  And with the  slick roads, it makes those empty parking lots just that much more fun.  Happy New Year everyone!