Lenny Wins!

I caught this on the Simpsons the other day where Lenny, Carl and Homer daydream of supervising themselves at the power plant. What else would you do but race a red, white and blue MINI in the halls. Good Stuff. Enjoy.


Rotors, Pads, and Tires... Oh My!

As my MINI gets a little older, I tend to take the car out more often. Baby-ing the car has been lacking lately since the it becomes more and more difficult to make the time. So I decided that I would try driving the MINI on a more daily basis, even in the winter months that are approaching fast in Chicago.

I had my brakes redone at 37616 miles. I didn't go with any performance rotors or pads, just a stock rebuild kit from MINICarParts.net. They had a good deal with the entire kit, free shipping, and an additional 10 percent off. It's been a couple weeks now and the brakes feel good after starting out a little mushy.

In another effort to get ready for winter, I needed to replace my Kumhos badly. Although they were a great summer tire and were considered an all season tire, they are really not. In fact in any snow, they are down right dangerous. And at the last rotation, I had some serious road noise issues. I think being a very sticky tire also makes them wear a lot faster too.

I decided to go ahead replace those with a set of Bridgestone Potenza G 019 Grid. The ratings on the winter performance were considerably better than the Kumhos so we'll see if that is the case this winter. So far, after having them installed and aligned at 37659 miles, the ride is very smooth now.

Oh yeah, I also changed out my battery just in case with a battery from Autozone. So far everything is fine.


MINI Confidential

Some of you might have received an email from MINI with this coded image. Since I did not have my MINI decoder near by I just tilted my laptop screen to reveal the message which brought me to a new site with a bunch of videos and images of what's new at MINI specifically the new coupe concept. As I was poking around I came across this sketch with a very familiar logo branding that made me think I was on Motoringfile for a second. (look at Motoringfiles header image with the "fast forward" icon) Interesting to say the least. btw, I do like what the coupe represents. I just don't think its useful enough to make the masses buy tons of them. What's great about the MINI now is that it can be used in so many ways. Exciting nonetheless.


4-1/2 Years, 36,000 Miles

I just rolled over my 36,000th mile yesterday. I have been driving the MINI for more of the day to day errands and more often to and from work. I think the next thing I want to do is get some good winter tires. I want to start driving the MINI more and having the 205/45HR-17 Kumho Ecsta AST XL Tires is just to dangerous in the winter. I am not sure what tire I should get but I will keep my eyes open.


2009 4th of July

We participated in the 2009 4th of July parade again over in Oak Lawn. This year we decided to make a patriotic top hat that proved to be a bit challenging since there was a slight drizzle all morning. Thankfully there was no wind so we were good to go. There were a ton of kids snatching up all the candy they could get as we tossed handfuls of tootie rolls out the window. I had a lot of fun getting the MINI all dressed up. Check out the picts below and Steve's photos. He's the one with red MINI and the inflatable Uncle Sam that has a perfect parade hand wave. Nice! More info on the CMMC site as well.


MINI is a Favorite @ WWDC

In case you missed the keynote yesterday at the WWDC, Apple presented a few new items including the new iPhone 3G S. And just like with MINIs, the "S" makes it go faster. ;-) Zipcar also introduced there new way to find nearby cars and reserve them via their new app. During their demo, they found a Prius nearby but opted for the MINI instead for the fun factor. And just in case when you finally get to the location and you just can't find the car parked, you can sound the horn from your phone. How cool is that! It's like when I call my own cell when I misplace my phone in the house. The keynote is posted here and skip to 1h33m for the Zipcar presentation if you don't want to watch the whole thing.


Three 3's and Two 1's

Not really a milestone but more for helping myself remember when I rotated my tires. I really can't recall when I last did that but I know it's been a while. So I decided to get a little dirty and rotate them myself this passed weekend. While I was at it I also decided to clean my wheels inside and out. Now we'll see how long that last but for now the wheels look great. I did notice a couple of nasty gouges in the inside of the rim, probably from road debris, but you can't tell looking from the outside. Here are some photos of the finished product, a couple of days later.


I Pity Da Fool

I passed up this classic van this weekend from vintage TV show, the A-Team. Awesome... Wait a minute... that is a Kia Van!! Only in America. Respect the Van! Hope everyone enjoys their Holiday weekend!


VW Bug Spoiler

I snapped a shot of this Vdub with a pretty cool automatic spoiler. As I drove along the side of this, the spoiler would pop up at about 45mph and retract back as it slowed to about 15mph. I've seen this before on the Crossfire and other cars but I never knew it was on the bug too.

There's some really ugly VW bug spoilers out there but this one isn't all that bad. Now whether it actually does anything is a different question. I'm sure it's mostly for show. As a side note, the iPhone really does some trippy things with fast moving objects. Take a look at those wheels... weird! :-)


MINI E on Cnet's Green Show

Here is a quick test drive of the MINI E. I have not seen one of these in the wild since they are only being leased on the east and west coasts. Not sure if they can even venture out here without worrying on how to recharge it. direct link


Bang for the Buck

Here is an article that came across my inbox reinforcing the idea that the MINI is a great value. Consumer Reports compiled all of their resources to produce a "bucks-per-bang" for each vehicle. The Prius Touring tops the list with a bucks-per-bang figure of $325 but the MINI and VW Rabbit came in a close second.

The Prius is followed closely in our list by the Mini Cooper and VW Rabbit hatchbacks, with a bucks-per- bang figure of $330. Five small cars, the Mazda Miata sports car, and the Toyota Camry Hybrid family sedan follow with results ranging from $340 to $365. One of those small cars, the redesigned Honda Fit, has the best owner cost in the list, only $24,000 over five years.

Most Bang for the Buck via Yahoo.


CMMC Spring Drive 2009/B-Day

Last weekend we had our first drive of the season. It was very cool with a portion of the drive being three traffic circles in a row! That made it very fun. It was also the 4 year mark of my MINI's build date. Check out my photos below and everyone else's photos on the CMMC page. Great weather and great times!


Google RSS Ads

Just about everywhere on the internet, there is at lease one kind of advertisement that competes for our attention. dcMINI is no exception but I have tried to minimize there impact (no pun intended) and make the content of those ads be relevant. Now they have started to trickle in my RSS reader too. Not a huge deal but when I start to see wrinkle creme ads on Motoringfile, it starts to give me the wrong idea. And to make things worse, there is no division from what is the add to the content of the article (see image). There's gotta be a better way.


30,000th mile

I hit the 30k mark over the weekend! And my fourth year of ownership is just around the corner too. If you click on the image you can even see exactly where it happened with the embedded geotagging info displayed to the right.

The MINI is still running strong, although I hate to think I am feeling an itch for a new one. We'll see. That Clubman is looking better and better every time I look at it. We even stopped by the dealer to ask some questions and wet our lips. FYI, the 2.9% financing MINI is offering only applies to those who take delivery now. Who knows when that offer will end so even if we were to order one, by the time it were to get here, it might not be offered.


WGN Courtesy Desk

Not terribly MINI related but funny none the less. I sent in a comment a while back to the WGN morning news and I came across this viral video response from last summer. Enjoy!

direct link


Counterfeit MINI Spotted

I came across this fake MINI while driving around Woodfield this past weekend. This has to be a real "fake" from the MINI advertising campaign from a while back. I just couldn't stop laughing! It even had a tacked on MINI spoiler that was just hilarious.


2009 Chicago Auto Show

Last weekend I headed out to the 2009 Chicago Auto Show. I had gone a few years ago also so it was interesting to compare the two. This year was certainly less over the top than previous shows. Gone was the huge monster trucks and gas guzzlers, replaced with more efficient hybrid concepts and production vehicles. I was sure to check out the new Prius, Insight and Volt. Those three certainly had the most traffic. I think the Volt is going to be a great seller once it gets in the hands of the public.

As for the MINI, they too seemed to cut back. Last time I was there, they had a second floor section for MINI owners with free food and beverages, very nice. This time, it was simple. The new convertible was there but it was nothing new in my view. I still like the Clubman and still scratching my head over the ill designed center stack.

This year I didn't quite make it for the CMMC drive since it was also Valentine's Day, but we did get our hands on some free tickets. We headed down there a bit after the CMMC crowd. Check out my picts below of what I found interesting at the show.


First Oil Change

Well, not exactly. The MINI has gone through three oil changes from the dealer under the service warranty. But those times have come and gone so it was time to get it done on my own. So Last weekend I got my hands on some ramps, oil, a filter from the dealer, a "how to" and some free time. I had just about all the bases covered except some decent tools. I attempted to loosen the oil plug but that thing was on there tight! I busted my socket just trying to get that thing to budge. (mental note: get better tools)

So I chickened out and took it to a local mechanic by my office. Nice guy, knowledgeable and competent in BMWs and now MINIs. I slipped him a twenty and he took care of the rest. Well worth it if you ask me for some peace of mind and no oil under my finger nails. ;-) I'm almost at 30k miles and the MINI is feeling great. I have been driving it all week since we have been unseasonable warm.


The Lowest Range

Oh man! That was close. Yesterday morning I noticed that I was a bit low on gas. No problem, I thought, I'll just stop at the gas station on the way home. Well, something came up and before I knew it, I was on the highway with about 3 miles left on the OBD and about 5 miles left to the nearest station. Yikes! So I kept an eye on this for the rest of the ride. As soon as I hopped off the highway, the number jumped to 4 and by the time I rolled in the gas station it read 5 miles. I guess with the reduced speed, I actually made some gas appear from nowhere. Whew, I sweated there a little. Now, the MINI has a nice full tank and all is well.


The Office's Mindy Kaling Drives a MCSa

We can another celebrity to the list of MINI owners. From what I can tell, its an R53 ('05 or '06) CR/W MCSa with nav, sunroof and anthracite dash. Very nice combo. Check out this NAM Thread for other notable celebrities with MINIs like Harry Potter's Rupert Grint, and Jimmy Fallon.


2010 Prius vs 2010 Insight

Toyota finally premiered the 2010 3rd gen Prius. Overall it looks somewhat different, especially the interior. An improvement from 46 mpg to 50 mpg is a key mental jump but certainly not anything near the 100 mpg that had been rumored a while ago. The exterior is definitely Prius although there is a slight improvement in the lines. It's not so odd looking. The car appears smaller even though they tout more rear legroom than before. The optional solar panel roof is nice but is it really that useful? It is simple to ventilate the cabin on those hot days while parked. I also have a feeling that they are doing away with the display monitor as standard. All that info has moved to the instrument panel above. Although there will be the option for gps of course.

I am really not as excited about the new Prius as I thought I would be. The overall improvement just isn't there yet. I think I like the new Honda Insight a lot more now. It now has a back seat though it trails the Prius in mpg ratings at about 41. I also like the fact that the motor does not turn off while you drive. And the price is more to my liking. Under 20k for this make it very appealing to more people. This might be a great choice for my next daily driver. My current one has seen better days.

Check out the videos from cnettv.com of the Insight and the Prius. The insight is said to be availible as soon as April of this year while the Prius is coming sometime ing the Spring.