editors blog


Modern MINI coverMay/June 2013 Modern Mini

As I write this I’ve endured almost six weeks of wallet-bashing hell with my R53 Cooper S JCW GP after a garage, which I put my trust and faith into, not only damaged the bodywork while it was on their ramp (which is still to be repaired), but also caused a number of mechanical issues that had to be sorted by my local MINI dealer. Thanks to this ongoing nightmare, you could say my love for the GP has waned somewhat. However, today was a turning point. The man from BMW delivered the latest GP for me to play with for a week as part of a planned GP1 vs GP2 shootout, the results of which you will read about in our next issue. What surprised me was that just a short blast up the road and back in the newest GP reaffirmed my love for the original supercharged version – its rawness, the instant power and its smile-inducing characteristics. My first impressions of the latest GP? Hmmm. While I’m determined not to be biased, I do have to say garish and lacking in that all-important wow factor. Perhaps my feelings will change after a week behind the wheel; I’m yet to see.

BlogMoving on, MINI is celebrating 100 years of car making at Oxford, which kicked off on the 13 March with a 14-day transcontinental tour to eight former Mini production locations across Europe. The final destination, of course, was Plant Oxford on 28 March, where a special centenary celebration marking the extraordinary history of the plant, and the opening of a new exhibition, took place. This comes hot on the heels of BMW’s £750m investment into its UK plants, including the installation of 1,000 new robots for both a new bodyshop and the existing facility at Oxford in readiness for the next generation of MINI. Exciting stuff.

It looks like 2013 is going to be a great show season for MINI, too. As well as the usual main events run by the British Mini Club, we’ve heard that Brands Hatch is planning a bigger and better Mini Festival on 22-23 June and a brand new ‘Big MINI Show’ is planned for 15 September. To find out all the latest on these and many other club events, flick over to The Vibe on p91.

So what’s in store this issue? We have everything from first drives, slammed rides, a look back in the JCW history books and an all-important road trip. Don’t forget to also enter our new competition if you own an R50-R53, as you could win a cam from Cat Cams worth £312! See p62 for the lowdown.

All this leaves me to say is, kick back, make yourself a cuppa and enjoy!

 

Sarah Harrington-James, Editor

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Modern MINI coverMarch/April 2013 Modern Mini

It’s official. MINI had its most successful year in the brand’s history in 2012. Worldwide sales totalled a whopping 301,526 models – that’s more than in any previous 12-month period. Not only has the vehicle lineup been extended to seven models, but MINI is now represented in over 100 markets around the globe, with the newest being India. Of course, this success would have only been boosted by MINI United 2012 – a perfect marketing tool for MINI that attracted more than 30,000 loyal MINI enthusiasts. Looking back over the last year, MINI launched (in order) two special editions; the MINI Baker Street and Bayswater, MINI Roadster, JCW Countryman, MINI Highgate Convertible, Clubvan, JCW Cooper S GP2, MINI Hyde Park and Green Park and finally, premiered the Paceman (due to be released March 2013). Phew!

You’ll read that there’s plenty more in store from MINI in 2013 and beyond. Plans are afoot for a Gen 3 MINI hatch, plus a five-door version and several other exciting new models, the majority of which will be powered by BMW’s all-new 1.5-litre engine. The overall success of the brand is truly phenomenal. I want to hear your views on MINI’s future model expansion. Does it matter that each one is getting bigger in size and further away from its original Mini roots? You can drop me a line at: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

marAprBlogNow that your New Year’s Resolutions have probably been broken, what do you have planned for 2013 – how about a road trip in your MINI? Well, if you’re looking for a little inspiration, turn to p24 to read Darryl Sleath’s epic MINI ‘Mental Rental’ adventure to Monaco’s F1 street circuit. Darryl proved that, for the price of a mid-winter trackday, you could hop over to Europe for a weekend by taking advantage of out-of-season travel discounts and get behind the wheel of a brand new MINI hire car.

There’s plenty more in this issue to whet your appetite, including Paul Turner’s awesome first time build – an R53 Cooper S eBay project (p36) – and GT Tuning’s clever new sales venture, buying mint R53s and transforming them with a GTT220 conversion (p18). Nice work!

In the meantime if you’ve taken delivery of your MINI, started down the modifying route or have an interesting story to tell, let us know for inclusion in Your Cars. We look forward to hearing from you...

 

Sarah Harrington-James, Editor

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Modern MINI coverJanuary/February 2013 Modern Mini

Drum roll, please! It’s Modern MINI 2012 Oscars results time and we’ve been faithfully tallying up your votes for the past six weeks to bring you news of the worthy winners! For a change, we decided not to inform successful nominees before this issue went to press, so the first they will know if they’ve clinched an Oscar is right here, within these very pages. Voting truly has been extremely close in some categories, with just one vote in it for some! If the suspense is too much, turn to p18 now to discover who won what. Hearty congratulations to all our winners this year from the Modern MINI team.

There was a comment in this issue’s The Vibe, Club Class Q&A page from the Clubman Register’s Brett Deakin that really got me thinking. In response to what gets on your nerves about the scene, he replied: “The lack of MINI traders; without them I feel the scene will dry up as there is less and less to keep us coming back to the shows!” I think he’s got a very valid point; would you still attend Mini shows in 2013 knowing there will be very few traders catering for the new MINI, if any? What do you think could be done to encourage more MINI traders to participate? I had an interesting chat with Russ Harman, one of the Mini in the Park organisers. He said it takes a while to develop trust in a show and to get a new exhibitor to commit. Visitor numbers obviously help to sway the argument, but also the show’s reputation. First Word The attendance and sometimes sponsorship of MINI dealers at Mini shows ultimately speaks volumes – we heard Wollaston MINI did a rip-roaring trade in merchandise at this year’s MITP and are keen to sign up to the 2013 event.

Now to this issue – what do we have in store for you? Well, first up an insider’s view of what’s hot and what’s not right now when it comes to MINI models (p24). Useful information, of course, if you’re about to buy the MINI of your dreams. Here, amongst other useful snippets of info, you’ll read that colour and spec are vital components to a MINI’s resale value too.

Modern MINI also went behind the scenes with a MINI Challenge team at the penultimate round of the championship to see how difficult it really is to keep these awesome race cars in tip top condition. You can see how we got on by turning to p48.

Since the next issue doesn’t hit the shelves until the end of January, this leaves me to wish you a safe and happy festive period – don’t forget to treat your MINI too!

 

Sarah Harrington-James, Editor

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NovCoverlgNovember/December 2012 Modern Mini

It’s that time of year again folks! The Modern MINI 2012 Oscars is upon us and there’s plenty of stunning MINIs to pick your favourite from. Like last time, we are honouring the madcapped few who have spent hours fabricating something from scratch or honing the OEM in our ‘Best Homebrew Project’ award. Of course, all the regular categories that you know and love are there too, such as ‘MINI Personality of the Year’ and ‘Best Event/Tour’ (will MINI United 2012 clinch it?), so flick over to p20 and take a look. It may not be as easy as you think! Voting closes on Thursday 1st November 2012.

As this year’s show season comes to a close, I can’t help but feel sorry for the organisers who’ve had to cancel their outdoor Mini events due to our appalling summer weather. It not only takes commitment but many months of hard work to stage such shows, that we hope this year’s setbacks won’t put them off for 2013. We saw more new MINI related traders than normal at Mini in the Park, which was very refreshing indeed. It cannot be ignored that the lack of new MINI traders at the bigger shows has been a constant bugbear to many BMW MINI owners – perhaps this is now the start of an upturn.

NovBlogIn the meantime, MINI is gearing itself up for the Paris Motor Show which opens to the public just as this issue goes on sale. The rumour mill has been in action leading up to this event, but we have officially heard that the JCW Countryman and JCW GP2 will be launched here – two very exciting new models to the range. The Paceman, a three-door restyled version of the Countryman, will be next and who knows, maybe a sneak preview will be on offer in Paris?

Keeping to the mantra that, ‘variety is the spice of life’, we have another jam-packed issue to suit all tastes. We bring you quite possibly the fastest twin-scroll supercharged R53 in the UK from Minicraft, as well as Steve Jenner’s awesome MINI Speedster, built by his own fair hands. On a serious note, you really should take a look at our comprehensive myth busters feature on tyres, (p64) in collaboration with Sussex Police. How to spot a defective tyre and the ins and outs of runflat technology are all covered here. It’s thought-provoking stuff.

 

JanFebBlog

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SeptoctCoverLgSeptember/October 2012 Modern Mini

I’m now officially a MINI owner. Not just any old MINI though; a 2006 Cooper S JCW GP – my ultimate MINI. It turned out to be an expensive souvenir from my week’s holiday in May...you could say it was a bit of an impulse buy! Less than 24 hours after going back to pick it up, the GP went on display at the Mini Festival at Brands Hatch and I also took part in the afternoon’s track parade – awesome. There’s more on this in the Our Cars section on p80.

Talking of shows, do you think there should be more dedicated events to cater for the new MINI fraternity? The new MINI has been on the scene now for 11 years and is often featured in mixed Mini shows. However, as any new MINI owner would know, not all classic owners appreciate the appearance of BMW MINIs at the same venues. Indeed at each show I’ve attended so far this year, classic Mini enthusiasts have certainly made their views clear to me and it’s always been negative; at the Brooklands Mini Day a guy even stopped me mid-photo to announce loudly, “you do realise this isn’t a real Mini don’t you? Hah, I bet you get that all the time!” (No I don’t....).

SeptoctBlogRecently at the Brands Hatch Mini Festival, classic Mini owners were seen giving new MINIs the thumbs down while out on parade. Now just for the record, two of the first cars I ever owned were classic Minis and I enjoyed every minute of that experience. But times move on and without BMW’s vast investment, I believe the MINI brand would certainly not be with us today. Remember what happened with the catastrophic relaunch of Rover, for example? Arguably MINI under the wing of BMW is the biggest marketing success story of its time and it’s certainly in good hands. You only need to read our News pages to see that – MINI announced on 9 July a further £250m investment in its production plants, including Plant Oxford.

We’ve got a real eclectic mix of owner’s features for you this issue, from a crazy £165k, nitrous’d Cooper S, to a Swedish DTM-style show MINI and everything in between. And of course if, like me, you also quite fancy getting your hands on one of the last supercharged MINIs – the limited edition GP – then take a good look at our ultimate buying guide on p20. If that doesn’t whet your appetite, then quite frankly nothing will...

JanFebBlog

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