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Cabin Fever Equals Crazy Car

Thurs., June 21, 2007 – Here’s another creation that – believe it or not – started life as a 1975 classic Mini.

It’s located in Windsor, Ontario, Canada.

I say it’s further proof of “Cabin Fever” – a malady mostly affecting folks who can’t otherwise play outside during the cold winter months…

What do you think, Eh?

Targeting Tailpipes…

Tues., June 19, 2007 – Collector-car hobbyists are again raising the alarm over yet another effort by California regulators to cut emissions by targeting older cars.

I’m not sure what all the hub-bub is about, since it seems the bill only affects 1976-1991 vehicles, and only in that it requires annual inspections, rather than biannual (ie: every two years) smog checks.

Below is a “Legislative Alert” being put out by the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA).

California Bill to Require ANNUAL Emissions Tests for Vehicles 15-Years Old and Older Passes Assembly; Moves to Senate

Legislation (A.B. 616) to require annual Smog check inspections for vehicles 15-years old and older has been approved by the California Assembly and has been sent to the Senate for consideration. The bill would also require that funds generated through the additional inspection fees be deposited into an account which can be used to scrap older cars. You may recall that in 2004 a new law was enacted in California to require the lifetime testing of all 1976 and newer model-year vehicles. Pre-1976 motor vehicles would remain exempt under A.B. 616. The bill has been now referred to the Senate Transportation Committee.

We Urge You to Contact Members of the Senate Transportation Committee Immediately to Oppose A.B. 616

A.B. 616 ignores the minimal impact vintage cars have on air quality.

A.B. 616 could entice vintage car owners into allowing these vehicles to be scrapped.

A.B. 616 ignores the fact that vehicles 15-years old and older still constitute a small portion of the overall vehicle population and are a poor source from which to look for emissions reduction.

A.B. 616 ignores the fact that classic vehicles are overwhelmingly well-maintained and infrequently driven.

A.B. 616 would increase costs by creating an annual inspection fee for owners of these vehicles.

A.B. 616 represents another attempt by California legislators and regulators to scapegoat older cars.

Please contact members of the California Senate Transportation Committee immediately by phone, fax or e-mail to request their opposition to A.B. 616.

The contact email for SEMA is ( stevem@sema.org ) if you’d like more information.

To track progress of the bill, A.B. 616 – as well as any other pending legislation – see the
Official California Legislative Information website or go to: http://www.leginfo.ca.gov

Rocket + MINI = What Were They Thinking…

Wed., June 20, 2007 – Cruising YouTube looking for interesting classic Mini-related video clips sometimes turns up some rather unorthodox uses for cars – in this case a “new” (BMW) MINI.

Okay, it’s not classic Mini-related, but it’s just too odd to let it go by.

Take one MINI. Add a couple rockets. Add a launch ramp. You do the math…

Click Here to See the Video or go to: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BMyV1SKanDU

It’s just 2:12 minutes long…

Ready to Race…

Mon., June 18, 2007 – Found this in my favorites folder. Taken on Nov. 21, 2001 at the “Mini Challenge” at the Laguna Seca track near Monterey, California.

The Minis-only race put 50-or-so Minis on the track at once, in what I believe was a U.S. record.

This group shot was taken just prior to the race.

That weekend will forever be in MiniGuy’s memory – as well for those who attended…
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That Some Kinda CLOWN Car? Here’s Best Reply Yet!

Sat., June 16, 2007 – This one’s just for giggles…

Reminds me of those who see you with your Mini and say, “What is that? Some sorta ‘CLOWN’ car?!?

The best reply I’ve heard so far?

“Yup, it’s been attracting them all day! In fact, you’re number seven!”

Any Way You Slice It…

Fri., June 15, 2007 – A key design feature of the original Mini is that it can seat four full-size adults.

Well, this one only seats two…
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See Mini, Cement…

Thurs, June 14, 2007 – Just when you thought you’d seen ’em all, along comes this Mini converted into a cement truck…
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And Did We Mention?

Tues., June 12, 2007 – Hmm… Have we mentioned lately that while we’re having a great time with our News/Features section, drawing you here is part of our diabolical plan to inspire you to check out the classic Minis in the “Consignment – For Sale by Owner” section.

Unfortunately – we’re quickly running short of classic Minis to offer on that page.

Here’s where you come in.

If you have a Mini and just hate to deal with scammers, time-wasters, tire-kickers and picture collectors, we’d like to hear from you so we can help find a new home for your Mini.

Or, here’s another way you could help us – and all those looking to adopt a Mini of their own.

If you know of any classic Minis that might be for sale, please let us know – or refer them to us. We’re looking for all models and in any condition – whether project or pristine.

And, if your referral results in an addition to our site, we’ll reward you with some sort of priceless classic Mini-related trinket or something from our goodie box…

So, what are you waiting for?

Oooh Fab! It’s a Classic Mini Promo Flick!

Wed., June 13, 2006 – We like this one too. It’s an early promotional short for the classic Mini – shot in the ’60’s. It’s fab, dahling!

Check out the cool series of renderings of how the basic Mini’s design becomes built up into a Mini…

And of course, see several clips of early Minis grabbing some serious airtime!
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Click Here to See the Video or go to: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=11QTcjgecCk&NR=1

May be the most entertaining 3:09 minutes you’ll spend today…

Compliments of YouTube and one of our loyal readers…

We Never Get Tired of These…

Fri., June 8, 2007 – Here’s another in our series of “what-were-they-thinking” classic Mini aberrations…

Hurry, it’s on eBay UK as item # 160124729058

This Mini body shell is grafted onto a Suzuki SJ 410Q chassis, but it’s not quite finished. Among other things, it could use some much-larger wheels and tires….

According to the owner/builder, who figures it’s about 70% finished, “This is an oportunity to acquire a unique project which would work well as an off-road vehicle, or a promotional vehicle, or the coolest ride in the whole of Great Britain!”

Hurry, the auction ends in a day and the (one bidder so far) has already bid the price of ownership to 499 GBP…

Another Mini, Another Version…

Tues., June 5, 2007 – Just got this one from a loyal reader.

Don’t know anything about it, but we like it…

While some would complain at the loss of another Mini, keep in mind that 5.5 million were made…
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Mini Mini in Mini Pic…

Mon., June 4, 2007 – Since I don’t have a “regular job,” the MiniGuy often gets to check out cool websites when he’s on a break from helping you…

This “Dubster” site is kinda neat. The idea is for people do take pics with “forced perspective,” which means they hold up something tiny and make it look like it’s full-size in the background.

Shown here is just one example, but I think it’d be cool if one of our readers took a pic using a classic Mini model or toy Mini and did the same.

How about it? Perhaps you could post it to that website and send us a link? Or send the pic itself and we’ll post it here.

Click Here to See the Dubster site or go to: http://www.dubster.com/cars/

Sure beats workin’…

MINI vs. Mini

Fri. June 1, 2007 – Here’s another favorite. This one’s from ‘Top Gear,” a car nut’s TV show based in Britain.

This one pits a classic Mini against a “new” (BMW) MINI – in a chase reminiscent of the original “Italian Job” movie, the one shot in the ’60’s.

In the closing, host Jeremy Clarkson pats the MINI and says, “It’s a nice car – but it’s not an icon,” referrring to the classic Mini that remained true to its original design for 41 years…

Thanks to a viewer who reminded us of this one. Keep those pics, stories and videos coming…

Click Here to See the Video or go to: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BqCeoKTHFtM

Stars & Cars: Here’s James Garner’s

Thurs., May 31, 2007 – Here’s another pic of a star and his car – a classic Mini that is…

James Garner is shown here with his ’66 Morris Cooper S, a left-hand-drive (LHD) model. This pic, taken in 1966, shows Garner and his Mini.

Of course, we wouldn’t want to drive just any old Cooper S, would we?

His Mini has a custom two-tone blue paint job, Webasto full pull-back sunroof, chromed external door hinges, flip-top alloy fuel filler, chrome exhaust tip and alloy wheels with chrome lug nuts and white-lettered Goodyears.

Garner’s rise to stardom began with the 1963 movie, “The Great Escape.”

A bit of trivia: His birth name is “James Scott Baumgarner.” (Isn’t the Internet great? I can come across as an expert in pretty much any field, including Hollywood trivia!)

By the way, an earlier feature on this page (Feb. 23, 2004) asked whether Steve McQueen owned a Mini or not. We later got responses confirming this, and somewhere we have pics of his Mini when it was on display at the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles. When we dig those pics out – or someone sends us them again (please) – we’ll post them here.

And He’s Got a Sense of Humor Too…

Before our newbie-to-Minis readers jump to the wrong conclusion, Garner’s not actually sitting down on the seat in this shot.

The MiniGuy is 6’4″ and I can assure you my head doesn’t even contact the headliner! And yes, I have legroom too, even without the available seat bracket extenders…

Cute shot, anyway…

MiniGuy’s Messages Mark Major Milestone

Tues. May 29, 2007 – This News/Features page of our recently relaunched website today hit a milestone of 100,000 page views, 13,000 of which occurred in just the last 30 days.

Thanks to all of you who are regular readers – and who have let others know what we’re doing here.

If you are new to this page, we typically update it daily with a variety of classic Mini-related news, features and pics that we hope you will find interesting.

Your submissions and comments are welcome – and very much appreciated!

‘E’s at it Again – and You’ll See it on YouTube

Mon., May 28, 2007 – Russ Swift – perhaps best known for his stunts in classic Minis – has (actually, for some time now) been doing the same, but in “new” (BMW) MINIs – as pictured here.

Nothing really new there, but what’s noteworthy is the plethora of videos on YouTube. Just search for “Russ Swift” and sit back and enjoy the videos – there’s 281 of them!

Pictured below is part of a classic Russ Swift show – with his trademark car-up-on-two-wheels stunt – in a classic Mini.

The Deals Are Out There

Sun., May 22, 2007 – Sometimes great deals on classic Minis just fall in our lap. One day, a visitor to our old showroom in Ventura mentioned that he had a Mk1 Mini Cooper S that he hadn’t driven in 10 years. He’d owned the car since the early ’70s, when he drove it daily to his job at movie studios in Universal City/Hollywood. He mentioned that he had pulled off the twin SU carbs to replace them with a new Weber (that was still in the box), but hadn’t finished the job and the Mini just sits in his garage. Inspired by the 15-20 classic Minis we typically had in our showroom, he vowed to put his back together and enjoy it again.

We didn’t hear from him again for about a year, when he stopped by to say he realized he’d never get around to fixing it and would we be interested in it.

When we went to see it, we found it in surprisingly good condition, as shown in the pic. As it turned out, it hadn’t been in the garage for just 10 years, it was more like 23, as it had last been registered in 1983. Also, it wasn’t a true “S” but had a Cooper S engine, Cooper S (7.5″ diameter) brakes and, on the rear, a slapped-on Austin script “S” above a “Morris Cooper” badge.

And off it headed to its new home with the MiniGuy…

NOTE: While many are seeking the hidden Minis, please keep in mind that the cars have typically been sitting for some time and – like this one – will usually need substantial work to get them back on the road, particularly in a safe condition.

However, it’s always nice to dream of that elusive deal…

Not a ‘Barn Find’, but a ‘Garage Sale’ Find

Wed., May 24, 2007 – As previously mentioned, classic Minis are hard to come by. Sometimes, as a fluke, Minis turn up in unexpected places. Some refer to these as “barn finds,” but this one’s more of a “garage sale find.”

One customer told us his story.

It seems he was at a garage sale in Southern California, and noticed inside the garage a somewhat familiar shape, one covered with blankets and a variety of garage detritus (ie: a polite word for crap and junk). He inquired of the home’s occupants if he might take a look. With their permission, he uncovered a classic Mini in a somewhat tired-looking condition stuffed with stuff – and with cats living in it. Asking if they might consider selling it, he was told yes, he could have it – for $300.

Needless to say, he sprinted to the nearest cash machine, withdrew the money and ran back.

As it turns out, with only minor fiddling, it started and ran – and has done so for the past three years!

Drive a Mini, Find a Mini?

Thurs., May 24, 2007 – When looking for my first classic Mini, it was hard to find any at all. I scoured newspaper classifieds, car-trader publications, visited the local classic Mini club, regularly hit a variety of websites – and even ran a “Mini Wanted” ad in a Los Angeles newspaper. At that time – more so than now – Minis were relatively hard to come by. But now, even with the Internet, good Minis may be elusive, but the searching can be done far and wide.

Here at MiniGuy, a significant number of our calls and website visitors come from referrals, and the rest typically find us through links on other automotive or Mini-related web pages or via search engines, including Google.

While I had a hard time finding my first Mini, that changed once I started driving it. I had people come up to tell me about the Mini that they had stashed away, or one they knew about, or they’d leave notes to that effect.

Once you have your first Mini, you’ll probably find the same to be true – and what could partially explain what we call “the unwritten law” that nobody is allowed to own just one Mini…

By the way, when you check our “Consignment – For Sale by Owner” pages, if you don’t see a Mini that meets your needs, please contact us. We typically have others available that aren’t yet added to the site.

We’re only too happy to help you find your first classic Mini, or your second, or your third…

An Eye in The Sky

Tues., May 23, 2007 – In our other features, we’ve mentioned how classic Minis sometimes turn up in unusual places. A gentleman called us one day after a friend told him about my hobby-turned-business. He had a Moke that he was willing to send to a new home. That one went to a new home in Michigan, but that’s not the story I’m looking to tell.

While there standing in his garage with his late-’50s Cadillacs, he told me of many Minis he’d owned over the years.

What I found interesting is how he found them.

It seems he is a telephone company service person (ie: the politically correct, gender neutral name for “lineman”), and, in the course of his duties, spends time working high up on telephone poles. Up there, he can view backyards of many homes, and in some, he spots classic Minis – sometimes in forlorn, haven’t-been-used-for-some-time condition.

After work, he’d pay a visit to the homes to inquire if they might consider sending them to a new home. A surprising number said yes, and some were even willing to give them away if he hauled them off….

Sheesh – some guys have all the luck…

Eye in The Sky – Part II

Mon., May 22, 2007 – Another “eye-in-the-sky” story of how folks are finding classic Minis was related to me by a frequent flyer.

He told of a city in the western U.S. that he regularly flies in that – while in the final approach and low enough to see such things – he’s spotted a high-fenced yard with several classic Minis in what looks to be haven’t-moved-in-a-while condition.

He’s told me the city and on what side of the plane they could be seen from (just before landing), but he’s sworn me to secrecy until he’s had a chance to track them down and approach the owner…

The Man By the Side of the Road

Sat., May 19, 2007 – Classic Minis drive on roads, particularly curvy ones. There, we have the Mini reference out of the way, so I can share something I ran across today in my old files.

The Man Who Lived By The Side of the Road

He sold hot dogs. He had no radio. He had trouble with his eyes so he had no newspaper. But he sold good hot dogs. He put up a sign on the highway telling how good they were. He stood by the side of the road and cried, “Buy a hot dog,” And the people bought. He increased his meat and bun orders, and he built a bigger stand to take care of his trade.

He got his son home from college to help him. But then something happened. His son said, “Father, haven’t you been listening to the radio? Business is terrible. The international situation is terrible and the domestic situation is even worse.”

Whereupon his father thought, “Well, my son has been to college. He listens to the radio and reads the papers, so he ought to know.”

So, the father of the son cut down his bun order, took down his advertising signs, and no longer bothered to stand on the highway to sell hot dogs. His hot dog sales fell almost overnght.

“You were right, son, said the father. Business is really terrible!”

Keep on Truckin’

Fri., May 18, 2007 – A regular reader sent in these pics. Don’t know the stories behind them, but we like ’em…

And that looks like Big Al’s (former) Big Bus (April 12) in the background…
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If I Could Sell My (******), I’d Get a Mini!

Sat., May 19, 2007 – We often get calls from people looking to trade something for a Mini, or from folks who need to sell a car before they can get one.

This is where our “Consignment – For Sale By Owner” pages come in. Those pages are for posting those cars that are – in our opinion – interesting…

This ’58 Morris Minor panel truck is a good example of what we are happy to post on that page. Frankly, I haven’t figured out while it’s still here…. Dollar for dollar, this one’s the cheapest way to get a headturner, ready-for-car-shows cool car!

(Click on the “Consign2” tab at the top or bottom of this page for this nice truck and other classic cars…)

Little Car, Big Voice…

Wed., May 16, 2007 – We at MiniGuy often get calls for photo shoots, or for television, movie and music video work, but I was still surprised when I got a call for a Mini to do a “voiceover.”

Not a voiceover actually, but a call to be the voice of a classic Mini Cooper in a new racing video game under development by Microsoft.

Below is the email I received, then how I was able to help…

—–Original Message—–
From: (Sound Motorsports, Microsoft)
Sent: Friday, February 02, 2007 4:21 PM
To: miniguy@miniguy.com
Subject: Looking for a Mini Cooper in the Seattle area

Hi, Michael!
Hey, thanks for taking the time to talk to me this afternoon. Again, I am trying to locate a Mini Cooper that we could record for a racing game coming up for the Xbox 360 that features a ’64 Mini Cooper S. We pride ourselves on making the most realistic games, and using a car that sounds right is very important to us.

I think the ’64 Cooper S had dual SU’s, so that’s what I’m hoping to find. I don’t think it matters if it’s a 998, 1075, 1275cc, or whatever, as long as it sounds right. I am hoping that you might either know someone with a suitable car in the Seattle area, or at least know someone within the local Mini club (SAMOA) that I could make contact with regarding this.

Thanks for your help, Michael!
Sincerely,
[xxxx xxxxx]
audio content coordinator
sound motorsports
Microsoft Game Studios
—–END Message—–

No problem, I thought. I made a few inquiries and was able to locate my former personal Mini, which now, as it turns out, lives with its new owner in Seattle. A quick call later, and I had an eager okay from new owner Kim A., and put her in touch with the Microsoft guys…

Kim later emailed, “It went well. It was fun, and those guys were highly entertaining. It took about four hours, and the Mini performed like a champ!”

So, someday, when you sit down to play with your xBox 360, listen closely and you just might hear the voice of yet another classic MiniGuy Mini…

p.s.- If you haven’t seen/heard it already, here’s a link to a music video that featured a half-dozen classic MiniGuy Minis for the band Dishwalla…(Features, Mar. 4, 2004)

 

And here’s another classic MiniGuy Mini in a Target/Tide Detergent commercial…(Features, Mar. 15, 2004)

http://www.miniguy.com/movies/target_mini_ad.mpeg