Sun., Oct. 17 – Taking stock of my life, I’ve realized that maybe my priorities have gotten a bit out of whack. Looking at this picture of me and my youngest son, now 7, reminds me that time is short – and I’d like to spend more of it with my wife and three boys. Therefore, we’re changing our Saturday schedule to open only by special appointment.
While we love talkin’ Minis with folks who drop by, we’d really prefer that you make an advance appointment, so we can better meet your needs.
Coming from out of the area?
Many of our customers are from distant states, or from far reaches of the state of California. We will always try to accomodate you, so just let us know what your travel plans are.
Another option, if your schedule is full, is to have us bring a Mini directly to you. That way, we can also deliver it to your local expert for a thorough evaluation, before you make your decision to adopt the Mini. Call us for details of this new program.
EXCEPTIONS: Of course, you can always get a special appointment on any day other than Sunday (ie: my day for church and family stuff) by mentioning the top-secret passwords: “I’m ready to get one and I’m bringing bags of small, unmarked bills!” …
Oct. 7, 2004 – MiniGuy is on the road again! We’re delivering a really nice Mini in Colorado, and we’ll be looking for Minis along the route that might need to go to new homes.
We’ll be gone from Oct. 7 – 11 to Nevada, Utah and Colorado, and perhaps Northern California. If you have a Mini that might be for sale, or if you are looking for one, please call MiniGuy on his cell phone: (805) 405-6263. Or if you are along the way, and would like a visit and to put us up for the night – (grin) – let us know.
We’ll be slow on answering emails in the mean time… See ya soon…
Sept. 17, 2004 – Here’s my new friend Gene B. and the orange Mini we here at MiniGuy helped him adopt. He plans to fix up this one with his 13-year-old son Raffe, who is also excited about the project.
Prior to this pic, Gene had already picked up a really clean light green “survivor” Mk1 for himself from our showroom. That one won’t need much cosmetic work at all, before it starts heading out to shows.
Gene tells a great story about the AMC Javelin he had years ago in his garage. When he went out to drive it one day, he discovered that a very, very young Raffe had other plans. Raffe had snuck out into the garage, found a screwdriver, and had completely dismantled the dash – just to see what was behind all those screws…
We here at MiniGuy would have to add it up, but I believe this marks about our twelfth pair of “father-son” Minis. Since I have three boys of my own, ages 7, 10 & 13, I try to give particularly good deals to anyone planning a father-son bonding project!
Sept. 15, 2004 – The following item is actually a class assignment my middle son wrote and turned in today for his Social Studies class in Middle School, where he’s in the 6th Grade.
The Mini Cooper Playhouse
One spring day, 5 years ago, my two brothers and I were bored. There was nothing to do, so we just sat around doing nothing. But, soon our dad came home and he brought a really cool playhouse. It wasn’t an ordinary playhouse; this was a Mini Cooper playhouse. Since my dad sells Mini Coopers (old British cars), all he did was take the body shell of one of his cars, glue on a fake dashboard, and put in seats. We strapped on our dad’s old racing helmets and played in our car all day. It was really fun.
We had many adventures with the Mini Cooper playhouse. We liked to pretend we were in a big race, or that the police were chasing us. When our mom got home, she was mad. She didn’t like the idea of a pile of junk in the backyard. We didn’t care, we liked it. We just stayed in our Mini Cooper playhouse, making engine noises and pretending we were chasing a helicopter.
Our Mini Cooper playhouse had a really cool dashboard, made from the control panel of an old microwave oven. We used the microwave panel because the microwave was broken. It happened the day before Thanksgiving when my mom realized our turkey was still frozen. She decided she could thaw it out in the bathtub, so Mom put the frozen bird in the tub. While filling the tub with cool water, the phone suddenly rang. She ran downstairs to get the phone – and forgot all about the running water. All of a sudden, it sounded like rain. Mom thought it was raining outside, then realized it was actually raining inside! Water poured from the ceiling, ruining the microwave. My dad, who likes to save things, set the broken microwave in the garage until he could think of what he might do with it.
When he created the Mini Cooper playhouse, he decided the microwave panel would make a great dashboard. My brothers and I helped to take the microwave apart and mount the control panel to the Mini Cooper. It made a great addition to our Mini Cooper playhouse.
After a couple months, something terrible happened. The day started out fun and cheerful, but things were about to change. My mom couldn’t take having a rusty dilapidated pile of junk with rats living in it sitting in the middle of our small backyard. My mom wasn’t happy. And there is an old saying that goes, “If Mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.” So that was the end of our Mini Cooper playhouse. All that is left now are memories of the pile of junk we used to sit in and make engine noises. THE END.
Drop me an email if you are interested in working for us, then follow it up with a phone call.
Our most pressing need is for an experienced Mini mechanic. There are several GREAT Mini repair shops / mechanics in the Los Angeles area, but we spending too much time shuttling cars to them, and a number of jobs we have are just small jobs, or are more urgent.
We need an in-house mechanic immediately, with extensive Mini experience. We have about 30 classic Mini’s here now, and – being British cars – there’s always something needing to be done.
We also need help evaluating cars that come in. We have two containerloads of “cheap” Minis that recently arrived. (ie: Some are total projects, and we don’t even know if the engines will rotate, much less run.) We need them evaluated, so we can set prices “as-is”, or with some or all of the needed work done.
We also have a need someone to transport or deliver Minis. Hugh Cannon (ie: Dr Mini) has been great for us, but he’s tied up with his other work for about two months.
We have Minis that need to go immediately to Concord, California (in the Bay Area), Littleton, Colorado (near Denver), Tucson, Arizona, and to Eureka or Redding, (in Northern) California. I have a Cooper S that needs to come down from Santa Barbara today, if possible.
We also need someone with lots of DMV/registration experience.
And an intern / trainee / apprentice mechanic / move-cars-around / dust-cars-in-the-showroom “lot boy”-type person….
Mini spotters / evaluators in other states (and countries) are also needed. We pay finder’s fees if you steer us to a car that we broker or buy.
If you are interested in discussing it, please drop us a lengthy email with your qualifications and experience, or attach a resume if you have one, then follow it up with a phone call. Thanks, I look forward to hearing from you…
August 7, 2004 – Hello from the MiniGuy. Just giving a heads-up… Michael Waterjohns, the man behind M-tech (in the UK) has been visiting us in Southern California, and is now traveling with his lady friend before he returns home. He just returned from Catalina Island, where he spent two days. Now he’s headed north, then East. His tentative schedule is to leave our showroom in Ventura on Sunday morning, headed north on the 101. He will be passing through Santa Barbara, Solvang, Santa Maria, San Luis Obispo and ending up near Hearst Castle on Sunday evening. From there, he will head up Highway 1 to Big Sur, Carmel and Monterey, then spend Monday night there. Around Tuesday, he will end up in the San Francisco Bay area, then likely traveling to the East Bay or Sacramento. Around Wednesday, he will most likely be headed towards Lake Tahoe ( and perhaps MiniMania on the way). After that, he is slated to be in Reno. (Is Hot August Nights still going on?) From there, he will either make a banzai run to Denver to hand-deliver one of his Minis that we (at MiniGuy) brokered for him, or he will head to Las Vegas. He’ll then be returning to Southern California via Highway 15.
If you would like to meet Mtech Mike, or show him your special Mini(s), or talk to him about having him build one of his custom, build-to-order Minis or “CountryMan Sport” woodie wagons for you (as seen on the cover of Mini Magazine) please drop MiniGuy an email, or call and I’ll see if he can meet up with you.
Here’s the Mini he’ll be driving:
I drove it home yesterday, and it FLIES! I’d like to keep it for my personal Mini… Sigh…
NOTE: If you have any “bribes” for Mtech Mike (ie: yacht cruises, Jetskiing, waterskiing, surfing lessons, loan of condo or timeshare in resort area, free meals and lodging, a spare room, etc. etc.) you just might be able to persuade him to alter his course and pay you a visit. (He didn’t say that, but he’s easily tempted!) Also, if anyone has current contact info for Mini owner Tony Symmes in NorCal, please drop me an email or call, since Mike would really like to see his CountryMan Sport woodie again that he built for Tony. (It’s the light yellow one on our “Consignment” page. Here’s a pic: Have a safe trip, Mike!
We’ve been absolutely swamped, and we’re getting behind on answering phone messages and emails.
Just a heads-up:
Our highest priorities are:
1.) Visitors to our showroom who have made appointments.
2.) Phone calls.
The best way to reach us, is to email us first, and let us know the best phone numbers and time frames to call, so we can call you direct. Or let us know what time frame you will be calling, and we’ll let you know the best phone numbers to reach us.
In your email, give us a sense of what sort of Mini you are looking for and how you plan to use your Mini. Let us know your previous experience with Minis, or if this will be your first one. Give us a sense of your level of mechanical expertise, or lack thereof. It’s REALLY helpful if you give us a sense of your ideal budget range, since we have many other Minis available, or that have been offered to us, besides what you see on our web site.
If there are particular ID#s of Minis on our site that you like or dislike, let us know that, and why you like what you see.
Please let us know what area you are in, since the costs of transport (or shipment direct from overseas, if need be) can be factored in, as well as to let you know of unadvertised Minis in your area.
Please let us know in what sort of time frame you are looking to get a Mini. If you are just in the preliminary stages, or need a bit of an education of what Mini might work best for you, just let us know.
If you give us an advance email, such as what is above, we will be able to get back to you much quicker.
If you don’t get a prompt reply, please don’t be offended. We’re swamped here. Just re-send the message, and put something like “(resending)” at the beginnning of the subject line, and resend the same message. Or put “(resending 2X)”, if you’ve sent it before.
When you reply to our emails, please include the text from your original message, and the text of our reply. It’s a big help when you do that, and we’ll be able to answer your questions MUCH more easily.
We get buried in emails, so please email first, then give us a call.
IMPORTANT: We lost a LOT of emails (and contact info in our database) when our computer crashed, and we haven’t had time to restore the backups. Please resend any messages that you think we may have missed, and include your contact info (and various phone numbers, etc.) and we’ll add you back into our database.
July 8, 2004 – Did you miss out on “Mini Meet – East Meets West” this year?
Here’s your chance for a (sort of) “Mini Meet West 2004”!
Got to talking with some local Mini folks, and we’ve decided this might be a great opportunity to make a “Mini weekend” out of an upcoming Southern California car-show event, and in some small way help make up for those who missed the recent national Mini Meet in Rockford, Illinois.
Here’s the deal. The MiniGuy is also a member of a local British car group, the Central Coast British Car Club (CCBCC), which is hosting its annual British Car Show on Sunday, July 18 at the Ventura Harbor Village in Ventura, (Southern) California – not far from the MiniGuy showroom. More details may be found at: www.ccbcc.org
Rather than just come up Sunday morning for the car show, here’s what we are proposing: Friday night, or on Saturday – arrive at your convenience. We’ll have lists of local hotels (and rates) available by request. Saturday, July 17 – [ tentative schedule ] 9 a.m. – 11 a.m. – Swap Meet and Open House at MiniGuy showroom in Ventura. Clear out your garages and bring your used, NOS or excess Mini parts, toys, books, videos and accessories to MiniGuy’s Ventura showroom. No charge for buyers, or for sellers. If you will be bringing a Mini, or a project Mini that may be for sale, let MiniGuy know in advance and we may be able to post some preview pics prior to the event. Call for email for details. NOTE: After the Swap Meet, you may leave your unsold items (or purchases) in our (locked) storeroom for pickup late Saturday, or for pickup after the car show Sunday afternoon. Or, feel free to donate (or Consign) your unsold items to the MiniGuy, and we’ll see that they are used to give new life to old Minis! 11 a.m. to Noon – check into your local hotels, grab a quick lunch, or just hang out and talk Minis. Noon to 3 p.m. – Seminars / Guest Speakers TBD.
Possible topics: 1.) Meet the Mini Mechanics. Area Mini experts will be on hand to meet and greet you, and advise you on what they can do to help you with your Mini, or Mini project. 2.) Meet “M-tech Mike”, better known as Michael Waterjohns, visiting from the UK and discuss having him custom build the Mini of your dreams. He’ll have a full portfolio of his past work, which includes the famous “Countryman Sport” (ie: Sportspack-style) woodie wagon that graced the cover of Mini Magazine! 3.) What’s inside a Mini motor? A Mini mechanic will strip down an engine, and show you what’s really inside that lump under your bonnet. 4.) So You Want to Go Racing? A vintage Mini racer will display his Mini, and tell you about what sort of costs and requirements there are for vintage racing. Maybe show some in-car-camera race footage, or? 5.) Basic Mini tuneup and troubleshooting tips. 6.) SU Carbs and how they work. 7.) Minis in the Good ‘ol Days. (an old-timer will tell stories, etc.) 8.) What’s my Mini worth? (Mini experts will be on hand to give you a verbal evaluation of what your Mini might fetch in today’s market.) 9.) My Mini is NOT for Sale. Here’s an opportunity for your Mini to be photographed and featured in a new section of the MiniGuy site. It’s basically pages of nice Minis that aren’t for sale – but we think are cool or original enough to be featured (for free) on the MiniGuy site. Sat., 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. – Fun Run / Rally in the local twisty mountain roads. Possible routes could include around Lake Casitas, up through the trendy resort town of Ojai, along Highway 150 to Carpinteria or Santa Barbara? Or? There’s lots of great local roads to choose from… 6 p.m. – 7 p.m. – Water, vacuums, and cleaning supplies will be made available at the MiniGuy showroom for anyone desiring to clean and detail their Mini for the Sunday show. 7 p.m. – Mini Caravan departs for Downtown Ventura cruise, and to restaurant(s) to be determined. Perhaps at one of the many restaurants at the Ventura Harbor. 9 p.m. – Slumber Party / Movie Night at the MiniGuy showroom. Will be showing the classic, (original 1960’s) version of “The Italian Job,” and perhaps other Mini-related movies. No charge. Feel free to bring cots, sleeping bags and/or pads and camp out amongst the Minis in the showroom. Spend the night, or leave at your convenience. NOTE: In advance, we will provide lists of local hotels for those wanting to actually sleep, and in a real bed. A nearby group campsite at Emma Wood State Beach may also be available, for those wishing to sit by a campfire, then sleep under the stars.
Sunday, 7:45 a.m. – depart MiniGuy showroom for the CCBCC British Car show at the Ventura Harbor Village.
Since the CCBCC show is nearly sold out, we have prepaid a block of 25 spaces for Minis. If your Mini isn’t in the show itself – or if all the show spaces are sold out – you can still go to the show before it begins, and you’ll have a good chance to park as a group in the adjoining paved lot! Free parking is available directly adjacent to the grassy venue, but it fills up REAL fast!
First priority (for the 25 reserved show spaces) might be given to those who have adopted their Minis through the MiniGuy, but we expect to have more spaces available, so if you are interested, please let us know ASAP.
9 a.m. – Car show begins. (Morris Minor is the featured marque this year.) 4 p.m. – Car show ends. 4:30 p.m. – MiniGuy showroom reopens, for those needing to pick up their unsold swap meet items, or swap meet purchases, or your sleeping bags, cots, (etc.), that you didn’t want to schlep to the car show. Also, it will be your last chance to ogle the MiniGuy’s Minis, or to visit the showroom if you just came in for the day.
Anyone wishing to Consign their Mini in the MiniGuy showroom might be able to leave it that day, or prior to the weekend’s events for maximum exposure. Call or email for details of our Consignment program, or for references.
Sun., after 4:30pm – Stay until it stops being fun…
For those considering coming from out of town, we have information on airport shuttles, and the Greyhound bus station and Amtrak train stations are both within three blocks away. We also might consider loaning some MiniGuy Minis if you are coming from out of the area.
Turns out I have too much work to do before I leave, so I’ve decided to fly out to the national Mini Meet in Rockford, IL (instead of the 30-hour drive from Southern California).
However, I can’t bear the thought of being at a Mini Meet without a classic Mini!
If you have a Mini that might be for sale (that’s in or near Madison, WI, where I will be flying into, or along the way to Rockford, IL,) please shoot me an email with details, and give me a call on my cell phone.
Or, if you have a Mini you’d be willing to loan to me at the Mini Meet, I’d love to hear from you ASAP.
(Thanks again to David Weber of Barnhill Minis for the one he loaned to Chuck Heleker and I at Spring Thing 2002, and for Pete Cavallo’s help in setting that up!).
I have a Dealer Plate, a $50K bond, and full-coverage insurance, so that’s not a problem. (It need not even be currently registered or titled.)
I’ll also be seeking other exceptional – or cheap – Minis to buy outright at the Meet, so bring yours or information on it to the show.
I’ll also be seeking Minis for our Consignment pages, along with those I’ll be buying outright. Call or email for details on our Consignment / broker programs. The car can stay with you, the title can stay with you, and the funds go directly to you. Or, if it’s an exceptional Mini, we may consider displaying it in our showroom in Ventura. We pay all the transport costs to get it there. Again, call or email for details – and references are gladly provided.
Send pics and details to: firstname.lastname@example.org
p.s. – I’d even consider a (BMW) “new MINI, particularly if I end up driving it back.
-Michael “MiniGuy” Lewis
cell (805) 405-6263
p.s. – Any last-minute SoCal folks or MOALA members who want to join me in the flight, airport shuttle, and hotel room? Flight leaves just after midnight Tuesday morning, or I can switch it to a Tues. a.m. flight. Slated to return on a Saturday flight, unless I’m driving a Mini back!
June 17, 2004 – When “Kaz” of West Virginia called MiniGuy with his wish list for a Mini, it turns out we had the perfect Mini for his needs and budget range – and it was right on our Consignment pages!
In no time at all, we put Kaz in contact with Jeff S., of Champaign, Illinois, and Kaz booked his flight.
Pictured here is Kaz and his family’s “new” Mini, ready to head home to West Virginia – a mere 12-hour drive away!
Here’s the note Jeff sent us later:
“Hi Michael, I just wanted to let you know that my Mini you had on your Consignment section sold this weekend, to the first individual you referred to me!
I had tried to sell it locally, on [another Mini site] and also through several local Mini clubs. However, all I got were “tire-kickers” and the infamous “Nigerian Scam” emails (17 of them!). After I turned the job over to you, the first person you had call me flew out here and bought it. The nice description you wrote – which was much better than I could ever have done – plus all the pictures you posted on your site really sold my car!
I had bought the Mini in Spring 2001 in Rochester, NY, and trailered it home. After that, I found I had to replace the clutch, entire brake system, front and rear bearings, and fix two rusted-out areas I found in the floors! While I was at it, I also fitted a new interior.
I have enjoyed being a member of the Mini community, being President of the Champaign, Illinois Mini/MINI club and a member of the M.I.N.I. club in Chicago. I will probably buy another as time goes on. After the experience I had buying my first Mini, I will be a little more discerning – and most definitely will have you find me the right Mini for me when that time comes. Thanks for the great service!” – Jeff in Champaign, IL.
June 18, 2004 – Just a heads-up to let you know the MiniGuy showroom will be closed from Sunday, June 20 through Sunday, June 27.
The MiniGuy is taking a week off to go backpacking and fishing in the High Sierras with his son’s Scout Troop, in the area around Huntington Lake.
If you are looking for a Mini before we shut down for vacation, call quick!
On Friday, June 18, we’ll be at the port picking up five fresh Minis. On Saturday, June 19, we’ll be open in the afternoon by appointment.
We’ll reopen on Monday, June 28…
In the mean time, we invite you to drop us an email with your wish list, and a sense of your budget range. We’re sure we can find or build the Mini of your dreams, if we don’t already have it amongst the 26-or-so classic Minis we already have in stock! We have another half-dozen Minis on the water, and others that have been offered to us or are Consigned to us, that we haven’t yet added to the web site.
June 11, 2004 – While traveling back to the MiniGuy showroom today, traffic began getting really heavy on the 101 freeway in Camarillo. I realized it must be time for the motorcade bringing the body of former President Ronald Reagan back from Washington, DC, to pass by before his sunset burial at the nearby Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum in Simi Valley.
Traffic was a mess. Throngs of people were already lining the sides of the freeway, and on the freeway overpasses, so I stopped to join the crowds paying our last respects to the former President.
May 30 & 31, 2004 – As we all enjoy our holiday weekend, here’s hoping we’re all remembering the reason for this particular season.
Regardless of your particular religious persuasion, you’ve got to admit the wisdom in this particular quote: “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13) (KJV).
On this Memorial Day weekend, we at MiniGuy hope all are remembering those who made the ultimate sacrifice, who gave up their lives in the service of their country so that we could enjoy the freedoms we enjoy today.
Our local paper, the Los Angeles Daily News, is running some great articles about veterans and their wartime experiences. A few headlines:
Dennis McCarthy column: Now’s time for honors and praise
Ex-soldier still recalls frozen fight
Wounded Marine says a miracle saved him
Vietnam changed career soldier
Former POW brings comrades home
Valley vets make trek to ceremony
Yes, peace is a worthy goal, but sometimes freedom isn’t “free.”
Here’s another quote, generally attributed to English philosopher-politician Edmund Burke, “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”
Thanks to all our servicemen who have done – or are now doing – something to rid the world of evil dictators, tyrants, regimes and others who would take away our God-given rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness!
Yes, even if your version of “the pursuit of happiness” is simply to drive and tinker with tiny British cars…
PHOTO: U.S. Marines raising flag over Iwo Jima, by Joe Rosenthal.
May 29, 2004 – When this black-and-white Mk2 Mini pulled up at our MiniGuy showroom in Ventura today, it looked like one we hadn’t seen previously, but still looked vaguely familiar.
Turns out it is the Mini owned by Ventura resident/Mini fan James R. that he adopted from us over a year ago, but now it’s sporting a new paint job and a bunch of new goodies!
If you look on our Consignment pages, you’ll see ID# FK7120, but it was a tired light green then. It still has a 1275cc, but now with a lot of underhood detailing and an RC40 exhaust, among other improvements.
James R. painted this Mini himself, in his back yard no less. You’d never know it, since it looks pretty darn good.
He’s willing to let it go to a new home, since he’s looking to finance his next project, and the fun for him is in the restoration work itself, not in the driving and showing. He’d rather let someone else enjoy the fruits of his labors, and get right back into getting his hands dirty on his next project – a horsepower transplant on his Russian-built, vintage-style “Ural” motorcycle and sidecar combo. He’s also looking at British convertible sports cars too, so drop us a note if you have something interesting to trade (preferably, a plus-cash-to-James deal).
We’ll be posting more pics, and an updated price to the Consignment page soon, but drop us an email in the mean time if you’re interested in more details or a sneak peek!
May 28, 2004 – Colorado-based Minis of the Rockies (MOTR) member Steve R. sent us these shots of his club’s most recent outing, a run to the top of Pike’s Peak last weekend.
Participants included a number of classic Minis, and some “new” (BMW) MINIs too, along with Steve’s own Wolseley Hornet, a Mini-based car with a unique Rolls or Bentley-esque grill, and a small trunk (or, “boot” as they say in the Mini’s homeland). The Hornet is a sister to the Riley Elf, which is also Mini-based.
Below are a couple more shots from the run…
If you have sharp eyes, you will see a red-and-white Mini with a Union Jack on the roof. It’s one that formerly belonged to the MiniGuy, but now has its new home with Bill F., of Colorado. If you attend Mini events, you’ve likely seen it before. When the MiniGuy owned it, it was seen on the sidelines of the first “Mini Challenge” race at Laguna Seca, then in the Minis at sunrise pic taken at dawn near Big Sur on Highway 1. After Bill adopted it, he’s been driving it all over the Western U.S., including Mini Meet West 2002 in Southern California, Mini Meet West 2003 in British Columbia, Canada and there’s talk of him making the run to the national Mini meet in Rockford, Illinois this summer.
If you’re familiar with the kid’s game, “Where’s Waldo?”, you might count how many times this Mini has appeared on this NEW FEATURE page…
Anyway, enjoy the pics below, and keep those pics and story ideas coming!
NOTE: For a full-screen shot of this same pic, Click on This Link
May 25, 2004 – It’s about a foot-and-a-half longer, quite a bit wider, about 1,000 pounds heavier, but when push came to shove, and squish turned to squash, this “new” (BMW) MINI held only 12 kids, or two fewer than were able to squeeze into the “classic” Mini above!
May 26, 2004 – One of our Sacramento readers sent us this pic of a Chevy V8-powered Mini that turned up at a Nevada City car show/swap meet for Minis this past Saturday, and we found some other pics of it while surfing the ‘Net.
However, we still haven’t seen a pic of the engine. Can anyone help us with a pic of the engine, and some more details about the car and its owner and/or builder? If you have more pics, send them along to us too. Thanks!
In the mean time, to see another Chevy V8-powered Mini, see our Feb. 29 and March 2, 2004 features below.
May 25, 2004 – Here’s two pics we received from longtime classic Mini owner-enthusiasts Donna and David K., of Knoxville, Tennessee.
Here’s the note that Donna sent with them, “Hey MiniGuy, here is a little info on the “Kids Mini/MINI mash” held recently at our son Cooper’s elementary school. The kids worked hard all year participating in an Accelerated Reader program designed to encourage reading. The theme for this year involved race cars. The kids were required to read a certain number of books to get a paper race car with their name on it up on the track tacked up to the wall in the school hallway. The more they read, the faster and further their car went on the track. The entire school worked so hard on their reading that a celebration was planned…and of course, cars had to be involved somehow. Parents planned a car show with a couple of loud race cars, some vintage cars, a low-rider pickup and our classic Mini and one of our new (BMW) MINIs.
At some point during the car show, I asked my son’s class if they would like to see how many of them would fit in the classic Mini. They answered with a resounding YES! The teacher and I began stacking them in, with the smaller kids on top. We managed to get 14 of the 17 students from Cooper’s class in the classic Mini. As you can see, they had great fun with this. As they piled out of the car beside the new (BMW) MINI, they begged to try it again. Once again, they squished and squashed their way in, but this time only 12 made it in. I wish you could have seen the teacher’s face when she realized the smaller car held more! The reduced number was due to the height of the emergency brake between the front seats of the new MINI. It was just not comfortable to sit on and resulted in only four in the front seats instead of six.
All in all, it was a great celebration. Some children preferred the classic Mini, others the new (BMW)one and some folks – like me – wanted one of each!”
May 27, 2004 – Local hot rodder/British car nut Bill C. came by a couple months back to show us snapshots of his latest project, a Chevy v8-powered ’59 Morris Minor “Traveler” (ie: woodie wagon). (See April 6, 2004 feature below.)
Well, he dropped by this week to show us his progress. It’s on the road, and man-o-man, is it fast!
He’s owned this particular Traveler for 35 years, in fact it’s the second car he ever owned. His first car was a ’57 Morris Minor two-door sedan.
When he was offered a custom scratch-built chassis fitted with a small Honda Civic body that was formerly powered by a Dodge 440 hemi with dual superchargers, he saw a lot of potential there for bringing his woodie back to life – with some SERIOUS horsepower!
It’s currrently fitted with a ’65 Corvette 327 CID engine (ie: the one originally rated at 365-horsepower) fitted with an Isky 292 cam w/ 505 lift, a built turbo 350 trans, and hooked to a narrowed Chrysler/Dana rear end and ladder-bar rear suspension. The front McPherson-strut suspension and disc brakes are from a Mazda RX-7, but the A-arms (and most of the rest of the car) are custom fabricated. With its 3.55 rear end, it will still cruise comfortably at freeway speeds.
Amazingly, Bill says he’s only into the car for about $6,000, since he’s accumulated many of the parts over the years at bargain prices, and he’s done most of the work himself.
What’s next for it? Well, Bill said now that he knows everything fits, he’s going to tear it all down and paint all the components and do it up nice.
Bill’s no stranger to British cars. He’s had a number of Minis in the past, most recently a panel van. He’s looking for another, so he’s a frequent visitor to our showroom. We always enjoy his visits, since he’s got a number of interesting projects and lots of great stories!
May 24, 2004 – This Island Blue Cooper with a 1380cc and a 5-speed transmission just left for its new home in Arlington, Washington, but it was a hard one to see go away.
My first Mini was the same colors, Island Blue with an Old English White roof. However, this one had a great road motor and the five-speed helped it to cruise effortlessly at freeway speeds, even more so than a conventional Mini.
My wife thinks I got into the Mini business just so I could have a bunch of Minis for myself. When I saw this one head down the road, I’m thinking she just might be right…
Ryan F., please take good care of it, and give it a good home, okay? And keep me posted on your Mini adventures.
May 23, 2004 – Just a few weeks after his father adopted the Mini below, Dave R. dropped in and told us how much fun his father was having in his Mini, and that he had to have one too.
Dave picked out what I’d say was the second-nicest Mini we’ve ever had in our showroom, this “Lake Green” Cooper S that was darn-near perfect!
When we received a call from a British car magazine looking to do a head-to-head comparison with the “new” (BMW) MINI, Dave was only too happy to step in our place when a schedule conflict prevented the MiniGuy from doing it.
Shown here is Dave briskly navigating the cones in his Mini on a Camarillo Airport runway that was shut down for the testing…
May 22, 2004 – We at MiniGuy have sold more than a half-dozen pairs of “father-son” Minis, and one of them was featured in our May 14 item below.
Dick R. kept dropping by our showroom to ogle our Minis, but when he showed up his wife Tabea and she gave him her blessing, he adopted the Mini we were told was “the nicest Cooper S in the world” before we bagged it overseas. We here at MiniGuy have seen a lot of Minis, but certainly not enough to say it’s definitely the nicest one in the world, but it was certainly the nicest one we had ever seen.
In tomorrow’s feature, we’ll tell you about Dick’s son Dave, and the Mini Dave later adopted from us!
May 20, 2004 – As a followup to our May 18 and 19 features, we found this pic on the Internet. It seems Mom has been tearing up the autocross track in her Cooper replica. This shot shows some hard cornering, to the point where her left rear wheel is lifting. Way to go, Mom!
When she blew the first engine from some pretty agressive driving, Mom pulled out her tools and some shop manuals, and swapped it out herself. Again, we say, “Way to Go Mom!”
May 18, 2004 – Here’s a pic showing what turned out to be our first set of “mother-daughter” Minis.
This one went to Ami T., of Santa Barbara, who came with her family in 2001. Her mother, Claire T., came the next year and adopted the Mini “Cooper replica” we’ll be featuring tomorrow.
The car shown here is actually a Riley “Elf,” a variant of the Mini that was sort of the “upscale” version of the basic car sold to the masses. The Riley Elf – and their sister cars the Wolseley “Hornet” – share all the mechanical parts with the Mini, so parts are readily available. The primary difference is that the Elf-Hornets had a different front panel, grill and bonnet, along with an extended boot (or “trunk,” as we Yanks call them) with a bootlid that lifted upwards, rather than dropping down like the standard Mini bootlid.
Incidentally, we have a nice light green Elf on our Consignment page, and we’ve been offered a nice Hornet that’s been upgraded to a 1275cc, and an Elf that’s been upgraded with a 1275cc, 8.4″ disc brakes and new 12″ Minilite-style (8-spoke) alloys. Call us for details, and pics if you are interested.
May 21, 2004 – After Mark R. adopted his Mini Moke from us, he later sent us this pic. In addition to driving his Moke, he also uses it to tow his helicopter in and out of its hangar!
Mokes share all the mechanical parts, including the engine, subframes, suspension, brakes with standard Minis, so parts are readily available. Legend has it that they were originally built with the idea of selling them to the military, but they ended up catching on big in resort areas.
Off the coast of Southern California is Catalina Island. In the 1960’s and 1970’s, a concession there offered rental Mokes, and hundreds of them saw service there. The Catalina Mokes still turn up from time to time; we were offered one just a couple weeks ago.
An immaculate, fantastically restored Moke with documented Catalina history sold last year at the Monterey auctions for something like $24,000 USD.
We’ve also just been offered a 140-horsepower race Moke – its engine/transmission alone are worth over $16,000, its owner reports. It’s pricey, but scary fast! Call or email for more details and pics…
May 17, 2004 – Here’s another in our series of “big and little” shots, this one sent by fellow Mini Owners of America – Los Angeles (MOALA) member Mark. Here’s the note he sent with the pic:
I enjoyed reading your New Feature section. Every time somebody comes up to
me and my Mini asking where they can get one, I give them your website address. I had my car in another car show the same weekend as the Unique Little Car Show, and must have told 50 people your web address. Even though I was the only British car in the show, I must have had 200 people come up to talk about Minis, and the guy next to me with the blown El Camino probably wished he was not right next to the Mini! (ha ha). Heres a couple of pics for you. One is my Mini next to a monster school bus, and one from the show last weekend, which consisted of 197 American muscle cars, 1 Alfa, and my Mini. Cheers, – Mark.”
Thanks Mark, and thanks to everyone else sending in their interesting pics, and story ideas!
May 15 – When Brad R. of nearby Oak View, CA needed a Mini, he came to us at MiniGuy. When Brad (aka: “jazzician” on a popular Mini message board) and his fiance Elisa sought to make their wedding memorable and unique, Brad asked about using some of our Minis for his wedding party. He wanted to display them at the wedding at the Ojai church, then carvan down to the Ventura Marriot hotel for the reception.
As is the case with most people adopting their Minis through us, we typically gain a friend too. We were only too happy to help our friends Brad and Elisa!
The two of them met 6 or 7 years ago when Elisa became the new singer of the swing band, “Hot Town Jubilee,” in which Brad was the drummer. Brad, a professional musician, plays a number of instruments and formerly served as a high school music teacher.
Click Here for more pics from today’s wedding…
NOTE: We’ll be adding more pics on some separate pages soon, so check back in a few days to this news item for links to those pages!