The cover story for our August/September issue features the new MINI Sports Coupe, set to debut at dealerships in the US this late October or early November. Production of the new Coupe started at Oxford this past July and MINI fans the world around are lauding the introduction of this latest member of the MINI family. A sports car version of the MINI has been discusssed on and off by the factory since the early 1960s (though they would have been sold as MGs!), but it took BMW ownership of the brand to finally bring a sporting model to fruition. Editor Peter DuPre discusses The MINI Coupe starting on page 22.
Our editorial features for this issue start two pages earlier (pg 20) with an article by the editor called Rallying The Silk Way. The MINI WRC team, fronting a team of WRC Countrymans prepared by Prodrive has been getting all the heavy attention in the racing world, but the Monster Energy X-Raid team managed by Sven Quandt (of the BMW Quandts) has actually been doing quite well on the rally circuit, most recently taking the podium at the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge, and more recently, pulling in First, Second and Fifth at the Silk Way Rally. Quandt's team runs a combination of BMW X3 and Countryman-derived MINI All4 Racing cars. During this recent race across Russia the X3 pulled in first, with a close second by the MINI All4. Some great photos and all the details are in the article.
Here at home, MINI racing has also been doing quite well. The MC2-sponsored Savannah Rickli faced An Uphill Battle at this year's Pike's Peak International Hill Climb, where she garnered a seventh-place finish in her class. The finish was lower than last year's second in class, but Savannah to beat her 2010 finish time by a considerable margin and while going head-to-head with notable racers such as Rod Millen, Toshiki Yoshioka and Jeff Zwart. MC2 corrrespondents Mike Selander and Aaron Crooks were on hand at the mountain to cover all the action and we've got in the magazine starting on page 25.
In other race news, Randy Smalley's RSR Motorsports team has been busy jousting on the Grand AM circuit this year and despite a few setbacks, has managed to make podium finishes during a number of races. Beth Dolgner and photographer Wes Duenkel have been following the exploits of the RSR MINIs and in Full Out For Glory!, Beth details the 2011 season's adventures starting on page 28. If things go well for the team during the next couple of races in August, there is an exceptionally good chance that they'll take the driver's championship, so stay tuned!
On page 31, SCCMM member George Marsh takes us on a tour Inside The VDC, where MINIs arriving from the UK are prepped for dealer delivery. More than just an unloading station at Port Hueneme, the VDC, or vehicle Distribution Center, is an import cog in the distribution wheel for the factory. Here vehicles are unloaded, cataloged, cleaned and even repaired if necessary before shipping them off for delivery to the dealer and consumer. George takes us through the all the steps needed to make sure your new MINI arrives in absolutely perfect condition.
There has been a lot of talk lately about Bad Gas? messing up MINI engines and it is the government mandated ethanol that is getting the blame. According to editor Peter DuPre, the water absorbing properties of ethanol can cause warranty issues in MINIs when the proportion of ethanol to gasoline is out of whack. You don't always know what you are buying at the pump and not nowing could void your warranty. Get the details starting on page 34.
Over in the UK, author/photographer Ian Ayre investigates a hot rod MINI in Blown Away! The car in question is a UK version of an R53 that has been fitted with a Honda K20a engine and 6-speed Honda gearbox. According to Iain, the car is seriously fast and bags of fun to drive. Get a taste of what a fast MINI is like starting on page 37.
In our heritage section, staff historian Graham Robson discusses The Engine That Never Was starting on page 40. According to Graham, back in the mid-1970s BL engineers designed a number of new powerplants to fit into the Mini but a lack of money and vision by company executives cut the project short. It's a shame, too, since the A-series derived engine featured a new head, a single overhead cam, and was capable of delivering more power and more torque.
With summer in full swing, what could be more perfect that loading your board and heading in search of the perfect wave? Well, Rick Terrell's Surfin' Mini Estate wagon, complete with roof rack and surf board is just the vehicle for a retro surfin' safari. Now Rick doesn't get to the ocean too often. He lives 90 minutes away from the nearest beach, but that doesn't stop him from driving his '67 Estate around Longview, WA and playing surf music full blast on the stereo. Take a look at this one-of-a-kind classic photograhed by Peter DuPre starting on page 44.
As is usual for MC2, there's plenty more info between the covers. In our Clubs & Events section we journey to Nevada City, CA; Cleveland, OH; Bowmanville, ONT; Las Vegas, NV; and Lake Tahoe, CA following the happenings of various MINI Meets around the continent. We've also got Mindy Cindy, and Chuck and Matt answer your tech questions on classic and new Minis. In Your Wheels, there are cars from Austria, France and even Baltimore! So there's plenty to keep you occupied in Issue 33, but to read it you have to be a subscriber or purchase a back issue. Click here to sign up! ~ Peter D. DuPre, Editor-In-Chief