They say that whatever happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas but in the case of this year's AMVIV, that just isn't true. A MINI Vacation In Vegas 5, held this past March 28-31, was such a huge success that people are still taking about and those that didn't go are planning to be on hand for next year's bash. Yes, it was Party Time in Vegas (page 26) for over 1,500 people and 600 Minis on the top floor of the Palace Station Hotel and Casino parking garage where the event took place. Editor, Peter D. DuPre, along with publisher, Barry Brazier, was on hand to participate in the activites and report on all the goings on at the MC2 booth and the event in general.
The trip down to Las Vegas by MC2 staff took a detour, however, since we had to stop by Los Angeles and pick up our 2008 Clubman S project car first. Yes, we finally have a Clubman in the House and although our first driving of it was during a Los Angeles rush hour, we still made time in Vegas to have a MINI Navigation system installed so that we wouldn't get lost on the way back to our Seattle area offices. Plans for the project car are currently being formulated, but to see the progress so far, turn to page 24.
Speaking of Clubman, the U.S. press launch took place in February in Monterey, CA and our Design Editor, Stephan McKeown dropped in on it to get the latest on the Clubman marketing campaign, test drive the new model, and generally have a good time in the town that Steinbeck made famous. Stephan says that while the Clubman is an all-new model, it is also a Back to the Future car as it reflects the heritage of the original Mini Clubman of 1960s fame. Read the latest Clubman news on page 32.
On page 35, we take at look at Jessie Nelson's classic, 1973 Mini, one of the many fine vehicles we found at AMVIV. It's Not Big, It's Pynt Syz! highlights this timeless classic and its pretty owner, who dressed in vintage clothing just for our photo shoot. If you like the classic Mini, you'll want to read all about this car and it's custom flame job.
In our historical feature this issue, Senior European Correspodent Graham Robson, gives us a unique perspective on The Famous Five Mini drivers of the 1960s. It's the story of Rauno Aaltonen, Tony Fall, Paddy Hopkirk, Timo Makinen and Pat Moss, the rally drivers who brought Mini eternal glory during the golden years of European rally racing and because Graham knew each of the drivers, the story contains anecdotes and goes far beyond the usual dry biographies usually done. Take a trip back to the glory days of yesteryear starting on page 38.
Our cover vehicle for Issue #14 is named Alice C and is owned by Kim Perkins, a Tucson, Arizona resident who made the trip up to Las Vegas for this year's AMVIV, where we photographed the car. Kim's Cooper S features some of the best graphics we've seen lately and is nicely filled out under the bonnet, as well. Kim's Other Sweetheart has an Alta Air Diverter, 2 Percent pully, Plasma Booster ignition, and a host of JCW gear so it goes fast as well as looks great. You can catch it before he blasts off for home on page 42.
Driving our project Clubman home to Washington State was the perfect excuse for editor, Peter D. DuPre, to take a scenic Gold Country MINI Tour down California Highway 49 to visit an old friend. Along the way, he visits ghost towns, explores old mining trains and eats REAL food in a down home coffee shop(No lattes, please!). In addition, he gets to drive the Clubman S over some of the most scenic mountain highways in the Western United states. Your can go along for the ride by turning to page 44.
Despite a slowing economy, classic Minis are beginning to rise in value, particularly those with some documentable history. In Going, Going, Gone (page 48), our UK Correspondent, Rob Marshall attend the H&H classic auction in Glouscestershire, England to track the sale of two vintage works rally cars and to get a gander at the 1935 Alfa Romeo 6C 2300 formerlly owned by Benito Mussolini. According to Rob, the Minis on the two works Minis on the block did't command the expected price because they have been cobbled a bit by the factory over the years and neither one was truly an original. Rob details the changes that have occured and finds that one of the Minis sold for an estimated $78,900 while the other failed to meet reserve.
Next up is some Slippery Business. Editor, Peter D. DuPre, has written a treatise on the basics of motor oil, telling you everything you need to know about the vital and precious fluid that keeps your engine healthy. From oil's basic functions of cooling, cleaning and sealing to anti-wear agents, dispersants, friction modifiers and differences between regular and synthetic oil, it is all covered starting on page 51.
The tech continues on page 54 when Technical Editor, Matt Richter, discusses The Custom Dyno Tune, which according to him is the only real way to optimize your vehicle's full performance potential. This isn't just an exercise in theory, though. Matt put 15 cars on a Dynapak dynamometer and plotting baseline horsepower and torque and measuring the improvements after an ECU reprogram.
Summer months mean more miles on the highway and that mean tire care is critical. Our Spring Tire Tech section covers Tire Pressure Monitoring Systems (TPMS), tightening lug nuts on custom wheels and tells you how to read and understand the myriad of writing on the sidewalls. It all starts on page 60.
Wheel and tire info continues on page 64 with Barry Brazier's Coopers Only column where he discusses the pros and cons of low profile run flat tires, discusses ride characteristics, talks about the need for wheel spacers when installing a big brake kit.
Wrapping up the editorial package are the usual columns, such as On the Apex, Across the Pond, The Dr. Is In, Mini Cindy, Your Wheels and, of course, club news/events, classified ads and our first ever 2008 Reader Survey (page 73). This survey will help us to plan editorial for the coming year so that you get to read the kind of articles you think are important. So take a minute to fill it out and mail it back to us. We are also planning to post a version of the survey on our website, but still ask that you mail back the bound in survey in the magazine. Anyway, I hope you all have as much fun reading this issue as we did putting it together for you. - Peter D. DuPre, Editor.