We put a classic Clubman Estate on the cover this issue...but it is a Clubman Estate with a difference. This 1976 hot rod features a 2.0 liter VTEC engine, Rotrex supercharger and cranks out 450 hp. Terry Shea visited the Car Doctor on Long Island to shoot this unique piece of Mini machinery and shots some very cool photos of the vehicle, also. Read A Lil' Red Wagon starting on page 24 for all the details and some cool action photos, too. The inset photo on the cover shows one of our test drivers piloting a new Countryman All4 S model through the byways of the Pacific Northwest. Editor, Peter D. DuPre details MC2's experiences with the "maxi MINI" in our 2011 Cooper S Countryman All4 Road Test starting on page 31.
In our Rally and Race News section, former Motor Trend Executive Editor, Matt Stone checks out the Los Angeles International Auto Show to get a look at the newest spec racer from MINI. In B-Spec Prototype Races Into LA Auto Show, on page 20. Matt discusses the specs of this turn-key race car and gets a few comments from MINI VP Jim McDowell. According to Matt, the competition for this "American MINI Challenge Car" will be the Ford Fiesta, Toyota Yaris, Honda Fit, Mazda2 -- all vehicles against which the B-Spec Cooper S is expected to do very well.
Now that MINI is busy pursuing it's rally championship destiny, we are beginning to see more and more Countryman derivative rally cars on the world circuit. One such team is a factory-supported independent team managed by Sven Quandt (of BMW fame) and sponsord by Monster Energy X-raid. The team is fielding a record line-up of eight vehicles in The Dakar this year -- with four of them being MINI All4 Racing derivatives of the production Countryman. The Dakar, this year is running in South America and hosted by Peru, Argentina, and Chile. It is notably one of the toughest cross-country rallies in the world and you can read the details of this upcoming bid for the wind starting on page 22 and under the headline, Dakar Rally 2012 Adds Peru To The Mix.
Although the experimental MINI E is no longer plying the highways and byways of the United States, there are a few independent electrically-powered MINIs out there and one of them is being driven as a daily commuter car by Kellen Russell and Tristan Morse of Craven Speed. Editor, Peter D. DuPre stopped by Craven Speed's Tigard, OR offices to get a gander at this newest electric MINI and find out just how the guys at Craven Speed managed to put the car together. In Silent Running, editor Peter takes a look at the lithium iron battery powered car and goes for a test spin with the Craven Speed boys. You can read the details starting on page 28.
Then, on page 36, our annual tire and wheel guide presents the very latest in custom wheels for both MINI and Mini. There are a lot of choices out there - everything from 10-spoke wheels, to Italian wires, plus choices in tires, stock sprare wheel rims and more. Tires & Wheels 2011 starts on pages 36 and will definitely be a real help when it comes to choosing a set of new shoes for your favorite car.
Of course, once you've got new wheels and skins, then stopping power becomes even more paramounts, especially if you are upsizing. In Stopping Power!, editor Peter D. DuPre takes trip over to NM Engeering in Camarillo, CA to see how they install a Wilwood Big Brake kit and a new set of BF Goodrich 215/35ZR187 G-Force tires mounted to NM RSeo7 18-inch gun metal spoke wheels. Doing a job such as this doesn't take a degree in auto physics, but it does take some common automotive know-how, a little care, and a few tricks. The story starts on page 39.
In our heritage section, UK Editor Rob Marshall, visits the home of Jason and Tanya Field, in Oxfordshire to view their collection of six classic Minis. Both the Fields are employees of BMW's Plant Oxford, where the MINI is assembled, but these two Mininuts prefer the old design to the new, even though they both think the modern MINI is fun, too. According to Jason, the collection of classics means a lot of Homework to keep the fleet running, but it is all worth it. Read Rob's story starting on page 42.
Easy DIY is the name of the game for MC2 Correspondent, Neil Chirico. This month, Neil tackles the replacement of the in-cabin air filter. In Dust Free!, Neil points out that by doing this easy job at home, you can save the cost of an hour's labor at the dealership. Best of all, no hand tools are required, though a pair of safety goggles, to keep dust out of the eyes, is advised.
We've also got all the usual staff colums: MINImal Thinking, On The Apex, Mini Cindy, The Doctor Is In, Keep 'Em Running, club reports, a book review of former Stig's biography, the latest MINI News and more. So if you are missing out on the best Mini information in the US and elsewhere, you can catch up quickly simply by clicking here to purchase a back issue.