Featured on the cover of Issue 38 for April-May is the MINI WRC car. No matter how one examines the factory-sponsord efforts to win the WRC crown in the Prodrive-built MINI WRC cars based on the Countryman All4, it cannot be denied that this has been a difficult year for the team. Kris Meeke, the chosen driver who MINI had hoped would become as famous as Paddy Hopkirk, seems to be out of a job except as a tester. The carefully-contructed Prodrive team is no longer the works team but merely "factory-supported." In short, MINI's Rally Wranglings have really affected the factory efforts and UK Editor Rob Marshall has spoken with both Prodrive and MINI to get the skinny. Rob inciteful comments and some great photography are available starting on page 26.
Also on our cover this issue is a photo of the most famous unknown driver in the automotive world. For eight seasons, Ben Collins was known as The Stig on the BBC television series, Top Gear and now he talks to MC2 Editor, Peter D. DuPre, and tells him what it was like to be on weekly televsion and still go unnoticed when walking down the stree. The MC2 interview with The Man Who Was The Stig begins on page 23.
One of the problems with owning a small car such as the MINI is that luggage space is limited. The answer for many people is haul an accessory bumper rack or tow a small trailer. In Hauling With A MINI (page 30) tells you what you need to know to carry extra gear behind your car. Whether it is an accessory bumper rack, bike carrier, or tear drop trailer, this story has info that you need to know.
Making their MINI handle better is the goal of just about every owner. True, the OE MINI handles very well, but every one knows that the factory settings are a compromise between sporty handling and civilized driving. In Suspension 101- Shocks & Springs, author Jeff Zurschmeide explains handling and suspension and gives you the skinny on how to set up your Cooper or Cooper S to handle just the way you want it to - whether you drive on the street on only on the track, the details are listed starting on page 32.
Getting the most out of a supercharged R53 means making sure the intercooler is providing maximum cooling ability. High temps mean a loss of performance and in this issue we have two solutions for you. In Effective Cooling on page 36, Technical Editor Matt Richter explains how Defenders of Speed owner Clint Cope has designed a better top-mount intercooler that keeps temperatures lower and performance up there. Then following on page 38 David Blake and Peter Eames show you the high points of installing a CO2 sprayer to a top mount intercooler that can quickly return the intercooler temperatures to pre-run levels. It's and easy project and also a fun one. The guys also put a vented sprayer valve in the scuttles so the driver can vent CO2 for fun visual effects. Read Cooling With CO2 to get the details.
MINIs are popular cars, no doubt, and because of this they are attractive to theives, but in our Easy DIY section, Neil Chirico details how to keep your MINI Safe & Secure (Page 41) by installing the OE alarm at home and saving about $150 in dealer labor charges. According to Neil, the installation of the alarm can be done in just over an hour with a few common hand tools. After that, it's a quick trip into the dealer for activation and your car is a lot safer.
And as usual, we've got all The Regular Stuff as well as the features. Between our covers you will find the publisher's and editor's columns, Mini Cindy's comments, Dr. Obnxs' advice and Chuck Heleker's words of wisdom to classic owners. There is also MC2 Around the World, where we look at MINIPR, a car club in Puerto Rico and GarageWorks (TM) - page 50 - where Justin Krauss discusses flooring options that will make your garage more attractive, more functional and easier to keep clean. It's a great issue packed with all things MINI/Mini, and to read it all you have to do is subscribe or purchase a current issue.