January 2017

[2-JanFeb_17_Allard.jpg] This Allard caught Wendy’s eye.
Photo by Wendy Birchmire

After lunch I took a stroll around the grounds. There were so many truly exquisite cars that I was overwhelmed. Walking by the Baby Boomer cars (with appropriate Boomer music playing) made me realize how creative the show organizers were. The highly polished cars of the ’50s and early ’60s and their owners were serenaded by Elvis, Pat Boone, The Platters and other artists of the time period. Look at that shiny 1956 Cadillac Fleetwood 60 Special (1st place in Boomer Class) and that 1958 Chevy Impala (2nd place in Boomer Class), and all those other great, trendy cars! I could imagine them cruising through the drive-in on the way to the sock hop.

I am always attracted to the big old Stanley Steamers and vehicles of that era, but this time I was drawn to a totally different vehicle. One car in particular was obviously put there for me to covet. It was even decked out in my favorite shade of blue. The Allard J2X MkIII was gorgeous! I wanted to take it home with me. Not going to happen. Oh, well.

The awards came at the end of the show and they didn’t drag on forever. Someone must have realized how tired the car owners would be at the end of a long, hot day. Owners of outstanding cars were rewarded with trophies, silver bowls and the like. Well deserved in my book.

As soon as the award ceremony concluded we paraded out of the event. People lined the roadway and waved. I grinned and waved back.

I chose to take the quick route home via the highway. As I drove along I thought about how glad I was to have taken the risk of submitting Austin to the show committee. No one laughed at our presence, I had a wonderful time, and I met a bunch of super car enthusiasts.

January 2017

[3-JanFeb_17_Llandudno.jpg] Minis lined up along the Llandudno Promenade. The Haslam Elf is the second car in. Photo by Tony Haslam

Llandudno Run 2017
by Tony Haslam

BROMBOROUGH, England to LLANDUDNO, Wales, Jan. 8 — Early morning start for Jill and me. Our Riley Elf was checked over the night before. Bromborough was the starting point for the run, just 11 miles from my home in Chester.

On our arrival there were well over 150 Minis already parked up, raring to go! Twenty minutes went by chatting with old friends and acquaintances and the total number of cars rose to just over 200. The Wirral Mini Club had 220 booked for this charity event.

The Run is approximately 60 miles through the beautiful Welsh countryside. My day’s mileage was 125 total. We had the usual stop at Rhos on Sea to enable the cars to get together to form a magnificent “snake of Minis” along Llandudno Promenade and up the Great Orme.

It was quite misty at the summit and photographs were limited. After 45 minutes we made our way down the hairpin turns to the spectacular road that circumnavigates the Orme, down the South Shore and then through to the North Shore, where we parked up for inspection by hundreds of promenaders.

Many Mini owners came from far and wide, starting out at 5 a.m. to arrive for the 9.20 a.m. start. At 3 p.m. the Minis started to move off home before darkness fell. Wirral Minis collected £250 for Claire House Hospice from the Run.

[Tony is a member of Miniaddicts, our sister club in the UK.]

January 2017

NEMO Annual Meeting Mar. 5!

NEMO’s Annual Meeting will be held on Sunday, March 5th, from 12 noon to 4 p.m.

The club has outgrown Faith and Bruce’s home, so this year the meeting will be held at The Pines Restaurant, 1204 Pound Hill Rd., North Smithfield, R.I., (401) 766-2122.

The Pines has a separate dining room that accommodates 30 people. We ordered the Family Style Chicken Dinner (soup, rolls, salad, pasta, chicken, French fries and ice cream) for $18 per person, including tax and tip. Family Style Chicken is a specialty at many northern Rhode Island restaurants and The Pines does this traditional meal very well.

We will be holding a Giveaway Freebie Raffle so if you have any Mini-related items you would like to donate, bring them along. An evite will be sent to the membership list in early February.

January 2017

NEMO Calendar

March 5 — NEMO Annual Meeting, 12 to 4 p.m. The Pines Restaurant, North Smithfield, R.I., www.thepinesrestaurant.com.

May 3-7 — MINIs on The Dragon, Deals Gap, N.C. and Tenn., www.minisonthedragon.com.

June 4 — British by the Sea, hosted by the Connecticut MG Club, Waterford, Conn., www.ctmgclub.com/BBtS.html.

June 8-11 — British Motorcar Festival, Bristol, R.I., www.britishmotorcarfestival.com.

June 16-17 — MINIs on Top, Mt. Washington, N.H., www.minisontop.org.

June 22-24 — Vintage Motorsports Festival, Thompson Speedway, Thompson, Conn., www.thompsonspeedway.com/events/3rd-annual-vintage-motorsports-festival.

June 25 — British Car Day at Larz Anderson Auto Museum, Brookline, Mass., larzanderson.org/events/lawn-events.

June 29-July 2 — Mini Meet East. Host hotel: Holiday Inn Columbus N I-270 Worthington, 7007 N. High St., Worthington, Ohio, http://www.minimeeteast2017.com.

June-August — Wings & Wheels at Minute Man Air Field, Stow, Mass., Thursdays 5 to 8 p.m., wingsandwheelsma.com.

July 7-9 — Gould’s Microcar Classic, Newton, Mass., www.bubbledrome.com/index2.html.

July 9 — Microcar Day at Larz Anderson Auto Museum, Brookline, Mass., larzanderson.org/events/lawn-events.



January 2017

[1-JanFeb_17_Wendy_Austin.jpg] Wendy and her Mini, named ‘Austin’.
Photo by Wendy Birchmire

Austin at the Boston Cup
by Wendy Birchmire

BOSTON, Mass., Sept. 25 — Well, I have a new-to-me, classic Austin Mini Cooper and I think it is really cute. I wonder how others will feel about it. Will they look at its 1975 body with its Union Jack painted on the roof and accompanying striping on the boot and bonnet and think it is too flashy? Will they appreciate that the inner door panels also have the British flag and the headliner does, too? How can I find out if others like my little car as much as I do?

Wait, there’s an on-line link to nominate cars for the Boston Cup Classic Car Show. If I submit my little right-hand-drive beauty, will the recipients of my e-mail and pictures laugh when they view them? Ben Franklin said, “Nothing ventured, nothing gained,” and he was so wise. I’ll give it a try.

I smile broadly when I receive notice that “Austin” (yes, the Mini has that name) will be included in the show, which will take place at the Parkman Bandstand on the Boston Common. How will my Mini look beside those elegant Cords, Packards, Jaguars and other classic cars?

So the show organizers wanted me there at the crack of dawn. That is usually the time that retired folks like me go to bed, not arrive at a car show. I worried about getting lost driving back roads in the dark and was concerned that once at the Boston Common, I wouldn’t be able to locate the show entrance.

It turned out the event was so well orchestrated that there was nothing to be concerned about. I should have known that from all the informative e-mails I had received.

Once I got near the Common (no, I didn’t get lost) there was a large sign directing me to the entrance. Hey, I’m going into a car corral. This is going to be different. No little kids will be able to get their sticky fingers on Austin and no one will be begging to get in the car to have their picture taken. I’m not sure if I like that or not.

Soon a staff member directed me to my assigned place with other cars arranged by “country of origin” and “year of production.” I spotted a placard with my name and Austin’s information on it waiting for us. Yes, I’m going to like it here!

Luckily, Austin was new enough that it didn’t have to be seen beside the remarkable, award-winning 1965 Aston Martin DB5 (Best of Show — European) or the 1965 Ford GT40 (yes, it is British and it took 1st place in British Class), or the 1933 MG J2 Roadster (2nd in British Class). These were all so regal and Austin is just “cute.”

Then I opened my goody bag. OMG, I got a Boston Cup cap and pin, a backup phone charger, and many other useful items. My husband also got a bag and his was filled with cloths. There must have been a dozen, one for everything that a car owner would need for washing and waxing, detailing, etc. Nice!

Other than my husband, there was no one I knew well on the field. Too bad we were unable to attend Friday night’s private reception at Shreve, Crump & Low or Saturday’s cocktail party at the Ritz Carlton. They must have been sophisticated events where we could have met other exhibitors.

My concern about not knowing anyone changed in minutes. British cars drove in and parked near Austin and everyone had a cheerful greeting. Many other folks were anxious to get acquainted as I munched on a donut and drank coffee graciously provided for the exhibitors when we arrived. Later in the day my friends from the MINIs of Boston group stopped by to visit. Then there were all those other people who wanted to chat about Austin. Many were British and had stories to tell of their own Mini Coopers. Some people took pictures and I felt like a celebrity.

I knew just how upscale this affair was when invited to dine in the exhibitors’ area. What other show provides a lunch with beer and wine, elegant cheeses, pâtés, fancy sandwiches and other delectables?

November 2016

[1-Dec_16_Concours_Cars.jpg] ‘Concours d’Evolution’ cars in the middle of the BLW car show. They did say rain or shine...
Photo by David Schwartz

BLW in the Wake of the Flood
by David Schwartz

NORTH FALMOUTH, Mass., Oct. 7-10 — Mini was the featured marque this year at the Cape Cod British Car Club’s British Legends Weekend (BLW). The venue was the Sea Crest Beach Hotel and all events except the Saturday driving tour were based at the hotel.

The weekend culminated in a Sunday car show featuring a “Concours d’Evolution.” South Shore MINI provided five different new MINI models, which were paired up with the closest matching classic Minis. All of the classics were owned by NEMO members.

The weather forecast leading up to BLW changed every few days. A hurricane moving up the coast threatened to hit New England but was then expected to head out to sea. After the forecast improved, Betty and I made plans to take Monday off and spend an extra day on the Cape. My ’68 Mini Traveller was invited to participate in the Concours so we were committed to the car show rain or shine.

We drove down Saturday afternoon and arrived at the Sea Crest in time for the roundtable discussion with Dave LaChance, the editor of Hemmings Sports & Exotic Car. It was fun hearing Dave’s stories about unusual cars he has driven or ridden while on the job. I was amused to learn that Luke Vancraeynest’s 1981 Trabant was featured in the December 2016 issue of Hemmings. NEMO members who attend the Microcar Classic are well acquainted with Luke’s Trabi.

It rained Saturday night and we awoke to a heavily overcast Sunday morning. The Sea Crest restaurant overlooks Silver Beach and the ocean, and we could see the wind was strong, with white caps breaking offshore. But Dave Icaza took an early morning swim in the ocean (must be the surfer dude vibe). The Jacuzzi and heated pool were more appealing to the rest of us.

The car show took place in the Sea Crest parking lot with several tents off to one side. The show started at 9 a.m., as did the rain. As the day progressed the wind picked up and there were heavy downpours. The tents leaked and were taken down early. It was nice to have the option of going back to our room to change into dry clothes and shoes. About 40 cars participated in the show, less than half the usual number.

Barbara Newman drove down for the day in “Buffy,” her 1960 Morris Mini. She encountered heavy rain and water leaked in, soaking the front carpets. Buffy was paired up with a MINI Cooper S hardtop in the Concours.

Wendy Birchmire drove down from Needham for the entire weekend in her 1990 Mini Domino Pimlico convertible. The Domino is a Mini-based fiberglass kit car that resembles the design of a traditional steel-shelled Mini. Pim was paired with a MINI Cooper S JCW convertible.

The wood trim on my Mini Traveller is in rough shape and I have tried to avoid getting it wet. Oh, well, at least I didn’t need to worry about a leaky convertible top. My car was paired up with a MINI Cooper S Clubman, which was huge in comparison.

The other Concours participants trailered their cars up from Connecticut. Mark Fodor’s 1963 Austin Mini Cooper track car was paired with a MINI Cooper S JCW wearing the #73 livery of the MINI JCW Racing Team Dave Icaza’s 1969 Austin Mini Countryman was paired with a MINI Cooper S Countryman ALL4.

Bruce Vild and Greg Mazza also drove their classic Minis to BLW, but were not in the Concours.

The awards ceremony took place on the front porches of several hotel rooms, with participants scattered across the porches. Winners dashed through the rain to pick up their trophies. My car received the “Best in Concours d’Evolution” award, which was quite a surprise given the high quality of the other classics. There is a trend in the hobby that values preservation over restoration, and my car is an un-restored daily driver. Perhaps the judges were in a hurry to get out of the rain and change into dry clothes.

Gail Gray and Chris Cole also stayed over until Monday, and we all drove down to Woods Hole in my Mini for dinner Sunday night (they didn’t want to drive their TR3 convertible in the torrential rain). The front windshield fogged up and I had to pull over, pop the bonnet and manually open the heater control valve. Chris commented that other owners of classic British cars would find this completely normal. Much to our relief the defroster was reasonably effective. At the end of dinner we noticed the wall and ceiling in the restaurant were leaking.

November 2016

[2-Dec_16_Corner_Cycle.jpg] David’s Morris Traveller parked next to George Sykes’ Mini. David’s bicycle was rented from George’s store.
Photo by David Schwartz

The puddles were not too deep on the drive down, but it was raining really hard after dinner and the wind was much stronger. Visibility was dreadful and there were deep puddles and tree branches to dodge on the way back to the hotel.

The classic Mini owners had a difficult drive home on Sunday. Wendy e-mailed about driving blind. Her side curtains and windscreen fogged up, suitcases blocked part of the back window and the wind was howling. At least Pim’s heat worked.

Dave Newman had to wet-vac Buffy’s floors and pull up the carpets to dry them out. He plans to replace the 57-year-old door seals.

Bruce reported that the “coastal storm” was not restricted to the coast. He and Faith drove home in a downpour lasting all the way to Harrisville, but the Mini never skipped a beat. No water leaks either, as he replaced the door seals about four years ago. This is a good winter project if your car still has the originals! According to Bruce, the job should only take a few minutes.

On Monday we awoke to a cold, sunny day. As folk singer Garnet Rogers wrote, “Hallelujah, The Great Storm Is Over.” We packed up the car and were relieved when the engine started right up. There is something to be said for new silicone ignition wires.

A Google search for breakfast turned up Betsy’s Diner, a classic ’50s diner on Main Street in Falmouth. This was a great find and very popular with the locals. We had a fun chat with the owner after he saw my British car T-shirt and matched it up with the Mini in the parking lot. The food was great and ’50s décor was a lot of fun.

The next Google search was for bicycle rentals. Our plan was to ride the entire Shining Sea Bikeway, which runs along the shore between Falmouth and Woods Hole. The closest shop was Corner Cycle on Route 28, about a mile from the diner. We pulled into the parking lot and did a double take at the classic Mini parked next to the side door. I had never seen this car before. It was ’90s vintage, had Massachusetts license plates and was painted blue with white hood stripes and Union Jack roof.

In a pleasant small world coincidence, Corner Cycle is owned by NEMO member George Sykes. We spent a long time talking classic Minis. George had previously owned a ’71 and his current car is a ’92. George proudly showed off the engine compartment, which was pristine and full of shiny details. George is another satisfied customer of Dave Black’s Mini Barn.

The bikeway is a few blocks from Corner Cycle. We rode all the way to the northern end, then back down to the southern terminus in Woods Hole. The terrain varies from flat to a gentle grade and passes by salt marshes, a cranberry bog, West Falmouth Harbor, several ponds, a farm and the ocean. The total length is 10.7 miles, and we covered about 20 miles. It was a beautiful ride and we stopped for a leisurely lunch in Woods Hole at Pie in the Sky, a café and bakery.

Riding the three miles back to Corner Cycle was the toughest part of the day. We returned the bikes and said goodbye to George. Hopefully he will attend some future NEMO events.

The drive home was uneventful. After unloading the car I checked for water infiltration. The carpets were damp on the right (driver’s) side, as were the door pockets and rear seat pockets. Water had entered through the sliding windows and a small hole at the bottom right wheel well where a piece of body filler fell out some time ago. I had forgotten about the hole and believe this is why the carpets were wet.

I already have new rear door seals to install and plan to patch the hole in the fender well. The rain also did a job on the woodwork, which desperately needs to be stripped and re-varnished. I suppose it is also time to replace the window channels and door seals. Or I could just avoid driving in the rain.

November 2016

NEMO Holiday Party Dec. 3!

The NEMO Holiday Party will be held at the Chateau Italian Family Restaurant in Westborough, Mass., on Saturday, December 3rd, from 12 noon to 4 p.m.

This is the same venue as last year and the Party was very well attended. The club will pay half the cost of the buffet for members with a reduced cost for children. If your membership has lapsed you can renew at the Party at the six-month rate of $10.

An Evite was sent to the NEMO e-mail list. RSVP to the e-vite or by contacting me directly at dschwartz1957@gmail.com or (508) 561-3462. Let me know how many people will be attending, the ages of any children, and if you have any dietary restrictions.

We will be holding a Yankee Swap so plan to bring a wrapped gift (try to keep the cost below $25). A Yankee Swap means that someone else may “take” your gift when it is their turn to pick. Warn your kids so they don’t get upset if this happens! You get to pick a gift for every gift you bring. Please, no more than one gift per person or the Swap will never end.

Our Holiday Party is one of our more popular events every year. Hope to see you there! The Chateau’s address is 95 Turnpike Rd. (Route 9), Westborough, and the phone number is (508) 366-5959. Take I-495 to Exit 23B and merge onto Route 9 West toward Worcester. Follow Route 9 West for about 2 miles. The Chateau is on the right and the parking lot entrance is immediately after the intersection of Route 9 and Route 30. The on-ramp from Route 30 crosses the parking lot entrance! —David Schwartz

October 2016

[1-Nov_16_Doc_Who.jpg] Doctor Who comes to Stowe, courtesy of Lorine, Betty and David.
Photo by David Schwartz


Stowe:
A First-timer’s Report

by David Schwartz &
Betty Lehrman

Take 1

Since joining NEMO in 2013, I have often heard about the annual fall pilgrimage to the British Invasion in Stowe, Vt. Between the oil leaks and the worsening smell of burning oil, neither my ’68 Mini Traveller nor its owner was ready for the 220-mile drive in each direction. Thanks to an engine rebuild last winter at Dave Black’s Mini Barn, this year was different. In early April I asked my wife, Betty Lehrman, if she would be willing to spend a long weekend at the British Invasion. I played up all the fun activities and people, promising there would be more to do than viewing endless rows of cars. Thankfully Betty agreed, so I made reservations at the Arbor Inn where many other NEMO members stay.

As British Invasion weekend approached, Betty asked, “Do we have to drive the Mini?” I replied, “Of course we have to drive the Mini. That is part of the full British Invasion experience.”

We arranged to caravan with Ken Lemoine, Brett Lemoine and Kurt and Linda Steele. I assured Betty I would not be insulted if she wanted to ride partway in Ken’s 2000 Aston Martin DB7 or the Steeles’ 2003 Jaguar XJ8. Brett drove his 1966 MGB GT, which is also more comfortable than an early Mini. Our group left Framingham at 9 a.m. and we met up with another MGB in Leominster.

Ken was a great trip leader and took us on state highways for almost the entire route (MA 117 and 140, NH 140 and 12, VT 103 and 100). This was a popular route to Stowe, as we encountered many other British cars along the way. We stopped for lunch in Ludlow, Vt., and arrived at the Stowe Special Events Field around 3 p.m. to pick up our British Invasion registration packet.

I felt like a Project Mercury astronaut exiting the capsule as I climbed out of the Mini. To her credit, Betty spent the entire drive in the Mini.

After checking in at the Arbor Inn we headed back to the Events Field for the Registrants’ Reception and then off to Main Street in Stowe for the block party. The scene was total chaos with dozens of cars trolling for parking. We decided to park on a side street and just enjoy wandering around. People who scored spots on Main Street arrived very early or waited in alleys for Main Street to be closed off, at which point everyone speed-parked at an angle on both sides of the street. It was amazing there were no accidents. We admired all the cars, watched people take photos with the “Queen,” chatted with a few NEMO members, and met up with Vermonters Gail Gray and Chris Cole for dinner.

There was a big crowd in the Arbor Inn dining room for Saturday morning breakfast. Most tables seated four, so Nathalie and Bert St. Onge from New Brunswick, Canada joined us. They have attended numerous Mini Meets and are friends with Dave and Barbara Newman.

Betty and I were wearing Doctor Who T-shirts at breakfast when Lorine Karabec stopped by and mysteriously whispered about a group costume. The mystery was solved when we drove onto the show field and saw Lorine standing near her car wearing a Tardis dress. The Tardis is a time machine fashioned after a British police box on the long-running Doctor Who TV series. Lorine was later awarded “Most British” in the attire competition.

When I pre-registered for the British Invasion it was not obvious which class Mini estates belonged in, but a quick trip to the registration tent settled it and I parked my car next to the Icaza’s 1969 Countryman and the Karabec’s 1962 Countryman.

The sheer number of cars on the show field was overwhelming, so my strategy was to concentrate on unusual models and cars I had never seen in person. The Singer club put on a great display with six cars, men in white mechanic’s uniforms and a reproduction racetrack booth. All cars were roadsters, with two-seater prewar cars and four-seater postwar cars. I was not familiar with Singer roadsters and was especially taken by the cars from the early 1950s.

Another of my favorites was a black 1935 Austin Seven two-door saloon, which led me to comment, “Honey, I shrunk the Model A.”

The Car Corral contained a 1949 MG YT four-seater convertible. I had no idea MG made a roadster that seated more than two. There was a 1950 MG YA saloon on the show field supported by jack stands. The owner showed me the hydraulic system under the bonnet that was hand pumped to extend the four jacks bolted to the chassis.

October 2016

[3-Nov_16_Barbie_Ken.jpg] Barbie and Ken in a Healey — just like the real thing!
Photo by David Schwartz

Many cars have a story to tell. Betty and I were admiring a 1960 Austin-Healey BN7 and saw a matching two-tone blue and white toy car perched on the tonneau cover. It was a “Barbie Car” from the 1960s with Ken at the wheel and Barbie in the passenger seat. The owners drove down from Canada — and their names are Barbara and Ken. They bought the toy car and painted it to match their real Austin-Healey. Over the years, toy Barbie has owned over 100 cars, which have become quite collectible.

Another wonderful story was posted on a large sign in front of a 1933 MG J2. Not every girl can say that she received a ’33 MG on their 33rd birthday! One year ago, Michael Crawford came home, looked at his wife Elizabeth and said, “So, I think I did something stupid today.” “I’m sure it’s not the first time. What did you do now?” “I think I just bought a prewar car, sight unseen.” Knowing that he had been searching for 15 or more years for a prewar MG, she was unsurprised to hear this news. She even laughed and said, “Oh, good, is it my birthday present?” And sure enough, just in time for her 33rd birthday, the J2 adventure began!

My knowledge of old Land Rovers comes from watching Wild Kingdom in the 1960s. I had no idea Land Rovers were produced in such a variety of body styles. Land Rovers even participated in the Concours d’Elegance, with four receiving awards. The people’s-choice Motorcar Show featured Derek Chace’s rather intimidating military 1989 Land Rover Defender. My favorite Land Rover of all was the kid-sized electric vehicle driven all over the field by Derek’s two young sons.

Mini was a featured marque and there was a huge turnout of both classic and modern cars. An original-owner 1980 Austin Mini towed a matching trailer made from the boot end of another Mini. Each Mini paint scheme was unique, with polka dots, two tones, hood stripes, pin stripes, contrasting fender flares and a checkerboard roof. Two classics were in the Concours, including the Newmans’ 1960 Morris Mini named Buffy. Barbara Newman wore the height of 1960s fashion and looked like a vintage advertisement as she posed for pictures with her car. When the awards were handed out, Buffy won 3rd place in the Special Interest class and Barbara won “Most Colorful” in the attire competition.

NEMO members and friends received awards in all the Mini classes — in #4, Dave and Jean Icaza’s 1969 Austin Mini Countryman was 1st, and Derick and Lorine Karabec’s 1962 Austin Mini Countryman 2nd #5 was won by Antonio Sapata’s 2006 MINI Cooper S in #6: 1st, Mark Fodor’s 1960 Austin Mini Cooper took 1st and in #7, Chris Cole and Gail Gray’s 1999 Rover Mini Cooper grabbed 2nd. In Sunday’s Competition of Colors, Derick and Lorine’s ’62 Countryman won Best White Motorcar.

After a leisurely Sunday morning breakfast we headed back to the show field to see the Tailgate Picnic Competition. There were five participants in the tailgate event with some elaborate displays, the best of which overflowed from the trunk of a 1954 Bentley. Cars were parked on the field by color, but the number of cars was down considerably from Saturday. The threat of rain led many to an early departure. Betty and I also wanted to beat the rain, so we said our goodbyes and were on the road by 12:30 p.m. We did not caravan on the drive home and even took the highway to save time. Betty was no longer worried about breaking down. —DS

October 2016

[2-Nov_16_Barb_Buffy.jpg] Barbara Newman with the Concours ribbon and award for ‘Buffy’, her Morris 850.
Photo by David Schwartz

Take 2

The man wanted to go to Stowe for the British Invasion. He really wanted to go. He had been talking about it for years. “It’s in the mountains. You love the mountains.” And although I had enjoyed several car shows, I was not anticipating 1) another whole weekend talking cars and 2) the ride up to Vermont in the 1968 smelly, noisy, bumpy tin can — um, classic Mini.

I was particularly not happy about the prospect of large trucks blowing by us on the highway. Actually, terrified is a better descriptor. And 5-plus hours in those seats? Would I ever recover?

But a good marriage is made of compromises. And he managed to fix the oil leak. And put in new shocks (thanks, Dave Black). And when he said we would be driving up with other British car owners, I was a bit more enthusiastic. Or at least less scared. I made sure I had a good book to read.

The trip up took all day but was actually fun. The air was crisp. The car didn’t smell. I sat on a nice pillow. Ken Lemoine led us and three other cars. He took it slowly on the back roads. We followed Brett Lemoine’s red MG the whole way. There was very little traffic and lots of attention from the locals whenever we stopped.

As we pulled into Stowe, I realized I’d never been there when there wasn’t snow on the ground. The Green Mountains framed every view, with vistas (and smells) of farmland and the blue, blue sky. We followed the others into the parking lot for the huge show field, registered, and took note of the various vendors (and real bathrooms!) for the next day.

We checked in at the Arbor Inn, which was filled with Invasion participants, and one confused couple who were celebrating an anniversary. They had gotten engaged there years ago.

That evening we headed for the block party in Stowe Village. Hundreds of British cars were already parked for blocks along Main Street, so we pulled into a side street to park. And then another side street. And one more. British cars were everywhere. From Rolls-Royces and Bentleys to Triumphs, MGs, Minis, Singers and Jaguars, they filled the streets all around the downtown area. At 6:30 p.m. Main Street was closed to traffic, and drivers maneuvered to park on a diagonal to fit yet more cars in the street. The rock band blared, and the street filled with running children, dogs, and groups of people of all ages inspecting the cars.

We arranged to meet Mini owners Chris Cole and Gail Gray for dinner, and ducked into a 1950s-style diner just a block from the main drag. Over hamburgers and salads we talked about everything and anything. They live in Vermont but we had gotten to know them during several Cape Cod British Car Club shows. I learned that Chris had been a strawberry farmer for many years. Of course he knew so much about motors and fixing cars. Farmers need to be self-sufficient and clearly he enjoys understanding how things work and how to fix them.

The next morning brought a lovely breakfast of eggs, toast with homemade jam, and maple-glazed bacon at the Inn. We all drove down to the field and David managed to figure out which was the correct category for our Traveller. About 600 cars eventually pulled into the field, including some beautiful Jaguars (I love the lines of the ones from the ’50s), a rather scary gun-filled, camo-colored Land Rover, and lots of old and new Mini/MINIs. The Concours d’Elegance included beautiful Rolls-Royces, Bentleys, Jaguars, and even the Newmans’ modest classic Mini. The rows and rows of cars and the huge, blue sky rimmed with mountains made the people look very small.

Along with the cars, there were some memorable costumes. The “Queen” was in attendance in a lovely blue suit and hat, waving and smiling despite the heat. She (Michelle Dickson) told me she was on the board of the organization and had been playing the monarch and presiding over the festivities for several years.

Barbara Newman channeled Twiggy in a psychedelic mini-dress with white go-go boots and a matching headband to match her classic Mini. Dave Icaza accentuated his surfer-dude Mini vibe with a requisite hat and (his usual) ponytail. Lorine Karabec wore a fitted Tardis dress and matching hat. David wore a red fez, bow tie and a Doctor Who shirt (yes, I allowed this). These went with the Doctor Who paraphernalia he displayed on the car. The Brits and American geeks love the references to the show and how the Minis are “bigger on the inside,” like a Tardis time machine. (Okay, I admit it, I wore a Doctor Who shirt, too.)

October 2016

[4-Nov_16_NEMO_Winners.jpg] NEMO members bringing home plaques. Left to right:Antonio Sapata, Mark Fodor, Barbara Newman, Lorine and Derick Karabec, and Dave Icaza.
Photo by Bruce Vild


A Ladies Hat Competition, held in the main tent, included a wonderful Alice in Wonderland-themed hat, a hat with teacup, saucer and spoon perched on a doily, and a rhinestone cowboy hat with little cars traveling around a British flag track. The Most Humorous winner was an Austin Powers hat, which topped a full costume with a papier maché car as a carefully balanced headpiece.

The size of the field (and number of cars) was overwhelming, but we managed to find some good barbecue for lunch in between viewing the cars. The attendees were enthusiastic and happy to talk all things Mini many folks enjoyed sitting in our car to experience its roominess. At the end of the day we met up with a group of NEMO members at Junior’s Restaurant. Lorine and Derick Karabec, Mark Fodor and Chantal Brefort, Ken and Brett Lemoine, Dave Black, Greg Mazza, Barbara and Dave Newman, John Gallagher and Canadians Bert and Nathalie St. Onge enjoyed Italian food and mostly car talk into the evening.

The next morning was cold and dreary. Breakfast was a leisurely affair on the porch no one was in a hurry to get to the field. Antonio Sapata and his girlfriend had enjoyed driving over the pass between Stowe and Smuggler’s the night before in a modern MINI. And as the rain threatened outside the windows, Antonio described driving a topless MG Midget on the New Jersey Turnpike as it filled with water during a torrential rainstorm.

Once we straggled down to the show field, we joined the cars organized by color. A tailgate contest featured only a few participants, but the food (some on platters with candelabras) looked impressive. In the early afternoon we said goodbye and headed back to Framingham, Mass.

The rain held off as we headed home, stopping at a vintage diner in Quechee, where we ran into the woman with the Alice in Wonderland hat. In Troy, N.H., we stopped at a farm stand run by Monadnock Berries, and had a long chat with the son of the owner, a Mini enthusiast. (Monadnock Berries hosts a MINI Cooper barbecue every August.) Although the berry season was over, we sampled a very credible selection of beers at their nano-brewery.

We arrived home in time for supper. And as we peeled ourselves out of the car for the last time, David thanked me for coming along. “We don’t have to go every year,” he said. “Yeah, that’s good,” I replied. But if the weather is nice, and I have a good book, you never know, I might not mind going again. —BL

September 2016

[1-Oct_16_Miles.jpg] The MTTS support bus kept track of the miles Dave and Barbara traveled!
Photos by Dave & Barbara Newman

MINI Takes the States 2016
by Dave Newman

MINI Takes the States (MTTS) is an event run by MINI-USA every other year for loyal MINI owners. This year’s event kicked off in Atlanta, Ga., on July 9th, went up the East Coast, over to Michigan, and then cross-country to Palm Springs, Calif., ending on July 23rd. Called “Track to Track,” the tour stopped in 15 cities over 15 days. The entire trip totaled 4,397 miles, not including getting to the start and back home afterwards. No other car company puts on a trip like this!

The small entry fee goes to charity. You pay for gas, lunch and hotels. MINI provides a morning “Rise and Shine” breakfast each day, and on most nights hosts an event that includes dinner. The route is mostly back roads, connecting lots of historic and interesting areas. There is a daily “Surprise and Delight” stop along the route.

Most days there are five to six hours of driving, not including stops. The usual routine is get up early, Rise and Shine at 6:30 or 7:30 a.m., depart about 9 a.m. Surprise and Delight is around the midway point, then back on route, check into the hotel, go to the evening event, then back to the hotel and get up early the next day to start all over again.

It is 100% fun and you do get into a routine. If you are a MINI owner (or a classic Mini owner) you have to try it once! Some go all the way, though many jump in for just some of the legs.

First, we needed to get to the start. Barbara found a group running a pre-MTTS event called “MINI Takes Florida.” Their last stop was Tom Bush MINI in Jacksonville. Since there were special T-shirts and stickers for that event, Barbara signed us up. Our plan was to arrive in Jacksonville the last night of the Florida event and join the group on the trip to Atlanta.

We spent two days driving our MINI ClubVan from Massachusetts. We were too late for the group dinner, but made it to the Meet and Greet breakfast, saw some old friends and made new ones.

Then it was time for the hundred or so MINIs to depart. We wanted to take a picture of our Woody ClubVan outside of Tom Bush MINI in order to match the photos from the MINI-USA Surfboard Tour in 2013. We had a route chart, so we waited for the parking lot to clear, quickly took a picture of the car in front of the building, and then got on course. Or so we thought. I took a left out of the parking lot, but the rest of the group had taken a right. So after seeing no MINIs at all on the highway, I plotted out where they would probably stop for lunch and triangulated a course to intercept the group in northern Florida, near the Georgia line. After hours of driving, and trying to convince Barbara that my pilot training and map reading would prove their worth, we pulled into a little town and hunted around for the group. And there they were, in the middle of lunch at a nice little restaurant!

When we came in, some MINI people Barbara knew invited her to share their food, sit a spell and enjoy! I went outside to the car and found a Fire Department truck next to our Woody. No problem, just another MINI owner that had never seen a ClubVan and wanted to talk. So we did, for the next half hour, until Barbara and the group came out ready to continue on to Atlanta. My lunch consisted of those little orange crackers with cheese and a bottle of water.

September 2016

[2-Oct_16_Cowley.jpg] ‘Cowley’, the Newman ClubVan.
Photo by David & Barbara Newman

We arrived just southwest of Atlanta, checked into a hotel near the Atlanta Motor Speedway, and got some grub at a steakhouse. Then we spent a while talking to other MINI owners and some people from M7 who make accessories for MINIs.

The next morning we got to the Atlanta Motor Speedway at 6:30 a.m. for the start of MTTS. We had breakfast, got a bunch of free stuff, marveled at the sight of over 2,000 MINIs in the parking lot, and then sat in the stands for the treat of the day. High above the track was an aircraft with three parachute jumpers. In front of the announcer, on the racetrack, were two MINI convertibles with their tops down. The first jumper landed near the announcer. The second and third jumpers each landed in the convertibles! Woo hoo! Then we all got a fast lap with our cars on the track and we were off!

The drive to Charlotte took us through the Surprise and Delight stop — a visit to Ridgeway, S.C., a town with a population of 328, now swelled by thousands of MINIs. We stopped at Laura’s Tea Room and The World’s Smallest Police Station. Charming town, which we recommend you visit someday. The evening event was a great dinner courtesy of MINI-USA and a visit to the NASCAR Hall of Fame in downtown Charlotte, N.C. It’s an excellent venue with a very interesting display of historic racecars.

The next morning we started off at Charlotte Motor Speedway at 7:30. After breakfast, we got to take one fast lap on the banking at Charlotte before heading to Richmond. This was a “bucket list” thrill for me! The ClubVan is not the fastest MINI, but it did us proud, taking the straights at 100 mph and the high banking at 85. What a thrill to actually drive on the high banking that I only see on television! It was too bad Barbara couldn’t drive, but the lap was only 7/8 of the track and they made us exit. We would have liked to stay all day and just lap the track!

About halfway from Charlotte to Richmond, the Surprise and Delight was Sadler’s Truck Stop in Emporia, Va. It is a huge, huge truck stop with shops, but not somewhere I would visit again. That night, with no planned event, we stayed at the hotel in Richmond and ate at an old-fashioned diner next to the hotel. Neither the diner nor the hotel is recommended.

Rise and Shine was at 7:30 a.m. at Richmond International Speedway. Seeing a pattern here? Now you know why it was called “Track to Track” this year. After a small breakfast, we had a short lap on the track and then were on to Baltimore. Surprise and Delight was at the Belmont Farms Distillery in Culpeper, Va. This country distillery produces corn mash whisky, moonshine and vodka and has a nice gift shop, a tasting room, a distillery tour and only two bathrooms, with over 1,000 MINI drivers all looking for them. Nice place to visit, when traffic is light.

After checking into our hotel in Baltimore, we headed over to the B&O Railroad Museum. What a great place to visit! The buffet and open bar put on by MINI-USA were super! This was an enjoyable place to see lots of old trains, models and exhibits, and listen to the tour guides talking about working on steam trains. We highly recommend visiting the Museum.

Tuesday, July 12th, found us meeting up for the Rise and Shine breakfast at the Camden Yards Sports Complex near the Inner Harbor in Baltimore. What? No racetrack? Oh, well, with a motorcycle escort out by the Baltimore Police, we were off to Pittsburgh!

September 2016

[3-Oct_16_Barbara_JCW.jpg] Barbara and Luis Perocarpi, owner of the MINI JCW Racing Team.
Photo by Dave Newman

The Surprise and Delight this time was a stop in Orrtanna, Pa., at Mister Ed’s Elephant Museum. This is a little penny candy shop, which highlights the owner’s collection of elephant models and statues. We each received a carton from MINI-USA to fill up with fudge, candy and nuts for the trip ahead.

The route to Pittsburgh was on some of the most hilly and twisty two lane roads you will find! But getting stuck on a 15° grade hill with a truck in front doing 10 mph and not being able to pass was not fun. As soon as the crest of the hill came, a conga line of hundreds of MINIs passed the truck and we were off.

We passed through Gettysburg, Pa., en route and saw the Civil War battlegrounds. Late in the afternoon we stopped in Shankstown, Pa., at the 9/11 Flight 93 National Memorial. We saw the field where the plane crashed. This is a very sad place. Even 15 years later, I cannot get over what happened on that day.

We continued on to Pittsburgh. The nighttime event in Pittsburgh was at Highmark Stadium, across the river from the city and with excellent views of the rivers, bridges and skyline. We were fed a very nice buffet and there was music. We watched some soccer training, and spent much time in the parking lot looking at the MINIs and meeting their owners.

This is one of the friendliest groups of people ever and they all want to show you their cars! Not one MINI we saw on the trip was the same. In fact, the only other ClubVan on the event was the one owned by our friends Jackie and Ian from Florida, whom we met on the 2014 MTTS. With only 50 ever imported into the USA, that meant that 4% of all MINI ClubVans were there!

(Oh, yes, that is the reason I took math in school.)

Wednesday morning found us up bright and early at the Meadows Casino and Horse Racing Track. This was the only “track” we didn’t get a lap on, although I was ready for some dirt track action between the horses out for practice that morning.

It was a sad morning for Barbara and me as we said goodbye to our friends and to the MINI-USA staff. We were going to Watkins Glen, N.Y., for a few days before traveling home. The rest of the group had another 10 days and 3,340 miles to go to complete the journey, ending in Palm Springs, at a private BMW-owned track, of course!

We had driven 1,200 miles to Florida, then 300 miles to Atlanta, then 1,057 miles on the route and then another 400 miles to Watkins Glen and home to Massachusetts. We had the time of our life! Maybe someday, we can afford the time and money to go coast to coast.

The next MTTS is in 2018. We are ready!

September 2016

[4-Oct_16_Soccer.jpg] Argentinean soccer fans mob Mini.
Photo by David Schwartz

Faneuil Hall British Car Shows
by David Schwartz

BOSTON, Mass. — The Boston Area MG Club (BAMG) has run a series of British car shows at Faneuil Hall for the past nine years. Weather permitting, the shows are held in June, July and August, with the final show of the season featuring people’s choice awards. BAMG is the exclusive car club of Faneuil Hall and this year I heard the story of how that came to pass.

Nine years ago, the new marketing staff at Faneuil Hall e-mailed 50 to 60 car clubs throughout New England looking for a group that was interested in putting on a car show. BAMG was the only club to respond. They organized their first show with only three weeks’ notice and it was a smashing success. Other clubs have subsequently approached Faneuil Hall and were told to contact BAMG.

To date, BAMG has organized a Jaguar show, a hot rod show, a motorcycle show and a Tutto Italiano on behalf of the Larz Anderson Auto Museum. The Tutto Italiano featured cars and motorcycles valued at over $5,000,000. This was the only show where the vehicles were cordoned off from the public.

BAMG welcomes owners of all British cars to participate. Club membership is not a requirement, nor is owning an MG. For most shows, cars are parked on the cobblestones between Quincy Market and Faneuil Hall. Due to space limitations there is only room for 15 cars, though a few special cars have been squeezed into an overflow spot off to the side.

What makes the Faneuil Hall shows unique is the interaction with the public. Car shows are attended by people with an interest in cars and the audience is self-selecting. At Faneuil Hall there are thousands of tourists from all over the country and all over the world. They don’t expect to see a classic British car show in front of a tourist venue and are always pleasantly surprised. Speaking with people from the UK is especially fun. They love to talk about similar cars their family owned, the car they learned to drive on, the modern MINI they currently own, etc.

This year I attended the June and August shows with my ’68 Mini Traveller. In June, my Mini was parked next to Tom Austin’s 1962 Morgan Plus 4 and Kurt Steele’s 1969 Rover 2000TC. There was a great selection of MGBs, an MGA, a Triumph TR3A, Nels Anderson’s 1963 Land Rover, a modern MINI convertible and even a first generation Mazda Miata. The Land Rover was ready for safari (as was Nels) and sported a large toy lion on the roof. As unsuspecting tourists passed by, Nels operated a remote control in his pocket and the lion roared.

There were a lot Argentinean soccer fans in town for the Copa America quarterfinal at Gillette Stadium. Several stopped by admire my Mini and pose for a picture. The Morgan and Rover 2000TC received a lot of attention, too, as these are not well known in the US.

September 2016

[5-Oct_16_Wendy.jpg] Wendy Birchmire, ‘Austin’ and award.
Photo by David Schwartz

In August, cars were parked between the South Market building and Faneuil Hall. This was a great location that provided some shade throughout the day. NEMO member Wendy Birchmire attended with her latest acquisition, “Austin,” a ’77 Mini Cooper decorated inside and out with a British flag motif. Austin has right hand drive and Wendy had only owned him a few weeks, so I had to convince her to attend. I knew the paint scheme would be a huge hit and it was. Lots of pretty young women struck fashion model poses next to Austin, reminiscent of Mini advertisements from the 1960s.

In addition to Minis and MGBs, there was a Jaguar V12 convertible, ’67 Triumph TR4, ’63 Land Rover, a Lotus Eclat and Steve Sutter’s bright yellow ’74 Mini Moke.

The 1st place people’s choice vote went to Wendy’s Mini Cooper. Second place went to Michael Chiusano’s 1970 chrome bumper MGB and 3rd to Carl Jay’s 1972 MGB. Paul Seeberg kept us entertained all day with a seven-hour-long classic rock play list.

When the show ended, Faneuil Hall security guards created an aisle through the crowds so the cars could exit. We felt like celebrities as people stood four deep, waving, taking pictures and shooting videos as the cars drove away.

See the BAMG website (www.bostonareamg.com) for photos of all three Faneuil Hall shows. NEMO members should watch the event calendar for the 2017 Faneuil Hall shows. BAMG is happy to have Mini owners join the fun. After all, MG stands for Morris Garages, so our classic Minis are related.

September 2016

Events Calendar

October 7-9 — British Legends Weekend hosted by the Cape Cod British Car Club, North Falmouth, Mass., www.capecodbritishcarclub.org.

December 3 — Annual NEMO Holiday Party, Tuscany Room, Chateau Restaurant.

The NEMO Facebook page, www.facebook.com/ NewEnglandMiniOwners, and website, www.nemo mini.org, contain additional event information.

September 2016

[1-Sept_16_David.jpg] The class winner in Minis, NEMO member David Schwartz poses with his trophy.
Photo by Bruce Vild

Micro Car, Macro Fun
by Bruce Vild

NEWTON, Mass., July 8-10 — Every year, usually the weekend after July 4th, Charles and Nancy Gould and their daughters Monique and Tiana open up their home to microcar and minicar enthusiasts from around the country, Canada, and even overseas. After a day of drives and some last-minute wrenching, the activities culminate in a show at the Larz Anderson Auto Museum, the Microcar Classic.

For NEMO members, this is one of the highlights of the year. Our participation has led to a separate Mini class at the LAAM show, and this year, when it came to trophies, NEMO swept them all: David Schwartz was 1st, yours truly 2nd, and Ken Lemoine 3rd.

As usual, some mighty un-usual cars showed up: several Citroëns (not necessarily “micro” although the 2CVs did have small engines), an assortment of 1990s retro cars from Nissan that were never imported into this country (such as a lovely Figaro), and a 21st century microcar, a Corbin Sparrow. The collection of Minis included a Moke, a van, two handsome estates, and of course a handful of classic coupes.

Go to the NEMO website and check out the photos in the gallery. And make your plans to attend next year!

September 2016

[2-Sept_16_School.jpg] Phil Wicks and Dave with the track car.
Photo by Barbara Newman

MINI Driving Academy Day with Phil Wicks
by Dave Newman

PALMER, Mass., June 20 — South Shore MINI and South Shore BMW of Rockland, Mass., held a Track Day at Palmer Motorsports Park (PMP).

PMP opened in 2015 and is the first private racetrack in the state. The course is 2.3 miles long, 40 feet wide with 190 feet of elevation change. The track was cut out of an old rock quarry and is super smooth. It has flag stations and pit areas just like a real racetrack. It is not a spectator track and is available for track rentals and private memberships. PMP is just minutes from Sturbridge and the Mass Pike.

Barbara and I decided to take her 2012 MINI Cooper S to Track Day. She recently had a set of super sticky Continental summer tires installed and the techs at South Shore MINI (where she works) checked out the car tip to tail. It made a super Track Day car, smooth and predictable for fast driving.

Track day was arranged by a company called Hooked on Driving in association with the Phil Wicks Driving Academy, featuring the famous driver, Phil Wicks, for the MINI side of the event. After the organizations, track and instructors were introduced, there were separate BMW and MINI classroom sessions.

Safety was priority #1 and rated helmets were required. I brought ours thinking Barbara and I would share.

Track flags were taught and we were told to keep an eye out for the flag stations as they really help you on the track. Then we had a general discussion of all the corners, types, on-camber, off-camber, uphill, downhill, permitted passing areas and more. The biggest point was that this was not a racing school. It was a defensive driving course.

We only remembered some of the discussion at first, but after ten or so laps on the track it all came together.

In this school, the driver being passed must point their hand out to the left or over the top of the roof to the right to tell the other driver it is O.K. to pass. They call it pointing. No point, no pass. Drivers were black flagged for violating this safety rule. Black flag means to stop in the pits, you are done. In real racing, no pointing is done, but the driver being passed is expected to keep “their racing line” for safety, and the passing car goes around.

The first 20-minute track session got underway for the BMW crowd in their rear-wheel-drive, high-power cars. The five MINI drivers then received 20 minutes of intense classroom instruction from Phil Wicks at the whiteboard.

Phil started his career in racing in the 1960s — see his website for details (www.minidriving.com). What I knew of Phil was that he drove the red Mini for the stunts in the 1969 movie The Italian Job, and that he races a classic Mini and has been involved with the new MINI racing series. He is a great person to meet, as is his wife Norree, who handles the business end.

As the day went on, conversations with both of them were even better than the driving. Phil Wicks is Mini history and knows all the famous people involved. Every spare minute I could get was spent speaking with Phil and Norree. Wonderful people!

Then it was track time for the MINI group. My instructor, Steve, went over safety rules again. We turned off the Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) and carefully entered the track, staying inside the white pit line until it was O.K. to move out onto the track line.

The first few laps were spent learning the curves and apexes, learning brake, shift, turn and power, and learning to look where you want to go, not where you are. This means when you are at the apex you are already looking at the next corner as you lower out. We had five 20-minute sessions during the day, all with an instructor. Each time we drove faster and faster by being smoother and smoother. Slow is fast, as they say.

Driving a front-wheel-drive MINI is very different from a rear-wheel-drive BMW. Phil taught us why. He also taught about weight transfer and the fact that every car pivots around its middle. Understeer or “pushing” is dealt with differently in a front-wheel-drive MINI.

At the lunch hour break the track was open for instructor laps, and I asked Phil if he would take me for a ride in Barbara’s MINI. Wow, all I can say is the man is fast (three laps, very fast). And the MINI is, too. Barbara says she can never sell that car, now that Phil Wicks has driven it!

September 2016

[3-Sept_16_Barbara.jpg] Phil awards Barbara her certificate on completing the school.
Photo by Dave Newman

Since I was driving Barbara’s MINI, she got stuck driving the company MINI Countryman S ALL4 for four out of the five sessions. She felt uncomfortable in the car, as the Countryman is probably the worst model to do a Track Day in (unless the track is covered in snow or dirt), so on the last session, we swapped cars. She had been wearing the Hooked on Driving helmet all day, so she kept it on. Her confidence and speed went way up when she finally got into her own daily driver. She drove much faster in fact — a good track car can do that. Barbara’s instructor was a racing driver and said afterwards that her transformation was dramatic.

In the final session I had the Countryman ALL4. It rides on all-season tires. These tires are crappy in all seasons and not grippy at all compared to the Continentals on Barb’s car! But I ventured onto the track with my instructor in the passenger seat talking on the intercom. I had already been up to 110 in the short straights in the MINI Cooper S and took it easy for a couple of laps until I learned how the Countryman handled, auto-magic tranny and all.

In comparison to a “normal” car such as a Camry or Accord, the Countryman handles much, much better. However, it is not a car I would recommend for a Track Day. The DSC never really shuts completely off. I was doing some good, though not great, lap times, and sliding the car though the corners well, so well that the instructor said “Well done!” quite a few times. The brakes were very good. It’s just that once you have driven a MINI Cooper S with sticky summer tires, the Countryman feels like drifting a motor home through the corners.

In between sessions we received classroom instruction from Phil Wicks. Every MINI driver got better and better as the day went along. They showed more confidence and awareness, and were very safe on the track as they learned the speed that is possible at 8/10th of the capability of their car. The afternoon track sessions were sometimes a mix of BMW models and MINI models at the same time. Nobody could keep up with the MINI Cooper S in the corners. The BMWs would power away in the straights. Then the little MINIs would be up their exhaust again in the corners. Then a quick pass out of the corners and the BMWs would pass at the end of the straights. Over and over again, like magic.

The next time Phil Wicks has a class in the Northeast, we are going! And we recommend that you do as well. It is fun, informative, and you will be a better defensive driver after the course.

September 2016

Fall Events Preview
by David Schwartz

If you take a glance at our Events Calendar, you’ll see three events listed that really deserve more than a three-line description. Not that the others don’t, but these events have always attracted NEMO members and continue to do so for good reason. So here is an “expanded” listing to tempt you to try them if you haven’t been, and to remind you if you have:

September 16-18 — British Invasion, a/k/a “Stowe.”

Most NEMO members don’t need a British Invasion reminder as they have been attending the event for many years. However, people may not know that this year Mini is a featured marque! Dave Newman made dinner reservations for 20 at the new Italian/Mexican restaurant that took over the space formerly occupied by Gracie’s. The initial reviews have been good.

September 25 — The Boston Cup.

The Boston Cup soars into its 5th year September 25th on the Boston Common. Held at the country’s oldest public park, this is the only free major downtown car show in the USA. Arrive early in the day for the best views. Last year there were over 25,000 people between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. Among this year’s invited British vehicles will be a rarely seen 1903 Dickenson Morette, a 1933 MG J1, a Vincent Black Shadow, a 1950 Rover 75, a 1959 Aston Martin, the last Triumph Dove, an original GT40, and an Ultima GTR. The cars will be arranged by year of manufacture.

Over 100 world class and rare vehicles will be displayed, including Ettore Bugatti’s supercharged Type 57 and a matching new Veyron, plus early Ferraris and an F40. A special “Boomers World” exhibition will debut as well. Those present at 2:30 p.m. will get to hear and see these machines fire up and exit the Common. Don’t miss this Top 10 event — visit www.thebostoncup.com for more pictures and information! See you there.

October 7-9 — British Legends Weekend.

The Cape Cod British Car Club is presenting its 16th British Legends Weekend (BLW) and has pulled out all the stops. Imagine a car show at a four-star seaside hotel overlooking Buzzards Bay, complete with sandy beach, fine dining, upscale accommodations, pools, a spa and close proximity to great shopping!

BLW always has a good NEMO turnout for both classic and modern Minis. The 2015 car show featured seven classic Minis, four of which were Vans or Estates. Keith Hartinger trailered his pristine 1964 Austin Van up from Plant City, Florida. Jean and Dave Icaza drove their 1969 Austin Countryman up from Connecticut. David Schwartz and Betty Lehrman drove their 1968 Mini Traveller down from Framingham, Mass., and Steve and Joyce Aoyama of Marion, Mass., brought a Mini Traveller VTEC conversion.

For 2016, South Shore MINI is presenting a MINI “Concours d’Evolution” as part of the Sunday afternoon car show. South Shore MINI plans to provide five new MINI models, which will be paired with vintage Minis.

So check your oil, gas up, fire up and join us for the 16th Annual CCBCC BLW at the Sea Crest Beach Hotel in North Falmouth, Mass. Go to the club’s website, www.capecodbritishcarclub.org, for registration forms and other details.

July 2016

[1-Aug_16_QueensLimo.jpg] The ‘Queen’ arrives on the show field Saturday morning.
Photo by David Schwartz

At the British Motorcar Festival
by David Schwartz

BRISTOL, R.I., June 11 — This year marked the second running of the British Motorcar Festival at Colt State Park on the coast of Bristol. The four-day festival is presented by the same group that runs the British Invasion in Stowe, Vt. I decided to make a day trip to Bristol since the British Motorcar Festival promised much of the same flavor a lot closer to home.

Activities on Saturday included the judged Concours d’Elegance, a People’s Choice Car Show, meeting the “Queen” and a Ladies Hat Competition. I arrived at 9:30 a.m. and was pleased to be directed to a parking space within 100 yards of the entrance.

A row of vendors was just inside the gate, with NEMO members Faith Lamprey and Bruce Vild occupying the corner space. There were vendors selling diecast vehicles, British tchotchkes (knickknacks), clothing and vintage car parts. One dealer had a huge variety of used and new old stock electrical parts. They had very reasonable prices on original glass turn signal lenses and chrome trim rings. (Too bad I bought reproductions a few months ago.)

At around 10:15 a.m. the “Queen” (played by Michelle Dickson) made several tours around the show field in a Rolls-Royce stretch limousine from the early 1930s. The bonnet and open top chauffeur’s compartment were longer than many entire cars. The Queen’s arrival was followed by a cannon salute.

My plan was to make a first pass around the show field and Concours area, concentrating on rarely seen and unusual cars. Later I would make a second pass to view the more common cars. This proved to be a good strategy when at 12:30 p.m. a severe thunderstorm warning was announced. I had just enough time to view the Concours cars before owners drove off to safer grounds.

The show featured several Bentley and Rolls-Royce automobiles spanning the 1930s through at least the 1980s. After the “Queen’s” limousine, a 1933 Rolls-Royce 20/25 really caught my eye. The car hadn’t run since the 1970s and underwent a five-year restoration that was completed in 2014. The owner created a custom hood ornament using a model of a Spitfire airplane. This was a tribute to RJ Mitchell, the British rngineer who designed the World War II fighter plane. Mitchell also owned a Rolls-Royce 20/25 and worked with Henry Royce at bringing the Rolls-Royce “mighty Merlin” engine together with the Spitfire.

The Festival featured many rare and unusual cars. One of my favorites was a 1963 Daimler Dart (SP250) owned by Ron and Laura Cavallaro. This was a beautifully restored car in white with a red interior. The Dart is powered by a 2.5 liter hemi-head V8 engine that produces 140hp. A second Daimler Dart was displayed in the Concours Preservation Class.

July 2016

[2-Aug_16_Italia.jpg] Michelotti-designed, TR3-based Triumph Italia seen in the Bristol show concours.
Photo by David Schwartz

There was a gorgeous 1960 Triumph Italia 2000 GT Coupe in the Concours area and a ’61 on the People’s Choice show field. The ’60 was parked next to a Triumph TR3, which I now understand contributed the chassis and mechanical components to the Italia. Michelotti designed the Italia’s body and it has the graceful lines shared by many Italian cars of that era.

There were many vintage Jaguars on display and I jumped at the offer to sit in an XK150. The closest I will come to owning one is the 1:18 scale diecast XK120 I bought for my wife.

I have a soft spot for the Morris Minor 1000 and spent a long time chatting with Chuck O’Neal and Debra Chiacu, the owners of a nicely restored convertible. Their car was upgraded to a 1275cc twin-carburetor engine coupled to a Datsun 5-speed transmission, making it much easier to drive on the highway.

There were two classic Rover Minis and one modern MINI in attendance. Chris Cole and Gail Gray from Vermont brought their ’99 Mini. Chris and Gail are known by many NEMO members through the numerous British car shows they attend each year. The other classic was a ’98 and I told the owner about NEMO just as he was leaving. The one modern MINI fled ahead of the storm and I was not able to meet the owner.

The British Motorcar Festival is well worth attending, even if just for a day. Perhaps next year we can organize a bigger NEMO turnout.

July 2016

[3-Aug_16_alex.jpg] Alex Daly won the British Marque Favourite award.
Photo by David Schwartz

British Car Day at LAAM
by David Schwartz

BROOKLINE, Mass., June 26 — The weather on Sunday, the 26th, was sunny with blue skies, which drew a large turnout for British Car Day at the Larz Anderson Auto Museum. The Museum staff did a good job organizing cars by make and model until the upper lawn filled up around 9:30 a.m. Cars continued arriving until after 10 a.m. and also filled half of the lower lawn.

I counted five classic Minis, including a 1990 Mini Cooper RSP (Rover Special Production) owned by Jane Wilkinson. Jane is the original owner and moved from England to the United States about 15 years ago. She was not able to import her Mini because it was too new. So Jane parked the car in her parents’ garage and waited (impatiently) until the Mini was 25 years old and qualified as an antique. She imported the car in late 2015 and had it serviced a few months ago in time for the New England driving season. I gave Jane a NEMO membership application and hope we see her at future British car events. Her parents are very happy to have their garage back.

The Minis were parked in the center of the upper lawn with no relief from the sun. Fortunately, I brought a 10’x10’ tent canopy for shade. I arrived shortly after fellow NEMO members Wendy Birchmire and Alex Daly. We pulled our cars forward a bit and had plenty of space for the canopy. They elected me to bring the canopy to future car shows.

There were at least ten MINIs present, including a group from the Nutmeg MINIacs that caravanned up from Connecticut. The MINIacs spent a while chatting with Wendy, Alex and yours truly. They enjoyed trying our “little” Minis on for size and were amused by my 1968 Mini Traveller’s Tardis theme (from Doctor Who — a small blue box that’s bigger on the inside).

The show was people’s choice and my car won in the Mini class. It pays to have a sense of humor. People love the “Actual Size” decal, “Maximum Capacity 28 Clowns” magnets and Doctor Who decorations.

Faith Lamprey and Bruce Vild presented Alex Daly with the British Marque Favourite award. The award recognizes owners who exemplify the spirit of the British car hobby. Alex was a child when he started attending NEMO events with his father. He is the second generation owner of the 1962 Mini Cooper 1380 he and his father worked on together.

July 2016

NEMO Calendar

August 6 — Monadnock Berries MINI Cooper BBQ, Troy, N.H., 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. (food noon to 1:30), monadnockberries.com/events.

August 6 — Hemmings Sports & Exotic Car Show, Saratoga Springs, N.Y., 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., www.hemmings.com/events/Saratoga.

August 11 — British Car Night at Wings & Wheels, Minute Man Air Field, Stow, Mass., 5 to 8 p.m., wingsandwheelsma.com.

September 1-5 — Lime Rock Park Historic Festival, Lakeville, Conn., limerockhistorics.com.

September 4 — Sunday in the Park/Gathering of the Marques, Lime Rock Park, Lakeville, Conn., limerockhistorics.com/marques.

September 11 — 10th Annual Car-B-Que, Washington Depot, Conn., 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. (Kerry Washay).

September 16-18 — British Invasion XXVI, Stowe, Vt., www.britishinvasion.com.

September 24 — Weston Rotary Car Show, Town Hall Road, Weston, Mass., 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., westoncarshow.com.

September 25 — The Boston Cup Concours d’Elegance, Boston, Mass., 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., thebostoncup.com (Ken Lemoine).

October 7-9 — British Legends Weekend, Cape Cod British Car Club, North Falmouth, Mass., www.capecodbritishcarclub.org.

The NEMO Facebook page, www.facebook.com/NewEnglandMiniOwners, and website, www.nemomini.org, contain additional information and links to the event websites.

July 2016

[1-Jul_16_DragonSafetyRun.jpg] Freshman orientation. Bob and Diane do a run on the Dragon as part of the event’s safety briefing for newcomers.
Photo courtesy Bob Shaffer

MINIs on the Dragon 2016
by Bob Shaffer

FONTANA, N.C., May 11-14 — MINIs on the Dragon (MOTD), an annual gathering of MINI owners featuring drives and social events in the mountains of western North Carolina and Tennessee, is headquartered at Fontana Village Resort in Fontana, N.C., near Robbinsville and Bryson City. The name comes from a section of Route 129 that is known as the “Tail of the Dragon,” an 11.1-mile road with 318 turns (twisties). The southern terminus of the road is at the Tennessee border with Deals Gap, N.C., about nine miles from Fontana Village.

MOTD 2016 was the 14th annual meeting. This was my first MOTD as well as my first MINI rally.

I took delivery of my MINI the Friday after Thanksgiving 2015, a 2016 four-door hardtop “S” that I named “Surely.” During my first month of ownership I learned about MINI events around the US and decided to attend MOTD.

Being new to the world of Miniacs, I relied on blogs and forums for guidance. The more I read, the more enthusiastic I became about attending MOTD. My wife Diane agreed this would be a fun 11-day vacation, although she wasn’t as passionate as I was about the Miniac aspect of the trip. I registered during the opening minutes of MOTD registration and was able to sign up for all my first choices for drives and events.

I spent the three months leading up to MOTD preparing for the trip and buying supplies. The most important items were a handheld FRS two-way radio with extension microphone and detailing necessities to keep Surely looking her best.

Diane and I left home on Friday, May 6th, and made stops in Baltimore, Roanoke and Lake Norman, N.C., before arriving in the Fontana area on Tuesday, May 10th. During our trip south we enjoyed some incredible drives on Skyline Drive and the Blue Ridge Parkway. We even got to see a mother bear and her cub cross Skyline Drive in Shenandoah National Park.

We arrived in the Fontana area and checked into our hotel in Nantahala. We then drove the 25 miles over to Fontana Village to get a feel for our daily drive and check out what was happening at the main MOTD site. I hooked up with a couple of other MINIs heading to Fontana and got my first taste of driving the twisties on Moonshine 28, as well as a sense for the term “spirited pace.” There were already more than 100 MINIs present and a lot of set-up activity around the vendor alley area.

Fontana Village Resort is located about 3.5 miles from the Fontana Dam on the Little Tennessee River in western North Carolina, just south of the Tennessee border. The resort has approximately 200 rooms between the lodge and the cabins set on the heavily wooded property. With 625 MINIs and 893 people registered for MOTD 2016, many participants stay off-property in the surrounding area. During the four days of the event you will see groups of MINIs driving everywhere in the area, so there is plenty of opportunity to do the friendly MINI wave.

Fontana Village was constructed in the early 1940s to house the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) workers building the Fontana Dam as part of the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA). Fontana Dam is the largest dam east of the Mississippi River, at a height of 450 ft. The Appalachian Trail crosses the Fontana Dam as the trail heads north to Clingsman Dome in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

The popularity of the Dragon for driving enthusiasts has resulted in a business market based at the southern terminus in Deals Gap. Two establishments sell a wide variety of Dragon-based souvenirs. Four different photography companies take photos at five key corners to capture the drivers as they enjoy the Dragon.

On Tuesday evening, Diane and I were stopped at a gas station after dinner when fellow NEMO members Skip Tannen and his wife Barb drove up to the pump next to us. They had just arrived in the area on the way towards Fontana. We had never met in person, but the Mass plates and car descriptions we had exchanged helped us recognize each other immediately. It was a great coincidence that the first people we met in North Carolina were fellow NEMO members!

July 2016

[2-Jul_16_NEMOMeetup.jpg] Meeting up totally by chance with Barb and Skip Tannen!
Photo courtesy Bob Shaffer

We participated in the Dragon safety briefing, which included two runs on the Dragon. I highly recommend the safety briefing for anybody attending the Dragon for the first time. I got some valuable safety insights, and it gave me the opportunity to make my first runs on the Dragon at a moderate pace in a group instructional setting. The safety leader used the FRS radios to talk us through the runs and highlight some of the unique features of the road and terrain. I also got to make some new friends whom we would spend time with over the next three days.

We did a total of eight runs (four north and four south) on the Dragon over the four days. Many MOTD drives are one-way, so the symmetry of four up and four down was purely coincidental. It is hard to adequately describe the thrill of driving 318 turns over 11.1 miles in about 17 minutes. One drive leader who has driven Minis for over 50 years depicted it best when he said you need to be glancing one turn ahead to be prepared for what’s coming.

During the second day of the event, we joined about 20 MINIs on a sunrise drive in the Smoky Mountains. At the first rest stop we all pulled in at a scenic overlook on the Foothills Parkway, parked side-by-side and got out. Being an avid photographer I grabbed my digital SLR and immediately walked to the edge of the overlook to take photos of the panoramic view. The smoky mist was hanging over the rolling mountain landscape. After taking several photos I looked around and realized I was alone. Everyone else had stepped behind the line of MINIs to take photos of the scenery with the MINIs in the foreground. Only a new Miniac and first-time MOTD attendee would make this mistake!

We also made numerous drives across portions of the Moonshine 28, endured a wheel-gripping, white-knuckle ride on the Wayah Road to Franklin, and enjoyed a gorgeous sunrise drive on the Dragon, Foothills Parkway and the Great Smoky National Park. We saw some incredible scenery during the events, including stops at Bridal Veil and Mingus Falls, sunset on Clingmans Dome, elk feeding in the lower meadows of Smoky Mountain National Park, and scenic drives through the Smoky Mountains.

One of the shorter planned drives was a featured event, the Friday Morning Dragon Parade. It was a mindblowing experience.

One hundred and thirty MINIs lined up in single-file formation on the lower Fontana Dam road. We proceeded on the eight-mile drive to Deals Gap along the banks of the Little Tennessee River and entered the Dragon for a spirited drive. All I could see and hear were MINIs in front and in back of Surely as we snaked our way through the 318 turns.

At the northern terminus in Tennessee we barely slowed as we circled around in the small parking lot and headed back south on the Dragon. This circle-back maneuver let every driver see and wave at all of the other cars in the Parade as we completed our first run and began our second run heading south.

In addition to the drives and dinner events, MOTD provides a great setting for meeting new friends and socializing. During the four scheduled days and the days that bookend MOTD, you can spend every waking moment watching and breathing MINI culture. During the daylight hours you can browse vendor alley and buy almost any MINI product imaginable. You can have your MINI upgraded in the tent garages. Or you can walk around or sit on the restaurant deck and watch all of the different MINIs moving through the MOTD venue.

Many participants organize informal drives to visit the many local attractions. I recommend signing up for at least one drive each day. You will quickly make friends and your schedule will become as full as you want.

My four days at MOTD 2016 were fun-nomenal! I am already making plans to attend MOTD 2017. I made many new friends in the MINI community, learned about and joined the League of Extraordinary Miniacs (LXM), and got to observe and learn some great customization and performance tips. Even after leaving MOTD, I made a new MINI friend at a rest stop in southern Virginia.

And last but not least, Surely had her first true test of driving and earned her “Dragon” wings.

[Contrib. Ed. note: The Shaffers covered 3,700 miles in 11 days. Bob did all the driving and Diane went on every MOTD drive. —DS]

July 2016

[3-Jul_16_MINIsbytheSea.jpg]
MINIs at this year’s British by the Sea, led by the 2006 Cooper S of new member James Potticary. The classic Minis of Dave Black, Tom Judson and John Biagioni were also there.
Photo courtesy Bruce Vild

British by the (Foggy) Sea
by Bruce Vild

WATERFORD, Conn., June 5 — Faith and I left Harrisville, R.I., at about 8 a.m. and ran into heavy rain on the way down, but it stopped just outside of Waterford. It was foggy, then cloudy during the show, but did not again rain until shortly after 1:45 p.m. and then was very light. Thankfully, we were pretty much packed up by then.

Everyone we talked to encountered rain on their drive, except for John Mastrandrea, who lives in Westerly, R.I. The rain apparently did not reach southern coastal areas.

Five new MINIs and three classic Minis were present at British by the Sea. In the classic category, Dave Black and Greg Mazza were there in Dave’s car John Biagioni from BMCNE was there in his blue Mini and Tom Judson had his yellow, newly pinstriped van. We picked up one new NEMO member, James Potticary, who drives a 2006 MINI, and have the strong possibility of a couple joining us as well.

Turnout overall was down considerably, not even 100 cars instead of the usual 300 or more. There were six or seven other vendors present. About ten or so MG T-types came to the show straight from their nearby Gathering of the Faithful (GOF), tops down.

July 2016

NEMO Calendar

July 8-10 — Gould’s Microcar Classic, Newton, Mass., www.bubbledrome.com (Charles Gould and family).

July 10 — Microcar Classic at Larz Anderson Auto Museum, Brookline, Mass., 12 to 4 p.m., larzanderson. org/events/lawn-events/2016-lawn-event-schedule/ microcar-classic.

July 9-23 — MINI Takes the States (MTTS), www. minitakesthestates.com.

July 14 — British Car Night at Wings & Wheels, Minute Man Air Field, Stow, Mass., 5 to 8 p.m., wingsandwheelsma.com.

July 17 — Codman Estate Antique Auto and Classic Car Show, Lincoln, Mass., 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., www.historicnewengland.org/events-programs.

July 23 — British Cars of New Hampshire’s Show of Dreams, Hudson, N.H., 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., www.bcnh.org.

July 23-24 — Misselwood Concours d’Elegance, Beverly, Mass., www.endicott.edu/Concours.aspx.

August 6 — Monadnock Berries MINI Cooper BBQ, Troy, N.H., 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. (food 12 to 1:30 p.m.), monadnockberries.com/events.

August 6 — Hemmings Sports & Exotics Car Show, Saratoga Springs, N.Y., 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., www.hemmings.com/events/saratoga.

August 11 — British Car Night at Wings & Wheels, Minute Man Air Field, Stow, Mass., 5 to 8 p.m., wingsandwheelsma.com.

The NEMO Facebook page, www.facebook. com/NewEnglandMiniOwners, and website, www. nemomini.org, contain additional information and links to event websites.

May 2016

[1-Jun_16_ClubVanOnTrack.jpg] Club Van on the famous and newly repaved track.
Photo courtesy Dave Newman

Watkins Glen Adventure
by Dave Newman

WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. — What would make a Mini-crazy couple drive 400 miles to spend 12 minutes on a race track? How about 225 MINIs and 350 enthusiasts on the world famous track at Watkins Glen! So in mid-April Barbara and I set off for upstate New York to attend “Minis at the Glen.”

We left Kingston, Mass., early on a Saturday morning for Vienna, N.Y. Sunday morning at 10 a.m. we met up with the other cars and owners at Torrey Ridge Winery, about 15 miles north of the Village of Watkins Glen. Of the 225 cars, most were new MINIs, with a few classic Minis and one Moke. The Winery was great and we bought some of their stock for consumption at home.

Minis at the Glen was coordinated by Rob Louden of MINIs of Western New York and co-sponsored by Towne MINI of Buffalo and Rochester MINI.

After an hour or so of admiring the other MINIs and making lots of new friends, we motored in a convoy to the famous Watkins Glen International racing circuit, which had just undergone a total rip-down and repaving.

We lined up in the paddock area, paid our donation of $25 for three “parade” laps, and were let out onto the track. There were 75 MINIs to a group, with a Corvette pace car up front. Rules were no passing the pace car or anybody else. The speed limit was 70mph or whatever the pace car set. We were driving our MINI Club Van named “Woody Cooper” and were the only people on the track in a delivery truck. As Sabine Schmitz said to Jeremy Clarkson on a Top Gear episode, “I do zat lap time in a van!” And we did.

The track was super smooth. With the 70mph limit I didn’t need to touch the brakes until there was a “caution” halfway round. After that, we did 70 even through the esses. Of course, competition cars do 120 through the esses, but we were artificially limited in speed. The MINI handled superbly, as we were on sticky summer tires (notice my “perfect” line in the picture!).

My greatest thrill was realizing a dream of actually driving on the Watkins Glen track. Visions of all the races I had watched on TV went through my head. Cross off a bucket list item!

In July we are going back for the ten-lap deal. I learned that if we had traveled on Friday and been at the track on Saturday (the day before the Mini event), we could have done 10 laps for a $50 donation. Next year, we are going early! It was a bunch of fun, and Barbara also wants to drive it next year. I plan to bring my portable air pump and run 40psi in the tires instead of 35psi (maybe even 45psi). I’m still excited just writing this article about the event!

After the track time we dilly-dallied around the track for an hour and bought a bumper sticker with an outline of the track that said “I drove it,” plus a few shirts and such. This meant we missed the free meal and raffle sponsored by Towne MINI and Rochester MINI held at the Seneca Lodge in town. Drat! Next year we go straight to lunch. Instead we checked into our hotel room at Seneca Lodge, went downtown and shopped. We found a “historic” shop that sold posters of Watkins Glen Historic Events including some posters that featured classic Minis. We then had dinner on the waterfront. Very nice! On Monday, after a great night’s sleep dreaming of racing at the track, we were off to home.

This is an event for the classic Mini owner and MINI owner. Next year, we will promote it to NEMO members, as I know you would love it. And next year we are going on the Friday so we can lap on Saturday, meet up with the MINI groups on Sunday, and lap and celebrate some more!

May 2016

[2-Jun_16_ValveCoverHead.jpg] Some (re)assembly required...
Photo by David Schwartz
From The Barn

Part 2: Reassembly is the Reverse of Disassembly
by David Schwartz

WOODSTOCK, Conn. — Anyone who has ever followed a service procedure in a Mini workshop manual has encountered numerous variations on the phrase “reassembly is the reverse of disassembly.” This often appears after a complex multi-step disassembly, inspection and repair or “renewal” process. In reality, reassembly is rarely a simple case of reversing disassembly.

Workshop manuals don’t mention the hours spent degreasing, sandblasting, cleaning parts on a wire wheel and painting hundreds of parts prior to reassembly. According to Dave Black, a Mini engine and transmission contain 524 parts. This includes everything except the carburetor, manifold and alternator. Plus there are all the parts from my Mini Traveller’s front suspension, wheel hubs and shift tunnel. After we cleaned each batch of parts Dave spray-painted almost every external part, including all the nuts, bolts and washers. Only the aluminum parts were left in their natural color.

When the block and head were back from the machine shop, each received a coat of Morris engine green as did the rocker cover and timing chain cover. All the front suspension parts were painted black. The nuts, bolts and washers were painted to match the parts they hold together. My rocker cover never had the metal manufacturing plates, but of course Dave had both the Morris and patent badges in stock. These are now riveted to the rocker cover and add to the authentic look of the engine. For another special detail, Dave painted the dipstick yellow.

Dave works quickly and with each trip I made to The Barn another major component was complete. He rebuilt the front wheel hubs as soon as the new backing plates arrived. I was present when he reassembled the constant velocity (CV) joints. These are a key component to the Mini transverse engine packaging and were much smaller than I expected. Six large ball bearings fit into a cage that has splines for the driveshaft. Assembling the CV joint is like putting together a metal puzzle.

Dave installed many new parts in the block, including pistons in the next size, bearings everywhere, cam followers, timing chain and water pump. The crankshaft and camshaft were polished and reused. During disassembly we discovered the reason oil fouled the second clutch in two years. The primary gear was deeply scored, allowing oil to leak past the two-year-old rear main seal. So the engine also received a new primary gear, clutch disc and both front and rear main seals.

When the cylinder head was disassembled, Dave stored the valves in the order they were removed so he could reinstall them in their original locations. When the head was reassembled the valves were lapped in using a special tool from the UK. The valve spring compressor was larger than I expected and it was interesting to see how the valve stem, oil seal, spring, cap and clip fit together.

During my three years of ownership the transmission never shifted smoothly. It had a slight chink going from second to third and was difficult to shift into first or reverse. Sadly, I was not at The Barn to witness the transmission rebuild, a job definitely not suited for amateurs. Dave discovered the baulk rings (synchro rings) were damaged and replaced all four. I was present to help reinstall the block on top of the transmission. Even without the head, a fully assembled block is surprisingly heavy.

Around mid-January the reassembled engine was running smoothly in Dave’s test stand. I was determined to solve the common exhaust leak problem at the joint between the standard cast manifold and my original style exhaust system. A number of Mini and Morris Minor forum posts suggested inserting a small copper strip in the joint, so we gave that a try. With the poorly designed stamped steel exhaust clamp, the joint still leaked. We finally achieved success with an old cast iron clamp from Dave’s parts collection.

During a 15 minute run on the test stand The Barn started filling with smoke. Initially I thought the engine was burning oil. However, the smoke was coming from the face of the front muffler, not the tailpipe. Another mystery solved! Three years of smelling burning oil in the passenger compartment was from leaking oil landing on the front muffler. A quick cleaning with a wire brush and no more smoke.

May 2016

[3-Jun_16_PaintedFrontSubframe.jpg] Freshly POR-15ed subframe. Looking good...
Photo by David Schwartz

Installing the new steering rack went smoothly and is much easier to do without the engine or subframe in the way. The rack is held in place by two U-bolts in the engine compartment and four nuts in the passenger cabin under the carpet near the bottom of the firewall. I decided to replace the steering column upper plastic bearing and lower felt bearing since there was a lot of play at the base of the column. Fitting the felt bearing was very difficult as was installing the pinch bolt that attaches the steering column to the rack pinion gear. After numerous failures at lining up the bolt with the slot in the pinion gear I asked Dave to give it a try. Of course he quickly succeeded.

When the front subframe was back from the welding shop I made a trip to The Barn to apply a coat of POR-15. This is a paint that chemically bonds to metal and forms a hard coating that won’t chip or peel. It is nasty stuff to work with, so I followed the manufacturer’s precautions and wore long neoprene gloves, eye protection and an organic vapor respirator mask. If you get the stuff on your skin it will be there for many days. The subframe had been sandblasted which provided a textured surface for good adhesion. I bought a pint can, the smallest size available. Once the can has been opened the paint only lasts for a few days. With all the nooks and crannies it took several hours to paint the subframe using a brush. POR-15 takes at least four hours to dry, so I flipped the subframe over and propped it on small wooden blocks to paint the underside.

A week later I was back at The Barn to help Dave bolt the front subframe to the car. He had already installed new rubber cones and all the suspension components. The POR-15 looked great and really was rock hard. There were a few small spots I had missed, so Dave touched them up just before we started. This turned out to be a bad idea since we got wet POR-15 all over our hands (it did take a week to wash off completely.) The wet paint would not have made such a mess, except we discovered the lower control arms were installed on the wrong sides and we had to swap them around.

On my next Barn visit I expected to help reinstall the engine, but Dave got ambitious one evening and did it himself. We still needed to attach all the ancillary bits, since the engine won’t fit with the manifold, starter or alternator present. The engine looked like new but the starter and alternator were covered with rust and paint overspray. So it was back to the sandblaster and wire wheel for a quick cleaning.

There was a minor oops when installing the ignition coil. Previously the coil was bolted to the left corner of the cylinder head on a regular length stud instead of the correct long stud. No worries. Dave put on his blacksmith apron, fired up the Bernzomatic torch and reconfigured the coil mounting bracket. The coil is now attached to the alternator bracket and looks similar to earlier engines that had the coil mounted on top of the generator.

After attaching the clutch slave cylinder and manifold, it was time to deal with the exhaust system. This required several adjustments and a new exhaust hanger to get sufficient space between the downpipe and rubber driveshaft couplings. The final steps were bolting on the gearshift housing, complete with new half moon rubber seal, and attaching the choke and throttle cables.

Now it was time for the moment of truth, starting the engine. Stay tuned for the next chapter!

April 2016

[1-May_16_Dave_Reid.jpg] Dave Reid (left) gets a hand from an ad hoc pit crew made up of NEMO members as he loads his stricken Mini into the trailer. He did get in a few laps, though.
Photo by David Schwartz

British Car Corral at Thompson
by David Schwartz

On Friday, June 24th, Thompson Speedway in Thompson, Conn., is featuring a British Car Corral as part of their 3rd Annual Vintage Motorsports Festival. The Corral is for displaying vintage cars, not for sales. They are offering parade laps around the track for the first 30 Car Corral participants to sign up. The cost for joining the Car Corral is $10.

It would be a lot of fun to have a large NEMO group participate in the British Car Corral and take a parade lap together. There is no limit to the number of entries in the British Car Corral, but the parade lap is limited to the first 30 registrants.

There are also Car Corrals for BMW and Porsche. Because the Festival participants are vintage cars, the modern MINI may not qualify for either the British or BMW Corral. If you want to participate with a MINI, I suggest contacting Thompson Speedway before registering, at (860) 923-2280.

Racing starts at 9 a.m. and the parade lap is at lunchtime. The main gate, paddock and garages open at 7 a.m. Plan to arrive well before the races start so you have time to wander around the paddocks to check out the cars and chat with the owners. Bring earplugs if you plan to watch the muscle car races.

Last year I arrived at 8 a.m. and spent an hour wandering around the paddocks before the races started. This was my first time attending a vintage race and at Thompson you can get really close to the action. Very few people sit in the bleachers. Instead they stand around the perimeter of the track, on a bridge, or on a hill that provides a view of about half the track.

Later I met up with NEMO members Dave Black, Greg Mazza and Paul Gingras who arrived in time to see Dave Reid race his heavily modified Austin Mini Cooper. Sadly, Dave Reid’s Mini had a mechanical problem after only a few laps and had to be towed off the track.

Additional details on the Vintage Motorsports Festival and Car Corral are available on the Festival webpage, www.thompsonspeedway.com/events/3rd-annual-vintage-motorsports-festival.

April 2016

[2-May_16_Shadow.jpg] Shadow, in the middle of the action once again.
Photo by David Schwartz

From The Barn
We’ll Fix It When We Do the Engine
by David Schwartz

WOODSTOCK, Conn., Dec. 12–Mar. 6 — It is difficult to believe I have only owned my ’68 Mini Traveller for three years. Based on the number of trips to Dave Black’s Mini Barn it seems like much longer.

On my very first visit in the spring of 2013, Dave gave me a scare when he mentioned rebuilding the engine and told me how much to budget. On subsequent visits when I inquired about various repairs, Dave replied, “We’ll fix it when we do the engine.” Over the course of three years the list of deferred work grew quite long.

Although the engine in my Mini ran well and usually started right up, the oil leaks and burning oil smell in the passenger compartment grew much worse during the 2015 driving season, so I knew it was time for a rebuild.

I asked Dave if I could help him and he generously agreed. Over the course of three months I made at least 16 trips to the Barn on weekends and evenings. The Barn gained a mascot a couple of years ago when Dave and Joanne adopted Shadow, a Schnauzer-Terrier mix. Shadow’s favorite game is chasing a rubber ball around the Barn and generally being in the middle of the action.

Dave reserved me a spot on the Barn schedule and I drove down to Woodstock on December 12th. With Dave working topside and me under the car, we had the engine out of the car very quickly. In slightly less than two hours the engine was fully disassembled on the workbench. This included everything except disassembly of the transmission. I suspect the job would have taken even less time without my help. The pistons were still warm and Dave said, “Its heart is still beating.”

With the engine out the next steps included removing the steering rack, suspension components, wheel hubs and front subframe. There was a cracked weld at the top of the left subframe tower where the rubber suspension cone sits and we learned the steering rack needed replacement on my first visit to the Barn. I spent a while beating on a pickle fork to get the ball joints apart. The left side came apart with a moderate effort, but the right side would not budge. Finally I asked Dave to take a crack at it. He hammered even more aggressively (I was afraid of breaking something), and didn’t have any luck either. We sat there for several minutes discussing next steps when with a loud bang the right ball joint came apart. Add a set of new front ball joints to the parts list.

The front subframe is only held on by a few bolts and came out very easily. However, removing the rubber cones and aluminum trumpets was a major production. The lower arm suspension pins have an unusual offset shape and were also a challenge to remove. Despite a lot of aggressive hammering with a pry bar, the rubber cones and trumpets came out as a single unit. The aluminum had welded itself to the rubber. Dave clamped the rubber cones in a vice and spent a long time hammering away before eventually separating the cones. The aluminum survived unscathed and was much tougher than I expected. We decided to replace the rubber cones, as they were definitely the original set.

April 2016

[3-May_16_Rubber_Cones.jpg] David’s rubber-cone suspension was definitely sagging. Compare the original cone (left) and its brand-new replacement. The new cone is at least a half inch taller!
Photo by David Schwartz

Last spring we discovered the front brake adjusters were rusted solid and the edges were rounded over, making it virtually impossible to adjust the brakes. This was also a good time to replace the brake back plates and rebuild the wheel hubs. (Is anyone sensing a theme here?)

Dave delivered the engine block to a machine shop for a thorough cleaning and to be bored out by .020” for the next-size pistons. A previous owner had broken an engine steady bolt off in the block and subsequently broken off a bolt extractor or tap trying to repair the damage. They also buggered up the other engine steady mounting hole with a metric bolt. Happily, the machine shop was able to fix the damage by installing HeliCoil thread repair inserts. The shop also polished the crankshaft and camshaft, which we were able to reuse. Dave brought the subframe to another shop to be sandblasted and welded.

With everything apart we took inventory and ordered replacement parts from Seven Enterprises and Mini Spares. Now it was time for the really dirty work, cleaning off grease and dirt in the parts washers, sandblasting paint and rust in the blast cabinet, and wire brushing hundreds of nuts, bolts, washers and other small parts on a wire wheel. Sandblasting was actually fun and an order of magnitude faster than using a wire wheel mounted in a drill. It also does a better job and made it easy to clean all the nooks and crannies.

I was in the habit of simply replacing rusty small parts, but learned the error of my ways. Dave believes the strength and quality of original nuts, bolts and washers exceeds that of modern replacements. In addition, since the parts came off the car you know they fit. I spent about six hours cleaning parts on a bench grinder fitted with a fine wire wheel and I am sure Dave spent even longer. Dave does the job this way regardless of whether you help out. If you try this approach at home, be sure to use a fine wire wheel with .008” diameter wire strands. A coarse wheel will damage your parts.

While waiting for the block and subframe work to be completed and new parts to arrive, I decided to deal with rust in the engine compartment. This required hours of scraping with wire brushes, abrasive pads and coarse sandpaper, followed by cleaning with a mild solvent. I researched several rust reforming products and decided to use Permatex Rust Treatment. This is applied with a brush and gave much better results than a similar Rust-Oleum product. I debated repainting the entire engine compartment in black, but found a Chrysler engine blue that was close to the body color. Not a perfect match, but better than the rust, two shades of blue, red primer and black.

When painting the engine compartment I kept staring at the open end of the remote gearshift housing which was full of sand and grease. The half moon rubber seal must have been missing for years and I decided to remove the housing to give it a good cleaning. The car was up on jack stands so I had easy access to the bolts at the rear of the housing. The car was also at a perfect height for Shadow the Barn Dog to walk under. I was lying on a mechanics creeper when Shadow walked up, blocked my view of the bolt I was loosening and started licking my cheek. Fortunately, Shadow and I had become good friends.

With the housing removed, Dave surprised me by suggesting completely disassembling it. This proved easier said than done since the shift lever was stuck in place. We placed the entire unit in the “dirty” parts washer for another day.

On my next Barn visit Dave had a mystery for me. There on his workbench next to the cleaned and reassembled shift housing were the skeletal remains of a small bird. Neither of us could figure out how the bird got inside, but it shouldn’t happen again as I replaced the missing rubber seal.

Stay tuned for Part 2 in the June issue, “Reassembly is the Reverse of Disassembly.”

April 2016

Expanded NEMO Calendar

Last month we published the events calendar agreed to at our Annual Meeting but neglected to provide links to the proper websites. Here it is again, with those links:

May 11-15 — MINIs On The Dragon, Deals Gap, N.C. and Tenn., www.minisonthedragon.com.

June 5 — British by the Sea, CT MG Club, Waterford, Conn., www.ctmgclub.com.

June 9-12 — British Motorcar Festival, Bristol, R.I., www.britishmotorcarfestival.com.

June 17-18 — MINIs on Top, Mt. Washington, N.H., www.minisontop.org.

June 19 — Father’s Day Car Show & Pancake Breakfast, Holliston, Mass., 8 to 10 a.m., www.holliston historicalsociety.org (Paul Saulnier).

June 23-25 — Vintage Motorsports Festival, Thompson Speedway, Thompson, Conn., www.thompson speedway.com/events/3rd-annual-vintage-motor sports-festival.

June 24 — British Car Corral & Parade Lap at Thompson Speedway, Thompson, Conn., link above.

June 25 — MetroFest Arts, Music & Food Truck Festival, Bowditch Field, Framingham, Mass., 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., www.metrowestvisitors.org/explore/MetroFest.cfm (Ken Lemoine).

June 26 — British Car Day at Larz Anderson Auto Museum, Brookline, Mass., 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., larz anderson.org/events/lawn-events/2016-lawn-event-schedule/british16.

June 30-July 3 — Mini Meet East, Oak Ridge, Tenn., www.MME2016.com.

June-August — Wings & Wheels at Minute Man Air Field, Stow, Mass., Thursdays 5 to 8 p.m., wingsandwheelsma.com.

July 8-10 — Gould’s Microcar Classic, Newton, Mass., www.bubbledrome.com (Charles Gould and family).

July 10 — Microcar Classic at Larz Anderson Auto Museum, Brookline, Mass., 12 to 4 p.m., larzanderson.org/events/lawn-events/2016-lawn-event-schedule/microcar-classic.

July 9-23 — MINI Takes the States (MTTS), www.minitakesthestates.com.

July 17 — Codman Estate Antique Auto and Classic Car Show, Lincoln, Mass., 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., www.historicnewengland.org/events-programs.

July 23 — Show of Dreams, British Cars of New Hampshire, Hudson, N.H., 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., www.bcnh.org.

July 23-24 — Misselwood Concours d’Elegance, Beverly, Mass., www.endicott.edu/Concours.aspx.

The NEMO Facebook page, www.facebook.com/NewEnglandMiniOwners, and website, www.nemomini.org, contain additional information and links to the event websites.

March 2016

[1-Apr_16_Meeting.jpg] David Schwartz conducts the meeting.
Photo by Bruce Vild

The NEMO Annual Meeting
by David Schwartz

HARRISVILLE, R.I., Mar. 6 — A record number of members turned out for the NEMO Annual Meeting, with 25 attendees, including hosts Faith Lamprey and Bruce Vild. Five new members were present and several long-time members attended their first Annual Meeting. From our experience using an Evite for the Holiday Party, I anticipated a capacity crowd at the Annual Meeting. When I checked in with Faith, she replied, “the more the merrier,” and asked a few people to bring extra folding chairs. The crowd overflowed from the living room into the kitchen.

I took advantage of the nice weather to pick up my ’68 Mini Traveller at Dave Black’s Mini Barn. My car wintered at the Barn for an engine rebuild and other work. Ken Lemoine gave me a ride to the Barn and we drove to Harrisville in a three-car parade with my Mini safely tucked between Dave’s truck and Ken’s Jaguar. We paid homage to The Italian Job in Faith and Bruce’s driveway, with red and white MINIs parked in a line with my little blue Mini.

Faith handed out tickets for a free raffle as people arrived. Members contributed prizes including die-cast cars, magazines, a steering column lowering bracket, a coffee mug, service manuals on CDs, etc. The meeting followed our usual format, with a social hour from noon until 1 p.m. followed by a potluck lunch. The food was especially good this year. My personal favorites were Bob Shaffer’s lasagna and Derick Karabec’s handmade chocolate bars molded in the shape of a classic Mini.

The meeting came to order at 2 p.m. when Faith pulled the first raffle ticket. After the raffle we moved on to the actual business meeting. Dave Black, the “keeper of the money,” provided a financial report. Our bank balance is healthy, though it is down slightly from last year since NEMO picked up the entire cost of the Holiday Party.

There was a discussion of the Hrach Fund, which Ken Lemoine established last year in memory of legendary NEMO member Hrach Chekijian. Since none of the newer members had had the privilege of meeting Hrach, several people told stories about him and Bruce passed around some photos. The Hrach Fund will be used for children’s activities at NEMO events and aims to get young people involved with Minis. Dave Black added Ken Lemoine as a signer on both the NEMO and Hrach Fund bank accounts.

March 2016

[2-Apr_16_Italian_Job.jpg] Homage to The Italian Job in the driveway — red (Countryman), white (Club Van) and blue (Traveller) Minis!
Photo by David Schwartz

Yours truly led a discussion on NEMO membership and Internet presence. NEMO has between 71 and 78 members, depending on whether you count family mailing addresses or individual e-mail addresses. The Facebook page has been very active this year, with 291 Likes. The MINI USA website links to the Facebook page, which helped the club pick up several new members. The NEMO Google group has 87 members and is very active thanks largely to the efforts of Dave Newman. (Where does he find all those photos and stories?) Sending out Evites to promote the Holiday Party and Annual Meeting definitely boosted attendance at both events. We will continue to list Mini/MINI events on the NEMO website and on the Facebook page.

I handed out an event calendar consisting of car shows, vintage races and other events popular with NEMO members. Several car shows on the list are run by members. Jay Cady was unable to attend the Annual Meeting, but he is looking for members who would like to participate in track nights at Thompson Speedway or Palmer Motorsports Park. Contact Jay (jaycady@gmail.com) for the details.

MINI Takes the States (MTTS) is back this year and at least two members plan to drive “MINIs on the Dragon” in North Carolina. See the events calendar for more information.

The final discussion was about whether to provide a password-protected e-mail directory of members on the NEMO website. People were concerned about security or increased junk e-mail and wanted an opt-out feature. Ultimately the e-mail directory was voted down. Contact information for Faith Lamprey, Dave Black and me is available on the NEMO website and membership form. We can help you get in touch with other members, or you can post on the Google Group and Facebook page.

Thanks once again to Faith and Bruce for volunteering their house!

March 2016

The Year’s Coming Attractions

May 11-15 — MINIs On The Dragon, Deals Gap, N.C., and Tenn., www.minisonthedragon.com.

June 5 — British by the Sea, hosted by the Connecticut MG Club, Waterford, Conn.

June 9-12 — British Motorcar Festival, Bristol, R.I.

June 17-18 — MINIs on Top, Mt. Washington, N.H.

June 19 — Father’s Day Car Show & Pancake Breakfast, 8 to 10 a.m., Holliston Mass. (Paul Saulnier).

June 23-25 — Vintage Motorsports Festival, Thompson Speedway, Thompson, Conn.

June 25 — Family Friendly Car Show, Bowditch Field, Framingham, Mass. (Ken Lemoine).

June 26 — British Car Day at Larz Anderson Auto Museum, Brookline, Mass.

June 30-July 3 — Mini Meet East, Oak Ridge, Tenn.

June-August — Wings & Wheels at Minute Man Air Field, Stow, Mass., Thursdays, 5 to 8 p.m.

July 8-10 — Gould’s Microcar Classic, Newton, Mass. (Charles Gould and family).

July 10 — Microcar Day at Larz Anderson Auto Museum, Brookline, Mass.

July 9-23 — MINI Takes the States (MTTS), www.minitakesthestates.com.

July 17 — Codman Estate Antique Auto and Classic Car Show, 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., Lincoln, Mass.

July 23 — Show of Dreams, hosted by British Cars of New Hampshire, Hudson, N.H., 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

July 23-24 — Misselwood Concours d’Elegance, Beverly, Mass.

August TBD — Monadnock Berries, MINI Cooper BBQ, Troy, N.H.

August 6 — Hemmings Sports & Exotic Car Show, Saratoga Springs, N.Y.

September 1-5 — Lime Rock Historic Festival, Lime Rock Park, Lakeville, Conn.

September 4 — Sunday in the Park/Gathering of the Marques, Lime Rock Park, Lakeville, Conn.

September 11 — 10th Annual Car-B-Que, Washington Depot, Conn., 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. (Kerry Washay).

September 16-18 — British Invasion XXVI, Stowe, Vt.

September 24 — Weston Rotary Car Show, Town Hall Road, Weston, Mass., 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

September 25 — The Boston Cup Concours d’Elegance, Boston, Mass., 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. (Ken Lemoine).

October 7-9 — British Legends Weekend, hosted by the Cape Cod British Car Club, North Falmouth, Mass.

Visit www.nemomini.org and www.facebook.com/NewEnglandMiniOwners for more.

March 2016

British Car Corral at Thompson

Theresa Condict, the Director of Marketing at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park in Thompson, Conn., has invited NEMO to participate in their 3rd Annual Vintage Motorsports Festival, June 23-25.

The event takes place on their historic 1.7-mile road course and features two days of racing for over 200 vintage cars, ranging from prewar cars through the muscle cars of the ’70s. The Vintage Motorsports Festival is Thompson’s marque event of the season.

This year Thompson is offering a British Car Corral on Friday, June 24th. They are also offering parade laps around the track for the first 30 Car Corral participants to sign up. The cost for joining the Car Corral is $10 for the day. For more information about the event or to purchase tickets or Car Corral spots, visit their website, www.thompsonspeedway.com.

March 2016

Get Your NEMO Calendar!

The NEMO calendar is now available! Covering April 2016 to March 2017 to coincide with our Annual Meeting, this large-format calendar features some of the best pictures of the 2015 Mini season, all by member/photographer Barbara Newman. Photos include classic Minis and modern MINIs. Graphic design work was done by Christa Newman.

The calendar may be purchased on-line for only $15 plus shipping. Click on the NEMO website Regalia tab and scroll to the bottom of the page. From there you can click on a link to preview the photos and place an order. The small profit goes to NEMO for club activities and the Holiday Party.

February 2016

[1-Mar_16_RaffleMiniAndHall.jpg] ‘Win this Mini’ raffle among the vendors in Bingley Hall.
Photo by Tony Haslam

Bingley Hall Mini Fair 2016
by Tony Haslam

STAFFORD, England — On Sunday, 31st January 2016, the day started off dry but the weather slowly turned to a drizzle. I began my journey at 7.30 a.m. in my daily driver — the daily driver, because my intention was to do this report and not worry about my ’64 Riley Elf. You know how it is to leave your pride and joy alone in a car park for several hours with the weather not being very pleasant! My daily driver is a VW Kombi six-seater and has loads of luggage space in case I saw some bargains for my ’79 Mini Van (which is in mothballs at the moment).

This year marked the British Mini Club’s 17th Annual Mini Fair, held in Bingley Hall on the Staffordshire County Showground. Bingley Hall is one of the largest indoor exhibit halls, with over 6,000 square meters of exhibition space on two levels. As I turned into the Showground I was directed straight through to the traders’ car park. A friend with a car entered in the show gave me his spare entry pass. This saved me £12 and let me enter the show before the public, which provided a wonderful opportunity to take many photos without spectators getting in the way!

Hundreds of buyers were queuing up outside in the rain, hours before opening time. At 9.30 when the doors opened, the Hall filled very quickly and the whole place was buzzing.

Trade stand numbers were down slightly from previous years. Mini jumble stores were on a par and very busy. The traders are specialist firms such as Mini Spares. Many people order items and pick up their goods at the show to save postage. Jumble stands are people who strip Minis down and sell off usable parts. This allows owners to rebuild their Minis using genuine bits, including parts that are no longer available. Any member of the public can pay for a pitch to sell the spare parts they have accumulated over the years. Like me, I suspect other NEMO members have got a few of these!

I did not purchase anything but was tempted to buy some articulated bonnet hinges that allow the bonnet to fold back over the windscreen and provide good access to the engine — something many NEMO members will appreciate. Prices ranged from £99 ($143) to £137 ($198) depending on the Mini model (Elf/Hornet, MkI/II/III or Clubman). Photos and information are available on the Minivation website, www.minivation.co.uk.

The number of cars in the hall was at least 80 but I’m not entirely sure. There were eight classes in the ‘Pride of Ownership’ displays, including Best of Show, Classic Mini (by decade), New MINI, Best Custom Mini, and the Club Stands.

My intention was to assist on the Heinz 57 Wolseley Hornet convertible stand. In 1966, Heinz Foods commissioned Crayford to convert 57 standard Wolseley Hornets to soft tops for a competition. The cars were produced in Birch Grey and Toga White with red leather trim. Special accessories included an insulated food cabinet, front and rear seatbelts, electric kettle and power outlet, tartan rug, picnic hamper, radio and a built-in Max Factor makeup tray. All the cars were registered ‘LLH 8--D’.

The Heinz 57 cars are part of the Riley Elf/Wolseley Hornet website and Facebook group which I administer. To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the competition we had four surviving cars on the stand. The Heinz 57 register lists 41 surviving cars, of which approximately half are still on the road. The cars attracted hundreds of admirers but unfortunately no new owners came forward.

Every year the British Mini Club buys a Mini to raffle off for £1 a ticket and you can buy as many tickets as you like. The car is usually immaculate. It is fully serviced with all necessary repairs, new tyres and sometimes even new wheels. A British insurance company donates £250 towards insurance, which allows the lucky winner to drive the car home. This year’s prize was a 1995 Mini Mayfair saloon worth around £6000 ($8,660) and ticket sales soared. The raffle draw takes place at 4 p.m. after the trophies have been presented. This takes some time, as 16 prizes are awarded in eight classes. I’m afraid I did not buy a ticket as I had a previous engagement and had to leave at 3.30.

The winning ticket was drawn by Mini racing legend Paddy Hopkirk. Paddy signed the sun visor, making the car even more special. The winner was a young man named Callum who purchased 10 tickets. This is his first Mini.

February 2016

NEMO Annual Meeting March 6!

Join us on Sunday, March 6th, for NEMO’s Annual Meeting and Pot Luck Luncheon. We plan the year of activities at this meeting, so be sure to attend!

Plan to arrive at 12 noon. The eating starts at 1 p.m. and the meeting follows at 2 p.m., so bring a dish for the lunch table and join in the fun. We will be holding the usual give-away freebie raffle, so if you have any Mini-related items you would like to donate, bring them along.

The Meeting and Luncheon will take place at the home of Faith Lamprey and Bruce Vild, 5 Old Nasonville Rd., Harrisville, R.I. Call (401) 766-6519 or e-mail nemo@auroratechedi.com with any questions. See the Home Page of www.nemomini.org for directions, and call Faith and Bruce if you get lost.

February 2016

Mini Misadventure
by Austin Leonard

It all started on a yucky Sunday morning. The rain had come and washed away the road salt and I was too stubborn not to drive my classic Mini (despite the pouring rain). The plan for the day was to go to church with my girlfriend and then see the new Star Wars movie. The windows started to fog up on the way to church but it wasn’t too bad.

After church it was still pouring, but we trekked on. We arrived at the movie theater and were notified the show was sold out. I should have gotten the tickets on-line — rookie mistake. Back in the car and off to another theater, hoping tickets were still available.

At this point the windows fogged so badly they were dripping with condensation. In order to continue our quest we wiped the windows with a towel every 60 seconds. The second theater had seats available for the 12:30 movie, which meant we had two hours to spare.

We made our way over to Petco to waste time and play with some adorable ferrets. This is where the real trouble began. As we drove away from Petco we noticed a very strong smell of gas. I wasn’t sure what to make of it and we had a movie to catch, so I figured I’d solve the mystery afterwards. Boy, was I wrong.

Driving up the highway on-ramp the little Mini puttered to a stop. I tried to restart the car, but it only ran for a few seconds. To make matters worse, we were sitting in the middle of a blind corner of the on-ramp. To save my girlfriend and the car, I hopped out into the pouring rain and pushed the car over to the side of the ramp.

Yup, I did actually run out of gas. The gauge is pretty accurate I just wasn’t paying enough attention and thought the tank would last me the rest of the day. I called my dad and he went out to get me a full can of gas. We waited for about 30 minutes and passed the time by playing hilarious games that you’d see on an elementary school bus.

By now we had missed our 12:30 show. Luckily the lady at the theatre was nice enough to squeeze us into a show that started in just five minutes. What perfect timing!

All in all, things may not have gone to plan, but it was a great bonding experience for my girlfriend and me. I would not have had such an oddly fun and crazy day if it weren’t for my Mini!

January 2016

[1-JanFeb_16_Lorine_Gift.jpg] Lucky Lorine wound up with the hottest item of the swap!
Photo by David Schwartz

Holiday Party a Hit!
by David Schwartz

WESTBOROUGH, Mass., Dec. 5 — The annual NEMO Holiday Party was held at The Chateau Italian Restaurant in Westborough.

Due to the closing of our previous venue, we had to find a new location for the Party. We needed a restaurant with a private function room that could accommodate at least 30 people and was convenient to a major highway. I suggested several alternatives in the Metro West area of Greater Boston, and NEMO decided on The Chateau. It turned out to be a great choice for the event.

The day of the Party was 50° and sunny. Many people took advantage of the fine weather to drive a vintage car to the Party. There were about eight classic British cars lined up in the parking lot, interspersed with a similar number of modern MINIs. Ken Lemoine arrived in a recently acquired MGB GT (you never know what kind of car will follow him home), and my wife, Betty Lehrman, drove her Mazda Miata.

Party attendance was up this year, with 35 adults but no young kids. High school student Austin Leonard was present and received a warm welcome. Alex Daly was also present, and a number of people remembered him accompanying his father to NEMO events when he was a child. There were many long-time members, some of whom were attending their first NEMO Holiday Party, plus several new members, including Bob Shaffer. Bob had just purchased a MINI and found out about NEMO through the MINI USA website. He joined the club at the Party.

Once again Lorine and Derick Karabec were the long distance travelers, driving in from New York State in their JCW MINI Countryman. They looked really sharp in their custom made, matching Mini Hawaiian shirts! Dave and Jean Icaza traveled the greatest distance in a vintage car, driving up from Connecticut in a Triumph convertible. Be sure to check the Facebook page and NEMO website for photo albums showing the guests.

The Party was held in the Chateau’s “Tuscany Room” and began with a social hour and hors d’oeuvres, followed by a buffet lunch and a very enthusiastic Yankee Swap. The Chancellor of the Exchequer (David Black) reported a dividend and the NEMO treasury treated all attendees to lunch!

There were two hot Yankee Swap gifts that changed hands so many times it was impossible to keep count. The most popular was a stained glass classic Mini hand-made by Ken Lemoine. This gift eventually went home with Lorine Karabec. Lorine was the first person to choose a gift, which by Swap rules gave her the right to be the last person to take a gift from another swapper.

Almost as popular in the Swap was a case of Samuel Smith’s Organic Chocolate Stout with a matching pint glass. Chris Izzo had possession twice, courtesy of his father Robert, and a grinning Bruce Vild held it briefly. I believe the beer ultimately went home with Charles Laughton and Bruce took home a pair of framed vintage Mini ads. [They’re hanging in my office now. —Exec. Ed.]

Dave Newman swapped a “007 Edition” Aston Martin DB5 model away from Austin Leonard. There were no greasy used car parts this year, but Barbara Newman took home a stainless steel clutch hose. A large cast model of Big Ben that was really a cocktail shaker changed hands a few times, ultimately ending up with Ken Lemoine. Of course there were many toy Minis in a variety of sizes and materials.

John Gallagher deserves recognition for being the most swapped. He kept picking good gifts from the table that were taken away in the next round. John did manage to keep a 1:18 scale Austin Mini Cooper.

Special thanks go to Thom Pickett for the use of his heavy-duty pocketknife to cut through a lot of packing tape.

It was great to visit with so many NEMO members, new and old. A parking lot full of vintage cars in December was an added bonus. There was a fun selection of Yankee Swap gifts and everyone had a good time.

January 2016

NEMO Annual Meeting Mar. 6!

Join us on Sunday, March 6th, for NEMO’s Annual Meeting and Pot Luck Luncheon. We plan the year of activities at this meeting, so be sure to attend!

Plan to arrive at 12 noon. The eating starts at 1 p.m. and the meeting follows at 2 p.m., so bring a dish for the lunch table and join in the fun. We will be holding the usual give-away freebie raffle, so if you have any Mini-related items you would like to donate, bring them along.

The Meeting and Luncheon will take place at the home of Faith Lamprey and Bruce Vild, 5 Old Nasonville Rd., Harrisville, R.I. Call (401) 766-6519 or e-mail nemo@auroratechedi.com with any questions.

January 2016

Event Reviews Wanted
by David Schwartz

In 2015 we printed a large number of calendar listings for multi-marque car shows, cruise nights and some British car shows not typically attended by NEMO members. It would be great to provide feedback or full reviews of these events. If you don’t want to write an entire article, just send me a note (dschwartz1957@gmail.com) describing the show and whether you recommend including it in the 2016 event calendar.

November 2015

[1-Dec_15_Clubman_Night.jpg] The new MINI Clubman. No test drives yet, though...
Photo by Dave & Barbara Newman

2016 Clubman Showcase Night
by Dave Newman

ROCKLAND, Mass., Nov. 10 — South Shore MINI put on a great event to introduce the new 2016 MINI Cooper Clubman S. They provided free specialty beer, appetizers and brick oven pizza made by a caterer in the parking lot. Our 1960 Mini 850 was on display in the showroom and looked great under the lights. A 1970s-era Mini Cooper S provided by a Cape Cod rental company was also in the showroom.

The star of the night, of course, was the fully optioned 2016 MINI Clubman. A MINI-USA employee has been driving the pre-sales car to dealerships around to country to show customers the new design.

This version of the beloved Clubman still features barn doors at the back. It is longer and wider than the original and offers four regular doors, instead of two doors plus the right side half-door of the previous model. The engine is either the BMW-designed three-cylinder turbo or the two-liter four-cylinder turbo, the latter featured on the S version. The body structure is tighter and the NVH (noise, vibration and harshness) factor is also improved. The interior is quite upper class with much richer materials and finish, though it still says “MINI.”

As with all newer MINI models, the window switches are on the doors and the speedometer is in front of the steering wheel next to the tachometer. The 6-speed manual transmission is still available and there is a new, silky smooth 8-speed automatic that is the choice for city dwellers. As with the previous Clubman, there is a hidden trunk under the load floor, but this one is big enough to store an optional donut spare. All new Clubman models will feature run-flat tires.

While the new Clubman has lost that “cute” look of the previous model, it is still a good-looking car. It is both faster and much more comfortable than the previous version and will be a great long-distance cruiser. Barbara rode in it and said it was very smooth riding and sporty. I will post an update as soon as I can get one for a test drive.

November 2015

[2-Dec_15_Rally_Start.jpg] The P-town rally starts at South Shore MINI.
Photo by Dave Newman


Rockland to P-town Rally
by Dave Newman

The Sunday after its Clubman Showcase Night, South Shore MINI sponsored the MINIs of Boston Facebook Group’s rally to Provincetown. Forty-one cars participated, including our 1960 Morris 850 and newer British Open 1275 Mini. Cars arrived at the dealership about 7:30 a.m. and participants were treated to a special event T-shirt featuring the MINI Bulldog. There was a free catered breakfast followed by a raffle for three great prizes.

In addition to Barbara and me, NEMO members Bruce Vild and Faith Lamprey attended, as did potential members Joyce and Arthur. After the raffle the cars lined up and started the rally. Our two classics went south as far as Kingston, but Bruce, Faith and the others motored all the way to P-town, where they were on their own for the rest of the day. It was a very nice event and we have to thank South Shore MINI for providing the goodies and refreshments.

November 2015

[3-Dec_15_Delahaye.jpg] Seen and admired at Extinct Car Day was a 1948 Delahaye.
Photo by David Schwartz

Extinct Cars Have Their Day
by David Schwartz

BROOKLINE, Mass., Oct. 24 — This year I registered my ’68 Morris Mini Traveller for Extinct Car Day at the Larz Anderson Auto Museum. After my experience last year when the car was surrounded by a crowd in the Museum parking lot it made more sense just to park on the lawn. Although the MINI is a current production model, Morris as a brand has long been extinct and that is close enough.

After a summer of attending lawn events with temperatures in the 90s and high humidity, it was a pleasure to participate in an event on a crisp fall day. The maple trees by the old schoolhouse across from the museum entrance were at their peak fall colors.

British cars had a good showing. In addition to my Mini, there was an Austin-Healey Sprite, a TVR Vixen 2500, a Jensen Interceptor and a Jaguar XJS (stretching the rules with an extinct model of a non-extinct marque). Despite the cool weather, the owners of the Sprite arrived with the top down.

As usual, American extinct cars, such as Hudsons, were out in force. My personal favorite was a 1951 model decorated to look like Doc Hudson, the car voiced by Paul Newman in the Pixar movie Cars. The most numerous single model at the show was the American Motors AMX. There were a number of Pontiacs on the field, including two very nicely kept Fieros.

Mark Nelson arrived in his tiny red Goggomobil Coupe, a German microcar with a 298cc rear mounted two-cycle engine. The Goggo was not roadworthy for the Microcar Classic in July, but Mark fixed it just in time to finish out the lawn event season.

My favorite car at the event was a 1948 Delahaye 135M owned by Bruce Male. This car had been featured in a Larz Anderson Auto Museum exhibit and it was a thrill to get close to it on the lawn.

The show ended at 2 p.m. with the awards ceremony. The Delahaye received the People’s Choice award, and a 1922 Stanley Steamer belonging to David Nergaard, who was there in period costume, received the Museum Choice award.

October 2015

[1-Nov_15_Derick_Lorine.jpg] One of the class winners at Stowe drawn from NEMO’s ranks was Derick and Lorine Karabec’s ex-Hrach Mini Moke.
Photo by Bruce Vild

NEMO at British Invasion 2015
by Lorine Karabec

STOWE, Vt., Sept. 18-20 — This year marked the 25th running of the British Invasion in Stowe, Vermont. Derick and I made our way to Stowe on a sunny Friday morning with our 1966 Austin Moke in tow. It was the first time we didn’t drive a vintage car to Stowe. I don’t feel the Moke is all sorted out and was not comfortable driving it so far. It has left us stranded twice.

We arrived with plenty of time to check in at the registration table and scope out some of the vendors before attending the afternoon welcome reception. This year’s reception was well organized. There were plenty of tables and chairs and the beverage line was not a mile long. It was nice to see everyone at the party and spend some time catching up.

Friday night we headed to the annual NEMO dinner at Gracie’s. Fourteen members gathered to indulge in good food, good company and good times! Conveniently, many NEMO members stay at the Arbor Inn, which is right next door to Gracie’s.

Saturday was another dry and sunny day. After breakfast at the Arbor Inn, the NEMO crew motored their way down to the show field. We proceeded to the back corner of the field where the Minis were tucked in.

NEMO had a great turnout with approximately 20 members in attendance, with and without vintage cars. NEMO ruled the four classic Mini classes.

As the morning passed the show field filled up with an enormous number of cars. This year there were over 670 registered vehicles. The vendors were plentiful and were set up in the “big top” tents and around the perimeter of the field along with the food sellers.

Around 3 p.m. trophies were awarded. The following awards were presented to NEMO members:

Class 55 — 1st, Dave and Jean Icaza, ’69 Austin Mini Countryman.

Class 56 — 1st, Barbara and Dave Newman, ’76 Austin Mini 1275, 3rd, Chris Cole and Gail Gray, ’99 Rover Mini Cooper.

Class 57 — 1st, Derick and Lorine Karabec, ’66 Austin Mini Moke (a/k/a the Hrach Moke).

Class 58 — 1st, Ronald Blanchette, ’99 Rover Mini Cooper.

Class 60 — 1st, John Gallagher, ’07 (or is that 007?) Aston Martin Vantage V8.

Saturday night we went back to Gracie’s for a repeat of Friday night. Sunday morning we awoke to clouds and light rain. The Arbor Inn crew headed down to the show field for the “Competition of Colors” and “Back Seat Driver’s Contest” (which didn’t happen). It was cold and damp and most of us left the show by noon to make our way home.

If you haven’t been to the British Invasion, try to attend in 2016. It is the largest British motorcar show in the United States, typically attracting over 600 cars.

October 2015

[3-Nov_15_Clowning_Around.jpg] Clowning around in David's Morris Mini Traveller.
Photo by David Schwartz

BAMG’s Faneuil Hall Show
by David Schwartz

BOSTON, Mass., Sept. 12 — This summer the Boston Area MG Club (BAMGC) held their 8th annual Faneuil Hall car show series. The third and final show was the ever-popular People’s Choice Awards, where the public votes for their favorite car. Owners are encouraged to interact with the spectators and really “sell” their car.

It was a perfect late summer day for a car show. Betty and I drove my 1968 Mini Traveller to Boston on state highways and side roads. We arrived at the staging area on Merchants Row at 8:30 a.m. and parked in a line with half of the eleven registered cars. New NEMO member Austin Leonard was already there with his recently acquired 1975 Innocenti Mini 1300 (see related article, next page). By 9 a.m. all the other cars arrived and we were guided through a side entrance to line up on the cobblestones between Faneuil Hall and Quincy Market. BAMGC members have the parking routine down to a science and the cars were quickly lined up as a small number of amused tourists looked on.

A Morgan Plus 4, Triumph TR3A, Triumph TR4A, MGA, MG Midget, MGB GT and three MGBs joined the two Minis. Linda Steele staffed the BAMGC information tent and handed out ticket books to each car owner. The public voted for their favorite car by returning tickets to Linda.

Some owners went all out to attract votes. Gary and Meryl Hampton decorated their TR3A with teddy bears in the seats, a scale model of their car also with teddy bears in the seats, and small statues of the Queen and her Corgi waving from the boot lid. Many owners invited people to sit in their cars. John MacDonald allowed people to sit in his 1959 MGA roadster if they could figure out how to open the door (there were no handles). My Mini Traveller wore googly eyes on the windshield and a large red ball on the grille, and I offered red foam clown noses to everyone who sat in it.

The crowds were appreciative of all the cars, and included people from Canada, Europe, South America and South Africa, all of whom had stories to share about their own Mini or other British car experience.

When the votes were tallied, BAMG President Kurt Steele awarded 1st prize to Tom Austin’s 1962 Morgan Plus 4 Roadster and 2nd prize to Austin Leonard’s 1975 Innocenti Mini 1300. Third prize was a tie between Gary Hampton’s 1960 Triumph TR3A and Michael McWhorter’s 1971 MGB. Despite handing out dozens of clown noses my Mini Traveller didn’t place this time around. Austin was among the first to hand out all his tickets and I never did learn his secret.

This is one of the most enjoyable car shows I have ever attended. As Austin said, “It was an absolute blast! How many people get to say they parked an Innocenti on the cobblestones at Faneuil Hall?”

Many thanks to BAMGC for putting on such a well-run event and inviting other British car clubs to participate. In lieu of a registration fee BAMG accepted donations for Autism Speaks, an autism research and advocacy organization. They raised $300 from car owners and the general public.

October 2015

[4-Nov_15_Austin_And_Innocenti.jpg] Austin and the Innocenti — with 2nd place award — at Faneuil Hall.
Photo by David Schwartz

My Classic Innocenti Mini
by Austin Leonard

After realizing that my vintage BMW 2002 needed more bodywork than my wallet or free time could handle, I started the search for another car of my dreams - a classic Mini. I didn’t have a preference as to which side of the car the steering wheel was on or the color. I just wanted a car that had a solid body with decent paint. I was leaning toward the peppier 1275 engine. I scoured craigslist for a couple of months trying to find the perfect car. Eventually I clicked my way over to the Ohio craigslist and found a 1975 Innocenti Mini Cooper 1300. The car was semi-restored, had a 1300cc engine and was blue (my favorite color).

I have an uncle in upstate New York who owns a truck and trailer. After some complicated planning my dad and I drove from Massachusetts to my uncle’s house. We went to bed early and woke up at 4 a.m. for the 17-hour round trip drive to Ohio. Many rest stops later we finally made it to Columbus where the car was located. We quickly loaded up the Mini and headed back to my uncle’s house. The previous owner was nice enough to loan me his license plate, so I drove the Innocenti around upstate New York for a day. Then we loaded it on a U-Haul trailer for the drive home to Massachusetts. The Mini traveled most of the way on the trailer, but I drove it when we got closer to home.

So far the only mechanical problem was a severe oil leak. I spent weeks trying to find the source and eventually tracked it down. I suspected the dipstick and wrapped it with a piece of cloth. Lo and behold, the cloth was covered in oil - but nothing else was. The dipstick was really worn and loose. Before ordering a new one I checked the parts box that came with the car. The previous owner already had a new dipstick. I plopped it in - nice and snug with no more problems.

At one point I thought the clutch was shaking, but it only happened twice and I haven’t had any problems since. My next project is to upgrade from points and a condenser to an electronic ignition. I also plan to install a headlight upgrade kit because when I drive at night I just can’t see!

Using a classic Mini as a daily driver is one of the most enjoyable things on the planet. The number of waves and thumbs up you get is insane and I love putting a smile on people’s faces. Many of the students and faculty at school ask about my car, and love to listen to my stories about it. It’s truly a blast for everyone. I wouldn’t call the Mini a “chick magnet” but it definitely attracts a lot of attention.

[Contrib. Ed. note: Austin is a 17-year-old high school senior. He is 6’4” tall and his family is amazed he fits in a classic Mini. We love seeing new, young people interested in old cars! —DS]

October 2015

NEMO Holiday Party Dec. 5!

The NEMO Holiday Party will be held at The Chateau Italian Family Restaurant in Westborough, Mass., on Saturday, December 5th, at 12 noon. The address is 95 Turnpike Rd. (Route 9), Westborough, and the phone number is (508) 366-5959.

Take I-495 to Exit 23B and merge onto Route 9 West toward Worcester. Follow Route 9 West for about 2 miles. The Chateau is on the right and the parking lot entrance is immediately after the intersection of Route 9 and Route 30. The on ramp from Route 30 crosses the parking lot entrance!

We need a head count so RSVP by e-mailing David Schwartz at dschwartz1957@gmail.com or calling him at (508) 561-3462. Let him know how many people are attending and the ages of any children, and if you have any food allergies or dietary restrictions. The club will subsidize the cost of the buffet for members, so the member cost is only $12. Children under 10 are $6 and under 3 are free.

We will be holding a Yankee Swap so plan to bring a wrapped gift (try to keep the cost at or below $25).

Our Holiday Party is one of our more popular events every year. Hope to see you there!

October 2015

[2-Nov_15_Newmans.jpg] Barbara and Dave Newman’s ‘British Open’ special edition was another class winner at Stowe.
Photo by Bruce Vild

A Guide to the Yankee Swap
by Dave Newman

As most NEMO members know by now, the famous Holiday Party (see above) only happens once each year. As such, we need to make it a big one! And for anyone who has been there in the past, the high point is always the Yankee Swap. Our usual rules, not adjusted for inflation, recession, depreciation or global warming, ask that gifts subjected to the swap not exceed a value of “about” $25. And for those attending from Canada, that means US dollars, not those depreciated ones with the Queen on them.

Anyway, getting back to the Yankee Swap — I encourage members attending to really put some effort, as usual, into selecting a gift that will be wanted by all others. You know the one, the one that everyone wants and it makes the rounds and passes from hand to hand, until the lucky person who picked first has the last choice of taking the popular gift away from the poor sod who was holding it, or feeling sorry and just taking the last surprise off of the table. Usually that’s something like a used horse blanket or such.

My daughter Christa used to try various things to hide “The Gift” if she ever got her hands on it: hiding it under the table and looking out the window, walking off to the ladies room with it until the Swap was over, or, when she was really young, looking like a little kid who would be horrified if you took away the gift. All worked well for a while. But she found out fast that the “poor little kid” thing didn’t work with any member who lives within 1,000 miles of the venue. After that she adopted “other methods.”

So put some great effort into picking this “Gift” and let’s get some enjoyment out of the NEMO Holiday Party on December 5th. In other words, no picking up a gift at Walgreen’s or the gas station on the way there because you forgot.

[Contrib. Ed. note: Last year Dave Newman took home “The Gift,” a 2’x3’ framed print of an A Series engine. —DS]

September 2015

[1-Oct_15_Minis_At_Larz.jpg] The Mini line at a dry, sunny British Car Day.
Photo by David Schwartz

British Car Day at LAAM – Take 2
by David Schwartz

BROOKLINE, Mass. — British Car Day at the Larz Anderson Auto Museum was originally scheduled for Sunday, June 28th, but was cancelled at 11 a.m. the day of the event due to monsoon rains. The Bay State MGA Club was nice enough to accommodate the British car community and allowed the Museum to hold a combined MG Day-British Car Day on Saturday, August 15th. As was their right, MGs received preferred parking in the shady area around the perimeter of the upper lawn. They were fortunate since it was a bright, sunny day with temperatures in the mid-90s.

The Museum staff did a good job this year grouping similar makes and models together. Minis and MINIs were parked next to each other on the slope close to the Carriage House. The upper lawn was quite crowded and overflow cars were directed to the lower lawn. The total number of cars was down from last year and there were only two short rows on the lower lawn.

There was a good turnout of NEMO members though many were driving their “other” British car. Ken Lemoine brought a pristine 2000 Aston Martin DB7, Charles and Nancy Gould stopped by with their Triumph TR3, Faith Lamprey and Bruce Vild attended with their original- owner 1980 MGB, John and Laurie Gallagher drove down from New Hampshire in their 1964 Winchester MkII Taxi, Bill Fralick had a nicely restored 1967 Lotus Elan S3 FHC, and Dana and Marlene Freeman displayed their 1966 Sunbeam Tiger.

There were four classic Minis and two modern MINIs: Alex Daly’s 1962 Mini Cooper, Wendy Birchmire’s 1972 Leyland Mini Cooper, Joe Darisse’s 1977 Mini 1000 and my 1968 Mini Traveller woody wagon. The modern MINIs stayed for less than an hour and I did not have a chance to meet their owners.

The show was people’s choice and several NEMO members took home prizes. John Gallagher’s extremely rare Winchester Taxi won in the Special Interest class (see related article). My Mini Traveller sported a Tardis theme (small blue box, bigger on the inside) and won in the Mini class. Clearly there were a lot of Doctor Who fans at the show.

Dana and Marlene Freeman received the British Marque Favourite award, presented by Bruce and Faith. The Freemans have owned their Sunbeam Tiger for 48 years and drive it regularly. The award recognizes owners who exemplify the spirit of the British car hobby.

September 2015

[2-Oct_15_Taxi.jpg] John Gallagher’s Winchester taxi.
Photo by David Schwartz

Rare Winchester London Taxi
by John Gallagher

My London taxi is a 1964 Winchester MkII built by the Wincanton Taxi Mfg. Co., Surrey, UK. The body is all fiberglass construction and this is the first four-door taxi with a full six passenger carrying capability.

There were only about 200 MkI, MkII and MkIII units built, and these three models shared the same body. The MkI had a three-cylinder diesel engine that was so weak the orders dried up after only 50 units. The MkII was launched with the Ford four-cylinder pre-crossflow gasoline engine used in the Cortina. These were fitted with Ford Transit van transmissions. The MkIV had a new frame and body with a strong V4 Ford engine. However, the Winchester was still a coach-built car with crude door latches, and improvements came too late in the face of new European vehicle safety standards for the Winchester to survive.

There are only three Winchesters known to be registered in all of North America, including one in Hawaii. It’s estimated that only six to 12 are left in the world. Production numbers were low because Winchester only built one taxi per week, and cab companies quickly abandoned Winchesters for more traditional brands like Austin, Morris and Beardmore, which had better parts commonality and availability.

Winchesters are so rare that a gentleman identifying himself as President of the North American London Taxi Owners Club told me that in his 15 years as an enthusiast and 13 years of attending the world’s largest London taxi meet in the UK, my car is the first Winchester he has seen in person.

[Note: John’s taxi has won eight awards, including Favorite in Show at the British Invasion, the roaming Concours Judges’ pick, awarded once every three years. —DS]

September 2015

[4-Oct_15_Caddy_Bar.jpg] 1958 Cadillac in the Concours came with a glove box bar!
Photo by David Schwartz

Sunday in the Park at Lime Rock
by David Schwartz

LAKEVILLE, Conn., Sept. 6 — The five-day Lime Rock Park Historic Festival takes a break from vintage racing to hold the “Sunday in the Park” Concours d’Elegance and Gathering of the Marques along the entire 1.5-mile track. This year, close to 300 vehicles were displayed in the Concours. The Gathering of the Marques featured another 800 or so cars around the rest of the track. The price of admission allows you to enter a car in the Gathering of the Marques.

That Sunday was bright and sunny and temperatures climbed to the low 90s by early afternoon. I arrived at 9:15 a.m. and quickly ran into NEMO members Mark Fodor, Chantal Brefort and Tom Judson. I made a brief stop at the B Paddock swap meet to say hello to John Gallagher and Ken Lemoine, who camped out for the entire five-day event in John’s RV.

Officials announced the opening of the show and I headed for the track. My strategy was to view the Concours first, then walk as much of the track as possible before the Gathering wound down at 3 p.m. or owners melted in the heat and left early. It is hard to do justice to the quality and variety of cars entered in the Concours, so I will concentrate on some interesting attributes of my favorites.

I have a soft spot for American cars from the ’50s with extra chrome and large tailfins. There was a 1959 Dodge Custom Royal Lancer Convertible with an unusual feature. The front seats each swiveled toward its respective door to make entry and exit easier. A 1958 Cadillac Eldorado Brougham sported a glove compartment that opened to reveal a chrome bar with six shot glasses, a pack of period- correct Camel cigarettes and cosmetics.

A gorgeous bright red 1955 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz convertible owned by Frank Nicodemus had an RCA Victor 45rpm record player mounted under the dash. A big part of the fun was chatting with car owners, and Frank had a great story to tell. In August 1997 the Rolling Stones arranged to drive Frank’s Cadillac to promote their “Bridges to Babylon” tour and album. Mick Jagger was at the wheel with Keith Richards riding shotgun as they drove over the Brooklyn Bridge. Frank would not allow them to smoke in the car even with the top down, so the band had their arms out the windows, holding lit cigarettes. Mick was so taken with the Cadillac that he tried to buy it and bring it to England. See Frank’s website for photos of the Stones (www.franknicodemus.org).

The most unusual American car at the show was a 1937 Chrysler Imperial C-15 LeBaron Town Car. This is a four-door stretch limo with a convertible top over the driver, and a passenger compartment and trunk that could be a stand-alone coupe. This coach-built car is almost 20 feet long, seats seven passengers and has a luxurious Art Deco interior.

There were numerous highlights among the European cars. Ralph Lauren’s 1930 Mercedes-Benz SSK “Count Trossi” is a work of art and won Best of Show. The car has been featured in several art museums, including the 2005 exhibit, “Speed, Style & Beauty,” at the Boston Museum of Fine Art. Surprisingly, the Count Trossi was not roped off and there was no visible security.

There was a 1941 Tatra T87 Diplomat, which looks like something between a Tucker, a Citroën DS and a shark. The Tatra was built in Czechoslovakia and has an air-cooled V8 engine in the back. The car has an aerodynamic shape with a large shark fin mounted over the engine and a third headlight in the center of the front grille.

Also at the top of my list was a group of six Mercedes-Benz 300 SLs, three of which were gullwings. Mercedes-Benz was a featured marque this weekend and this was a thrilling group of cars.

September 2015

[3-Oct_15_Tatra_Mayflower.jpg] Tatra (left) and Triumph Mayflower.
Photo by David Schwartz

British cars were well represented in the Concours, including multiple models from Bentley, Rolls-Royce, Aston Martin, MG, Lotus, Austin-Healey, Jaguar, Triumph, Land Rover, TVR and Allard. There was a 1953 Triumph Mayflower, which looked like a cross between a London Taxi and a Rolls-Royce. Among my favorites were a 1957 MG ZB Magnette and a 1952 MG TD, complete with a vintage tool roll, tire pump, jack, torch and aviator hat with goggles.

The Gathering of the Marques was a mix of vintage cars, current production cars and a lot of the same model spanning several years or decades (for example, Ford Mustangs from 1965 through current production). Most vehicles were grouped by manufacturer or model, though several clubs were present, including Caffeine & Carburetors from Connecticut. As I reached the start of the Gathering section I ran into NEMO members Skip and Barb Tannen. I needed a break from the sun and heat and headed for the food and beverage tent, but they soldiered on.

By 2 p.m. cars started leaving the Gathering. I walked clockwise around the track, so Minis and British cars were near the end. Mark Fodor told me he brought his white Mini, but by the time I made it all the way around the track there were only a few modern MINIs left. Surprisingly there were very few MGBs, though there were lots of MGAs, especially in the pit area. An enthusiastic Lotus Europa owner gave me a tour under the boot and bonnet. The rear-engine Europa has a very small radiator mounted sideways near the right front wheel well.

As the gathering wound down and cars departed, I skipped the Porsche section and headed to B Paddock to see if Ken Lemoine had returned to John Gallagher’s RV. Ken immediately handed me an ice cold beer, and it was hard to decide whether to drink it or hold the bottle to my forehead.

If you ever attend Sunday in the Park, remember to spend time chatting with owners even if you don’t get to see everything. The Concours and race results have been posted on the Lime Rock website, http://limerockhistorics.com/spectators.

September 2015

Another Fall Coming Attraction!

Bean Pot Region AACA Little Red School House Meet, October 17th, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., 64 Main St., Dunstable, Mass. (on Route 113, 1 mile from Route 3).

The Bean Pot Region of the Antique Auto Club of America is holding their third annual end-of-season Meet at the Little Red School House in Dunstable. This is an original, authentically-restored 1798 one-room schoolhouse complete with bench chairs and wood stove. It is situated in a large beautiful location amid farms and countryside.

The Meet is free for members and non-members. There will be an optional foliage tour of about 15 miles through scenic back roads of Dunstable, Tyngsboro and Westford. The rain date is Sunday, October 18th.

Visit the club’s website, www.BeanPotAACA.com, for further information. For questions, e-mail info@BeanPotAACA.com or call (978) 692-9440.

September 2015

‘Hrach Fund’ Established

In memory of our departed friend Hrach Chekijian, members of NEMO have established the Hrach Fund. The Fund will be used to support children’s activities at Mini and British car meets and shows. Please show your support by sending a check made out to “The Hrach Fund” to the attention of Dave Black, 115 W. Quasset Rd., Woodstock, CT 06281.

August 2015

[1-Sept_15_Minis_on_Mack_Parade.jpg] Lots of MINIs — all years, all models!
Photo by Lorine Karabec

MINIs on the Mack!
by Lorine Karabec

ST. IGNACE, Mich., Aug. 1 — Derick and I decided to try something new this year, bringing a modern MINI rather than a classic to an event. We have never participated in a corporate-sponsored event and gave “MINIs on the Mack” a try.

The goal of the event was to break the Guinness Book of World Records record for the largest parade of Minis. The current record is held by a group in Surrey, England, with 1,450 Minis. Given our passion for Minis, we wanted to show support for our favorite little car! The attempt to break the record was scheduled for Saturday, August 1st on the Mackinac Bridge in Michigan.

Thursday after work we started our road trip to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. We made good time and stopped for the night in Batavia, N.Y. We made an early start Friday morning and continued our journey through Niagara Falls and across Ontario, Canada, into Michigan.

We didn’t see many MINIs on the road until we reached the border re-entering the United States. While in line to go through customs, we met up with six MINIs from London, Ont. We waved and they asked if we were going to the Mack. They told us to stop at the first rest area for a rendezvous with more MINIs. We joined up at the rest stop, and 15 miles down the road they were meeting yet another group for lunch. We decided to pass on lunch as we had a prior commitment to meet friends at the registration site. About an hour from our destination we encountered other MINIs and formed our own little caravan. It started with three Countrymen, two of which were JCWs. As we continued, the caravan expanded with a coupe, a convertible and several hardtops. We arrived at the registration tent and unexpectedly ran into friends from Ohio.

Saturday morning we left the hotel around 7 a.m. for the staging area. We drove across the Mackinaw Bridge for the MINI lineup in Mackinaw City. The turnout was incredible. It was fun to see all the MINIs with their different personalities.

There were seven classic Minis in an enormous field of modern MINIs. They were placed at the front of the field to lead the parade. The classics included two pickups, four saloons and one Clubman saloon.

As for the MINIs, there was a Countryman decked out in a Star Wars theme with a stuffed Chewy on the hood and some of the cantina scene creatures perched inside. There was a hardtop decked out in a Minions theme. It was neat to look out our sunroof and see all the different roof decorations. One of my favorites was a Union Jack flag that looked like a kid drew it with a crayon. A favorite car wrap was a Pepper White hardtop with a representation of the Union Jack flag splashed across the bonnet and fenders. The creativity and imagination was unbelievable.

Kick-off was 10 a.m. sharp. Everyone drove out of the parking lot waving and honking their horns. The energy level was high with the hope of breaking the world record. We proceeded to the highway and drove across the Mackinaw Bridge with great anticipation. People lined the streets of St. Ignace as we arrived, greeting the MINIs with smiles and waves. The parade ended at the registration site in St. Ignace, where lunch was served. The organization of lunch was incredible. The food was good, there were approximately 3,000 people, and there was no line for lunch — amazing! After lunch there was a raffle and live auction to raise money for a designated charity. Raffle prizes included a go-pro camera and the auction contained memorabilia that was only issued to MINI USA dealers.

There were 1,319 MINIs, so we missed breaking the record by 132 cars. We were disappointed but had good time trying, and it felt like the record was broken for enthusiasm. While this was not as much fun as a Mini Meet, it was exciting to see so many MINIs in one place.

There will be an opportunity to try again in 2017. This gives NEMO members plenty of time to plan. Come join us and let’s show England what North American MINI owners are capable of!

August 2015

[2-Sept_15_Misselwood.jpg] Barbara wipes off the raindrops.
Photo by Dave Newman

Of Misselwood...
by Dave Newman

The last Sunday in July found Barbara and me showing our 1976 Mini 1275 at the Misselwood Concours, held at the lovely Endicott College, right on the Atlantic Ocean, in Beverly, Mass. This was our second year. Last year we showed our 1960 Morris Mini 850.

The weather was excellent. After parking between two immaculate Jaguar XKEs we proceeded to wipe the dust off our car. Then it rained for a few minutes. So we started again and wiped off all the rain! After that we walked the show grounds and saw great cars from 1910 all the way to 1976, as well as some motorcycles. A highlight for me was seeing two excellent-condition, 1968-era Honda Mini Trail bikes, like those I rode as a child. Growing up in Lynn I had two friends who owned those bikes. We rode them and some Rupp mini-bikes all over the Lynn Woods Reservation dirt roads. Even as an adult I still fit on those bikes. The feel of the seat and controls brought back great memories so I asked the dealer the price. One was available for “only” $3,000. Whew! A bit rich for me to relive my childhood!

This show requires applicants to send in pictures and the history of their motorcar. Cars must be selected to display so the quality of cars is top notch. Since Lyon-Waugh (owner of MINI of Peabody) is a major sponsor, you also get to see the latest MINI Cooper JCW, Jaguar (“It’s Good to Be Bad”), Range Rovers and BMWs on display along with 100 or so classics from all over the world.

As participants we received VIP passes to the big food tent, where we had a continental breakfast and later a very nice luncheon buffet. A Ladies Hat Contest and Fashion Show was also held in the tent. Toward the middle of the afternoon the judges finished and the awards given out in each class. We were fortunate to receive 2nd place in the 1970 to 1976 class out of quite a few cars.

We recommend the show next year, even if you do not wish to display a car. Just being a spectator and seeing the cars in such a lovely location is worth the price of admission. Hope to see you there!

August 2015

[3-Sept_15_Monadnock.jpg] MINIs, berries and Mt. Monadnock.
Photo courtesy NEMO

...and Monadnock Berries
by Dave Newman

The first Saturday in August was the date for the annual MINI Cooper Barbeque at Monadnock Berries, located among the rolling hills in the shadow of Mt. Monadnock. The weather was sunny and not overly warm. There was hardly any room left when we pulled our MINI Club Van onto the grassy field. There were over 50 MINIs plus John Gallagher’s classic Mini in attendance. According to one of the organizers, the response this year was much larger than last year.

We saw NEMO members Skip and Barbara Tannen, John Gallagher and his wife Laurie, and future NEMO members Joyce Newman (no relation) and Arthur White. A live band played from the barn deck, a reasonably-priced barbeque lunch was served up, and there was blueberry picking priced by the pound.

Everyone we spoke with was enthusiastic about their MINI and the event. Some who attended last year said the size was about double this year. Add this event to your calendar for next year. Hopefully they will open up another field to accommodate all the cars! Our hats are off to Monadnock Berries for hosting a great event.

[Contrib. Ed. note: Monadnock Berries is located at 545 W. Hill Rd., Troy, N.H. This is off a side street not far from the town green. My family has been picking blueberries there for many years. —DS]

August 2015

Early Fall Coming Attractions
by David Schwartz

September 13 — Harvard Lions Classic Car Show, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunnywood Acres (The Hazel Farm), 150 Ayer Road, Harvard, MA (near the intersection of Route 110 and Route 2). The Classic Car Show is part of the annual Harvard Lion’s Club Fall Festival. Set on the grounds of a small town New England farm, the cars span domestic muscle, foreign, antique and race. This is a casual people’s choice event. The entire Festival attracts in excess of 6,000 people over 3 days, and features barbeque, music, a juried craft fair, medieval games and product vendors. The car show offers participation as an exhibitor, vendor or sponsor. Corporate sponsors include Herb Chambers, Hagerty Insurance and several product vendors. Vehicle registration is free, though a $5 charge applies for entry into the full festival. Additional information and the registration form can be found on the festival website, www.harvardfallfestival.com/CarShow.htm.

September 26 — 21st Annual Weston Rotary Antique and Classic Car Show, 8 a.m.-3 p.m., Weston Center, Town Hall Rd., Weston, MA. Contact: Richard De Vito, (781) 893-4949 x142 or x107. Early registration $20, day of show $25. This is a fun multi-marque show with a bit of everything. Ken Lemoine and I have participated in previous years. Cars are angle-parked in the shade around the Weston Town Green or next to the Town Hall. I recommend arriving early since spaces do fill up. Food is available and the show attracts a good crowd.

July 2015

[1-Aug_15_Funkhana.jpg] Funkhana time! Dan Viola, in driver’s seat, and his many assistants.
Photo by Barbara Newman

Mini Meet East — 2015
by Dave Newman

ST. MICHAELS, Md. — This year Mini Meet East was organized by the Capital Mini Register Club, and it ran from June 29th to July 2nd. Estimated attendance was 140 with 75 cars. Not the large Mini Meets of years past, but about average for the past few years.

The mix of Mini to MINI was about 2 to 1. With the modern MINI available in the USA since 2002, the oldest examples are 13 years old. It was interesting to hear owners of the first models of the MINI debating if the latest edition is a “true MINI” or not. Thirteen years ago classic Mini owners had the same debate. That debate appears to be over, with wide acceptance of the new MINI models at shows and meets. The enthusiastic owners of MINI models are just as passionate about their cars and the hobby as Mini owners and many own both “new” and “classic.” Many of the MINI owners we spoke to are looking to buy a classic, so the hobby is strong and good examples of Minis and especially Mokes, Vans, Wagons and Pickups are getting rarer and harder to find.

We arrived late Sunday and the activities were already underway, with some participating in the Autocross or a drive to Ocean City, Md. On Monday there was an excellent parking lot swap and sale meet at the hotel. There were many vendors of parts, swag and lots and lots of Mini T-shirts. We found the T-shirt vendors irresistible and purchased many shirts at good prices that you just can’t find unless you are at a Mini Meet.

Kids and adults who think like kids had fun playing with radio controlled cars, and then it was time for the Funkhana. This slow-speed event involved loading up your car with beach toys, running the course, crossing a toll bridge, and unloading at the end. The best time without errors won in class. Some NEMO members took home awards. In the MINI category, Paul and Judy Nevin were in 2nd place, with Gary Schaffer and Derick Karabec in 1st. In the Mini Open category (mostly Mokes), 2nd place and 1st place went to Dan Viola and kids. And we mean a gaggle of kids, five, six or seven depending where you stood to watch.

After dinner at a fine seafood place there was an Ice Cream Drive to Bridgeville, Del., a route of 30 miles each way on glass-smooth roads. The Delmarva Peninsula is one of the best places to live in the USA. Outside of the cities the population is spread out and there is mostly farmland. Other than the distraction of a crop sprayer that flew overhead, the drive was smooth and fast and the ice cream the same. Even the cows at the dairy farm came over to look at the cars when we arrived. A truly excellent drive and night.

Tuesday started early, as this was the big day of the car show. In the best British tradition, rain graced the middle of the show for 15 minutes, making the hot weather now hot and sticky. However, the show was excellent and featured all sorts of cars, from 1959 models up to 2015 models. After the show we all drove to the picnic lunch, which was held at the Lowes Wharf Marina Inn, right on the bay with great barbeque food and nice drinks and atmosphere. It was truly top-notch. After lunch was a run to the Easton, Md., airport for the panoramic picture.

When we arrived at the airport it was raining. This was a problem for Moke owners with no tops, though not for the cars with windows that close. After the rain, a Maryland State Police chopper started up in front of their hangar where we were to stage the cars. Then it rained again and the chopper pulled back into the hangar. Finally we were lined up for the photo, and the surprise was nice guy and billionaire Tom Blair’s two World War II British Spitfire aircraft, which were used as props on each end of the photo — thus adding five million dollars worth of value to 55 Minis in the photo! Those planes were nice.

July 2015

[5-Aug_15_Karabec_Moke.jpg] Lorine and Derick Karabec arrive in the ex-Hrach Moke.
Photo by Barbara Newman

After the photo it was off to dinner on your own. Barbara and I joined Bert and Natalie for a nice smashing and eating of clams, which are the specialty of Maryland and the Chesapeake Bay area. That is a story best told in person. Ask us someday.

The final day, Wednesday, found representatives of all the clubs attending the club leadership meeting, basically a meeting to discuss which club will host the next MME. It appears the next meet will be in Tennessee and details will come out towards the end of 2015. Discussions included the aging of the participants and dwindling of clubs willing to host the event each year. Gone are the days of many clubs competing for the same year. Now it is only known one year at a time.

I represented NEMO this year and mentioned that while NEMO is not interested in hosting the event for the next few years (we hosted it in 2013), we will provide people power to Mainly Minis Montreal should they host the event. Any date of such event is unknown. The Tennessee club really wanted to do 2017 but said they would do 2016 if no other club stepped forward.

After the meeting was the rallye. This 100-plus-mile event was a “find the answer”-type rallye. And while Barbara and I preserved our marriage by skipping the event and driving around the fine countryside sightseeing, some NEMO members took home awards. In 1st place in the Classic Mini Class were Derick and Lorine Karabec. In the New MINI class, 3rd place went to Joyce Newman and Arthur White and 2nd place to Phil and Alison Darrell.

The awards banquet was held in the hotel function hall that night. Derick and Lorine were awarded the Hrach Chekijian award, given to the person or persons most promoting the Mini lifestyle “in the Hrach way” for the hobby.

The full listing of car show awards is on the MME 2015 website, but here are some NEMO members who received awards: 1st, Mk4/Mk5 Mini Restored/Original, Ron Blanchette 2nd, Mini Countryman-Traveller-Estate, Dan Viola 2nd, Moke, Dan Viola 1st, Moke, Lorine and Derick Karabec (with the yellow Hrach Moke) 3rd, MINI sedan, Phil Darrell 1st, MINI sedan, Bert and Nat St. Onge 1st, MINI Convertible, Paul and Judy Nevin 1st, MINI Countrywoman (as it said on her car), Joyce Newman and 1st, MINI Clubman/ClubVan, yours truly (the only ClubVan at the meet).

The next day we all went home. Barbara and I visited MINI of Annapolis for some swag, while others stayed around visiting the area for the July 4th holiday.

A good time was had by all attending. If you didn’t go, you missed a very good event!

July 2015

[3-Aug_15_Mikrus.jpg] Owner Gregory Grden and his Mikrus. Note the Minis (NEMO members) parked on the other side of the street.
Photo by Bruce Vild


Micros + Minis = A Classic (the 20th)!
by David Schwartz

NEWTON, Mass., July 10-12 — NEMO was well represented at the Gould family’s 20th Annual Microcar Classic, a three-day celebration of mini- and microcars.

The weekend began Friday night as people arrived in Newton with their vehicles. There is always something unusual and this year did not disappoint. Gregory Grden, all the way from the Chicago area, brought a pristine Mikrus MR-300 that he imported from Poland. Other unique vehicles included an amusement park car from the 1939 New York World’s Fair and a 1991 Subaru Sambar Fire Engine.

Saturday was the 120-mile round trip Micro Tour from Newton to the summit of Mt. Wachusett in Princeton. Approximately forty cars made the drive, including three classic Minis, two Mokes, two modern MINIs, two Messerschmitts, two classic Fiat 500s, two classic VW Beetles, a VW Camper Van, several Nash Metropolitans, several Citroën 2CVs, an Isetta, a Trabant, the Mikrus, a Subaru 360 and the Subaru Sambar. Needless to say we attracted a lot of attention en route. Once out of Newton we traveled over state highways and scenic winding roads. I am happy to report there were no mechanical breakdowns on the journey, though my ’68 Mini Traveller piddled some coolant at the Mt. Wachusett summit, and the Isetta ran out of gas due to a faulty reserve valve.

On the return trip we enjoyed a stop at the Goulds’ “Matchbox Motors” storage facility. This was a real treat, since they recently moved a large number of cars into their spacious new building. Charles Gould was among the last to arrive and this provided time to set up for a champagne toast to commemorate the event’s 20th running. After the toast, Monique Gould showed a special anniversary video she created. It contained footage from many past Microcar Classics as well as last-minute footage she added during Micro Tour rest stops! The video and outpouring of appreciation left Charles speechless.

Sunday was the Microcar Classic Lawn Event at the Larz Anderson Auto Museum in Brookline. Many of the cars rendezvoused at the Goulds’ house for a four-mile parade to the Museum. The weather was hot and sunny, perfect for a large turnout of cars and spectators. There were ten classic Minis and one Moke in attendance, which ties last year’s total.

A high point for spectators is car rides around the Museum grounds. I recently carpeted the luggage area of my Mini Traveller and kids had a great time riding in the way-back.

Judging is by people’s choice and NEMO swept the Mini category (of course, as most of the cars were owned by NEMO members!). The winners were: 1st, the ’65 Morris Mini Traveller of Ken Lemoine 2nd, the ’67 Austin Mini Saloon of Bruce Vild and Faith Lamprey and 3rd, my own ’68 Morris Mini Traveller.

July 2015

[4-Aug_15_Laura_Wayback.jpg] Laura in the ‘wayback’.
Photo by David Schwartz

British Car Day at Faneuil Hall
by Paul Saulnier

BOSTON, Mass., June 27 — NEMO members attended the Boston Area MG Club (BAMG) British Car Day at Faneuil Hall. David Schwartz brought his Mini Traveller and his daughter Laura, while yours truly brought his son’s Mini Saloon.

The show is limited to just a dozen or so cars on display between the Hall and Quincy Market. This show has a totally different feel from most in that the thousands of tourists who pass by are not expecting to see vintage cars on the cobblestones. Participants are advised that this show is not for trailer queens that have to be roped off from spectators. In fact, owners are encouraged to let tourists have their pictures taken with the cars or even let them get in for a picture or to enjoy a piece of British history.

David certainly embraced the spirit of the show as he offered a photo opportunity to anyone who stopped to admire his Mini. While Laura napped in the cargo area, kids and adults climbed in and out of the front seats, beeped the horn and posed for pictures. The activity was non-stop from the 9 a.m. opening to the 3 p.m. exit, escorted by the Quincy Market security staff.

This was David’s first time at Faneuil Hall but my fifth or sixth, so I spent some time walking the Freedom Trail and along the harbor. I’m not big on car shows but I always try to go to this one at least once every year. Kurt Steele, president of the BAMG, organizes several events at Faneuil Hall every year, each with a different theme. The last event is billed as a People’s Choice. Entrants are encouraged to talk to the tourists and ask for a vote. The winner gets a trophy and a touch of laryngitis.

[Contrib. Ed. note: Laura just graduated from college and was an excellent sport getting up at the crack of dawn to accompany me to the show. She only napped in the back for a few minutes. —DS]

July 2015

Coming Attractions
by David Schwartz

September 13 — 9th Annual Car-B-Que, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. (cars on the field at 9:30 a.m.), River Walk Pavilion off Route 47 in Washington Depot, Conn. (on School Street near the Primary School). This event is run by NEMO member Kerry Washay. It features live “Hot Rod Surf Music,” great food, 17 classes, people’s choice voting and many fun prize categories. Contact Kerry at (860) 866-8626 for more information.

September 26 — British Wheels on the Green, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Madison Town Green, 26 Meetinghouse Rd., Madison, Conn. Contact: Robert Aldridge (860) 482-9849. We received the following invitation from David Brill, the Jaguar Club of Southern New England (JCSNE) President: “We host British Wheels on the Green in Madison each year. We’d love to have a contingent from your organization come on down and enjoy the day with us. Info can be found at www.JCSNE.org, click on the events calendar or on the British Wheels banner for photos. Well over 100 cars last year and a great day.”

June 2015

[1-July_15_Karabec_Miles.jpg] Karabec Moke and Miles Saloon placed 3rd and 1st respectively in class.
Photo by Bruce Vild

NEMO at British by the Sea
by Dave Newman

WATERFORD, Conn., June 7 — NEMO members who attended the Connecticut MG Club’s “British by the Sea” this year enjoyed a very nice, sunny day on Long Island Sound. Always a favorite of NEMO members, this gathering was very well attended with all sorts of British cars, and, of course, highlighted with a dozen classic Mini models, from sedans to a Moke, and 18 MINI models of all types. Vendors had lots of MINI items for sale, and Barbara picked up more MINI stuff for our home and garage collection.

Bruce and Faith were there at the British Marque stand with Faith’s BRG Clubman MINI. Dave Black brought the Thurd, and Mark Fodor limped in with his classic orange Clubman, suffering from an ignition or fuel problem.

Lorine and Derick Karabec, the new owners of the Hrach Moke, trailered it to a parking lot a few miles from the event with the intent of driving it into the park and onto the field, only to find that they had a running problem and needed to rescue it with the trailer and limp to the show. Such is life with a 50-year-old car.

Greg Mazza was there with his classic, Barbara and I brought our Woody Club Van and Joe Darisse was there with his classic. Hope I didn’t miss anybody! If you were not there, try to make it next year, as it was a great show!

The classic Mini winners were: 1st, 1972 Mini, Andre Miles, Groton, Conn., 2nd, 1977 Mini, Joe Darisse, Topsfield, Mass., and 3rd, 1966 Moke, Derick and Lorine Karabec, Ulster Park, N.Y.

The MINI winners were: 1st, 2013 Convertible, Laura McCormick, Waterford, Conn., 2nd, 2013 Club Van, Barbara and David Newman, Kingston, Mass., and 3rd, 2006, Antonio Sapata III, Naugatuck, Conn.

June 2015

[2-July_15_Car_Wash.jpg] How to wash a Mini.
Photo by David Schwartz

A Trip to the Barn
by David Schwartz

DOUGLAS, Mass., May 30 — It was a beautiful spring Saturday, a perfect day to drive the back roads to Dave Black’s Mini Barn for my ’68 Traveller to have a pre-season check-over. While driving through Douglas I saw the local high school athletic club was having a car wash fundraiser. It was impossible to miss, since at least six students jumped up and down waving car wash signs as I drove by the school.

I pulled in and eight students descended on my Mini, many of them towering over it. The adults helping run the event were even more excited than the kids. One mom immediately took pictures and posted them on the athletic club’s Facebook page for publicity. No, I didn’t receive a discount for the size of my car. It was a funny contrast to see them wash the large SUV in line behind me.

At the Barn, Dave performed a hot compression check and found the pressure ranged from 145 to 150, which was better than expected. Despite the constant smell of burning oil, the engine is not burning a lot of oil, so I may be able to make it through another driving season without an engine rebuild. Dave adjusted the valves and set the timing by ear instead of using a timing light. Doesn’t everyone do it this way? After installing a fresh valve cover gasket I was on my way.

The car wash was still in full swing on the drive home, and I received plenty of waves in response to beeping the horn.

June 2015

Membership and Directory
by David Schwartz

The NEMO 2015/2016 membership renewal notices were sent out in early June by US Mail (thank you, Dave Black). I just finished creating a NEMO directory based on the 2014 forms, Google Group e-mail addresses and British Marque e-mail list. We are missing 14 e-mail addresses and 25 phone numbers. I suspect some of the e-mail addresses currently on file are out of date. There is an optional field for “MINIs owned” that many people left blank, and several people wrote their names and “same as last year” for the entire form.

When you fill out the renewal notice, please include your e-mail address and preferred phone number. Be sure to write clearly, as some e-mail addresses on the 2014 forms were difficult to decipher. If you attend NEMO events with a partner or children, feel free to write their names on the form. I will update the directory and we will make it available to members. NEMO will not use membership information for commercial purposes.

If you are not currently a member and would like to join, the membership form is available on the NEMO website. Browse to nemomini.org and click on the membership button in the upper right corner of the webpage. Dues are only $20 a year, and they include a subscription to British Marque Car Club News, a monthly newspaper that covers approximately 100 clubs throughout the US and also some events in the UK.

May 2015

More Coming Attractions
by David Schwartz

Pomfret, Conn., Cruise Night — Every Saturday, 3 p.m. until dark. Starts May 2nd, junction of Rt. 169 and Rt. 101, Pomfret Center. Recommended by Dave Black (dblack8605@sbcglobal.net). The event is on a grass field with pizza and ice cream! There are usually two Minis (Todd Patrie and the Thurd) and Dave Brown often attends.

June 21 — Elm Bank Antique, Classic & Custom Auto Show, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Elm Bank Reservation, 900 Washington St. (Rt. 16), Wellesley, Mass. The show features more than 600 classic autos, from hot rods and pace cars to restored vehicles from the early 1900s. There is live music (oldies, of course), a food court and a swap meet. And, while you’re at the show, you’ll have the opportunity to wander Elm Bank’s spectacular gardens, which are in their prime in June. More at elmbankautoshow.net.

July 19 — 31st Annual Codman Estate Antique Auto Show, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., Codman Estate, 34 Codman Rd., Lincoln, Mass. Enjoy more than 300 classic and antique vehicles, music by the New Liberty Jazz Band, food vendors, family activities, and tours of the Codman Estate.

May 2015

From The Barn
by Dave Black

WOODSTOCK, Conn., May 12 — Well, I can’t say it’s been a slow month at The Barn, though I can say there’s only been one customer.

Mark Fodor called to say his Mk1 Rallye Mini was misbehaving. He was out for the spring shakedown run when things went terribly wrong with the engine and he had to limp the few miles back home. A compression check told the story — a blown head gasket between cylinders 3 and 4. This is not the usual spot for head gasket failure on a 1275. Generally it is between 2 and 3, the narrowest place on the block and thus the least well supported. What’s unusual is the gasket was the best available (AF470 composite). The only thing to do was to plane the head and replace the gasket.

That done, Mark then took his blue 1100 Mini out for a drive and wham — the same thing happened! This turned out to be one of the copper gaskets that have plagued us for several years. In one Saturday session, Mark and I replaced this gasket with the new composite gasket made in Australia and I didn’t expect to hear from him again.

Wrong! Mark was commuting with the 1275 and it overheated. He didn’t notice until the engine was running rough. Though we suspected the worst, a compression test showed equal pressure in all cylinders, so the gasket was still intact — phew! While mucking about under the hood, Mark noticed the distributor was loose. With random timing, all sorts of bad things can happen, like overheating and poor performance. Mark has promised to report on his findings after re-timing and putting that 1275 through its paces.

That’s the only Mini news I have from The Barn, but if you want to hear about my Gravely lawn mower adventures — give a call!

May 2015

[1-Jun_DavidAndPaul.jpg] David (left) and Paul (right) clowning around with David’s car.
Photo courtesy David Schwartz

Historical Society Father’s Day Show
by David Schwartz

HOLLISTON, Mass. — The 12th Annual Holliston Historical Society Car Show in 2014 was so much fun, I saved reporting on it for an entire year to encourage a good NEMO turnout this year!

The show is organized by NEMO member Paul Saulnier with help from other members of the Holliston Historical Society. It was nice to finally meet Paul in person after months of corresponding by e-mail.

The 2014 show featured 131 vehicles with seven British cars, a few European and Japanese cars, American cars from the teens through the ’70s, hot rods, muscle cars and antique trucks. British cars included my ’68 Mini Traveller, Paul’s ’64 Mini Mouse Van, a ’41 Austin 8 Tourer, a Triumph, an Austin-Healey, a Jaguar and a Lotus.

My favorite American cars included a pristine 1940 Pontiac Woody Wagon, a 1911 Ford Model T, a mid-’30s Ford V8 convertible, a ’55 Chevy Bel Air Station Wagon (salmon with a white roof) and a beautifully restored ’41 Chrysler. European cars ranged from a Citroën 2CV to a Maserati and a Ferrari 328 GTS. There were at least five antique trucks, including a nicely restored fire engine. This show really had something for everyone.

My favorite British car was the 1941 Austin 8 Tourer, which is quite rare and unusual, especially in the USA. The Austin 8 was the follow-on to the Austin 7, and now I finally understand prewar British car naming conventions. The number refers to the Royal Automobile Club (RAC) engine horsepower, which for excise tax purposes was grossly under-rated. The 7 was actually 24hp and the 8 was 27hp. The Austin 8 Tourer was produced as both a two- and four-seat convertible, with most cars being two-seat military versions for the Royal Army.

John Base owns the Tourer at the Holliston show. It is a four-seater with factory left hand drive (LHD). Very few LHD drive models were produced and even fewer survived. John’s car is one of three in North America, and is the only one that is currently running. According to the Austin 8 Registry, there are only 23 four-seat Tourers in the rest of the world.

Be on the lookout for John’s car at local car shows in 2015. He plans to attend the Elm Bank Antique Auto Show on June 21st in Wellesley, Mass., and the Codman Estate Antique Auto Show on July 19th in Lincoln, Mass.

The 2015 Holliston show takes place on June 21st from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. There is no admission fee for cars or spectators. Holliston Historical Society members serve a full breakfast in the barn, including pancakes, eggs, blueberry cake and coffee. Proceeds are used to support the programs of the Society. Spaces on the lawn may fill up, so plan to arrive early if you want to display a car.

What a great way to spend Father’s Day morning, breakfast with the cars! After the Holliston show ends, you still have most of the day to see the Elm Bank show in Wellesley. The Holliston Historical Society is located at 547 Washington St (Rt. 16), Holliston, Mass.

May 2015

[2-Jun_Austin8.jpg] Dad’s favorite Brit at the Holliston show, an Austin 8 Tourer.
Photo by David Schwartz

Happy Father’s Day!
by Laura Schwartz

When my dad first bought his ridiculous antique car, I called it a clown car. At first he got offended and told me not to call it that. Then, after a few weeks, he went out and bought a clown nose and eyes for its windshield and front bumper. Now he gives out foam clown noses to kids at car shows. I think that’s a pretty good summary of both his sense of humor and our father-daughter relationship. Happy Father’s Day, Daddy!

April 2015

[1-May_15_Ladies.jpg] Seen at the Collings Foundation.
Photo by David Schwartz

Coming Attractions
by David Schwartz

Most of us are familiar with the major British car shows and Mini/MINI events that NEMO members attend every year. We need your help creating an expanded list of events around the Northeast that other members will enjoy, even if British cars are not the sole focus.

Please e-mail me your recommendations for any of the following: multi-marque car shows, cruise-ins, antique auto museums, concours d’elegance, vintage races, hillclimbs, etc. Each month we will feature several of your submissions. The NEMO website and Facebook page will include links to the events.

Starting with this issue, I will summarize events I have attended or that were suggested by other NEMO members:

Starting April 16 — Cruise Nights at Patriot Place, 2 Patriot Place, Foxborough, Mass., 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Join the Mass Cruisers Auto Club for free cruise nights every other Thursday. See www.patriot-place.com/events/2015-Cruise-Nights-at-Patriot-Place_4986#.VS8V15PIb2c for more.

NEMO members Jay Cady and Paul Saulnier recommend this event. “The Cruise Nights at Patriot Place are great,” says Jay. “They attract several hundred cars and I’ve always received a warm welcome when I brought my Mini. The cruise attracts a wide variety of cars so there’s plenty to see beyond the usual muscle cars. Let me know if you decide to attend.” Jay may be reached at jaycady@gmail.com.

“I’m a member of the Mass Cruisers, who put on this Cruise Night (I also publish the newsletter every month),” adds Paul. “The number of cars averages about 1,500 and has exceeded 2,000. This has to be the largest Cruise Night in New England.”

Patriot Place has added free shuttle buses to take people around to shop or eat. “In my opinion,” Paul says, “the best place to eat is the pub in the lower level of Bass Pro. They make a Reuben there that is fabulous!” Paul’s e-mail is civilizeds@aol.com.

May 30-31 — Greenwich Concours d’Elegance, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Roger Sherman Baldwin Park, 100 Arch St., Greenwich, Conn., 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The Greenwich Concours is actually two events back-to-back, with American cars and motorcycles on Saturday and imported marques on Sunday. The North American edition of 1,000 Places to See Before You Die lists the Greenwich Concours as one of those places! Visit www.greenwichconcours.com to see why.

June and July — Events at the Collings Foundation, 137 Barton Road, Stow, Mass., including “Wings & Wheels” American Elegance, June 20-21, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m, and Race of the Century, July 25-26, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

The Collings Foundation owns a large property in a residential neighborhood adjoining Lake Boon. There are several barns and a small grass airfield. The barns house an incredible collection of over 70 rare automobiles, racecars, military equipment and airplanes.

Several weekends a year they hold open houses. Their automobiles include a Duesenberg, Cord, Auburn Boattail Speedster, Stutz Bearcat and Stanley Steamer to name a few. There is a daily pageant at noon, where people in period dress drive a variety of antique vehicles around the grounds. They offer rides in vintage airplanes as a fundraiser. The flights cost $200 to $390 and sell out quickly. How often do you have a chance to fly in a biplane or World War II aircraft? See more at www.collingsfoundation.org/event/wings-wheels-american-elegance.

April 2015

[2-May_15_Owls_Head.jpg] Seen at Owls Head.
Photo by David Schwartz

June 4-August 27 — Wings & Wheels at Minute Man Air Field, 302 Boxborough Rd., Stow, Mass., Thursdays, 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. (No event on July 2nd.)

Admission is free for cars and attendees, though donations are welcome. Each week features different cars, with British nights on June 11th, July 16th and August 13th. All cars and planes are invited to participate every week! Nancy’s Air Field Café caters outdoor dining. Plan to arrive early since the food sells out. NEMO members attended last year, some more than once. The website is wingsandwheelsma.com.

June 18-21 — Vintage Motorsports Festival at Thompson Speedway, 205 E. Thompson Rd., Thompson, Conn., three days of racing featuring cars from throughout the past century.

This link has the full schedule and photos from last year, when plenty of British cars participated: www.thompsonspeedway.com/events/2nd-annual-vintage-motorsports-festival.

June 21 — Holliston Historical Society Father’s Day Breakfast Cruise, 8 a.m.-10 a.m., 547 Washington St (Rt. 16), Holliston, Mass., 8 a.m. to 10 a.m.

NEMO’s Paul Saulnier (civilizeds@aol.com) is one of the event organizers. This is a fun local show with a large variety of cars. There were 131 vehicles at the 2014 show with at least seven British cars, plus a few European and Japanese cars, American cars from the teens through the ’70s, hot rods, an antique fire truck and more. It’s free to all cars and motorcycles of interest. A full breakfast and snacks will be available. The food is great, and I highly recommend the blueberry cake.

Year round — The Owls Head Transportation Museum, 117 Museum St., Owls Head, Maine, is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. This is among the best transportation museums I have ever visited! A unique feature of Owls Head is that they operate almost all their vehicles at least once a year. They own a large number of early MGs, and some truly unique vehicles such as a steam-powered motorcycle, a two-wheel car with training wheels, a Scarab, numerous biplanes and a Gemini space capsule.

Try to connect with a docent for a tour of the collection, and budget a full day for your visit. There are special events in the spring, summer and fall, including auto, truck, motorcycle and tractor shows, the “Wings & Wheels Spectacular,” an auto auction and more. As a fundraiser they offer plane rides, and some events feature rides in antique cars. The full schedule is on their website, as well as pictures of a portion of their collection: owlshead.org/events.

April 2015

[3-May_15_Barn.jpg] The Barn.
Photo by David Schwartz


From The Barn
by Dave Black

WOODSTOCK, Conn., Apr. 12 — Now that’s what I would call a winter to remember! It sure put the kibosh on anyone bringing a classic Mini to The Barn and thus there’s been nothing to report on since Dave and Barb Newman’s project from January. So, for lack of anything else to do (the wood is all cut, split and stacked), I dug out the Thurd to replace the front rubber cones. The old ones have collapsed so much that the front tires would rub the fender in a turn.

So this is a straightforward job — compress the cone, remove the upper arm, release the cone and insert a new one. Well, the first one was going just fine when I got in a hurry and didn’t notice the trumpet was not properly lined up and inserted in the cone. Of course I fully released the compression tool before realizing the mistake. It should have been an easy fix by reinserting the compression tool and recompressing the cone to release tension and get things properly aligned. I could get the threads engaged in the cone, but as soon as I tried to compress, the threads would pull out. Kept peering down that little hole to see what was wrong, but you can’t get a real good look and I didn’t realize the nut had become dislodged from the cone. Ended up using an air hammer to break the trumpet!

So after a “time-out” to think about how to avoid the same catastrophe again (I ruined the cone), I decided to install Adjust-a-Rides. Then the job went the way it should have. So now if the new cones collapse, the fix will be simply to raise the suspension! More when I get it.

March 2015

[1-Apr_15_Faith_Holds_Forth.jpg] The whys and wherefores of an e-mail directory are discussed.
Photos courtesy NEMO

NEMO’s Annual Meeting
by David Schwartz

HARRISVILLE, R.I., Mar. 1 — The NEMO Annual Meeting & Potluck Luncheon was held once again at the home of Faith Lamprey and Bruce Vild. Fourteen members attended including the hosts.

Festivities started at noon with a social hour, followed by a potluck lunch at 1 p.m. Faith handed out tickets to the free raffle as people arrived, and members contributed the prizes — including die-cast cars, Union Jack pens, magazines, a tin Mini sign, etc. The meeting came to order at 2 p.m. when Faith pulled the first raffle ticket. After the raffle we moved on to more serious business.

There was a discussion of upcoming events where NEMO members will participate with their cars. A new British Motorcar Festival will be held in Bristol, R.I. Bruce explained that this event is sponsored by the same people who run the British Invasion in Stowe, Vt., and will have a similar format.

For the next MME in Canada, Dave Newman proposed that NEMO help with registration and related tasks.

Yours truly will publish a list of events not specifically for British cars, but likely to be of interest to NEMO members — including concours-level shows, cruise nights, vintage races and hillclimbs. Stay tuned for announcements in the newsletter and on the website, Facebook page and Google group.

Dave Black, the Keeper of the Monies, provided a report on NEMO’s finances, followed by a brief discussion of 2015 expenses. We expect a small decrease in the cost of website storage space for 2015. Our bank balance is healthy and essentially unchanged from last year.

I proposed creating a NEMO e-mail directory of members whose dues are current. The directory will permit NEMO event organizers (no officers, no politics!) to communicate with the entire membership, and will not be used for commercial purposes.

It was noted that most members provided e-mail addresses on their annual membership form. If your e-mail address has changed or you did not provide one, please send me an e-mail (dschwartz1957@gmail.com) from your preferred address. Also let me know if you wish to be excluded from NEMO e-mails and I will remove you from the directory.

Dave and Barbara Newman are planning to hold a NEMO barbeque on a Saturday in August. They will provide details in the coming months, but rumor has it The Stig will make an appearance.

Dave also proposed an outing to shop for die-cast cars at Pete’s Model Garage in Lakeville, Mass., followed by a trip to the nearby Dave’s Diner.

After the official business, Bruce brought out several photo albums containing pictures of past NEMO events including Mini Meet Easts. We had a good time looking through the albums trying to identify people and events. Bruce will scan the best photos to post on the Facebook page, where the timeline feature provides a great way to document NEMO history.

The meeting started winding down at 4 p.m. as falling snow accumulated on the road. Many thanks to Faith and Bruce for volunteering their house!

March 2015

[2-Apr_15_Calendar.jpg] Cover of the new calendar. Inside are a dozen beautiful full-color photos of Minis and MINIs!

2015-16 NEMO Wall Calendar Now Available!
by David Schwartz

The new NEMO wall calendar was printed in time for sale at the annual meeting. The calendar was a joint effort by members Barbara, Dave and Christa Newman, with an additional photo contributed by member Lorine Karabec.

The calendar runs from April 2015 to March 2016 and photos are evenly divided between classic and modern cars. It is available for purchase on-line for only $15 plus shipping. Click on the NEMO website Regalia tab and scroll to the bottom of the page. From there you can click on a link to preview the photos and place an order.

The calendar is also available directly from Dave Newman via mail, or at events by prior notice (Dnewman@cdf1.com).

March 2015

Classic Minis at a Concours d’Elegance!
by David Schwartz

In contrast to the six- or seven-figure valuation of vehicles at many high-end car shows, the humble Mini can enter and even win at a Concours d’Elegance. Show organizers strive for diversity, and you may find your car dripping oil with the one percent.

The Newman’s 1960 Mini 850 won Best in Class at the 2014 Misselwood Concours d’Elegance in Beverly, Mass. This year’s event takes place the weekend of July 25-26.

There are multiple opportunities to participate, or simply come and enjoy the show. Selection for the Concours field is judged, and Dave Newman recommends getting your application in early, as space is limited to 125 vehicles. There is a 70-mile Tour d’Elegance along the Essex Coastal Scenic Byway that is open to all classic cars and a separate Collector field at the show is open to clubs and individuals. But again, space is limited for all events. See the Misselwood website (www.endicott.edu/concours.aspx) for details.

NEMO member Ken Lemoine is one of the founders of The Boston Cup, a Concours d’Elegance held on the Boston Common. This is a major invitational event now in its fourth year. The show is free to the public and well worth attending. The field is limited to 100 cars and they are seeking a Riley Elf and Wolseley Hornet. The show date is September 20th, which overlaps Sunday at the British Invasion, so this could be a tough choice for some NEMO members.

As an added incentive, they will host a Cars & Coffee Saturday, the 19th, on Newbury Street and a VIP cocktail party that evening at the Ritz.

A car need not be pristine if it is historically interesting. See the show website (thebostoncup.com) to nominate a vehicle, volunteer, or for general information. You can e-mail information and pictures of your car directly to Ken (klemoine@thebostoncup.com).

February 2015

[2-Mar-15-Betty.jpg] Betty gets her convertible.
Photo courtesy NEMO

Holiday Party Another Hit!
by David Schwartz

PUTNAM, Conn., Dec. 6 — NEMO’s annual Holiday Party, held once again in a private function room at J. D. Cooper’s Restaurant, included 24 enthusiastic members, family and friends.

It began with a social hour followed by a buffet lunch and the ever-popular Yankee Swap. While the overall format was the same as in previous years there were a few surprises.

I decided to share my love of antique toy trains and set up an O-gauge layout with a Lionel steam locomotive from the 1950s. The locomotive puffed “real smoke” and had an operating whistle and headlight. It pulled a special British automobile train consisting of a double-decker flatcar carrying six Minis, a flatcar with two MGs, and a flatcar carrying the Pixar Cars 2 MINI and the Harry Potter Flying Ford Anglia. The train was very popular with kids of all ages!

After an excellent lunch, Ken Lemoine gave a presentation on Evans Waterless Engine Coolants, the benefits of which include no overheating or corrosion. Ken uses this product in his vintage cars and is working with Dave Black to make it available to NEMO members. Contact Ken for additional details.

My wife, Betty Lehrman, joined me at the NEMO party this year. Betty has been a good sport since I became a Mini owner, and is no longer quite as terrified when riding in my ’68 Mini Traveller on the highway. She attends several car shows a year and has a discerning eye the Jaguar XK120 is her favorite British roadster. We have a running joke about buying her a red convertible for an upcoming milestone birthday. This dates to the early ’90s when she first saw a Mazda Miata.

The day after the NEMO party was Betty’s birthday and I couldn’t resist playing a little joke on her. I invited Betty up to the front of the room and presented her with a gift-wrapped box. Inside was a 1:18 scale Jaguar XK120 and taped to the side of the box was a small gift bag. Someone in the room yelled out, “It’s a car key.” With a stunned look on her face, Betty opened the bag and saw that it did indeed contain a key to an antique car.

She asked, “David, what have you done?”

“Do you really want to know?” I replied.

After a brief pause I confessed the key was to a ’38 Buick I owned in high school. Betty was much relieved.

February 2015

[1-Mar-15-Manocchios.jpg] The Manocchios settle in. Andrea (right foreground) would be a force to reckon with at the Yankee Swap!
Photo courtesy NEMO

After the presentations, the Yankee Swap began. Dave Newman had sent a very funny note to the NEMO Google group in late November: “I encourage members to really put some effort into selection of a gift that will be wanted by all others. You know the one, the one that everyone wants, and it makes the rounds and passes from hand to hand, until some lucky person has the last choice of taking the popular gift away from the poor sod that was holding it, or feeling sorry and just taking the last surprise off the table.

“My daughter Christa used to try various things to hide ‘The Gift’ if she ever got her hands on it. Hiding it under the table and looking out the window, walking off to the ladies room with it until the Swap was over, or, when she was really young, looking like a little kid who would be horrified if you took away the gift.”

Dave must have had a premonition, since he described this year’s Swap perfectly. Ten-year-old Andrea Manocchio was one of the first swappers, and she picked a really nice Union Jack pillow. Dave provided some coaching, and Andrea gave other swappers such a look that no one dared take the pillow! According to dad Robert, the pillow proudly lives on Andie’s bed.

The hot gift this year was a 2’x3’ framed print of an A Series engine. I lost count of the number of times this item changed hands. Dave Newman was one of the last swappers, and he took the print home. The Newmans take their Mini art very seriously, and the print is hanging in their living room at the top of the stairs so guests see it when they enter the house.

There were some really clever gifts this year including two large metal folk-art Minis. One of my favorites was a Finding Nemo DVD along with a large container of popcorn. New members Linda and Rich Autio contributed this. Of course, there were other toy cars, Doctor Who items, British food and wine and beer. All in all it was a fun party and very successful Yankee Swap.

February 2015

[3-Mar-15-DericksCake.jpg] Happy Birthday, Derick!
Photo by Lorine Karabec

Mini Birthday Wishes
by Lorine Karabec

On September 13, 2014, we had a huge surprise party with about 80 people for my husband Derick’s 50th birthday. It was a wonderful day (with the exception of the rain).

For the occasion, I had a birthday cake made replicating the first Mini Derick imported in 1998, a 1974 Innocenti Mini 1300. The cake sported a roadway and grass, a 55mph speed limit sign, and a billboard for Derick’s business, Beek’s Auto. The icing was made with fondant (made with fluff and confectioners sugar). The cake was chocolate with a peanut butter frosting filling, one of his favorite combinations.

A photo of Derick’s cake appeared in the “Cake Corner” of the February issue of Mini World magazine.

February 2015

[4-Mar-15-Plow.jpg] Ready for duty in the beleaguered Northeast!
Photo by Paul Saulnier

‘No Job Too Small’
by David Schwartz & Paul Saulnier

BOSTON, Mass., Feb. 9 — After the city of Boston was hit by three blizzards in 16 days, Mayor Marty Walsh appealed to colleges, businesses and hospitals to help remove snow from crosswalks and roads. One vintage Mini owner rose to the occasion and mounted a plow on the front of his car and helped clear snow. His motto: “No job too small. Sidewalks my specialty.”

January 2015

[1-JanFeb_15_Rhos.jpg] Aerial view of all the Minis regrouping at Rhos on Sea.
Photo by Tony Haslam

Wirral to Llandudno Run 2015
by Tony Haslam

NORTH WEST ENGLAND, Jan. 11 — Early morning rose 6.30. Weather cold and windy. Quick shower, breakfast and checked the Elf over — water, petrol, etc.

It was a 20-minute drive to Bromborough from Chester. I only saw one Mini en route but arrived to find about 150 lined up waiting for the starter horn. Most were classic Minis, with variants being my Riley Elf, a Wolseley Hornet, a Scamp and a modern BMW MINI. There were 30 or more Mini clubs represented, and I had a nice chat with several old friends from all round the North West.

Wirral Minis, the organising club, decided to take the scenic route through North Wales. We traveled back roads through Mold and Bodfari to St. Asaph, just off the A55 Expressway, which carries the majority of traffic from Chester to Holyhead for the ferry to Northern Ireland. En route we had a stop at Rhos on Sea (Colwyn Bay) to allow everyone to catch up. You can imagine how difficult it is to keep a convoy of 150-plus Minis together! From there we continued to the Great Orme in Llandudno, a granite mountain that erupted many centuries ago to a height of 679 ft. above sea level.

We paid our £1 toll (£2 to the average motorist but as we are only half the length of today’s vehicles we get a discount!) and ascended the Great Orme. At the summit we parked in the centre of the car park, a bit like sheep in a pen. Many opted to stay in their vehicles as the temperature was down to 4°C. To you in the States that is just 7° above the freezing point.

The Minis were buffeted by the high wind but held their ground as we made our way down the zigzag road to the promenade where we parked up in a neat fashion for visitors to inspect. A few of the clubs from further afield like Manchester and North Liverpool decided to make their way home early due to the high winds. The display on the promenade was slightly smaller than previous years when we normally have 200 cars.

A great run was enjoyed by all, with a round trip for me of 150 miles taking my mileometer over 58,000. I believe my 51-year old Elf was the oldest car on the run. The Wirral Mini Owners have organised the Wirral to Llandudno run every January for the last 15 years, and I have participated in seven so far.

January 2015

Winter Projects
by Lorine Karabec

It was our year for classic car breakdowns, so Derick has plenty to keep him busy this winter!

In July we had transmission problems with our 1974 Innocenti 1300 while traveling to Mini Meet 2014. During a pit stop to visit friends in Chicago Derick pulled the engine and replaced the bearing.

In August, our 1962 Austin Countryman broke down at the Wee Wheels car show in Sharon Springs, upstate New York. We borrowed a friend’s car, drove home, got our truck and trailer and drove back to retrieve the Countryman.

In September we were out for a group cruise in our 1965 Wolseley Hornet when we heard an awful noise. The engine continued to run but the car did not move, only coasting or as I would say, “go-karting.” We parked it on a side street, jumped into another Mini and continued on with the cruise into the Catskill Mountains. In the evening we trailered the Wolseley home.

In addition, we had two non-Mini classics break down for a total of five cars out of commission!

Fast forward to December/January. We had time off from work during the holiday season and decided this was a perfect opportunity to catch up on car projects. Derick plugged away, towing different cars to his shop throughout the week. I am happy to say that three of the five cars are back in service.

First up was my 1965 Wolseley Hornet. Second gear was stripped and the shifter fork was worn out. Derick had the spare parts and fixed it.

Next was our 1962 Austin Countryman. That was a fairly easy fix, a simple head swap. However, while Derick was putting it back together he found the generator bushings had worn out. He rebuilt the generator to avoid a future breakdown.

The ’74 Innocenti 1300 is next in line for repairs. When the bearing failed, it caused wear in the gears and now requires a complete transmission overhaul.

On a non-Mini note, Derick fixed a stuck throttle linkage in our 1973 BMW 2002 tii. He took it apart and lubed all the linkages. This leaves us with two out of five cars still out of commission — not a bad week’s work. Fortunately, we still have a few months before the start of the driving season!

January 2015

From The Barn
by Dave Black

There are two subjects for this month’s ramblings. First, Brian Atherton brought his Mini down to have his freshly rebuilt (as of last spring) 1275 installed. Brian had planned on having his bodywork done this year, but instead took a sabbatical to points west as his Mini languished in the yard. What came back was the same body that left after we removed the original 998 lump early last spring. The new lump really doesn’t care the condition of the car it’s fitted in — it will go like stink either way! Brian’s new lump features a 276 camshaft with a brand new 1-3/4” SU carburetor with K&N filter. He plans to drive it through the winter unlike the rest of us wimps!

Next up was an urgent call from Dave and Barb Newman. Seems Barb had driven their Mini British Open Classic to an event at the new MINI dealership in Rockland, Mass. (for reasons unfathomable!). When she got there she complained that the heater had stopped working. Dave checked it out and found the radiator dry and oil below the “add” line. Further investigation found a puddle in front of his garage door that turned out to be antifreeze. Seems the water pump puked and pumped out all the water, hence the heater malfunction!

Dave called to get the car into The Barn and loaded it in anticipation of the trip. I guess (you’ll have to ask Dave for details) he loaded in a different spot from usual and as it got up on the trailer, the exhaust caught and pulled the pipe out of the connection at the manifold. Well, I can tell you, I’d rather fix three heads before tackling a destroyed exhaust system!

The headwork was easy in comparison. A quick compression test told the story — they’d got it hot enough to blow the head gasket, and it turns out, warped the head a full .020”! A little machining and new gaskets fixed the problem, but the exhaust was a different story. He had broken the down pipe, and the new parts we ordered and received weren’t right. A search showed that there is a specific down pipe for Dave’s Mini and the only one available was in the UK. Okay, so we ordered sometime before Christmas and sometime after New Year’s it arrived. It wasn’t an easy fitment, as the whole exhaust had to be removed and disassembled to make up for the deformity caused by the catalytic converter fetching up on the trailer rear frame. I think it is finally ready for delivery. Dave wants to wait to retrieve his Mini for there to be less salt on the roads, so that will probably not happen till April!

Not sure what’s coming in next. There have been rumblings from Brian Landry about sub-frame work, Bruce for a vibration issue, and David Schwartz itching to do a lump rebuild. No telling what other gremlins are waiting in the wings!

January 2015

Like Us on Facebook
by David Schwartz

We had a brief discussion at the Holiday Party regarding the need for a NEMO Facebook page. Some members are active in the Google Group, while others prefer Facebook. Plus we have the NEMO website, which is updated regularly with the latest newsletter, photos and events. Since it has become the norm for clubs, businesses and even individuals to create multiple on-line resources, NEMO now has a Facebook page: www.facebook.com/NewEnglandMiniOwners.

You can access the page even if you are not a Facebook member — however, you must be a member to post content. Please post photos of your car and contribute to the NEMO timeline. In particular, we need photos from Mini Meet East 1998, which was hosted by NEMO. You can also create events on Facebook and everyone that has “Liked” the page will receive a notification.

January 2015

[2-JanFeb_15_Scamp.jpg] Scamp, as seen in the Wirral to Llandudno Run. See the February article (coming tomorrow) from Tony Haslam and our sister club across the pond, Miniaddicts!
Photo by Tony Haslam

Annual NEMO Meeting Mar. 1!
by Faith Lamprey

It’s that time again.

Join us on Sunday, March 1st for NEMO’s Annual Meeting and Potluck Luncheon. We plan the year of activities at this meeting so be sure to attend! Plan to arrive at 12 noon. The eating starts at 1 p.m. and the meeting follows at 2 p.m. So bring a dish for the lunch table and join in the fun.

We will be holding a Give-Away Freebie Raffle so if you have any Mini-related items you would like to donate, bring them along.

The Meeting and Luncheon will take place once again at the home of Faith Lamprey and Bruce Vild, 5 Old Nasonville Road, Harrisville, RI 02830. Call (401) 766-6519 or e-mail nemo@auroratechedi.com with any questions or for directions.

January 2015

NEMO Calendar

February 27-March 1 — Funshine MiniFest, Kissimmee, Fla.

March 1 — NEMO Annual Meeting and Potluck Luncheon. See accompanying article.

April 15-18 — Mini 56, Cherokee, N.C.

June 7 — Connecticut MG Club’s British by the Sea, Waterford, Conn.

June 12-14 — British Motorcar Festival (new event), Bristol, R.I.

June 29-July 2 — Mini Meet East, St. Michael’s, Md.

June 29-July 2 — Mini Meet West, Abbotsford, B.C., Canada.

July 10-12 — Gould’s Microcar Classic.

July 25 — BCNH Show of Dreams, Hudson, N.H.

September 19-20 — British Invasion XXV.

See the Events page on this website for more information.

December 2014

[1-Dec_14_Arch.jpg] Minis parade through the arch at the Rally finish.
Photo by Tony Haslam

Minis Rally at Welsh Rally GB
by Tony Haslam

LLANDUDNO, Wales, Nov. 16 — I was invited to display my Elf along with other classic Minis at the finish of the Welsh Rally GB.

The first Rally of Great Britain was held in 1932, and it has been held regularly since 1951. The Rally covers most of the northern part of Wales, which like the whole of Wales is extremely rugged and mountainous. There are some fantastic roads that we Mini enthusiasts say were made for Minis!

Many from the Snowdon Mini Owners Club assisted as Rally Marshals. The Marshals are volunteers and there were hundreds of them at the many stages around North Wales. Rallying is a very dangerous sport and public safety has to be paramount, particularly for spectators since the majority of these roads have no footpaths.

There were road closures everywhere. On the drive home to Anglesey (the most northern tip of Wales) some friends of mine got held up for hours when three cars were involved in a pile-up.

Our contingent of 23 Minis (including a Safari Rally Mini on a trailer) arrived at the Rally finish to be lined up with an MG club and a Triumph Seven club to parade down the main shopping street of Llandudno. There were thousands of spectators waiting for the first Rally cars. The section of the street used for the parade was very short and parallel with the promenade. We paraded through twice, so the spectators had a second chance to see the cars if they missed them the first time around.

But the day did not quite go as planned. After the parade we were told they didn’t have room for the 23 Minis, even though they had requested 30! We ended up on the promenade, where we had a private display. They did, however, give the Mini crews a dinner ticket in the presentation area, but by the time we were able to return to the hospitality area the best viewing places were taken. We took random photos of the Rally cars by holding cameras over our heads. Fortunately there were many Mini enthusiasts who took photos and placed them on Facebook.

I believe a Mini Metro was one of the Rally cars but I’m afraid I can’t find any photos or information about it.

Parking on the promenade was a bonus because we were able to leave the area early and return home while traffic was quiet!

Results of the Rally: first place went to Sebastian Ogier (France), who scored his eighth win of the season. He won by 37.6 seconds in his VW Polo R. Second place was Mikko Hirvonen in his Ford Fiesta RSP. This was his final rally before retiring. Third place went to Mads Ostberg in his Citroën DS3.

The official Rally website is www.walesrallygb.com.

December 2014

[2-Dec_14_SSM.jpg] Dave in front of the dealership entrance.
Photo by Barbara Newman

There’s a New Dealer South of Boston
by Dave Newman

ROCKLAND, Mass., Nov. 20 — It is Press Day at a new dealership, South Shore MINI and BMW, in Rockland, Mass., right next to Route 3 at the Route 228 exit. Workers are finishing up the painting, installing door locks, wiring up computers, testing out the shop tools and lifts, and in the conference room, training the new employees in the ways of MINI and BMW.

Do you remember when you bought your first new car? Or your first house? Well, that is how it must feel, but 100 times better, for Steve Stein, General Manager of Gallery Automotive Group, who spent two hours showing us around every part of this brand new building.

Steve was simply beaming with excitement about adding MINI to Gallery’s group of dealerships and moving their Norwell-based BMW Gallery a mile down the road. Steve is a “car guy” and well versed in speaking MINI. And from walking around and taking pictures of this 58,000 sq. ft. building, about a third of which is the MINI side and two-thirds the BMW side, it is impressive.

The service area is huge. Between the two facilities, connected by a hallway but almost two different buildings, there are more than 30 bays. We find special machines galore, from tire mounters, high-speed balancers, alignment racks, three-story-high tire storage machines and a huge parts department in each building, to wide-open showrooms and sales areas, clothing and goodies displays and fantastic customer lounges.

The MINI side, in keeping with their corporate theme, is all finished in black and the BMW side is white. So just like Luke Skywalker, you can start in the BMW side and enter “The Dark Side” into the MINI store if you wish! Or just walk in the MINI front door and be amazed at the MINI roofs mounted on the walls with murals of our local area scenery, US and UK flags, classic Mini photos and more. The MINI sales floor and lounge area are worth a visit just to hang around and enjoy!

The facility also has high-speed electric charging stations for the emerging electric vehicle market. BMW is already selling their i3 and i8 cars, with the i3 on display at the dealership. Steve said that they didn’t have an i8 for the start as all they have gotten have been pre-sold, all at over $100K. MINI has test-sold some electric vehicles on the West Coast but it may be a few years until we see widespread distribution in the USA.

MINI will offer high-mileage diesel models sometime within the next couple of years. And don’t forget that next month they start selling the new four-door MINI sedan, which is just a bit longer than the standard MINI two-door model, even before the much bigger Countryman models, which also feature four doors.

We also met Frederick Shaw, Jr., the BMW Gallery Sales Manager, like Steve truly a “car nut” who knows classic Minis well. He had a peek at Barbara’s British Open Mini 1275 and tried out the interior. We also showed him our MINI ClubVan Woody. While out in the parking area, which looks big enough to land a small Cessna if it weren’t for the light poles, we saw room for over 300 on-site vehicles, and a state-of-the-art off-hours security system, with hi-def color cameras with infrared, motion detectors and audio speakers that warn of the place being closed at first then automatically calls police if after hours guests remain.

Another feature, on the rear side of the building, is a third-floor lighted showroom, or “jewel case,” with room for six or more cars that will be visible 24 hours a day to the people driving by on Route 3 South and to a lesser extent on Route 3 North, depending on foliage cover. Again, one-third MINI, with a black background and big lighted MINI sign, and the other end all BMW.

The dealership’s soft opening was November 24th, with a Grand Opening planned for February of 2015. More details will be announced in the British Marque and on the NEMO e-mail list as they become available.

South Shore MINI is also planning a special Brunch and Open House for NEMO members on Sunday, December 14th. More details are given in the sidebar. Plan on being there and bringing a Classic Mini or new MINI if you can.

You just have to see this fantastic facility. It is worth the trip even if you live out of the area, just to see what a brand spanking new MINI store looks like.

December 2014

[3-Dec_14_Cute.jpg] Detail of the Lemoine Morris Mini Traveller. So cute!
Photo by David Schwartz

Classic Mini Moments
by David Schwartz

The idea for this column came from a recent post by Joe Darisse in the NEMO Google Group. All classic Mini owners have experienced a thumbs up on the highway, smiling kids waving at us and passengers taking photos on their cell phones. At traffic lights there are stares and comments or questions shouted through open windows, “Best car ever!” “What is it?” “My father had one back in the ’60s.” “Is right-hand-drive legal in the US?” Crowds gather around the car in a parking lot to take pictures and share stories.

Some of the best stories come from people who lived in the UK or owned a classic Mini when they were sold in the US. Below are several Classic Mini Moments. Please e-mail your stories to dschwartz1957@gmail.com for use in future columns.

My Mini got more attention than a Ferrari — In September, Brenda and I went to dinner at the 1640 Harte house in Ipswich, Mass. We pulled into the parking lot and there was a beautiful new black Ferrari with a free space next to it. I knew just where to park. As I was taking a photo of the Ferrari, a woman, her grandchildren and their father walked out of the restaurant and started gushing over the “awesome” car — our little red Mini. The kids are all smiles and absolutely loved the car.

I explained that my car was a 1977 Austin Mini, and that the shiny black car parked next to it was an expensive new Ferrari. The adults then directed their attention to the more expensive automobile, but the kids still focused on the Mini. I told the kids it was O.K. to touch the red car but not to touch the pretty black one. They had great fun elevating themselves by putting their hands on the front fenders. This is why I love my car. —Joe Darisse

It’s so cute — At a car show many years ago I returned to my 1965 Mini Traveller to see a 5-year-old little girl with a hand on either headlamp and her head on the hood. I asked, “What are you doing, honey?” She said, “It’s so cute I have to hug it.” The next day I applied for a new license plate, “ITSOQT.” —Ken Lemoine

My mum had one just like it — Whenever the weather is nice I drive my 1968 Mini Traveller to my office in Waltham. There are visitor parking spaces near the front door to the building, and I park there for security. There is no point in locking the car, and I leave the windows open on hot days. One evening after work I saw a woman in her mid-30s standing next to my car taking pictures on her iPhone. I said hello and she got very excited and replied in a British accent, “My mum had one just like it!” I asked if she would like to sit in the driver’s seat (proper right-hand drive, no less) and I would take a picture for her mum. She happily took me up on the offer, and went on to tell me, “One of the great things about a Mini was that you could fix it yourself.” —David Schwartz

Room for the whole family — When I was in elementary school my family lived in England. My best friend had two siblings and her parents drove a Mini woody wagon. They would load me and their three kids in the back seat, the two adults sat in front, and their Great Dane rode in the cargo area. Unfortunately the dog’s head also rode in the back seat, and rivers of drool dripped down on the kids. —Sue Jick

Where did I park the car? — When I was in high school in the early ’70s, my parents bought me a used Mini as a reward for getting good grades. I drove the car to school and never knew where I would find it at the end of the day. Members of the football team would regularly pick up the car and move it to a different spot. —British Legends Weekend attendee

December 2014

From The Barn
by Dave Black

WOODSTOCK, Conn. — I know, it’s been a long time since you heard anything from this corner, but there hasn’t been much mechanical activity to write about and I hate to write fiction. But now I have a couple of tidbits for you.

First in was Giulia and Franchesco’s 998 Innocenti for another head gasket. This is the third in three years and this time we left nothing to chance. Out came the lump, full disassembly so the block could be trued (shaved) as well as the head. Head was planed at each repair to eliminate head wrap as a cause of gasket failure. And yet it failed a third time — uggggh! The last time we installed a newer head, as the old one showed signs of cracks at the failure point between the #3 and #4 cylinders. The only constant was the gasket itself, a Payen AF070 copper. This time we installed a new-on-the-market gasket from ACL in Australia. It’s a black composite item and actually comes with a warranty. Let’s hope for the best, as both the customer and mechanic are thoroughly disgusted with past performance.

Next up came new NEMO members, Linda and Rich Autio. Linda purchased a 1966 Morris Mini that has lots of upgrades: 1275 engine, disc brakes, brake servo, a sweet original body shell, but with lots of quality new stuff added, including 10” Minilites (real). Linda’s list covered things like heater switch, door and boot locks, tune, gas cap, and she had mentioned a stalling issue. The mundane items were quickly dealt with and the stalling issue I thought had been solved by topping up the dashpot oil in the 1 3/4” SU. Linda and Rich drove out last Sunday to retrieve said Mini and all seemed fine. They stopped locally to fill up with gas and I saw them leave the station to head home. Feeling confident that they would make it without incident, I continued to work to load up for Monday. It wasn’t long before my cell rang with Linda reporting they broke down on 395 and were going to call for a tow.

I dashed up there, got in the Mini — and it started right up! We decided to try to get it off at the next exit (1 mile) to avoid being a traffic hazard, so I got in and vroom — off I went, thinking this was going to be a breeze and there’d be no need for the tow truck, when all of a sudden, it felt like it ran out of gas (got about 200 yards). Waited a bit and tried again — and again. Finally got off the highway and decided it was good place to wait for the hook.

Later that evening I discovered there was just a dribble of fuel at the carb, so I went back to the pump — and got the same dribble. Disconnected the hose at the filter, same dribble disconnected the hose at the tank and got the same paltry dribble. Got some wire and probed the outlet nipple. I felt no resistance at the entrance to the tank and the flow remained a dribble. This was puzzling because that nipple is the direct entrance to the tank and any obstruction must be right at the tank/nipple interface.

I removed the gas cap to see if I could see anything from inside the tank and lo and behold, there’s about a 2’ section steel pipe that runs to the rear of the tank (this is a newer 6.5 gal tank). and there’s a filter at the end! Now what? The filter is inaccessible without cutting a big hole in the tank and this tank had just been topped off.

Time out for a little thought before doing something stupid and creating a bigger problem. If I could put a hole in that filter, it would allow gas to flow, and the down-line filter will take care of any foreign material that gets out of the tank. What I needed was about 3’ of 1/8” wire, sharpened at one end and it should be easy. Well, I can tell you, trying to get the end of that wire to the filter was anything but easy. If you’ve never experienced refraction, it is very frustrating when trying to aim anything from air through a liquid. Ended up doing the whole thing by feel and finally had success.

Linda and Rich will be here again Sunday to try again!

That’s all I’ve got for now — should have some reports from Bruce by the time the snow flies (sure glad we’re not in Buffalo!).

December 2014

Dec. 14 — Save the Date!

The newly opened (on 11-23-14) South Shore MINI dealership in Rockland, Mass., is going to be hosting a special open house for NEMO members on Sunday, December 14th, in the morning before they open. It will include a brunch.

The exact details are to follow soon, but it was confirmed to me at Press Day (see accompanying article).

Now I know that this may mean that some Classics may not be able to attend if there is salt all over the roads, but it was the earliest date that could be arranged. Again, all details will be released as soon as I get them.

But even if you can’t drive your Classic, bring a new MINI or other vehicle and I am sure you will enjoy the brunch. —DN

October 2014

[1-Nov_14_Minis_at_Heritage.jpg] Front row of Minis (with a MINI) at the Heritage Museum show.
Photo by David Schwartz

NEMO at British Legends Weekend
by David Schwartz

SANDWICH, Mass., Oct. 10-12 — The 2014 edition of the Cape Cod British Car Club’s British Legends Weekend was based in the historic center of Sandwich. The weekend started Friday evening with a “Meet and Greet” at the Sandwich Lodge. Saturday featured two driving tours in appropriately rainy British weather. One was a traditional back roads tour, and the other was a historic tour of Sandwich with stops at the Sandwich Glass Museum, the 1637 Hoxie House and ending with High Tea at the Dunbar Tea Shop.

British Legends Weekend culminates in a car show on Sunday. This year the venue moved to the Heritage Museums and Gardens in Sandwich. The car show was held on the Lower Events Field, an irregularly shaped, hilly lawn, surrounded by woods and a short walk from the Museum’s many attractions, including the excellent outdoor café.

Highlights of the Museum are the extensive gardens, restored antique carousel, and their outstanding collection of antique automobiles. There are over 100 acres of display gardens and the grounds include a Labyrinth, Maze Garden, Windmill, Treehouse and the special exhibit, Big Bugs. The Automobile Gallery is housed in a reproduction of the Round Stone Barn at Hancock Shaker Village. The collection includes rarities such as a 1932 Auburn Boat Tail Speedster, a 1931 Duesenberg Model J owned by Gary Cooper, a 1915 Stutz Bearcat, a 1909 White steam car owned by President Taft and an 1899 Winton motor carriage. Two optional Museum tours were offered to show attendees: a guided tour of the auto collection, and a horticultural tour of the grounds and gardens. Both were well attended, and the auto tour sold out. Many “big kids” were seen riding the carousel.

NEMO was out in force this year, with eight classic Minis and one MINI. Members with cars registered were Dave Black, Dan St. Croix, Joe and Brenda Darisse, A.J. Cady, Chris Cole and Gail Gray, Greg Mazza, Mark Fodor and Chantal Brefort, Bruce Vild and Faith Lamprey, Betty Lehrman and yours truly. It was good to see Dan’s car back on the road after a long absence. We would have had a full sweep of classics, but Bruce’s car had a minor wiring fault shortly after leaving home (he found a loose wire to the coil on Sunday night). Fortunately he had a modern MINI as backup.

Cars were judged in 20 make and model classes, five “Best Marque Not Listed Elsewhere” classes, plus a British Motorcycle class. The award ceremony was quite long, but fortunately Minis were Class A. First place went to Chris Cole’s ’99 Rover Mini, sporting a classy white roof over blue body, 2nd went to my ’68 Mini Traveller complete with Doctor Who embellishments (small blue box, bigger on the inside), and 3rd was awarded to Dan St. Croix’s ’71 Mini Cooper with a sharp two-tone black-over-tan paint job.

Exiting the field when the show ended proved to be a challenge for Minis parked in the back row. A.J.’s car has slick track tires, which didn’t perform well on wet grass. Dan was parked on the steepest section of the hill, and we were about to offer a push when his tires finally grabbed. Those of us who arrived early got to park in the front row where the lawn didn’t slope as much.

The Cape Cod British Car Club received a lot of positive feedback about the excellent venue. Hopefully the show will be back at Heritage Museums and Gardens next year. The Museum is worth a trip any time of year and their website has a “blooms calendar” so you can visit when your favorite flowers or trees are at their peak. See their website, heritagemuseumsandgardens.org, for additional information.

October 2014

[2-Nov_14_Stowe_Line.jpg] The Mini line at Stowe.
Photo by Dave & Barbara Newman

British Invasion Report
by Dave Newman

STOWE, Vt., Sept. 19-21 — A pleasant Friday, mixed Saturday and sunny Sunday were what the weather served up for this year’s British Invasion. Over 16 NEMO members attended (more if I missed somebody) with mostly classic Minis and one MINI ClubVan.

After checking in at the big tent and receiving our packets and registration gift, we set off to the rather chilly tables for beer and other refreshments at the Queen’s Court. After that we retired to our hotels, with most NEMO members staying at the Arbor Inn, which happens to be next to Gracie’s Restaurant. At 7:30 p.m. we were seated inside for a very nice meal and afterwards settled into bed for the early rise on Saturday.

The show day was chilly and just on the edge of showers all day. But the number of cars and especially Minis was high. The other marques were well represented, too. The number of vendors selling goods was also excellent.

After the voting was done, the winners in the Classic Mini 1959 to 1969 class were David Icaza and his wonderfully restored 1969 Austin Mini Countryman wagon 1st, and Bert and Kathleen Peterson and their 1960 Austin Mini 2nd. In the Classic Mini and Variant 1970 to 2000 class, 1st went to the super 1982 Mini Van of Judy and Paul Nevin and 2nd to the 1999 Rover Mini Cooper of Ron Blanchette.

Other NEMO members in attendance were Paul Burton, Mark Fodor and Chantal Brefort, Lorine and Derick Karabec, Bruce Vild and Faith Lamprey, Dave Black, Greg Mazza, John and Lisa Mastrandrea and kids, my wife, Barbara Newman, and I.

Saturday night was special for those NEMO members staying at the Arbor Inn. Mike and Cody, the owners, put on a wine and cheese party and brought out silly hats for us to wear, so they can blackmail us with the photos if we don’t return to the fine B&B next year. After the wine and cheese, we returned to Gracie’s Restaurant for another fine dinner, this time in the heated tent outdoors.

Sunday was bright and sunny. Barbara and I did the Notch Run with our ClubVan. I highly recommend this as an activity as the road is steep and curvy but tame. After that was the tailgate contest and colors competition at the show field. Around noon most of us left for home.

Another fine weekend at Stowe with fellow NEMO members! If you have never done it, I recommend you go. And if you want to stay at the Arbor Inn and enjoy the fun, call them and get on the waiting list. Most patrons renew their reservations for the next year at checkout time.

October 2014

Holiday Party Dec. 6!

The NEMO Holiday Party will be held at J.D. Cooper’s in Putnam, Conn., on Saturday, December 6th, at 12 noon. For you folks with a GPS, the address is 146 Park Road, Putnam, CT 06260, (860) 928-0501. Take Exit 95 (Kennedy Drive) off I-395. Kennedy Drive becomes Park Road. J.D. Cooper’s is about a mile from the exit.

We need a head count so RSVP by e-mailing nemo@auroratechedi.com or calling me at (401) 766-6519. Let me know how many are attending (and ages of any kids).

The club will subsidize the cost of the buffet for members, so the member cost is only $12. Kids under 12 are half price and those under 3 are free.

We will be holding a Yankee Swap so plan to bring a wrapped gift (try to keep the cost below $25). A Yankee Swap means that someone else may “take” your gift when it is their turn to pick. You get to pick a gift for every gift you bring (please, no more than one per person).

Our Holiday Party is one of our more popular events every year and this central location in Connecticut is convenient for the majority of our members. Hope to see you there! —Faith Lamprey

September 2014

[2-Oct_14_CV_Canada.jpg] Buffalo by way of Canada. Woody in a wine area north of the border.
Photo by Barbara Newman

Woody at ‘MINI Takes the States’
by Dave Newman

Have you ever seen over 600 MINIs in one place at one time? Barbara and I did when we joined the “MINI Takes the States” event in Buffalo, New York.

MINI Takes the States (MTTS) is a biennial event put on by MINI-USA for owners of any type of Mini. And that includes Classics, as there were a handful of them and a Moke joining all the various types of MINI.

This year was the fifth event and the biggest ever according to Tonine McGarvie, Market Co-op Events Specialist for MINI-USA. The event took place over 16 days, starting in San Francisco and winding its way across the USA and totaling 5,142 miles!

Each morning started with a “Rise and Shine” meeting and breakfast, then a run averaging about 350 miles a day driving with fun stops en route, and then a nighttime activity. Over 350 participants made it all the way, from “Chowder” to “Chowdah” as they said. Our little four days was one of the best vacations in our entire lives! Woo hoo!

We decided to join MTTS in Buffalo. But first, we crossed into Canada on the Peace Bridge and stayed overnight in St. Catherine’s, Ontario. On Thursday, August 7th, we visited wine country and drove to Fort George to join the party on the Canadian side called “MINI Invasion.” MINI-CA organized two hundred Canadians with their MINIs to party and then drive to Buffalo en masse in the Invasion. More owners who just wanted to join the party and lots of Yanks like us also came. These were the friendliest people anywhere. They took our picture, fed us, had entertainment, and gave us a swag bag with a MINI Invasion T-shirt!

Since we were not part of the Invasion Force, we left an hour early for Buffalo and Towne MINI. There was a special fundraising T-shirt for sale and we just had to buy a couple. They also had a New York State Police-escorted convoy going from their dealership to Riverside, a venue on the Buffalo waterfront for the night’s entertainment. For those of you who were at Mini Meet East in 1998 and experienced “Hrach’s Wild Ride” into Boston, escorted by the Massachusetts State Police, you will know what this escorted ride was like! We even had an officer yell at us to slow down, as we blasted through a corner near an intersection. (Yeah, me. Captain Slow of NEMO.) When we arrived, a British style rock band was playing Beatles music. There was food, drink, dancing, girls wearing Union Jack mini-skirt outfits and boots, and, of course, over 600 MINIs with 1300 guests and staff. What a great night!

The next morning, the Rise and Shine was at Towne MINI. The strip mall nearby was converted into nose-to-tail parking for the 600-plus MINIs. We bought lots of swag. The people at American Express probably took the afternoon off after Barbara lit up the use of the card.

We met Tonine and Brian from the MINI HQ and found out that Brian was the MINI Surf Tour marketing guy and that our Woody ClubVan, formerly owned by MINI-USA, was on the 2013 surfboard tour. Right after that, there was the daily raffle and our car was named “Car of the Day”! We were awarded a Tony Hawk-designed skateboard, signed by him, and a large magnetic MTTS logo for our hood. Another Woo hoo!

Friday’s drive was from Buffalo to Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Not long into the trip was a stop in LeRoy, N.Y., at the Jell-O Museum. Who would have guessed there was one!

September 2014

[1-Oct_14_Beth_Start.jpg] NEMO members at the Bethlehem, Pa., start.
Photo by Barbara Newman

The towns of Batavia and LeRoy were told in advance that over 600 MINI Coopers would be visiting. The townspeople were sitting in chairs near the road, standing on the sidewalks and cheering on the cars. We experienced kids under 10 yelling at our car, “Woody, Woody!” And adults over 50 shouting, “Look, a Woody!” I figured it out. Kids know the Pixar movie Cars with the Woody character and adults grew up with Woodies and the Beach Boys.

The Jell-O Museum was wonderful and not to be missed if in the area. The town even stopped road construction that day to accommodate the group, and their school parking lot and playing fields were packed with all the MINIs.

Next stop was supposed to be the Penn Yan Fair. We missed it. But we didn’t miss downtown Watkins Glen on a NASCAR weekend. Six hundred MINIs arriving at once on a two-lane road with six traffic lights made for a massive two-hour traffic jam. This delayed our arrival in Bethlehem and we missed the evening activity of concerts at Musikfest (see last month’s article by fellow attendee Skip Tannen). But Saturday morning found us bright and early at the ArtsQuest center for the Rise and Shine, breakfast, a meeting with Skip and Barb, Joyce Newman (no relation) and her friend from Boston, and of course more buying of swag.

Then we were off on the run to Boston. Within 20 miles we were off course. So we took a short cut via GPS and got back on course a hundred miles later.

Route 84 in Connecticut reared its ugly head and gave us a 50-mile traffic jam all the way to Hartford. After Hartford we were on back roads near Putnam. Wow, some nice MINI roads. In Putnam we had a NEMO greeting team at the side of the road — Tom Judson, Dave Black, Dan St Croix and friend and a British couple who were friends of Dave Black!

After a half hour of talking and watching for more MINIs we hightailed it for Boston. So many MINIs were off course and delayed that they missed the excellent stretch of Connecticut roads near Putnam. Such is life.

Saturday night was a party on the Boston waterfront at the Institute for Contemporary Art, with more food, entertainment and raffles. The MINI of Peabody crowd joined us. Then it was home for the night and back at the Pier 4 parking lot for the Sunday morning Rise and Shine. More swag, breakfast, raffles, freebies, pictures taken, awards presented, and a marriage proposal (she said yes).

Then, just as quickly as it started, it was over. We were tired and very, very happy. On the ride home to Kingston, Mass., we made up our minds to join MTTS 2016 in two years time. We think we will go all the way! When you add up the time and expense, the cost is about the same as two weeks on a luxury cruise ship.

Plus MTTS has more things to do and 1,300 new friends! Woo hoo, again!

September 2014

[3-Oct_14_Estates.jpg] Estates at the July British Car Night invited comparisons. Left to right: The Tannens’ JCW Clubman, David’s ’68 Traveller and the Newmans’ ClubVan.
Photo by David Schwartz


Wings & Wheels
by David Schwartz

STOW, Mass. — This past summer, every Thursday night from June through August, Minute Man Airfield in Stow held a Cruise-in/Fly-in. Each week featured a specific marque and British Car Night was held once a month. Other marques were also welcome, but they had to park on the opposite side of the field, while the featured cars parked together in a very long row. There was no fee to attend, and food service was provided by Nancy’s Airfield Café. Instead of serving an indoor sit-down dinner, they set up a huge grill and brick pizza oven outside, with dining in the rough. The food was excellent, although some items sold out before the end of the evening. The Rotary Club helped run the event and sold ice cream, drinks and snacks.

The first British Car Night on June 12th was rained out, but the weather was perfect for the event on July 17th. NEMO members Dave and Barbara Newman were joined by Skip and Barb Tannen and yours truly. It was a meeting of Mini and MINI Estate variations, with my ’68 Traveller, the Newmans’ ClubVan and the Tannens’ JCW Clubman. There was also a nice cross-section of vintage cars, including a gorgeous ’53 MG, MGAs, MGBs, Triumphs and a Jaguar. A Mazda Miata also snuck in.

A young father and his daughter enjoyed sitting in my Mini. Dad had grown up in Ireland and he was excited to show his daughter a Classic Mini similar to the car in which he learned to drive. He told me that shortly after getting his driver’s license a friend said it was impossible to flip a Mini. Unfortunately, he proved that was not the case.

The weather was also beautiful on August 14th for the final British Car Night of the summer, though there was a hint of fall in the air, and the show was cut short by the early sunset. This time I was joined by the Tannens in their 1965 Austin-Healey Sprite. There were two MINIs with very enthusiastic owners, but no other Classic Minis. The high points were a bright red Jaguar XK120 and a Morris Minor convertible, both of which looked better than new. The owner of a vintage Land Rover perched a large stuffed lion on the roof. A nice selection of MGs and a Triumph TR3 were also in attendance.

As usual I invited kids of all ages to sit in my Mini. There was a blind woman at the show with her husband, and as they walked around each car he described it to her. I asked the woman if she would like to “drive.” She happily agreed, and sat behind the wheel with a huge smile on her face.

If Minute Man Airfield runs this event again next year, I would encourage other NEMO members to make the trip. The show starts at 5 p.m., so plan to arrive early in order to avoid rush hour traffic and for the best selection of food. There are photos and video clips are available on the Wings and Wheels website http://wingsandwheelsma.com and Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/WingsandWheelsMA.

August 2014

[1-Sept_14_MMTS_Skip.jpg] MINIs from many states, in Boston, ready to head home at MTTS’s end.
Photos by Skip Tannen

Back Home, Exhausted, But Still Smiling
by Skip Tannen

MINI Takes the States (MTTS) 2014 is over. The excitement of traveling with so many MINIs and partying with so many wonderful people is now just a memory, but the memory will last for a very long time.

I keep going on about what an incredible group of people the MINI community is clearly that’s what leaves such a lasting impression every time we do a MINI event. And along with the warmth and openness we’ve felt from so many of them, there is the sense of fun and adventure. I have never met so many people who are willing to jump in their cars and drive so many miles for the pure enjoyment of driving and connecting with other like-minded enthusiasts.

MTTS went from San Francisco to Boston in 16 days, but many people drove from quite far to get to San Francisco and then drove all the way across the country. It was not uncommon to hear about people driving 7,000, 8,000 or more miles over the course of many weeks. Altogether 475 people in 250 MINIs drove MTTS coast to coast. That’s either dedication or insanity. I’m not sure which!

Having never done an MTTS before, we decided to keep it short and it’s a good thing we did. We were wiped after three days and only 675 miles! We drove to Bethlehem, Pa., on Friday in a small Massachusetts caravan of blue MINIs — Barb and me in the Clubman, Arthur White and Joyce Newman in Art’s Cooper S, and Ian and David Hamilton in their Roadster. Once in Bethlehem we checked in to our hotel, gawked at the MINI tour bus and all the other MINIs in the parking lot, dumped our stuff in our room, had a quick glass of wine with Joyce and Art, and then headed over to SteelStacks for the evening event.

SteelStacks is on the site of the former Bethlehem Steel plant and it was really an experience going there. Having succumbed because of the much cheaper (price and quality) products from Japan, Bethlehem Steel started to decline in the early ’80s and finally shut down production completely in 1995. The derelict buildings remain along with the massive blast furnace towers and associated structures. Those towers are quite a sight to see, especially when lit up at night.

The property now houses ArtsQuest, which contains an arts center, educational facilities, concert stages, a casino, and an array of shops and restaurants. The big event of the year is Musikfest, sponsored by the Yuengling Brewery. This is a ten-day event with 500 concerts, and MTTS happened to be rolling through during the event. It was striking to see the massive buildings and blast furnace towers standing silently hundreds of feet in the air. The death of the American steel industry felt so much more dramatic seeing the scale of the plant, and thinking about what it was like when Bethlehem was the world leader in steel production. All the noise and smells must have been overwhelming.

August 2014

[2-Sept_14_Steel_Skip.jpg] SteelStacks, site of Musikfest in Bethlehem.
Photo by Skip Tannen

When we arrived at SteelStacks, we were guided to a large parking lot reserved just for the MINIs. After checking out the cars, we enjoyed the party, eating, drinking, socializing and listening to music (surprisingly, I have developed a taste for Yuengling beer!). Then it was back to the hotel for a few hours of sleep before returning to SteelStacks for the morning party and rally send-off.

The drive to Boston was long and grueling. There were quite a few wrong turns, rough roads and traffic tie-ups (thank you, Waterbury, Conn. — we will hate you forever). But there were also some really great parts: traveling in caravans with lots of other MINIs, enjoying a few nice, twisty side roads, and seeing people’s reactions when they came upon gangs of unique little cars.

Arriving in Boston was similar to Bethlehem — we dropped our stuff at the B&B, met friends in the Seaport District for a few beers at the Atlantic Brewing Company, and went to the evening event at the Institute of Contemporary Art. This was another fantastic party with food, drink, music, and hundreds of MINI friends.

The next morning was the farewell event on Pier 4 with lots of smiles, laughter, tears, and even a marriage proposal by Mike Marzo, who is very well known in the MINI community. Mike and his girlfriend Stephanie drove the entire coast-to-coast run. During the farewell event he brought her up on stage. While talking about her and leading up to the proposal, a group of people snuck up behind them and held up signs to clue in the crowd. Stephanie had no idea what was going on behind her, but we all did. She accepted Mike’s proposal and not a single eye was dry.

During the closing proceedings, David Duncan, Regional Vice President of MINI USA, talked about the event and some of the things that make MTTS so special. One thing he said really resonated with me: “When you buy a MINI you aren’t just buying a car. You are also getting a family.” It’s really true.

After all the goodbyes we headed for home, happy, exhausted and looking forward to seeing a wildly wagging dog tail and not driving anywhere for a couple of days.

Yup, we’ll do it again in 2016.

August 2014

[3-Sept_14_Missel.jpg] Dave with award-winning Mini.
Photo by Barbara Newman

A Mini Goes to Misselwood
by Dave Newman

BEVERLY FARMS, Mass., July 27 — Did you ever think of entering your classic Mini in a very high-class concours? We didn’t, until just recently.

The Misselwood Concours d’Elegance is hosted yearly by Endicott College in Beverly as a scholarship fundraiser. The Sunday show takes place on the grounds of the Endicott Estate, which is located right on the coast of the Atlantic Ocean. They also hold a Saturday drive and gala event in Boston on Saturday night. Barbara and I went to the Sunday show with our 1960 Morris Mini 850.

A few weeks before the event, we saw a Misselwood listing on the MINI of Peabody (MOP) Facebook page. Lyon-Waugh Group, the owners of MOP, are major show sponsors, and Cidalia Schwartz, Marketing Director for Lyon-Waugh is a graduate of Endicott College. So I e-mailed her and asked if it was too late to submit an application. This show requires you to submit details and pictures in advance and you must be selected for the group of 125 vehicles. Cidalia contacted the Chairman and he said to submit.

We were selected a few days before the event. We spent the day before the show cleaning, fixing, waxing, and generally prepping the car for such a high-class event. Most shows we attend only mean washing and vacuuming.

After an hour-and-a-half drive we arrived at the Endicott Estate, received our goodie bag, and were positioned on the Beach Lawn area in front of a vendor tent. Our Mini was next to a Ferrari and a Lambo, impressive neighbors. Cars built from 1910 to 1976 were spread out over the lawns of the vast estate. Check out their website for pictures, but suffice it to say that this was a classy show.

Being participants got us breakfast and lunch in the VIP tent, plus a tour of the house. The views of the Atlantic and the harbor were spectacular, but the weather not so good. A sunny morning gave way to torrential downpours around noon. Our sliding car windows were open and we were ten minutes away in the VIP tent. Our guardian angel was Mark Forester, our Motoring Advisor from MOP, who closed the windows for us when the rain started. What a nice car guy!

When the rain slowed down, I made my way to the car expecting it to be full of water, but it was dry. The vendor tent behind us had emptied and it was the perfect Mini size to park the car. Of course, being the only dry area, the tent filled with spectators and it was a great hour-long Q&A session with people asking all about the Mini. It was a popular car and the only Mini at the show.

The award ceremony started early inside the VIP tent. Barbara was there with Cidalia, and she texted me that we won in our class. I thought she was kidding and ignored the text. About half an hour later, Cidalia ran up to the car and yelled, “Congratulations!” I guess it was not a joke. We won the award for Best in Class, Class X — Most Significant 1960-1969. This was surprising to me as there were so many nice cars in that class! But our little Mini 850 did us proud!

So with the rain continuing, Barbara made her way back and we departed. This was the first time we had run the car in a downpour and found out that the defroster fan was not working. So we opened the sliding windows and vented that way, otherwise the windscreen would fog. At home that night, Barbara mentioned that while cleaning the interior, she had found a wire with a connector on one end and put it in the door pocket for safekeeping. It was the wire from the blower fan motor.

We both recommend that NEMO members attend the show next year, even if just as spectators. It is well worth the day out. The 2015 event is scheduled for July 25-26, with the show on Sunday.

July 2014

[1-Aug_14_Kids_Funkhana.jpg] Derick Karabec helps in the Kids’ Funkhana.
Photo by Lorine Karabec

East Meets West at Mini Meet
by Lorine Karabec

MILWAUKEE, Wisc. — There are both East Coast and West Coast Mini Meets annually that take place in different states every year, hosted by different Mini clubs. Every five years, the East Coast and West Coast meet somewhere in between for an East Meets West Mini Meet. This year’s event took place in Milwaukee July 2-5. There were approximately 110 cars divided evenly between MINIs and classic Minis, with about 185 attendees.

Mini Meet was quickly approaching and it was time for Derick to go through our 1974 Innocenti Mini to make sure everything was in order for the upcoming road trip. He changed the oil, repacked the wheel bearings, and replaced the brake hoses and CV boots. He checked everything else that could conceivably go wrong. After all, we would be driving the car 2,000 miles round trip!

We left New York on Saturday, June 28th, at 7:30 a.m. and drove 10 hours before reaching our first destination in Marblehead, Ohio. Marblehead is a tourist beach and boating community located on Lake Erie. Five years ago, when traveling to the East Meets West Meet in Winona, Minn., we stumbled upon the Victorian Inn Bed and Breakfast. We enjoyed our stay there and decided to make it our first stop on this trip. While en route to Marblehead, the car started making a noise that did not sound good. By the time we arrived at the Inn, the car sounded terrible in first, second and third gears.

Sunday morning we got up and traveled to our next stop, a stay with some Mini friends in the Chicago area. As the day went on the noise got worse. We arrived Sunday evening without incident. Monday the guys did a rear brake job on our friend’s classic Mini. Tuesday they pulled the engine out of our car and found that the end bearing on the transmission gear cluster had gone bad. It literally fell out when the transmission was removed! Luckily our friend had the spare parts to make repairs. The bearing was replaced and the engine put back in the car. We were good to continue on our journey.

We left Chicago on Wednesday afternoon to make the drive up to Wisconsin. We made a pit stop at the Jelly Belly factory in Pleasant Prairie, Wisc. They had a bar area where we sampled some of their more bizarre flavors. They allow you to sample all the flavors that you wish!

We arrived at the host hotel just before dinner, checked in, unpacked and settled in. We met up for dinner in typical Mini fashion, with a dinner reservation for 10.

Thursday, July 3rd, was a day on your own with fireworks in the evening. We drove to the locale, and there were two shuttle school buses available for those who did not want to drive. Barbeque food was available to purchase at the site. At the conclusion of the fireworks the buses were geared up to leave but couldn’t budge — they were stuck in the mud! Again in Mini fashion, everyone got out and pushed. They managed to get one bus out of the mud, but the second bus needed professional help and arrived back at the hotel an hour and a half late.

Friday was an organized drive through the Kettle Moraine area. The drive ended at the car show field. Immediately following the show the cars were directed by class to a lower field where a panoramic photo was taken.

July 2014

[2-Aug_14_Alex_Kinsman.jpg] Alex Kinsman, excited about his award (read on).
Photo by Lorine Karabec


Saturday was a busy day! There were four events taking place simultaneously. The Funkhana was from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. At the same time, there was a guest speaker presentation, a “cheesy” driving tour and a brewery driving tour. For those of you who know us, you know which event we chose — the Funkhana!

The Funkhana featured Milwaukee area references including the ’70s sitcom Laverne and Shirley. The course started with the navigator filling a huge glass stein with two liters of water. I had to run the entire course holding the stein. The object was not to spill any water, or points would be added to our time. The next stop was for both the driver and navigator. Here we picked up a designer lederhosen apron, a hat to be worn throughout the course, and three strings of sausages. Then the driver had to back up and perform a 360° turn in reverse around a five-foot inflatable pretzel. At the next station we had to assemble a cheese puzzle and pick up various-sized pieces of cheese, then on to the “snowball fight,” a bean bag toss through a snowman’s head. From there the driver had to go through a slalom course with a stop to go bowling. You got deductions off your time for the number of pins knocked down. Then it was on to the last station to empty all the collected goodies out of our car: full beer stein, hats, aprons, strings of sausages and pieces of cheese. Finally it was back into our car and off to the finish line.

Saturday night was the final hoorah of the event, the banquet and awards ceremony. There was a brass polka band playing throughout the night and plenty of food. Fellow NEMO members received awards. Derick and I were awarded 2nd place in the classic Mini Funkhana class. Derick, along with Julia and Jessica Mastrandrea, placed 1st in the Funkhana Kids’ class. The Brian Owens award was presented to Mike Bernard of Maryland for his beautiful 1967 Old English White UK Moke. And the moment you have all been waiting for... our beloved Hrach Memorial Award was humbly accepted by Alex Kinsman of England. The presentation left Alex speechless and brought tears to his eyes. We couldn’t think of anyone more deserving of this award.

Congratulations to both Mike and Alex!

Sunday morning we got on the highway at 6:25 a.m. CST to make the trip home in one day. We got as far as I-84 in Pennsylvania before getting stuck in our first parking-lot traffic jam. Two lanes merged into one and the car started overheating. We were in the Pennsylvania hills so Derick turned off the engine and we “go-karted” down the hills! Once the car cooled down and traffic started to move we were ready to continue motoring.

Around 11 p.m. we hit our second major traffic jam. Same story, except now it was dark out and we did not want to turn off the car while sitting in a lane on the highway. We pulled onto the shoulder and turned off the car. When cars started to move and the engine was cool we would get back into the lane. It was stop and go. Our routine continued, going off to the shoulder and rejoining the formation. We finished our journey 17.25 hours later, arriving home at 12:45 a.m. EST!

July 2014

[3-Aug_14_Clowns.jpg] Clowning around in front of David’s car.
Photo by David Schwartz

Minis at the Microcar Classic
by David Schwartz

NEWTON, Mass. — The weather was perfect for the Gould family’s 19th Annual Microcar Classic, a weekend-long celebration of microcars and minicars. This year’s event included a nice variety of classic Minis and derivatives, including a Wolseley Hornet, three Mokes, a Van, an Estate, and numerous Saloons. On Saturday, six Minis participated in the Microtour from the Goulds’ home in Newton to Mt. Wachusett in Princeton. I am happy to report there were no breakdowns among the Minis.

Sunday was the lawn event at the Larz Anderson Auto Museum in Brookline. This started with brunch at the Goulds’ followed by a four-mile parade from Newton to the Museum. It was great fun to witness people’s reactions when a caravan of micro and minicars drive by. Parking at the Museum was organized by class and this year we had a line of 11 classic Minis. NEMO was well represented among the owners, and we signed up at least one new member.

The Karabecs’ Wolseley Hornet set a high standard in the Mini class. Derick did a beautiful restoration job, with a maroon and grey two-tone paint job (technically Damask Red over Tioga White), Dove Grey leather upholstery by Newton and custom interior wood trim. Lorine was responsible for detailing and the car really sparkled.

My Mini Traveller wore its clown costume again this year, which is always a big hit with kids of all ages. A British family I met at last year’s show told me about “Red Nose Day,” where people all over the UK wear clown noses to raise money for charity. This was my inspiration for handing out foam clown noses to all the kids who sat in my car.

Many micro- and minicar owners volunteer to give rides around the Museum grounds. This is a high point for the public, with people lining up again and again to ride in as many different cars as possible. There were a lot of smiling faces among the passengers and drivers.

Judging was by people’s choice, and there was a separate class for Minis. The winners this year were:

1st, 1965 Wolseley Hornet, Derick and Lorine Karabec
2nd, the “Hrach” 1966 Mini Moke, Ken Lemoine
3rd, 1982 Mini 1000, Andy Ray

Winners in other classes included the following:

In Microcars, 1st, 1957 Isetta 300, Tom O'Neill
2nd, 1957 Isetta Cabrio SW, Phil and Faith Ulzheimer
3rd, 1960 Goggo, Mark Nelson

In Minicars, 1st, 1991 Nissan Figaro, David Costello
2nd, 1981 Trabant, Luke Vancraeynest
3rd, 2009 BRA CX3, Steve Kaplan

In Metropolitans, 1st, 1957 Met, John Govoni
2nd, 1959 Met, Harvey Epstein

July 2014

[4-Aug_14_Police.jpg] Liverpool Police Car stole the show in the Mini class. Note ‘Hrach’ Moke parked next to it.
Photo by David Schwartz

British Car Day, Mini-style
by David Schwartz

BROOKLINE, Mass., June 22 — The Larz Anderson Auto Museum, which hosted the show for the Microcar Classic last month, also sponsors an annual British Car Day open to all British automobiles regardless of make, model or year. The show attracts a wide variety of cars and there are usually a few unexpected gems. Owners arrive very early to seek out prime spots in the shade. Keep that in mind for next year, as Minis were scattered in random locations around the upper and lower lawns. This made it difficult to get an accurate count, but I estimate seven classic Minis and two MINIs.

<[>One of the gems at the show was a 1951 Jaguar XK120 coupe with rear wheel skirts. This was a beautifully sculpted car reminiscent of high-end prewar Italian cars.

Also in the gem category was a Vanden Plas Princess 1300, which was launched as a luxury variant on a family of small BMC cars (Austin 1100 and 1300, Austin America, MG 1100 and 1300, etc.). The Princess grille was clearly influenced by an earlier collaboration between BMC and Rolls-Royce. Viewing the car from the front most people would not realize it was based on a BMC economy platform. The Princess, owned by Croan McCormack, won the award for Best in Show.

Many NEMO members were present at the show, including the Newmans with their Club Van, Ken Lemoine with his “Hrach” Moke and the Gould family with their green Moke. I drove my Mini Traveller, and Faith and Bruce were in attendance with Faith’s original-owner 1980 MGB. Monique Gould, Charles and Nancy Gould’s (of Microcar Classic fame) older daughter, exhibited the family’s 1962 Metropolitan, and won the event’s “Special Interest” award.

Ken’s Moke garnered a lot of attention, but the star attraction for classic Minis was an authentic Cooper S Liverpool Police Car. The car was painted white and black, with a blue police light mounted on the roof. The current owner has paperwork documenting the car’s history, which is important considering a previous owner converted the car to left-hand drive.

Predictably, the Police Car was the winner in the classic Mini category. I gave the owner a NEMO application so perhaps we will see the car at a future NEMO event.

July 2014

[1-Jul_14_fording.jpg] Fording in a Riley Elf.
Photo by Craig

A Mini Day Out in Wales
by Tony Haslam

CHESTER, Ches, UK, June 1 — A new club has started in a nearby town to Chester called the Flintshire Mini Owners Club, and Craig, one of the members, invited me to join him on his first organized Mini run. I decided to help boost the numbers to encourage Craig, as many members of clubs tend to say to the leaders, “Why don’t you do a run to X?”

We say to them, “Why us all the time, why don’t you organize a run instead?”

Not many take up the offer when they realize that to organize a run is not so simple and entails a fair amount of preparation and research!

Four Minis and my Riley Elf met in the car park of the local pub where the club holds its monthly meetings. We waited a while for any latecomers to no avail and then off we went. The run took in some very narrow Welsh lanes, some with a few passing bays (essential around here). Craig did a good job taking the lead and making sure we all stuck together in convoy (or caravan, as you call them in the USA). We managed to stop a few times to take photos and allow some Minis to catch up.

We took in a small area called World’s End, a very desolate area on top of the moors, and descended into a valley to cross a shallow ford. The ford is where water passes over the road, and yes it is cheaper than a sewer underneath. We rarely suffer severe winters here but occasionally the frost does damage the road in a case like this. Craig went off first to park his Mini and walk back to take some photos of the Minis driving through the water. I followed and tried to splash him but failed! All the Minis managed to cross the stream without stalling.

The next stage took us through the town of Llangollen, a lovely town that sits on the River Dee, which provides water for the cities of Chester and Liverpool. This was followed by a few miles drive on the A5 motorway. Many years ago the A5 was the main stagecoach route to carry the Irish mail from London to Holyhead and then by ferry to Ireland.

After a stop for lunch and a chat we drove to Lake Benin and onto Pensarn Beach on the North Wales coast for a photo shoot. This was where we disbanded and found our own way home. The actual distance covered on the run was 90 miles, but for me it was a total of 120!

[Contrib. Ed. note: Tony lives in Chester, which is about 20 miles south of Liverpool and is known as the “Gateway to North Wales.” —DS]

July 2014

[2-Jul_14_Riley_BBTS.jpg] One of the many Rileys on display, a One Point Five. Note the family resemblance to Tony Haslam’s Riley Elf!
Photo courtesy NEMO

British by the Sea 2014
by David Schwartz

WATERFORD, Conn., June 1 — The Connecticut MG Club’s 27th Annual British by the Sea had a record-breaking 408 vehicles registered. No doubt the beautiful sunny day helped the turnout.

This year’s featured marque was Riley, and there was a nice selection of cars from the 1930s through 1959. Fans of the Mini-based Riley Elf will note a very strong resemblance to the face of a 1959 Riley One-Point-Five (think Honey, I Shrunk the Riley).

Of course there were a huge number of MGs, including a 1937 VA 1.5 Litre Saloon with suicide doors, factory sunroof, tool kit built into the boot, and a level of luxury reminiscent of Bentley or Jaguar. Another unusual car was a 1959 Singer Gazelle, which has a hood ornament shaped like the head of a gazelle.

There were nine classic Minis in a rainbow of colors and four body styles: saloon, van, pick-up and cabrio. Eight MINIs were present with multiple Coopers, a Clubman and the rare ClubVan.

NEMO was well represented with nine car owners and five winners. Faith and Bruce were quite busy in their vendor tent, and other NEMO members were seen walking the grounds.

The winners in the Mini Classic category were: 1st, Mark Fodor in a 1974 Cooper, painted bright green with a green and white checkerboard roof, 2nd, Tom Marantz in a 1967 Cooper painted a classy two-tone Almond Green with a white roof, and 3rd, Tom Judson in a 1964 Van in bright yellow with chrome and black wheels.

In the Mini New (MINI) category the winners were: 1st, Barbara and David Newman in a 2013 ClubVan (see the related “Rarest MINI Model” story in this issue), 2nd, Antonio Sapata in a 2006 Cooper, 3rd, Marisa Evans in a 2008 Clubman.

The Connecticut MG club website has a large number of show photos and an aerial video at http://www.ctmgclub.com/BBtS.html

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July 2014

[3-Jul_14_ClubVan.jpg] Newman ClubVan at BBTS.
Photo by David Schwartz

The Rarest MINI Model in the USA?
by Dave Newman

Barbara and I now own a MINI Truck. That’s right, a 2013 MINI ClubVan. With about 50 sold in the USA before they were pulled from the line-up by MINI, it is so far the rarest model sold in the USA. Ours is confirmed to be number 18. MINI headquarters will not confirm the exact number sold, but press accounts range from 49 to 56. And it is not just a Clubman with plastic wrap over the rear windows.

The ClubVan made a big splash a few years ago at the Geneva Auto Show, announced as a “premium compact delivery van.” Just the thing for boutique shops to deliver a modest 30 cu. ft. of cargo and a useful payload of 816 lbs. Basically it is a Clubman with the rear seat removed, the rear windows replaced by polycarbonate on the outside and padded carpet inside, and the addition of a cage between the front and rear cargo area to protect the driver and passenger from any cargo shifting forward on a quick stop. It also has different interior trim in the back from the Clubman, more tie-down points and twin 12V DC outlets.

Up front is it a standard MINI Cooper, with the 1.6-liter, 121hp engine. Ours has the 6-speed manual transmission. Colors available in the line-up were Pepper White, Ice Blue, British Racing Green and Midnight Black. Ours is white, with the optional 16” star wheels and summer tires. No run-flats on this baby van.

Now other than being the hippest van around, ours was previously enjoyed by BMW-MINI as a company car assigned to the 2013 Al Merrick/Channel Islands Surfboards tour, one of two ClubVans on the East Coast tour from Miami to York, Maine. (Another was on the West Coast.) It originally was decorated with a red wrap on the roof, signs for Channel Islands and MINI and a “woody” side wrap, with racks and a small surfboard on top. MINI of Peabody removed the red top, signs and the surfboard before putting it up for sale. But the woody-wrapped sides and back and the roof racks remained.

Barbara and I knew that the van was for sale months before we attended the “Bloody Original Launch Event” for the new MINI hardtop at MINI of Peabody in May (see last month’s Marque). When we pulled up to the front parking lot, there, under the lights, was the ClubVan. We asked if it was sold. Not yet. We had to have it. Cool looking, limited edition, woody sides and cute. The next morning the deal was done. It had 6,700 miles on it and a brand new set of tires. It is like new!

So what’s it like to drive? It has to be the smoothest riding two-seater MINI model, with a whacking big boot. The handling is the usual go-kart-like MINI. The smooth ride has to do with the longer wheelbase and multi-link rear suspension provided by the Clubman base model, but without the weight of the rear seat. Seating is low for great headroom, and power is O.K. if you find the sweet spot of torque somewhere around 4000rpm. After all, this is not a Cooper S turbo. And having that cage behind you provides confidence that cargo is not going to smash you in the head when you drive it as it’s supposed to be driven.

Are you a diehard Top Gear fan? Then you might remember the 2012 episode when they did “the news” and showed the concept pictures of the ClubVan from the Geneva Motor Show. It was a BRG van with mocked-up company lettering, looking quite nice and “English village shop.” James May hated it. He mocked the German owners of MINI for thinking that “we in Britain might like to drive around in Twee little vans” made up to look like the 1960s original Mini Van. But when they were offered in Britain and Europe, especially with the EU-only diesel engine option, they sold to boutique shops like hotcakes!

So why didn’t they sell in the USA? BMW-MINI ran into the dreaded 1960s “Chicken Tax” of 25% on any small commercial vehicle imported into the USA.

Seems that half a century ago, LBJ signed into law a tariff on many things imported into the USA in retaliation the high tariffs placed on American-produced chickens sold into Germany and France. Over the years, the only part of the law to remain is the 25% tariff on small commercial trucks. Like ones with only two seats and called a van, like the MINI ClubVan. This caused the offer price in the USA to skyrocket to $27,000 or more. And with cheaper small vans like the Ford Transit Connect, it was doomed in sales.

So why is the Ford, brought in from Turkey, not subject to the tax? It ships with a back seat, making it a passenger van not a cargo van. The cheap bench seat is simply unbolted after it arrives making it a cargo van.

MINI ended production of the original Clubman model as of June 2014. Like the Clubman? Better get one soon. With the base auto discontinued the ClubVan was also discontinued, after selling in the thousands in Britain and Europe. And what about Canada, you say? They have even fewer. When the U.S.-spec ClubVan was dropped, the Canadian sales were also. We predict that the USA and Canadian ClubVans will become collectors’ items in North America.

But the Ford is really a work van. The MINI ClubVan is a MINI first and small “Twee little van” second. And we have actually made our first delivery in it — some used tires to a NEMO member at the British by the Sea show in June. We entered the car in the MINI New class and it took 1st place. It’s probably time to send James May a picture of the ClubVan and trophy mug!

P.S.: I’d like to start a USA ClubVan registry. If you own one or know somebody who does, give them my e-mail: wb1evp@gmail.com.

May 2014

[1-Jun_14_Unveil.jpg] The unveiling!
Photo by Dave & Barbara Newman


New MINI ‘Launched’ in Peabody
by Dave Newman

PEABODY, Mass. — April 18, 2014 was the official launch date in the USA for the new third edition (F56) MINI. Barbara and I attended the MINI of Peabody (MOP) event, and what a spectacular event it was!

All but two cars had been cleared from the showroom and it had been transformed into a British rock concert, complete with special lighting, a British-style live band singing 1960s British songs, Motoring Advisors dressed up in black T-shirts with “Event Security” on the back, wait staff walking around passing out fish and chips and more, an open bar with beer and soft drinks and a new F56 MINI with a car cover over it and a couple of cardboard cutout Palace Guards surrounding it. MOP had the feel of a London club of the 1960s. A sign outside said “Keep Calm and Get in Here!”

After about an hour of meeting people, including fellow NEMO members Bill Fralick and Charles Laughton, and the band playing dozens of rock hits from the Mini’s younger days, we watched the MC for the event, Cidalia Schwartz (MOP Marketing Director), get the huge crowd’s attention. She introduced the people at the MINI of Bedford (New Hampshire) dealership on video via an Internet link. Then she presented one of the winners of the national MINI video contest, Adrianne Ray. Adrianne’s video of a MINI spinning in circles mixing up coffee was shown. She then gave a short talk about being flown to California by MINI to film the flick, and admitted that a stunt driver actually drove the car for filming.

Next came the unveiling of the new F56 MINI, coming from two directions. First, a team on stage left removed the Palace Guards and the cover from the MINI Cooper, and a few seconds later, from the drive-in door on stage right, Mark Forester drove in the MINI Cooper S version with a cling sticker on the doors reading “The Bloody Original Launch Event.”

Now for a few words on the new MINI. We have owned one of the original MINI models, a 2006 Cooper, and one of the second editions, a 2012 Cooper S. And I have to say, MINI has another success with the third edition models. Like the other two, none of the body panels are the same, yet it retains the hints of what makes it “look Mini.” The various car magazines have stated the differences, but the ones that make me smile are the new engines.

The Cooper features a 1500cc turbo three-cylinder with more horsepower and the “torks” of the old Cooper S engine, and the S version has a 2000cc four-cylinder with more of everything from the last one. The new Cooper is almost as fast as the old S version in zero to 60 times!

Other small things — body rigidity is much tighter, door switches move from the dash to the doors themselves, the large center speedometer is gone but the circle is now used for navigation and entertainment displays, and the speedometer is on top of the wheel, along with the digital display. The front bonnet is a bit longer to pass European pedestrian crash standards. The grille is different.

And I have to say, seeing it in person is much better than seeing it in press pictures. Most of us look at a MINI standing up. Most press pictures seem to be from a foot off the ground. Barbara and I agree, it is a worthy addition to the MINI heritage, and keeps the MINI line fresh.

And after three hours of music, talking to friends and making new friends, and eating and drinking, it all came to an end. But not before Barbara got one of the door clings installed on her red Cooper S. What an event, simply the best event we have attended at MOP in the past ten years of going there.

One last thing: We saw the former Surf Tour MINI Club Van in the parking lot, white with woody trim and roof racks. Still available. We had to have it. One of only 49 ever imported to the USA. But that is another story. (As it sits in our garage now…)

May 2014

[2-Jun_14_55Sign.jpg] Sign at the end of the line.
Photo by Tony Haslam

Mini Time Line Display at Himley Hall
by Tony Haslam

HIMLEY, Staffs., U.K. — The British Mini Club chose my Riley Elf to represent 1964 in their Mini 55 Time Line Display at Himley Hall. The aim of the Display was to bring Minis together from each year of production, giving 55 Minis in total from the first 1959 classic to the latest 2014 MINI, creating a time line around Himley Hall Lake. This is my account of the day.

May 11th, 7 a.m. start. My drive of 70 miles was uneventful, probably because the roads were so quiet with the weather forecasters claiming it was going to be heavy showers all day. It was rather disappointing as there were neither classic Minis, nor any MINIs all the way. I arrived at the showground at 8.40 a.m. to see my first Mini of the day at the gate. I was allowed to drive straight in to take my position facing the lake. Showers were very light and intermittent but very cold.

First job, wash the road spray thrown up from heavy lorries transporting their goods north. (I was traveling south.) The Elf was clean in no time. I don’t think I’ve ever washed it so fast. Boy, were my hands cold!

Seeing I was so early (normally the queues to get in here have been horrendous with only one entrance!) I was able to have a scout about the various trade exhibitors and pick up a few required items. A further look at the autojumblers’ stands showed everything you could possibly want for your Mini. A friend of mine picked up a fine sample of a used tailgate for his pickup for £40 (a new manufactured one will set you back £180). There were a few complete barn finds for anyone wanting a restoration project. Alas, I have no room to take on another one.

The gate was supposed to be open at 10 a.m. but with the weather being so unpredictable they opened earlier. This also allowed many to park without queuing and clogging the approach roads.

Only eight time line cars out of the 55 expected did not turn up. The photos show some immaculate restorations, with one 1965 Countryman almost untouched with only 17,500 miles on the clock! The Mini Moke adjacent to the Elf was almost identical to those used in The Prisoner TV series except the canopy was a single blue and not striped.

While I was eating my sandwiches, Jeff Ruggles (Mini Magazine Editor) photographed my Elf. Wonder if it will be featured in next month’s issue?

[Contrib. Ed. note: Many more time line cars can be seen on the British Mini Club’s Facebook page, www.facebook.com/britishminiclub. —DS]

May 2014

Back to The Barn, Part III
by David Schwartz

The end of the 2013 driving season for my ’68 Mini Traveller occurred with the first road salt application in November. I topped off the fluids, added extra fuel preservative, jacked up the car and lowered it onto a set of wheel dollies. My wife and I turned the car 90° and pushed it to the front of our garage for the winter.

One of my criteria for choosing a vintage car was the ability to store it and have room to park our two daily drivers in the same garage. The Mini fit entirely on my side, so I didn’t need to worry about anyone else pulling in too far. An added benefit was the smile the car brought to my face when I drove into the garage at the end of a long workday.

One evening during the first Polar Vortex of the winter I pulled into the garage and saw a thin stream of liquid running down the right rear wheel, onto the dolly and dripping on the floor. It was obviously brake fluid, and I theorized the extreme cold caused the rear brake cylinder seals to leak. The NEMO brain trust on the Google Group agreed with my theory. Of course, some folks said I didn’t really need rear brakes.

“Brakes? Brakes? We don’t need no stinkin’ brakes! Brakes are for wimps!”

Others offered more conservative advice, such as topping off the master cylinder and it would be safe to drive. Dave Black replied, “Complete rear brake job is in order — shoes, cylinders, hard lines and soft lines. And you’ll never guess, but everything is in stock at The Barn!”

In early April I got the Mini ready for its third trip to The Barn. Even though the car had sat for four and half very cold months, the engine fired up within 15 seconds. The master cylinder was down almost two inches, so I filled it to the very top. With the warmer weather, the rear wheel cylinder no longer had a visible leak and the fluid level remained stable. The brakes worked fine as long as I pumped the pedal once prior to really using them.

My route to The Barn from Framingham was on back roads and state highways, and I stopped several times to check the brake fluid level. The trip was uneventful with one exception. On a short stretch of Route 16, a woman ran across the road in the middle of traffic and the SUV in front of me stopped short. My reflex was to hit the brakes hard, which had little effect since I didn’t pump first. The car stopped in time, though the pedal went almost to the floor.

Upon arriving at The Barn, I told Dave my goal was to learn how to fix these cars myself and I was willing to do the dirty work. Dave was happy to oblige. We jacked up the car, removed the road wheels, brake drums and rear hubs. Of course one set of brake drum screws was frozen and the heads were stripped. Naturally Dave had a hammer driver that solved the problem. The left rear wheel cylinder and shoes looked brand new, though the rubber brake hose appeared to be original. The right side was a complete mess, with everything covered in black slime. Dave assured me that a liberal application of brake cleaner (the “good” chlorinated stuff) would clean things up nicely.

Having read the brake service section in the Haynes manual, I had a reasonably good idea of the steps to remove and replace the rear wheel cylinder, rubber hose and brake shoes. Per usual, there is a lot of information they leave out of the manual! For example, the threads on both ends of the rubber brake hoses are 1 1/2” long, and it takes bloody forever to remove the nuts when you do it a quarter turn at a time. An original hose requires a 9/16 wrench to remove the nut on the hard line side of the subframe, and a 5/8 wrench to remove the nut on the other side. However, the replacement hoses come with a 9/16” nut on both sides. Imagine lying under the Mini with brake fluid dripping down your arm trying to fit a 9/16 wrench on a 5/8” nut with Dave insisting 9/16 is the correct size! Dave was absolutely correct about the replacement hose. I suppose with a 41-year production run Mini was entitled to make a few minor part changes.

May 2014

The brake cylinder is held to the back plate with a large circlip. It required several attempts with a large screwdriver to “prise” off the circlip, which was rather mangled in the process. Fortunately the replacement cylinder included a new circlip.

In the interest of heading off future problems, Dave advised replacing the right rear rubber brake hose. Another bit they left out of the Haynes manual is that the fuel pump is bolted to the left rear subframe and completely blocks access to the nuts holding the brake hose in place. The only option is to remove the fuel pump. One look at the rubber fuel lines and fuel pump wiring and I understood why the previous owner decided not to replace the brake hose when he replaced the cylinder and shoes. Against my better judgment I unbolted the fuel pump and gently lowered it down. Of course the rubber fuel line immediately came loose and gasoline ran down my left arm until I covered the hose with my thumb. Dave came to the rescue with the correct size bolt to plug the hose. Clearly he had encountered this problem before!

While I started reassembling the right rear brake, Dave cut new rubber fuel hoses, removed and replaced the left brake hose, replaced the fuel pump hoses and bolted the fuel pump back on the subframe. Yeah, he was quite a bit faster than I was.

Installing the right rear hose using two 9/16 bolts went smoothly, as did reconnecting the hard line. Attaching the new wheel cylinder to the back plate was another story. I spent at least five minutes struggling with a large channel lock pliers before the circlip popped into place. Then Dave gave me a lesson in brake shoe and spring installation. There is definitely a trick to this, especially given the numerous holes for the springs. If you are a newbie, I suggest taking digital photos before removing the old shoes.

Fitting the drum back on was straightforward. This was followed by getting a feel for tightening the rear brake adjuster. Each brake adjuster has a square head, which is difficult to access unless the road wheels are removed. A special square-headed “spanner” is required to turn the brake adjuster. Without Dave’s coaching I never would have made it tight enough.

Finally it was time to bleed the brakes. This is most easily done as a two-person job, so I pumped the brakes while Dave opened and closed the bleed screws. Eventually the air was purged from the lines and the sponginess was gone from the brake pedal. However, there was still too much brake pedal travel, so a front brake adjustment appeared to be needed.

Prior to my purchasing the car last year, the previous owner had installed four new front wheel cylinders, rubber hoses, brake shoes and a master cylinder. Naïvely, I assumed that all issues with the front brakes had been resolved.

We removed the front road wheels for better access to the dual brake adjusters on each side. At this point Dave discovered a common Mini brake malady: several adjusters were seized and one of the square heads was rounded off. The worst case scenario would be replacing both front back plates, which is a major effort. I had visions of leaving my car at The Barn and calling my wife to come rescue me. Some penetrating oil and gentle working back and forth loosened up the seized adjusters. I was not very hopeful about the stripped adjuster, which couldn’t be budged with Vice-Grip pliers. But Dave had one more trick up his sleeve. He fired up his trusty Bernz-O-Matic torch (doesn’t everyone have one of these in their toolbox?) and proceeded to heat up the stripped adjuster. Silly me, I was worried about an open flame near gasoline. Once it was good and hot, Dave succeeded in loosening the adjuster with Vice-Grip pliers, thus postponing the back plate replacement. Apparently he has around a 90% success rate using this technique.

The remaining brake adjustment and reassembly was without incident, and now I know what Mini drum brakes are supposed to feel like. They actually work quite well! I am quite happy I decided not to tackle this job on my own.

April 2014

[1-May_14_Izzo_Dave.jpg] Chris Izzo (center) calls the session to order to introduce Dave.
Photo by David Schwartz

Dave’s Mini Barn Tech Session
by David Schwartz

WOODSTOCK, Conn. — On April 12th NEMO joined British Motorcars of New England for a tech session at Dave Black’s “Mini Barn.” More than 20 people attended, some of whom used the event as an opportunity to wake their British cars from winter hibernation. Five vintage Minis, a TVR and a Jaguar lined the driveway.

Dianne Izzo’s Mini, the Barn’s current patient, is about to undergo a partial engine rebuild to cure numerous oil leaks caused by silicone gasket sealant. The engine also has a bad carburetor, which made for quite an adventure when stepson Chris Izzo drove the car to the Barn. This was his first experience with right hand drive, and he had the additional challenge of needing to feather the gas at every intersection to prevent the engine from stalling. Chris is the president of BMCNE, and he and Dianne have dual citizenship in NEMO and BMCNE.

Before the tech session began, we enjoyed coffee and donuts, and admired the purple high lift rocker set in the engine of Dianne’s Mini. This looks much too cool to be hidden under the valve cover. Dave already had all the ancillary parts disconnected, and an engine lift was standing by to remove the engine later in the day.

Chris eventually got everyone’s attention and brought the session to order. Dave started with an informative talk on the best engine oil to use in a vintage Mini. When flat tappet engines were the norm, engine oil contained zinc dialyldithiophosphate (ZDDP) as an anti-wear additive. Over the last 40 years, stricter EPA emission requirements have caused manufacturers to reduce the amount of ZDDP in motor oil. The Mini uses the same oil to lubricate the engine and transmission, and the recommended weight has always been 20W50. To prevent tappet wear, many owners use a separate ZDDP additive. As an alternative, Dave recommends using 15W40-weight oil. This is typically used in diesel engines and contains sufficient ZDDP to protect a vintage Mini engine. Using lighter weight oil also reduces oil pressure and improves the flow to the bearings when the engine is cold. Be sure not to use 15W40 oil and a ZDDP additive. More is not always better and overdosing can actually cause increased wear.

Next up was a demonstration. A unique characteristic of the Mini is that the engine, transmission and radiator can be removed from the car as a single unit. Dave owns an engine test stand that takes advantage of this design. The test stand has engine mounts, a gas tank, car battery, gauges and the dash control panel from a Mini. Dave had a newly rebuilt engine mounted on the stand. For the demo, he inserted a muffler over the exhaust manifold down pipe, wheeled the stand to an open door and fired it up. It wasn’t even very loud and there were no oil or coolant leaks.

At this point the tech session ended. Some people went outside to check out the British cars, while others stayed in the Barn discussing current and past projects. Bruce Vild and I were the last to depart. We were chatting in the driveway as Greg Mazza and Mark Fodor raced by in their vintage Minis (like a pair of playful young puppies), followed by Dave Black lumbering along in his full-size pickup truck. The image of the Minis zooming down the driveway still brings a smile to my face.

April 2014

[2-May_Engine.jpg] Paul’s engine — looking good.
Photo by Paul Berton

1967 Mini Cooper Engine Rebuild
by Paul Berton

My main accomplishment this winter was finishing the rebuild of a 1275cc Cooper S engine. My Mini restoration project grew into a major effort due to a flood in the service garage where I was storing the car. The engine was partially under water for over two days, so it needed a complete rebuild.

In addition to the normal rebuild tasks, I spent a lot of time improving the air flow to the engine: adding stub stacks and K&N air filters, polishing the intake path and de-shrouding the head. The head was also converted to use unleaded fuel, and the gearbox was rebuilt with the help of Dave Black. To avoid the struggle with belt changes, I made a removable corner for the radiator shroud. I did all the work at a friend’s auto restoration shop that specializes in Alfa Romeos. He allowed me to set up a work area and gave me access to all their tools and their machining center.

I started the project in May 2012 and finally fired up the engine in March 2014. Dave Black loaned me his engine test stand so I could do the checkout and tuning at the shop where I did the restoration. The only major problems I encountered during the test run were leaks in two of the four freeze plugs. I corrected these and I am now focusing on getting the bodywork completed in time for fall events.

April 2014

My First Mini Encounter
by Paul Saulnier

My son Phil called one night to report that he was the high bidder on a 1972 Austin Mini Cooper. Wonderful.

“Where is it?” “New Zealand.” “Are you crazy?” “What? I just have to arrange shipping and then pick it up in Boston. No problem.”

Three months pass and finally the Mini is assigned to a ship with an unpronounceable name that will take it on a cruise that will almost circle the globe before it arrives in Boston — in another three months.

“Hello, Dad? The Mini was shipped to Port Elizabeth, New Jersey. Dad? Hello?”

Having lived in New Jersey for several years, I knew of the hellhole that is Port Elizabeth. Located off the New Jersey Turnpike near the Meadowlands, it’s a sea of exit and entrance ramps, narrow access roads, and speeding tractor trailers as far as the eye can see.

“Phil, have it shipped up to Boston.” “But that’ll cost another $800.” “You’re too big to spank. But I will get even.”

So I borrow a truck and a trailer, and drag Phil and a friend along with all the paperwork. Since the port closes at 4 p.m., we leave Holliston at the crack of dawn. We have to stop at the importer’s office first for more paperwork. The lady with whom Phil has been dealing, and who promised to have all the paperwork ready for us, called in sick today. After an hour of searching, the papers are found, stamped, and we are out of there. Sharing the narrow roads to the port with huge semis is not something a novice trailer puller like me dreams of doing. If I ever have to back up, I’m done for.

Finally we find the right gate. There it is, right on the other side of the gate. It’s cute.

Not so fast. One more stop down the street to get the papers stamped by somebody else. Okay. It’s only 3:30. We get the papers stamped and are back to the gate at 3:50. “Too late. Come back tomorrow. Union rules.” “But sir, we’ve come all this way and…” “Out.”

To make a long story longer, I had to drive all the way home again as my friend had to get back.

Off at the crack of dawn the next morning. Arrive at noon. The gate is closing! It’s lunchtime. Union rules. 1 p.m. and we are finally past the Pearly Gates. Wait around for an official port guy to check our papers. Everyone ignores us. So we decide to load up.

Naturally, the battery is dead and the tires are half full (more like half empty). We push the damn thing onto the trailer with some help from a few drivers. Strap her down tight. Suddenly an official port guy wants to know what we think we’re doing. “Let’s see your papers.” “Why is that car on the trailer? Your papers aren’t stamped!” “But sir, they were stamped by that…” “Go over to that office and wait for me inside.”

After about 15 minutes, the official port guy bounds through the door and announces: “Do you believe these guys? They put a car on their trailer without getting their papers stamped!” All conversations stop. Other official port types poke their heads out their offices up and down the hall to see the perpetrators. After a good tongue lashing, we are advised to get out of their collective sights before they decide to make our lives miserable, as is their right under union rules.

Well, time has passed since the Mini encounter and I’ve learned to love the little thing. I have even owned three of them. But I had them delivered right to my door. I may be crazy, but I’m not stupid.

[Contrib. Ed. note: Phil bought the Mini eight years ago and still owns it. —DS]

March 2014

[1-Apr_14_Guys.jpg] Derick Karabec, Greg Mazza and Chris Izzo talk shop after the meeting.
Photo by Bruce Vild

NEMO’s Annual Meeting
by David Schwartz

HARRISVILLE, R.I. — The NEMO Annual Planning Meeting and Luncheon was held on March 2nd at the home of Faith Lamprey and Bruce Vild. Eighteen members attended, including the hosts, with the long-distance travel awards going to Lorine and Derick Karabec from upstate New York and Paul and Judy Nevin from Vermont.

Festivities started at noon with a social hour followed by a potluck lunch at 1 p.m. Faith brought the meeting to order at 2 p.m. by handing out tickets to a free raffle. Attendees contributed so many giveaway items that everyone received two tickets. Prizes included die-cast cars, sweatshirts, hats, magazines and videos, with the grand prize being an offshoot of Faith’s aloe plant. There was so much excitement over the plant that people suggested using a Yankee Swap format. This idea was rejected and the happy winner was Chantal Brefort.

After the raffle we moved on to more serious business. Being a newbie, yours truly asked about NEMO officers. The response was along the lines of “We don’t need no stinkin’ officers.” NEMO has the “Big Guy” (Hrach) who is still in charge, in spirit, and the “Keeper of the Money.” The Keeper of the Money provided a summary of NEMO’s finances, which are in the “Black.”

This was followed by a discussion of Mini Meet East expenses. Lorine Karabec explained the secret to staying within the budget was soliciting prize donations and requiring members to pre-order regalia so we would not be left with a large unsold inventory. This was clearly a great approach since there were few leftovers, while we still have a supply of MME 1998 refrigerator magnets.

Other discussions included the refurbished Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park in Connecticut, a future concours-level car show at the Aldrich Estate in Warwick, R.I., and upcoming events where NEMO members and their cars will gather. Below is a summary:

April 12 — BMCNE at the Barn tech session, Woodstock, Conn.

May 4 — NEMO at Rhinebeck, Rhinebeck, N.Y.

June 1 — “British by the Sea,” Waterford, Conn.

July 2-6 — Mini Meet East Meets West, Milwaukee, Wisc.

July 11-13 — Gould’s Microcar Event, Newton, Mass.

September 19-21 — British Invasion, Stowe, Vt.

October 10-12 — British Legends Weekend, Sandwich, Mass.

October 19 — Gathering of Old Cars, Staatsburgh, N.Y.

See the NEMO website www.nemomini.org for additional details.

The meeting adjourned and we enjoyed dessert and more socializing. (Let me know if you want my grandmother’s apple pie recipe.)

Members started to leave around 5 p.m. Many thanks to Faith and Bruce for volunteering their house.

March 2014

From the Desk of the Former Contributing Editor
by Dave Newman

I would like to thank Dave Schwartz for accepting the position of NEMO Contributing Editor for this coming year and perhaps years after. Somewhere, hidden in the NEMO by-laws, stored digitally, deep inside the bodywork of the Hrach Moke, is the paragraph that says, “Each NEMO Contributing Editor to the British Marque must have the first name of ‘David,’ as this is tradition.” I think.

And I would like to thank all the NEMO members, both in the U.S. and U.K., who wrote articles to supplement my own articles over the past years that I have been NEMO Contributing Editor. No editor can do it alone.

When I took the position, years ago (can’t remember how many), Dave Black, the current Editor, gave me words of advice that I now pass onto Dave Schwartz:

• Dave Black will still feed you “From The Barn” articles as long as members bring their cars to him for his magic service.

• Put the squeeze on other members who go to events that you are not going to and ask them to write a short article and provide high-resolution pictures also. Remember, you are not alone.

• And, as Dave Black added at the recent meeting, “Make sure you hit up Newman for articles, too, as he volunteered you into this mess!”

So I ask, as former Editor, that each and every one of you endeavor to submit an article on an event that you have attended or project you are working on, or anything Mini-related, to our new NEMO Contributing Editor, Dave Schwartz. And, as Mel Brooks wrote in the movie Spaceballs, “Believe in the power of the Schwartz!”

March 2014

NEMO Newsbeat Needs You!
by David Schwartz

As you have just read in his column, after many years at the helm, Dave Newman is retiring as the NEMO newsletter’s Contributing Editor. Due to a lot of arm twisting by Faith, Bruce, Dave Newman and Dave Black, I agreed to take over the job. I have been a NEMO member and Mini owner since May of 2013, and am counting on you more experienced members to help out by writing articles.

The British Marque submission deadlines range from the 11th to the 18th depending on the month. Please e-mail me your articles by the 7th of each month for inclusion in the upcoming issue. You can reach me at dschwartz1957@gmail.com or (508) 561-3462.

Since most of us are not driving our vintage cars during road-salt season, how about submitting an article on Mini-related projects or activities that kept you busy this winter? High-resolution photos are welcome. If they don’t fit in the newsletter, we can always post them on the website. The author of the best article gets to be Editor next year! Thanks in advance.

March 2014

[2-Apr_14_Mouse.jpg] Mini Mouse.
Photo by Paul Saulnier

‘Mini Mouse’ — a ’64 Mini Van
by Paul Saulnier

My son, Phil, found the Mini on eBay. It was just a shell in the salvage yard in Wales, U.K., destined to be recycled. Phil wanted to restore the van, so we bought and had it shipped to Boston in a box. For a few extra dollars, the seller bolted on rusted subframes and added tires.

After it arrived we realized that it was in the junkyard for a reason. The body was really bad. Under the primer was a ton of Bondo. The replacement parts were poorly welded and actually came apart as we removed the Bondo. I began to see the Mini as a hot rod rather than a straight rebuild. Phil is a purist and wanted nothing to do with that so I was on my own.

The mantra of a hot-rodder is “you can never have too much horsepower,” so American muscle was the way to go. The biggest challenge here was getting a V8 in there somewhere. I had seen plenty of Ford Anglias with V8s in the front and the absurd driving positions that result. One even had the gas pedal on the other side of the tunnel. I saw a Mini van and a pickup with tires that stuck way outside the body. I wanted my van to be drivable and be true to the original lines. It soon became obvious that the Mini would have to be mid-engine and rear wheel drive.

My daily driver is a stock ’64 Mini Traveller so I used it for measurements like seat location and positioning the new firewall behind the seats. I made a Styrofoam mock-up of the Chevy motor and checked spacing before cutting out the floor. To fit everything in and still have decent legroom, the centerline of the rear wheels and wheel wells had to be moved back two inches. A Porsche G5050 transaxle had to be converted to side shift to eliminate the shift box at the end, and the gears were chosen to suit the drag slicks mounted on custom 15” Minilites. Everything on the front of the motor except the single pulley had to be placed on the side. There wasn’t even room for the harmonic balancer so the engine had to be internally balanced. The small block Chevy (Mouse) motor was built to dyno at 427hp. That should be enough!

Once I was convinced that everything fit, just barely, my attention turned to the suspension components. Up front I kept the basic Mini layout but changed to Rover four-piston, 8.4” discs for a little better stopping power. At the rear, I went with a Pontiac Fiero rear suspension, which is really the front suspension from a Chevy Citation. It fit nicely but during suspension travel up, the wheels came way in, much worse than a VW. Luckily I found a custom kit that cured the problem and was much stronger.

I designed 2” x 3” frame rails to support the drivetrain and added a roll cage to include the entire rear compartment, having that all fabricated locally. Then it was off to Nova Scotia to have the body modifications completed and painted by East Coast Custom Cars in Church Point. Vintage Air and Dakota Digital were the basis of a completely new dash and console. I designed the fuel cell to hold exactly 10 gallons with the front designed to allow air to move from the two huge fans out through the louvered inner fender wells. After a year’s work in Canada (and three years of problems with Canadian customs afterwards) I brought the Mini back and began the rest of the work, including the plumbing, wiring and fitting everything in this incredibly small space.

Three notable problems were the design of the half shafts, which had to match the Fiero hubs to the Porsche transaxle, and finding the right combination of clutch master and slave to work the 3200 lb. Kevlar racing clutch assembly. A two-inch extension and one-inch increase in throw did the trick (along with a strong left leg).

A stainless steel exhaust system design problem was solved by running it forward under the passenger compartment to locate the mufflers and then back through the engine compartment, up over the rear suspension and out the rear pan. I designed everything with service in mind. The firewall is held in place with Dzus fasteners and the exhaust system is held together in several sections with special stainless clamps.

Now that the pain is over I am glad I completed the Mini as a custom. Reaction at shows and cruise nights is always the same: first shock, and then compliments on the engineering.

[Contrib. Ed. note: Mini Mouse has been featured in Mini World, Hot Rod and Canadian Classics and Performance. Legendary California car customizer Gene Winfield picked Mini Mouse out of 2500 cars for one of two Special Interest awards he made at the Atlantic Nationals in 2012. Of course the best award so far was Kids’ Choice at the 2008 Mini Meet East. See Paul’s website www.hotrodminimouse.com for photos of the project. —DS]

February 2014

[1-Mar_14_Bingley.jpg] Minis classic and new on display, plus vendor spaces and club booths galore.
Photo by Tony Haslam

Bingley Hall 2014
by Tony Haslam

STAFFORD, Staffs — The British Mini Club had their first Mini event of 2014 at Bingley Hall, which is conveniently situated in the Staffordshire County Showground, an excellent location easily accessible by thousands of Mini owners within a 100-mile radius. I arrived early with all the exhibitors and was able to take many photos of cars before the visitors were allowed in!

The show was very quiet starting, probably due to the terrible weather forecast (which turned out to be true as it relentlessly poured down all day). The usual long queues did not happen but the car parks filled up quickly and the visitors made brave dashes to the doors!

All the Minis displayed were of a very high standard, making the judges’ job extremely difficult — I did not envy them one little bit! A close friend of mine, also from Chester, trailered his latest acquisition, a 1959 Mini that he recently rescued from a Danish barn.

Let me digress: Bill Bell is a founding member of the ’59 Mini Club. He also has a Heinz 57 convertible Mini, a Mongoose motor home and another ’59 Mini, as well as the flowered Mini that the famous model Twiggy drove in a TV advert (my apologies if you haven’t heard of Twiggy!).

When Minis were exported to Denmark they were called Austin Partners or Morris Mascots. Bill’s model is a Partner and is the 8th oldest Mini in the world, and the 4th oldest in the UK. The Austin Partner drew so much attention in its rusty state that Bill said it’s a shame he wants to restore it!

There was an excellent turnout of traders who had a roaring trade all day, as did the Mini Club selling raffle tickets for the ‘Win a Mini for £1’, a delightful 35LE.

To me the star of the show was Paddy Hopkirk, who was signing copies of his new book — and I got my copy signed and presented to me with a warm handshake!

[Tony belongs to NEMO’s sister club in the UK, Miniaddicts, and reports each year on the Bingley Hall Mini event. For more photos, check our Gallery page.]

February 2014

From The Barn
by Dave Black

I always like to look back at my previous column to keep from repeating stories already told, or continue thoughts started. The last article was last June! At least that’s the most current one I can find.

Okay, so lately there have been a couple of projects. The first is Hrach’s Moke, now owned by Ken Lemoine. Ken thought we should give the car a good once-over. After a run up Rt. 128 to Mini of Peabody, Ken reported the engine was covered with oil. Seemed to be coming out of the oil fill cap. This can be a puzzler, but usually relates to some form of crankcase pressure. All Mini lumps need to have at least one crankcase or valve cover vent, and the 1275s really need two. It took an overnight of noodling to realize that someone had installed a hose from the crankcase vent directly to the valve cover, effectively closing both! Solution: remove hose.

The biggest problem was a blown head gasket. Off with its head to see what might be the cause. Close inspection revealed the engine had been assembled without planing the head and block to provide a true sealing surface for the head gasket. And sure enough, a straight edge showed a decided low spot on the block. Out with the engine, but what have we here? The exhaust system was welded solid front to back and could not be removed without cutting. Not wanting to create another project, we opted to pull the lump with the exhaust tilted down in back and supported up and back against the firewall in front. It makes engine removal even tighter than usual, but careful placement of protective pads allows you to squeeze the lump out between exhaust and body.

The lump had been painted yellow while it was in the car and looked it! Because a complete disassembly is required for machining (including oil plugs), Ken decided to do it right with a complete cleaning and respray of the respective parts before assembly. The result is a much more presentable lump — John Deere yellow in a yellow Moke! Sunglasses recommended!

Dave Schwartz expressed concern about a rear brake slave cylinder leak. Responses were varied, but the consensus was to drive it to the repair shop by first topping off the master cylinder and checking frequently to prevent getting air in the system. We have yet to hear if he made it! Of course a full replacement of rear brake parts is in order: shoes, slave cylinders, hard and soft brake lines, and don’t forget to grease the rear wheel bearings while everything is apart.

Collin Huston is busy rebuilding an A+ 998. He’s had to source out another crankshaft after discovering a crack in the existing one. And now he’s working on the clutch end and is querying about verto clutch parts. We can’t wait see the finished product this spring!

Brian Atherton acquired a 1275 short block to replace the 998 in his Mini. We’re in the middle of the rebuild and will report more fully as work progresses. At present the plan is to fit +.020” pistons and a 276 cam, but for now we’re busy wire-brushing, sandblasting, and painting parts so all is ready when the block comes back from the machine shop.

January 2014

[1-Jan Feb 14 Holiday Party.jpg] NEMO member Paul Gingras holds one of the gifts in the Yankee Swap, a Corgi Mini model commemorating the birth of Prince George.
Photo by Bruce Vild


Another Happy Holiday Party!
by Dave Newman

PUTNAM, Conn. — On a Saturday in early December, eighteen NEMO members attended the club’s annual Holiday Party, this year again at J. D. Cooper’s Pub in Putnam. The Pub appears to be fairly central for most NEMO members, and with a nice private room and wonderful food it is a winner for a party location!

After an hour or so for getting to know people you may not have seen for a while, and getting your Yankee Swap ticket from Faith, the meal got underway. After that came the highlight of the party, the Swap, with eighteen of the best Mini-related gifts ever to choose from.

Well, most, anyway.  One of the fun things of the Yankee Swap is that when your ticket is picked, you can either pick a wrapped gift or choose to take one of the already opened gifts. That happened many times, and for some reason only known by NASA scientists and Harvard psychologists, the most popular gift was a bull horn that simulated sounds of flatulence. Go figure!

After the swap was over, there was a bit of time for conversation and then it was all over for another year. And if you missed it, there is always next year! It truly is one of the best NEMO events in the colder months!

Attending this year, and in no particular order, were Dave Black, Dave and Dora Hellner, Lorine and Derick Karabec, Faith Lamprey and Bruce Vild, Ken Lemoine, John Gallagher, Mark Foder and Chantal Brefort, Paul Gingras and Anne Wellington, Dave and Betty Schwartz, Chris Izzo, and Dave and Barbara Newman.

January 2014

[2-Jan Feb 14 Llandudno.jpg] On the seaside promenade at Llandudno.
Photo courtesy Miniaddicts

This Year’s First Mini Run — Wirral to Llandudno, UK
by Tony Haslam

The sight of 150 Minis lining up to take their place on Llandudno’s picturesque promenade after a gripping drive down the Great Orme proved the highlight of this A Series-powered adventure.

As explained on the website of the host club, Wirral Mini Owners, the Wirral-to-Llandudno run is organised at the start of each year, around the second week in January. Open to everyone with a Mini, it starts at a retail park, drives to the Rhos-on-Sea promenade for a small break, then up to the top of the Great Orme in Llandudno, and back down to the seafront on Llandudno promenade.

One hundred and twenty-five Minis arrived at the start. For the first time since the event started 10 years ago, they were separated into two groups for two routes. One route took the usual A55 Express for the 60-mile run, the other being a more scenic route (which I took). This was a challenge for Wirral Minis, which sponsored the run, as they had to time both routes to arrive approximately the same time on the Rhos-on-Sea promenade to regroup before ascending the Great Orme.

This year we were joined by three Metros and two GTM Libra models — one with a V-Tec engine(!) and the other an MG turbo. As per last year, my Elf was the only one again, together with one Hornet.

It was a grand day out, meeting old friends from different Mini clubs — some from Preston near Blackpool, some 80 miles from the start. And for once, it did not rain!

[Tony is a member of Miniaddicts, NEMO’s sister club in the UK, and regularly participates in the run.]

January 2014

NEMO Annual Meeting Mar. 2!

Join us on Sunday, March 2nd, for NEMO’s Annual Meeting and Potluck Luncheon.

We plan the year of activities at this meeting, so be sure to attend!

Plan to arrive at 12 noon. The eating starts at 1 p.m. and the meeting follows at 2 p.m. So bring a dish for the lunch table and join in the fun.

Once again we will hold the Give-Away Freebie Raffle, so if you have any Mini-related items you would like to donate, bring them along.

The Meeting and Luncheon will take place at the home of Faith Lamprey and Bruce Vild, 5 Old Nasonville Rd., Harrisville, R.I. Call (401) 766-6519 or e-mail nemo@auroratechedi.com with any questions.

From the Providence area: Take Rt. 146 North. Take the Rt. 5/102 Slatersville exit off 146. Turn right off the exit ramp and take a left (almost immediately) at the stop light (a “T”). You are now on Rt. 146A. Follow the directions from Rt. 146A below.

From the Boston area: Take Rt. 95 South to Rt. 295 South to Rt. 146 North. Take the Rt. 5/102 Slatersville exit off 146. Turn right off the exit ramp and take a left (almost immediately) at the stop light (a “T”). You are now on Rt. 146A. Follow the directions from Rt. 146A below.

From the Worcester area: Take Rt. 146 South to the Rt. 5/102/146A Slatersville exit. Turn right off the exit ramp. You are now on Rt. 146A. Follow the directions from Rt. 146A below.

From Connecticut and southern Rhode Island: Take Rt. 95 North to Rt. 295 North (in Rhode Island) to Rt. 146 North. From 146, take the Rt. 5/102 Slatersville exit. Turn right off the exit ramp and take a left (almost immediately) at the stop light (a “T”). You are now on Rt. 146A. Follow the directions from Rt. 146A below.

From Rt. 146A where you’ve all converged: Follow Rt. 146A through Forestdale. You will go through three traffic lights (one in Forestdale, one at the Slatersville Plaza, one at Gator’s Pub). At Slatersville Plaza, intersect with Rt. 102 by going straight. After Gator’s, “The Island” will appear on your left and you will see a sign on your right for Wright’s Farm (ignore the road on your left across the street from the sign). Slow down and get ready for a left turn at the light at Inman Road. Make sure you use your blinkers — this is a busy intersection! Take a sharp and immediate left after that (onto Old Nasonville Road), and an immediate right into our driveway.

Call Faith and Bruce at (401) 766-6519 if you get lost.

November 2013

[1-Dec 13 Ken and Roxi.jpg] Ken and Hrach’s sister Roxi with the famous Mini Moke.
Photo by Dave Newman


4th ‘Hrach Rallye’ at MOP
by Dave Newman

PEABODY, Mass., Nov. 10 — The staff of MINI of Peabody arranged another “Rallye for Hrach” event, starting early in the morning with a fun rallye into the Lynn shore area followed by an excellent catered brunch back in the maintenance bays at MOP. Over 100 attended this event to remember our dearly departed Hrach Chekijian, President (a/k/a “Big Guy”) of NEMO and star salesperson of MINI of Peabody, who passed away suddenly three years ago.

The highlight of the event was NEMO member Ken Lemoine, current owner of Hrach’s old yellow Moke, bringing the Moke to the event for all to see, sit in, and generally swap stories of how Hrach drove the Moke on the streets and sidewalks and grassy areas of Watertown. Hrach’s younger sister, Roxi Postaljian, told stories of hanging on for dear life while Hrach drove places, one time avoiding a police pursuit by ducking behind some gas pumps and hiding the Moke!

Quite a few NEMO members attended the event, and when the people from MOP said “See you next year!” it served as a reminder to make this an even bigger event on the NEMO calendar and to try to get even more NEMO members with classic Minis or new MINIs to attend. A big thank you to MINI of Peabody for hosting this!

November 2013

[2-Dec 13 Celia.jpg] Celia and Gary. Photo by Ken Lemoine

Teddy Bears and Mokes
by Ken Lemoine


My granddaughter has fallen in love with the Moke. It makes sense that the Mini that all kids love would become her favorite, too! Her name is Celia Courchesne and her bear’s name is Gary. Notice that the first thing she did was to buckle Gary into the passenger seat.

November 2013

Reminder!

The NEMO Holiday Party will be held at J.D. Cooper’s in Putnam, Conn., on Saturday, December 7th, at 12 noon. For you folks with a GPS, the address is J.D. Cooper’s, 146 Park Road, Putnam, CT 06260, (860) 928-0501. Take Exit 95 (Kennedy Drive) off I-395. Kennedy Drive becomes Park Road. J.D. Cooper’s is about a mile from the exit.

RSVP by e-mailing nemo@auroratechedi.com or calling Faith or Bruce at (401) 766-6519.

For more details, see the "Save the Date" article from last month.

Happy Holidays!

October 2013

[1-Nov 13-Cole Gray.jpg] The line-up in the later Mini class, led on the left by Chris Cole and Gail Gray’s Rover Mini Cooper.
Photo by Bruce Vild

Another Great Stowe Show
by Dave Newman

STOWE, Vt., Sept. 20-22 — The weather for this year’s British Invasion in Stowe was almost perfect. This show has traditionally been one of the high points on the NEMO member’s calendar, as it is the largest and perhaps nicest British car show in New England.

Barbara and I decided to trailer this year instead of drive our 1960 Morris Mini 850, as we had never taken the car on such a long trip. We normally drive up in our “British Open” Mini, so this year was a change.

We again stayed at the Arbor Inn on the Mountain Road, as many NEMO members stay at this great B&B. The owners, Mike and Cody, don’t mind if you back your trailer onto the lawn next to the parking lot, so that was a big plus. If you are thinking of going to Stowe for the first time next year, I suggest calling the Arbor Inn and making a reservation now, as they have a wait list for rooms during the Invasion, but should be able to let you know about February, when they call and confirm for the Invasion weekend. About half the Inn was occupied by NEMO members this year.

After arriving on Friday, we checked into the Inn, unloaded the trailer and set off down the road to the new but temporary show field for the event. After waiting in line we received our registration materials and drink tickets, and upon getting our pints of beer, joined the rest of the NEMO crowd in the Queen’s Tent area. Sixties music blared from the speakers and after some good conversations, we returned to the Arbor Inn and freshened up before a planned NEMO dinner at Gracie’s Restaurant, which just happens to be right next to the Arbor Inn.

We had quite a crowd for dinner at the NEMO table. Besides Barbara and me, there were Faith and Bruce, Derick and Lorine, Greg, Dave Black, Mark and Chantal, and John Gallagher and guest.  We dined and talked the night away and finally had to leave when the place closed.

Early the next morning, after an excellent cooked breakfast at the Arbor Inn, we set off to the show field to get lined up into our classes. Since this year was a temporary field as the town field was being re-done for drainage and a new lawn, the organizers did an excellent job at handling the bottleneck of cars that all arrived at the same time! I think it was a hidden test of cooling systems and generators, and most passed with flying colors!

At the show we saw John and Lisa and the kids, all enjoying the sunny and bright weather.  And we also met lots of other Mini owners from across New England and eastern Canada who attended, including Big Al Guest, the Mini Mover as he is called, wearing his excellent Viking hat with horns.

The vendor tent was hopping with lots of British car-related goods. The food vendors were running out of food and I made it too late to the pulled pork guy as he was closing up when I finally was hungry. We had to settle for burgers.

October 2013

[2-Nov 13-Innocenti.jpg] What’s a Fiat doing in the Mini class? Actually, it’s Iain and Margaret Millar’s Innocenti 120, successor to the Inno Mini Cooper, powered by a Mini-style A Series engine — a true ‘Mini variant’.


Mid-afternoon the judging was done and the results in. There was a slight concern that a 1948 Austin pickup truck was in one of the Mini classes — not quite cricket, old chap, as the first Mini came out in 1959 and this vehicle was very nice, but not anywhere near a Mini. When the votes were in (this was a people’s choice contest), the truck was in 3rd place, leaving us wondering which Mini would have gotten 3rd.

[The decision to include the pickup in the class because it was an Austin (though not a Mini) was made by Invasion staff, who reserve the right to make such changes in classes and awards. —Exec. Ed.]

Here are the winners in the various Mini classes:

Class #15 — Austin and Mini, 1948 to 1969: 1st, David and Jean Icaza, from Amston, Conn., 1969 Austin Mini Countryman (Car #414) 2nd, Derick and Lorine Karabec, from Ulster Park, N.Y., 1965 Wolseley Hornet (Car #512) 3rd, Mary Woodcock and James Horton, from Epping, N.H., 1948 Austin Pickup (Car #544).

Class #16 — Austin, Morris and Rover Mini, 1970 to 2000: 1st, Bill and Teri Cook, from Queensbury, N.Y., 1983 Austin Mini Cooper (Car #68) 2nd, Judith and Paul Nevin, from Mt. Holly, Vt., 1982 Mini Van (Car #93) 3rd, Steven and Joyce Aoyama, from Marion, Mass., 1972 Morris Mini Clubman (Car #602).

Class #17 — MINI Cooper, 2001 to Present: 1st, Eric Small, from South Portland, Me., 2005 MINI Cooper S (Car #623) 2nd, Matt and Natalie Coleman, from Erie, Pa., 2010 MINI Cooper (Car #303) 3rd, Brian Dupuis, from Phillipston, Mass., 2011 MINI Clubman (Car #616).

On Saturday night, the NEMO folks had planned to go miniature golfing just down the road, but rain stopped that plan, so Plan B was to skip golf and head over to Gracie’s for another great meal. But when we all returned from the show, we saw the Arbor Inn’s owners had stuck invitations to our doors, inviting us all to a wine and cheese get-together on their front covered porch and that more than made up for missing golf!

After a couple of hours of great conversation, wine and cheese along with fruit plates, and the owners Mike and Cody bringing out some strange hats for us to take pictures wearing, the NEMO crowd tiptoed across the lawn to have dinner, and again closing the place down! We have to give a big thank you to the Arbor Inn for being such fantastic people! It was a great ending to a great day at the show.

Sunday saw the show field open for various other events. A good time was had by all attending.

If you have never gone to a British Invasion, next year is a great time to start!

October 2013

Hold the Date — Dec. 7!

The NEMO Holiday Party will be held at J.D. Cooper’s in Putnam, Conn., on Saturday, December 7th, at 12 noon. For you folks with a GPS, the address is J.D. Cooper’s, 146 Park Road, Putnam, CT 06260, (860) 928-0501. Take Exit 95 (Kennedy Drive) off I-395. Kennedy Drive becomes Park Road. J.D. Cooper’s is about a mile from the exit.

RSVP by e-mailing nemo@auroratechedi.com or calling me at (401) 766-6519. Let me know how many will be attending (and ages of any kids).

The club will subsidize the cost of the buffet for members, so the member cost is only $12. Kids under 12 are half-price and those under 3 are free.

We will be holding a Yankee Swap so plan to bring a wrapped gift (try to keep the cost below $25). A Yankee Swap means that someone else may “take” your gift when it is their turn to pick. (Warn your kids so they don’t get upset if this happens!) You get to pick a gift for every gift you bring (please, no more than one per person or the party will never end!).

Our Holiday Party is one of our more popular events every year and this central location in Connecticut is convenient for the majority of our members. Hope to see you there! —Faith Lamprey

September 2013

[1-Oct 13 Moment of Zen.jpg] Dave in a moment of Zen with #57.
Photo by Bob Stanichar

Mr. Reid Goes Racing… Again
by Bruce Vild

LAKEVILLE, Conn., Aug. 29-Sept. 2 — “I hope it does rain. It’ll scramble the field.”

So said the driver of Car #57 in the middle of the Historic Festival weekend at Lime Rock Park, NEMO’s own Dave Reid. He mused that front wheel drive would be a big advantage on a wet track, not to mention his new set of Dunlops — rain tires.

Car #57, of course, is the blue-body, white-roof Austin Mini Cooper that consistently places high in the field at the Historics, wet or dry. As it turned out, Dave would get to experience both.

Thursday afternoon, Dave spent some time with his “chief scientist,” Nick Mango, and Nick’s lovely wife Liz, as they took in the sights in the nearby hamlet of Falls Village. There were some interesting sights to see, because Falls Village was where the race- and vintage-car parade ended that had set off promptly at four o’clock from Sam Posey Straight at the track. More than 130 cars took part in the parade, cruising for 17 miles through the surrounding towns and countryside, and they all parked up right next to the village green.

This would no doubt be the quietest time of the weekend for Dave and his crew, as the track would open promptly for practice sessions at 9 a.m. on Friday, followed by qualifying that afternoon. Then there would be two race sessions Saturday, a breather on Sunday for the Concours (or for fixing what had gotten broken on Friday or Saturday), and two final races on Monday.

There were ten groups racing, and the variety of cars was phenomenal. Trans-Am cars were one of the draws that weekend, and they were all put in Group 5. Some of the other groups had much more of a mix, and Dave’s group, Group 8, was somewhere in the middle. His Mini was pitted against other “modified production cars,” as the group was titled, including MGBs, Spitfires, Lotus Elans, Alfas, a Ford Cortina, a Datsun 2000 Roadster, a Porsche 914 and two real oddities, a Maserati 3500GT and a Nash-Healey Le Mans. There were three other Mini Coopers as well. One of them was run by Don Racine of Mini Mania fame.

Thirty cars in Group 8 made it to qualifying, 27 to the Saturday morning race and 26 to the afternoon. Dave for a while was probably wondering if he would make qualifying. During the Friday morning practice, he noticed he was losing oil pressure after beginning a good run and opted to get towed off the course. Witnessing the spectacle of #57 on the hook, the Marque had to find out what had happened — and whether this ended the weekend for Dave before it had really begun.

We found Dave and Nick literally up to their elbows trying to diagnose the problem and fix it before the afternoon’s qualifying session. It was not a good time for an interview, as polite as both men were when we asked our initial questions. We took our leave, and were delighted when we saw #57 out on the track again for qualifying. Dave qualified 4th — behind a Ginetta G4, Datsun PL510 and Lotus Elan. His best time was less than 2/10 sec. slower than the Elan.

So all was well? Not so much. Dave and Nick were convinced the problem was deep inside the engine, and were doing the best they could to work around it. Keeping up the revs was key, which, if you know Dave, would not be an issue.

Dave explained it all to me later.

“It seems to be a seal inside the engine, actually a seat that the oil pressure release rides on,” he said. “When the temperature comes up that seal kind of floats and doesn’t allow the oil pressure release to maintain oil pressure. Consequently when the rpms drop down after the end of the race when I cross the finish line, [the pressure] drops right down to zero. When I’m going on the cool-down lap I’m in first gear, strung out all the way around, and when I’m coming into the paddock area, same thing — I’m revving and revving and revving. People think I’m crazy but it keeps the oil pressure up, and then when I get to the paddock I just shut it down.”

September 2013

[2-Oct 13 One More Lap.jpg] ‘One more lap I would have had him’, Dave would comment later.
Photo by Bob Stanichar

And so came Saturday, dry conditions, #57 on dry tires. The morning race had Dave 4th, behind the Ginetta again, a Lotus 7, and the Elan that bested him in qualifying on Friday. The Elan faltered that afternoon and Dave came 3rd, again behind the Ginetta and Lotus 7.

Sunday brought some showers around noontime but all in all it was a great day for the “Sunday in the Park” Concours, and anniversaries of all sorts were celebrated: 100 years of Aston Martin, 60 years of Cunningham Cars, 50 years of Lotus Elan, 47 years of Trans-Am, etc., etc. There were classes in the Concours for all kinds of cars as well as the special displays, and it was wonderful to see MG Midgets proudly shown as well as prewar Bentleys. All this was amply augmented by the “Gathering of the Marques” that lined cars up from the point where the Concours ended at Big Bend, through the Esses right up No Name Straight, which was about as far as we got before we sought shelter from the rain.

Dave, Nick and Liz were strolling along the track with the rest of the crowd, and it was good to see the three of them taking a break. Through Dave and Liz I met Kent Jones and Bob D’Amore, who were showing a Cooper open-wheel racecar, a 1969 T-90 that was mated to a 5-liter Chevrolet V8. It looked like a very potent machine.

Then came Monday, and guess what? Dave’s prayers were answered. The track got rain — lots of it, by one account 2 1/2” in an hour. Group 1 managed six laps with a field of 23 cars, down from 30 on Saturday afternoon. Group 2, consisting mostly of prewar machinery, ran five laps after their start was delayed by about an hour. They had 10 cars out, instead of Saturday’s 24. Group 3 was down to eight cars, Group 4 to two, and so on.

Group 8’s field included 15 cars (on Saturday it was 26), and considering track conditions that included a large puddle (overflowing river?) straddling No Name Straight the turnout was remarkable. The instant the green flag dropped #57 had the lead and Dave held it, widening it through the four laps to checker. In fact, when he crossed the finish line, Dave was about four seconds ahead of car number two, the Datsun Roadster.

Now it was time for an interview. After accepting our heartiest congratulations, Dave told us the secret of his win (and, we suppose, of Minis in general).

“Front wheel drive gives you an advantage in the wet,” he explained. “And the tires I have on there, Dunlop rain tires, a real good tire, made some difference. But the car really handles extremely well in the wet, and as long as you keep the power on, and don’t get nervous and back off, you’ll maintain your grip. You can’t ever let your foot up, because if you let up on a corner, it’s gonna spin. The trick is to keep your foot on the gas, steer the car into the turn, get it straight, and continue on. It really works.

“It’s just a matter of having confidence in the car. The car really is strong when you get it going. In fact, if you throw it down, it doesn’t feel as good as it does when it’s going fast.”

I bet a lot of us could say that about our own Minis — the part about the car feeling good when it’s going fast.

Now we were getting into the final races on Monday. The rain had finally subsided but puddles remained on the track. Some of the racers who sat out the morning session were there for the afternoon, and Group 8 was up to 17 cars. The race would go for 11 laps instead of the morning’s four.

That is, for most of the drivers. Sadly, #57 had to call it quits after two laps after spinning and crashing, rear first, into the tire barrier in West Bend.

Dave wasn’t sure what happened but told us later “something snapped” (fortunately, just on the car, not on him). Then, as usual, he turned philosophical. As the car disappeared into its trailer he said, “That’s racing.”

So the tally for the weekend was a 4th, a 3rd, a 1st, and a DNF. And that, for Dave, Nick and Liz, was also the season. The following weekend would have Mini as a featured marque at Watkins Glen, but with the troubles with oil pressure — said Dave, “I don’t want to blow the engine. The crankshaft on that thing is really expensive” — and now a steering or suspension issue and a crumpled rear end, that’s out. And that’s a real shame, since Dave won his race at the Glen last year and it would have been fun to go down there and defend it.

Yeah. That’s racing.

August 2013

[1-Sept 13 Rides.jpg] Queuing up for rides at LAAM.
Photo courtesy NEMO

Micros and Minis Converge Again!
by Faith Lamprey & Bruce Vild

NEWTON, Mass. — Hot on the heels of Mini Meet East was the Microcar and Minicar Classic on July 12-14, held as always in and around the home of Charles and Nancy Gould. The Goulds have always welcomed our Minis and they own a number themselves, in addition to literally scores of microcars and other unusual, predominantly European vehicles. You never know what they might debut that weekend. This year it was a late-model classic Mini, in red with a white roof and bonnet stripes. Very nice.

The weekend is always a great one, with an amazing amount of food, fun and beverages all included as part of your registration fee. As usual the event started on Friday night with registration, beer, wine and yummy food. Saturday morning we filled ourselves with coffee, bagels and pastries before leaving on a “Microtour” to Wachusett Mountain. The “Eclectic Feed and Memphis BBQ” followed the Tour late afternoon back at the Goulds’. Sunday, after more coffee, bagels and pastries, was the parade to the Larz Anderson Auto Museum and show (including rides in microcars for spectators).

NEMO’s Derick and Lorine Karabec brought a Trojan, a Heinkel three-wheel microcar made under license in Britain in the 1950s, and gave rides in it at Larz Anderson (see photo). Meanwhile some of the younger enthusiasts attempted an informal run at the record for the most people piled into (onto?) a Mini Moke. Too bad the Guinness people weren’t around to count!

The show has a separate class for Minis, and the winners this year were: 1st, 1967 Austin Mini, Bruce Vild and Faith Lamprey, 2nd, 1962 Mini Cooper, Jay Cady, and 3rd, 1968 Morris Mini Traveller, David Schwartz.

See the Gallery on our website for more photos.

August 2013

[2-Sept 13 Hanks.jpg] The Fodor and Judson Minis at Hank’s.
Photo courtesy NEMO

British Cars at Hank’s Dairy Bar
by Dave Newman

PLAINFIELD, Conn. — A few NEMO members joined the party at Hank’s Dairy Bar for a “British Car Day” initiated by British Motorcars of New England member Bob Nason. The weather was perfect — about 80°, nice breeze, lots of parking under shade trees and many picnic tables to have a meal and chat. The lunch was excellent, and the ice cream also!

There were 28 cars of all British types there, including classic Minis and MINIs. Barb and I drove our MINI as we had a cargo of tires and rims for Tom and Marsha Judson to swap into their excellent ex-Vienna Inn yellow van. Dave Schwartz and his daughter Laura were there with their light blue woodie wagon (see “From The Barn” for more!). Dave Brown brought a restored Moke that looked like it just left the factory, Bruce and Faith their classic red/white Mini, and Mark and Chantal their very nice custom Mini Cooper S. There were also six or eight non-NEMO members with very nice looking MINIs of different types. A great day and worth having again next year!

August 2013

[3-Sept 13 Elf.jpg] Mike at the wheel (it's RHD) and friends in the Elf.
Photo by Barbara Newman

My Riley Elf and I Thank You!
by Mike Browne

I wanted to thank Pete Stroble of the British Transportation Museum, because I just received the Brian Owens Award for best Mini in the Concours classes at Mini Meet East in Kingston, N.Y., and Pete sent me a nice note with it. And yes, I am sorry I wasn’t able to be at the banquet to receive the award.

I really am honored! I have had British cars since 1973 and classic Minis since 1999. I have had six Minis and restored all of them. The Riley Elf MkIII was the biggest challenge since nobody makes parts for them.

When I got the car, it was in drivable condition, but it was rough. I made the commitment to restore the car to factory specs. Little did I know at the time that the car was built in New Zealand. It was a CKD (complete knock down) car. It was shipped to NZ in pieces and was assembled and painted, and finished off by the locals in New Plymouth. So, since it was not built in the UK, the British Motor Heritage people had no information on the build specs of the car.

Luckily, the car came with a Riley Club of New Zealand newsletter and there was a picture of the Elf in the newsletter. So, I contacted the Riley Club’s President via e-mail and inquired about the history of the car in the club. They were nice enough to send me the owner’s e-mail address. It was Neville Wooderson. He is now 85 years old! He accompanied Sir Edmund Hillary to the summit of Mt. Everest!

Then I e-mailed the NZ Transport Agency (similar to our Division of Motor Vehicles), and after I told them that the car was in the USA, they, after some convincing, sent me the car’s complete history and build specs, so I now had something on which to base my restoration! I was grateful to all who helped me acquire the information needed.

Unfortunately for me, I had to get all used parts or bits in reasonably good condition and refurbish them. And obviously all of them had to come from the UK or NZ. So it seemed like a slow process. However, since I am retired, I worked on it full time and it took me a year to do! I spent far more than it will ever be worth — but I lived up to my commitment to restore the car to its original factory specifications! It was a frustrating, yet rewarding project.

Getting this award made all my time, money, and efforts worthwhile. This award means more to me than all the other trophies all the other Minis I have owned have won. It means that much to me! Thank you very much!

August 2013

From The Barn
by Guest Columnist David Schwartz


In my three and a half months of owning a vintage Mini, my ’68 Traveller has already made two trips to The Barn. Amazingly both were under its own power. In May my car failed the Massachusetts state inspection due to a bad front wheel bearing. Fortunately the inspection station never entered my car in their computer and they told me we would pretend it never happened. Clearly the mechanic had a premonition. Later I found a less thorough shop with a sense of humor. They had a good laugh at the car and just slapped on a sticker.

After reading the Haynes manual I ordered a replacement wheel bearing kit and briefly considered doing the job myself. A phone call to Dave Black convinced me this was a bad idea, so I made a trip down to The Barn. Nothing major went wrong during the repair, and this was due to all the tricks Dave has picked up over the years. Of course only part of the wheel wobble was caused by the bad bearing. I learned the car also needs a new steering rack. So much for my pre-purchase inspection!

During my first visit to The Barn I asked Dave about an oil leak on the rear side of the engine. This started as a small spot on the garage floor, and got progressively worse the more I drove my new toy. Dave warned me the leak was coming from the rear main seal. Oil would eventually foul the clutch until it slipped so much the car would not be drivable. We discussed waiting until winter and pulling the engine to do a complete rebuild. That would also be a good time to replace the steering rack since dropping the front subframe is easier without the engine.

In the meantime I hoped to make it through the Goulds’ microcar event in July. Those of you who attended the Microcar Classic weekend know how this story ends. I took two passengers on the Saturday 50-mile drive to Mount Wachusett. On a moderate hill in Sudbury the engine seemed to rev a bit faster than the speed we were travelling. I hoped this was just my imagination. As the minicar and microcar caravan got closer to Mount Wachusett the hills became much steeper, and the clutch was definitely slipping. At one of the rest stops my passengers switched to another car in hope that reducing the load would allow me to finish the drive. By the time we reached the lunch stop it was clear the car could not climb Mount Wachusett, and there was some doubt whether it would last the 40 miles back to the Goulds’ house in Newton. Fortunately Charles had a trailer strategically placed a few miles away, so the decision was made to trailer the Mini back to Newton. This preserved the clutch for the drive to the lawn event at the Larz Anderson Auto Museum on Sunday. (I am happy to report my car won a 3rd Place People’s Choice in the Mini category. It also won the 1st place Mechanical Complication Award, though as Charles pointed out I knew about the oil leak going into the event.) The car even limped back to Framingham, with the clutch slipping severely on the minor uphill grades.

Now I wondered if there was any way to save the remainder of the 2013 car show and driving season. Fortunately Dave had some time in early August and told me to come on down to The Barn. I debated having the car trailered the 50 miles from Framingham to Woodstock, Conn. However, the voices of several classic Mini owners echoed in my head: “Just drive the thing. It will be an adventure.” After consulting with Dave about taking the highway or back roads we decided the less shifting the better, so my first trip on a limited access highway would be with a failing clutch.

August 2013

I left my house at 8:00 on a Sunday morning to avoid traffic. The Mass Pike from Framingham to just west of 495 was uneventful. Then I encountered the first moderate uphill and my speed dropped from 55 to 45 as I let up on the gas to reduce the slipping. Several miles later there was a much steeper hill, and this time the speed dropped to 37. I smelled burning oil about halfway up the hill and started to think driving wasn’t such a good idea after all. Then to my surprise the clutch stopped slipping and the speed picked up to 60, a new record! The over-revving of the engine at highway speeds burned oil off the clutch, and the remaining trip on the Pike and 395 went smoothly. The slipping returned on the back roads and hills leading into Woodstock. After pulling into The Barn, Dave said with a smile, “A Mini will always get you there.” The car responded by disgorging a large oil puddle on the floor.

The plan was for me to actively participate in the disassembly part of the job. I hope eventually to learn enough to handle some future Mini repairs on my own. I removed the easy stuff while Dave did all the tricky bits. There were a few stubborn bolts including the motor mount on the clutch bell housing. A jack under the engine took the weight off the motor mount making it easier to loosen the bolts. Removing the flywheel required a lot of brute force from Dave, while all I had to do was wedge a screwdriver in the flywheel teeth to keep the thing stationary.

Once the clutch and flywheel were out, the next step was to remove the primary gear and failed rear main seal. There is not much working room with the engine in the car, and this took several tries using two different gear pullers.

After degreasing all the parts it was time to install the new rear main seal. Dave’s tool of choice is a heavy pipe that fits over the primary gear and pushes the seal in place. Tape is wrapped around the gear to prevent damage to the oil seal. I brought down a two-piece rear main seal installation tool that protects the seal from the gear splines and is supposed to make the job easier. The tool worked reasonably well, but I think Dave feels more comfortable using his trusty heavy pipe. Then we were done for the day since the pressure plate and flywheel needed to be resurfaced by a machine shop.

Dave had the car back together by Wednesday night, in plenty of time for me to join some NEMO folks on Saturday at Hank’s Dairy Bar for British Car Day. Next stop is “NEMO at British Legends Weekend” on the Cape in October. I wouldn’t be surprised if I need to make another trip to The Barn before then, especially since I plan to keep driving the Mini to work and around Framingham.

July 2013

[1-Aug 13 Ken and John G.jpg] Off on the Rallye go Ken Lemoine and John Gallagher. The lads were having fun already.
Photo by Barbara Newman

Mini Meet East a Hot Success!
by Dave Newman

KINGSTON, N.Y. — From July 2nd to 5th over 150 Mini enthusiasts with 80-plus cars attended the prime Mini event of the year for East Coast Mini owners, Mini Meet East 2013.

This year, as in 1998 and 2008, New England Mini Owners sponsored and ran the event with help from members of other Mini clubs attending. The chairpersons and main event organizers were Lorine and Derick Karabec, who live in the area and found, negotiated with, set up the contracts and organized the event venues and made MME 2013 one of the smoothest Mini Meets this author has ever attended! A big hug and thanks go out to these two people who for the last year had the planning of MME consume their lives, and we hope for the better. It takes a lot of planning and hard work for any club to run a Mini Meet East. NEMO members also helped out and since you know who you were, a big “thank you” to you also!

Because Kingston is near Woodstock, Lorine and Derick chose the theme “Peace, Love and Mini,” and the event logo incorporated a huge peace sign being hugged by (who else?) The Stig. Counterculture meets popular culture — it worked.

So what went on at the Meet? Tuesday saw people arrive at the host hotel all day, register, relax, have a meal, and then it was time for Professor Bruce Vild to run his Pub Quiz, dressed in a suit and dapper-looking bowler. Slowly, one by one the victims, or shall we say participants, arrived till the room was full of people willing to pick their brains for answers while downing a suitable beverage. One guy brought his own mini-keg of Newcastle Brown Ale.

On Wednesday, after the included breakfast, the drivers’ meeting for the morning’s Catskill Mountain Rallye was held outside. Did I forget to mention that temperatures for the entire Meet were in the mid-90s with what seemed like 100% humidity? A Sweaty Dave is not a Happy Dave, but what could I do? The drivers in the new MINI models had A/C. The classics, not. But as the Rallye got underway, and the classic drivers thought of ways to pull the fuses on the MINI A/C cars (just kidding), all had a great time navigating the course and answering the questions. The route ended up at the Meet Picnic, under cover from the sun, right on the Hudson River. Nice meal catered by a locally famous barbeque restaurant, nice company and nice views.

After the Picnic was a 30-minute drive along scenic winding roads and over the Hudson to a large manor house, Mills Mansion, for the Panoramic Photo. The sun was out. It was hot. And it does take a while to get the cars set up in the half circle just right for the 1930s camera of Jay Best to take the photo. So, as I mentioned before about Sweaty, etc., I took the time to nip into the MINI Countryman Cooper ALL4 that Prestige MINI of New Jersey had sent to the event, and while taking in the air conditioning set to chill a side of beef, interviewed the salesperson about the car. That took time, just up until we all had to take our places outside in the sun for the picture. And then it was done, and we all motored back to the hotel.

It was a “free night” to eat with and entertain friends or hang around the hotel and discuss all things Mini with others or participate in the swap meets going on in the parking lot.

Thursday after breakfast started one of the long days of the Meet, with car washing, finding the place to park and staging one’s Mini or MINI for the Car Show, both the Concours judged event and the popular vote show. We also had a dozen or more cars come just to attend the car show itself from the local area. Vendors were also doing brisk business in the parking lot and had brought lots of Mini parts, stuff and such to sell.

After the very hot car show came the Funkhana, designed by Derick and Lorine to provide some local flavor with a tugboat, lighthouse and even apple trees. Participants were able to drive, jump out, do or make things, run, and drive more, all on timed runs at slow speeds, sort of. The kids even took runs in pedal and electric toy cars and their R/C cars.

A drive to a local ice cream shop and diner was in order for dinner and, since it was Independence Day, we watched a local fireworks display. Another enjoyable day!

The last day was hot — in more than temperature. It was the Autocross, arranged at the local SUNY campus for the drivers at the Meet who wanted to make their cars perform. They got many, many more runs than in, say, a typical SCCA-type event, as this was limited to MME cars. Both the drivers and the many spectators, under nice shade trees, enjoyed the event and the pizza lunch provided.

That night was the Banquet and Awards Ceremony. A very nice dinner, the awards, and poof! Another Mini Meet East was over.

NEMO would like to thank again all who helped make the event the success it was, and all the attendees who came.

July 2013

[2-Aug 13Chekijian Memorial.jpg] Pete Stroble (left) and Cesar Chekijian pose with the ‘Hrach Award’. Sitting in front of them is a lifesize Hrach doll, complete with Hrach’s pith helmet and jumpsuit.
Photo by Jack Chekijian

Special Awards to Viola, Browne
by Pete Stroble & Faith Lamprey

For three years now two very special awards have been presented at Mini Meet East in memory of Hrach Chekijian and Brian Owens and their love of Minis. NEMO dedicated this year’s Meet to Hrach in memory of its beloved founding member.

The Hrach Chekijian Memorial Award is given to the person demonstrating the most spirit during the event. The Brian Owens Award is presented to the person whose car is Best of Show according to the judges.

The presentation of both of these awards was very special this year.

Hrach’s brother, Cesar, and his wife Barbara and son Jack attended the MME Awards Banquet. Cesar gave an inspiring talk about Hrach’s spirit throughout his life. These were words to live by. After the Banquet Cesar commented that he clearly felt Hrach’s spirit alive and well in everyone.

The Hrach Award went to Dan Viola of Rochester, N.Y.

Joyce Owens bequeathed the 1966 Mini Moke she and Brian owned to the British Transportation Museum in Ohio before her untimely death last December. The Moke was picked up on the way to MME so that the Owens could also be there in spirit. BTM had a special memorial placard made to go with the Moke, and was pleased that Brian and Joyce’s son was able to attend the event.

The Brian Owens Award went to Mike Browne of Waretown, N.J., and his 1968 Riley Elf.

July 2013

[3-Aug 13 Elf.jpg] 1968 Riley Elf of Mike Browne, winner of the Brian Owens Award (see accompanying article).
Photo by Barbara Newman

MME 2013 Award Winners

Pub Quiz

Grand Prize, Kathleen Maas and David Collier.

Rallye

1st, Paul and Sue Strieby and Alex Kinsman 2nd, Gary Schaeffer and Laurie Straub 3rd, Faith Lamprey and Bruce Vild.

Funkhana

Classic Mini Class — 1st, Nick Lehner 2nd, Lorine and Derick Karabec 3rd, The Vasbinder Family.

Kids Class — 1st, Dan and an assortment of kids 2nd, Aaron Jensen with a Remote Controlled Mini 3rd, Nathan Larose and Jaden Hawker in an Electric Pedal Car.

New Mini (MINI) Class — 1st, Ahren and Kristy Lehner 2nd, Kathleen Maas and David Collier 3rd, Gary Schaeffer and Laurie Straub.

Autocross

New Mini (MINI) Class — 1st, Kathleen Maas, 33.6 2nd, Gary Schaeffer, 34.25.

Classic Mini Class — 1st, Jay Cady 31.5 2nd, Eric Gagne, 33.6 3rd, Mark Fodor, 35.28.

850 Class — 1st, Dan Viola, 36.5.

Car Show

Class A: Judged Concours Mark I-II — 1st, Prestige MINI, 1967 Morris Mini Minor Traveller 2nd, Lorine Karabec, 1962 Austin 850 Countryman.

Class B: Judged Concours Mark III-VI — 1st, Mike Browne, 1968 Riley Elf 2nd, Prestige MINI, 1998 Mini Cooper.

Class C: Street Modified — 1st, Larry Atkinson 2nd, Norman Aubin 3rd, Nick and Jeanne Lehner.

Class D: Inno and Variants — 1st, Ryan, Susie and Les Adams 2nd (tie), Lorine Karabec 2nd (tie), Dan, Deanne, Daniel and Anthony Viola 3rd, Andrew O’Rourke.

Class E: Non-A Series Engines — 1st, Greg and Bob Jonah 2nd, Justin Carven.

Class F: Mark I — 1st, Jay Cady 2nd, Jim Davidson 3rd, Jane Davidson.

Class G: Mark II — 1st, Larry, Martha, Cooper and Meghan Martin 2nd, Pete and Nancy Stroble.

Class H: Mark III — 1st, Mark and Steph Jewett 2nd, Jeff Fenwick 3rd (tie), Bert and Nathalie St. Onge 3rd (tie), Bill, Steve, and Larry Frakes.

Class I: Race Class — No entries, class eliminated.

Class J: Mark IV, V, VI — 1st (tie), Ron Blanchette 1st (tie), Michel Hardaker 2nd, Nadia Brosseau 3rd, John Gallagher.

Class K: MINI Hardtop — 1st, Norm Rogowski 2nd, Gary Schaeffer 3rd, Ahren and Kristy Lehner.

Class L: MINI Convertible — Not enough entries, class eliminated.

Class M: MINI Variant — 1st, Paul and Judy Nevin 2nd, Gary Panarotto 3rd, William Ferbrache and Michiko Brewer.

Class N: Mini Estates and Vans — Class added. 1st, Dave and Jean Icaza 2nd, Ken Lemoine 3rd, Dan, Deanne, Daniel and Anthony Viola.

July 2013

[4-Aug 13 MINI in Mini.jpg] Both Minis and MINIs were welcome at MME 2013, even mini MINIs inside Minis!
Photo by Barbara Newman

MME Statistics

For those folks who are interested in this type of thing…

MME 2013 had 152 people plus 17 kids registered. There were 80 cars, with 67 of them classics (84%) and 13 of them new Minis (MINIs) (16%).

We had 27% of the people who attended registering at the event, that is, not pre-registering, even though we offered a discount to those who registered before June 1st — and the opportunity to be entered in a drawing for a free hotel room during the event.

The winners of the free room were a very happy William Ferbrache and Michiko Brewer!

June 2013

[1-July 13 Rest Now.jpg] Rest up now, there will plenty to do at MME!
Photo by Bruce Vild

British Invade Kingston — Again!
by Lorine Karabec & Faith Lamprey

KINGSTON, N.Y. — Did you know that Kingston was the first capital of New York in 1777? Then the British invaded and burnt down the town. Well, the British (in the form of Minis) are invading Kingston again. This time it will be for Mini Meet East 2013 and the only fire will be at the 4th of July fireworks!

Kingston is not far from Woodstock, so “Peace, Love and Mini” is the theme for the Meet, which will take place July 2-5. The host hotel is the Quality Inn & Suites in Kingston.

Registration opens on Tuesday afternoon at the hotel from 1 to 5 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m. Get your registration packet, greet all your Mini friends, check out the entries in the Arts & Crafts Contest, and sign up for a table at the Friday night Banquet.

Feel like being challenged? Get in on the Pub Quiz from 8 to 10 p.m. that night at the hotel. There is a $5 entry fee (which covers two people), and the winning team gets a cash prize based on the proceeds. Test your knowledge of all things Mini-related (and not). There will be six rounds of questions with non-cash prizes for each round.

The Catskill Mountain Rallye & Tour starts early Wednesday morning and ends at a park overlooking the Hudson River. The Rallye is about two hours along. A barbeque picnic will be served at the park. During the picnic, raffle tickets will be drawn for gift certificates donated by local businesses. Then we will travel across the river to the Mills Mansion for the Meet’s panoramic photo. That evening, dinner will be on your own. Use those gift certificates that you won at the picnic!

On Thursday morning you will see folks cleaning up their cars for the Car Show in the back parking lot of the hotel from 9 a.m. to 12 noon. Vote for your favorite car in each of the 13 classes. That afternoon the fun continues with the Funkhana from 1 to 3 p.m. Even if you decide not to participate in the Funkhana, you must be a spectator — it is not to be missed! Participants will travel around the course, go to Woodstock and take a piece of it with them. They’ll go apple picking, help man the Esopus Meadows Lighthouse and work a tug boat. Then they will take a break and go fishing. All of this will happen while maneuvering their way through the course of pylons while being timed!

That night a caravan will leave the hotel at 5 p.m. for a guided tour to the Rainbow Drive-in Restaurant and Ice Cream Parlor for food, ice cream and a great view of the fireworks from the parking lot. Bring your lawn chairs!

Friday morning will bring the Autocross from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at SUNY Ulster in Stone Ridge, with assistance from the SCCA and the Poughkeepsie Sports Car Club. As an alternative there will be self-guided tours of the area available. The day will finish with the Banquet and Awards Ceremony, starting at 6:30 p.m. at the hotel.

Whew! Hope to see you there!

Scroll down past Dave Black's article to see the most up-to-date schedule of activities at MME.

June 2013

Minis Meet Micros

Hot on the heels of Mini Meet East 2013 is Gould’s Microcar and Minicar Classic, July 12-14. Info and registration form can be downloaded from www.bubbledrome.com.

This is a great weekend with an amazing amount of food, fun and beverages all included as part of your registration fee.

The event starts on Friday night with registration, beer, wine and finger food. Saturday morning there will be coffee, bagels and pastries before leaving on a Microtour to Wachusett Mountain. The “Eclectic Feed and Memphis BBQ” follows the Tour late afternoon with an ice cream run later. Sunday, after more coffee, bagels and pastries, is the parade to the Larz Anderson Auto Museum and show (including rides in microcars for spectators).

The Goulds welcome our Minis, and where else can say we are among the biggest cars on the show field!

June 2013

From The Barn
by Dave Black


So much for repair work slowing down as yard work takes precedence.

Tom Judson called to say he thought a wheel bearing was knackered because his recently redone van was pulling hard to the right. He made it from Middletown to Woodstock and the problem was quickly diagnosed — his tie rod nut had almost backed all the way off the rod! Please check these nuts, especially if you’ve rebuilt the front end. They’re easy to access at the front of the subframe and usually take an 11/16” wrench. If one should come loose it allows the hub assembly (and wheel) to fall backwards causing a massive toe-out and negative camber condition, essentially dragging the tire sideways down the road. While at it, Tom changed this wheel bearing and discovered that the race was broken (we’d found the same condition last year on the opposite side). A new bearing was fitted and all is now well with Tom’s “Vienna Inn” Mini Van.

Ron Blanchette announced that he finally sold his V-tec-powered Saloon. Thank goodness it went out of the area as yours truly would hate to have to turn away the new owner for not having a true Mini! I guess I’d refer him to a Honda dealer for service!

Dave Brown has replaced his steering rack and reported that he now knows why I recommended he do the job himself. The job is quite simple, just lower the back end of the subframe, remove track rod ends, steering column and U-bolts, remove old rack and install new one! Well, it seems a previous owner had welded the inner fender to the front subframe, so Step 1 was very much more complicated and time consuming. Then, of course, the U-bolts wouldn’t easily fit back in where they were removed (they never do). I recommend replacing the rack when the engine is out!

Dave Schwartz came in last weekend with his recently acquired Traveller to replace the front wheel bearing that caused him to fail his Massachusetts safety inspection. Normally a wheel bearing is no big deal, but I guess it’s been a while since I worked a twin-leading-shoe front wheel set-up. You have to disconnect the brake line to remove the hub assembly, and then, of course, you have to bleed the brakes to finish the job! Upon disassembly, it was discovered that this was a brand new bearing already, but still had lots of play. We installed another new bearing and it’s as tight as a drum! I think maybe some of the aftermarket parts are not built to the same tolerances as that the original equipment. Now that’s a scary thought!

Steve Nasczkowski witnessed the work on Dave’s Traveller because he’s been putting off a conversion to drum brakes and wanted to see what’s involved. He’s been complaining about his Mini pulling hard left when braking and wasn’t sure if it would be easier to fix his twin leading shoe system, or convert to disc. He’s bringing his hubs up tomorrow evening to get them ready for the discs!

Considering this year’s Mini Meet? Here’s a list of the spare parts and tools that I keep in my Mini for any long-distance road trips: fan belt water pump bottom radiator hose top hose bypass hose head gasket manifold gasket rocker assembly distributor — points, condenser, rotor, cap throttle cable starter alternator (or generator) front and rear wheel bearings spare tire with lugnuts to fit(!) floor jack (aluminum) flashlight helmet (for autocross) socket sets (3/8” and 1/4”) torque wrench (for head bolts) 3/4” breaker bar with 1 1/8” and 1 5/16” socket (for wheel bearing replacement) pickle fork 3 lb. sledge hammer (to drive pickle fork) 11/16” wrench wheel puller water oil and grease (for wheel bearings).

May 2013

[1-June 13-Longbridge.jpg] Restoration has begun but the ‘Tunnel Mini’ is still pretty rough. No-reserve auction, though!
Photo courtesy Danny Rughoobeer

Last Longbridge Mini Up for Sale
by Danny Rughoobeer

[The existence of this Mini was first reported in this newspaper by Tony Haslam of our sister club in the UK, Miniaddicts. He saw it displayed at the Bingley Hall show earlier this year. This latest news comes courtesy of Newspress UK.]

SILVERSTONE, Northants. — A salvaged Mini Clubman that lay in the tunnels under the Longbridge factory for 30 years is up for auction.

The iconic car, which was used to travel around the sprawling plant, had been secretly dumped by workers in the late 1970s after suffering some damage thought to be from a storage container falling on it. However, photos of the famous ‘lost’ Mini emerged and after much searching it was saved by a former factory worker who got permission to remove it in 2012 shortly before the tunnels were due to be filled in — making it the last-ever Mini to leave Longbridge.

The ‘The Longbridge Tunnel Mini’ will be offered without reserve by Silverstone Auctions at its ‘Classic Sale’ on Saturday, 27th July, at the Silverstone circuit in Northamptonshire, England.

Nick Whale, Managing Director of Silverstone Auctions, commented, ‘Without doubt, this has got to be one of the most fascinating cars we’ve ever secured for auction.’

The car made international headlines when it was rescued from underneath the factory and has caused a fair amount of controversy in the Mini community, as some people would have preferred it was left in the tunnels as a hidden memorial. Now that it’s been recovered, Whale says he’s ‘absolutely thrilled to offer it for auction’ and expects ‘it will attract a lot of attention’.

Anyone interested in owning a very important slice of British automotive history should remember, though, that having been abandoned for many decades, suffering wounds along the way and without any sunlight, that this Mini Clubman 1275 GT needs much love and attention to return it to its former glory!

For more information about the Silverstone Classic Sale visit www.silverstoneauctions.com.

May 2013

Mini Meet East Stuffing Party June 1!

Join us on Saturday, June 1st, for a day of collating and goodie bag stuffing in preparation for Mini Meet East (MME). We will start at 9 a.m. and hope to be done by 4 p.m. There will be coffee, tea and, of course, beer and wine available all day. Lunch (sandwich and salad buffet) will be provided and snacks will be plentiful. If you want to bring something, a dessert or light breakfast item would be fine.

This all will take place at the home of Faith Lamprey and Bruce Vild, 5 Old Nasonville Rd., Harrisville, RI 02830. Call (401) 766-6519 with questions or for directions. It is fine if you can only be with us for part of the day. The more hands, the better! —Faith Lamprey

May 2013

From The Barn
by Dave Black

It’s been quite busy this month, with lots of visitors to The Barn as well as ongoing commitments for MME.

Jay Cady called to ask about installing valve seals to try and lessen the amount of exhaust smoke. We discussed trying to change them without removing the head. It can be done, but requires a special tool and a length of rope to stuff down the cylinder to prevent the valve from disappearing into same. We actually have a choice of two tools here and Jay stopped by to pick up both and try his luck. Haven’t heard from him since, so I assume he either hasn’t tried yet, or has completed the operation without issues!

Paul Berton has announced he’s not going to try to finish his Cooper S restoration in time for MME — just too much left to do. And this after we spent a marathon day rebuilding his tranny. Anyone near Salem, Mass., who wants to give him a hand? It’s a beautiful restoration and sure would be nice to see at MME. Of course, even if you don’t have a Mini to bring, MME is a wonderful time to meet other enthusiasts and get ideas about how to fix your own Mini.

John Holden brought his Mini down for an oil change and brought the news that even though he tried to sell “The Machinist” last year, son Scott has talked him into keeping it. Yeah, Scott!

Mark Fodor brought his latest project in to troubleshoot a performance issue. We’ve been talking regularly and Mark has tried everything we could think to get his 998 to accelerate. It starts and idles fine, but stumbles as soon as you give it throttle. No amount of carb or timing adjustment makes any difference. Tried every needle profile in stock, but with no luck. Mark finally put in a new distributor and immediately there was a drastic improvement. Remember that what seems to be a fuel issue just might end up being spark-related! Don’t be afraid to try anything, but only make one change at a time, or you’ll never know what the real issue was.

Steve Naszckowski stopped by to catch up with NEMO activity and see who would be interested in caravanning to MME. I’m not sure if Steve is driving a Mini, but it looks like there will be a group heading west through Connecticut on the morning of July 2nd (Tuesday). We will be going past Bradley Airport through Granby, Winsted and Canaan, then into Millerton, N.Y., and on to Kingston. I suspect there will be an organized effort to coordinate this group through the website.

Dave Newman delivered “Buffy” to The Barn for new brakes (all drum). He then headed to Bruce and Faith’s to collect their Mini for a long-awaited engine repair. Buffy first — billed as a “ground-up” restoration, Buffy has finally revealed her true past. Seems a previous owner had bought her while in his teens and absolutely run the wheels off her. The next owner did an outstanding cosmetic restoration and sold her to Ray and Buffy Carney,who then turned her over to Dave and Barb.

Buffy (the car) is a wonderful example of an original 1960 850 Mini. Now to the brakes — seems the right front kept locking up and Dave was getting tired of readjusting them to finish each trip. It looks like repairs had been made willy-nilly to the brake system. One wheel would have a new hose, but old slave cylinder, another would have all new pieces, then the right rear was completely original. Go figure — now everything is new and should stop this 850 powerhouse with no problem.

Bruce and Faith’s Mini has got to hold the record for spending the most time in repair mode of all the NEMO Minis. They even received a Hard Luck Award for their trip to Frederick, Md.! Bruce complained that the Mini started running really rough one day, then wouldn’t even start the next. That was last fall and it’s taken this long to get a spot opened up to diagnose the problem.

From Bruce’s description, I deduced that the problem lay within the camshaft belt drive (again). He’d had this problem a couple of years ago on the way to Ohio and left it with Lorine and Derick. Derick was able to find the problem (the belt) and fix it, but it seems to have failed again. I realized it was going to require engine removal to get at the root cause of the problem and thus the long wait for an opening at The Barn.

Well, the lump is out and the verdict is in — the harmonic balancer was worn enough to work back and forth on the shaft and wear the key to the point where it would no longer secure the crank drive pulley, so it seemed the belt was slipping and causing an out-of-time condition on the camshaft when it was really the pulley slipping and causing the same problem. We’re going back to chain drive to eliminate all issues and trying to talk Bruce into taking their Classic to MME!

All for now…

May 2013

NEMO Calendar

Join the NEMO gang as we travel throughout New England this summer, gathering at the events listed below:

June 1 — Mini Meet East 2013 Stuffing Session, 5 Old Nasonville Rd., Harrisville, R.I. Call Faith and Bruce, (401) 766-6519, with questions.

June 2 — “British by the Sea,” sponsored by the Connecticut MG Club, Harkness Memorial State Park, Waterford, Conn.

July 2-5 — Mini Meet East 2013, Kingston, N.Y.

July 12-14 — 18th Gould Microcar-Minicar Event, Newton, Mass.

September 20-22 — British Invasion, Stowe, Vt.

October 11-13 — British Legends Weekend, sponsored by the Cape Cod British Car Club, Buzzards Bay, Mass.

April 2013

[1-May 13 Mills Mansion.jpg] Dave Black, Greg Mazza and Derick Karabec look over the grounds at the Mills Mansion.
Photo by Bruce Vild


Sites Visited for MME2013
by Dave Newman

KINGSTON, N.Y., Apr. 13 — NEMO’s Mini Meet East 2013 organizing group met at the Ulster Park, N.Y., home of Lorine and Derick Karabec to discuss the upcoming event, being held in and around Kingston, in the Catskill Mountain resort area. Attending were ten NEMO members: Lorine and Derick, Faith Lamprey and Bruce Vild, Dave Black, Greg Mazza, Mark Fodor and Chantal Brefort, and Barbara and Dave Newman. Many organizing items were discussed, after which we were given a tour of the Karabec Barn where many Minis and a few micro-cars live. Then it was off on a tour of the area to see the different venues for the Meet.

First up was the picnic venue, located in a park on the Hudson River, featuring fixed tables covered by a permanent roof, nearby restrooms and parking. And ducks — very friendly ducks. The view across the Hudson was relaxing, and on the other shore commuter trains could be seen. A nice, cool place indeed for a picnic barbeque in July.

Then we were off to the Quality Inn host hotel, the hub of all Meet activity, with its attached restaurant. We had a nice lunch there. Prices are reasonable, service good, and the entrées and salad bar very tasty. Barbara and I had stayed at the hotel the night before and had breakfast there. We found the rooms very modern and clean, the facility having just been through a major overhaul about a year ago. There was a small exercise room, electronic game room, a nice, large pool, very nice free coffee machines, coin-operated snack and soda machines and an attentive staff.

The group then toured the hotel after lunch, seeing the registration room, banquet room and other features. It has large parking areas for our various functions and there is an adjoining lot arranged for trailer parking. The hotel is right next to Interstate 87 and is about 100 miles north of New York City. Shopping and historic Kingston are nearby.

After the hotel, skipping the autocross location, we went on a nice country drive to the other side of the Hudson to the location for the panoramic photo, which is on the estate of the Mills Mansion. Very nice and sure to be one of the best backdrops for a MME photo.

From there, it was getting to be 5 p.m., and those with a four-to-five-hour drive left for home. A big thank you is in order for the Karabecs, for conducting the tour and taking the lead in organizing this event.

If you are going to attend, make your reservation soon with the hotel and send in your registration. Anyone registered for MME2013 before June 1st is automatically entered in a raffle to have three nights of their hotel stay paid for if they win. So it just may pay to register early! See www.nemomini.org for details.

March 2013

[1-Apr 13 Planning.jpg] Partaking in the pot luck luncheon.
Photo by Bruce Vild

Annual Meeting Sets Stage for MME
by Dave Newman

HARRISVILLE, R.I. — The last Sunday of February found fourteen NEMO members visiting Faith and Bruce’s home in Rhode Island on a bright, sunny day, after the prior weekend meeting was canceled due to a large winter storm.

After greetings, handshakes and some hugs, the members dug into the food and drink that was brought by each and enjoyed by all. It was quite a feast!  Then it was raffle time, with Faith passing out a ticket to each and then drawing from a hat for your choice of the donated prizes, ranging from magazines and model cars to DVDs and more. Everyone got something.

Then the planning meeting began, with listings of events our NEMO members will attend by other groups and of course the Big Event, Mini Meet East 2013. MME2013 is being run this year, as in 2008, by NEMO.  (See the club website for event news and particulars and the MME2013 schedule.)

Lorine Karabec is the MME2013 coordinator, but due to a schedule conflict with the date being moved, she could not attend. But in keeping with delegating work, she sent Derick, her hubby, to report to the group.

Dave Black, in charge of getting the event insurance, reported a huge savings as compared to the planned budget, so it was agreed to reduce the entry fees by $10 on the entrant and enthusiast. Those who already had paid the old rates are getting a $20 credit or refund.

It was also agreed that if an entrant registered before June 1st, that they will be entered into a drawing at the banquet to get a refund on their hotel rooms. The website and entry form should be updated soon to reflect this.  

The next meeting of the NEMO team working on MME2013 is in Kingston, N.Y., on April 13th. Check the website for exact details. This will give us a day to see the event hotel, lots, sites and such.  

If you want to volunteer to help out at MME2013 (we can always use extra helpers!) please contact Lorine at wolfelor@aol.com.

If you missed this year’s planning meeting, we hope to see you next year.

March 2013

Plant Oxford Hits the Ton

Plant Oxford, where MINIs are made, celebrated a centenary of car-making at Cowley in Oxford on 28 March 2013 — 100 years to the day when the first “Bullnose” Morris Oxford was built by William Morris, a few hundred metres from where the modern plant stands today.

Twenty cars were built each week at the start, but the business grew rapidly and over the century 11.65 million cars were produced. Today, Plant Oxford employs 3,700 associates who manufacture up to 900 MINIs every day, and has contributed over 2.25 million MINIs to the total tally. Major investment is currently underway at the plant to create new facilities for the next generation MINI.

Over the decades that followed the emergence of the Bullnose Morris Oxford in 1913 came cars from a wide range of famous British brands — and one Japanese — including MG, Wolseley, Riley, Austin, Austin-Healey, Mini, Vanden Plas, Princess, Triumph, Rover, Sterling and Honda, besides founding marque Morris and the current MINI.

The Pressed Steel Company, part of the Cowley operation, also built body shells for Rolls-Royce, Bentley, Jaguar, MG, Standard-Triumph, Ford and Hillman, as well as tooling dies for Alfa Romeo. At various stages in its history it also built Tiger Moth aircraft, ambulances, military trucks, jerry cans, components for Horsa gliders, parachutes and iron lungs.

In addition to icons such as the Bullnose Morris, Morris Minor and classic Mini, the Plant also produced some slightly notorious models including the much-derided (though far from unsuccessful) Morris Marina, the startling ’70s wedge that was the Princess, and the Austin Maestro, one of the world’s earliest ‘talking’ cars.

There have been eight custodians of Plant Oxford over the past 100 years, beginning with founder William Morris, who owned the factory both directly and through Morris Motors until 1952, when Morris merged with arch-rival Austin to form the British Motor Corporation. Morris himself, by this time known as Lord Nuffield, was Chairman for six months before retiring.

In 1967 BMC became British Motor Holdings after merging with Jaguar, and the following year that group was merged with the Leyland truck company (which also included Triumph and Rover) to form the British Leyland Motor Corporation.

Nationalisation followed in 1974, the group undergoing several renamings until it became the Rover Group in 1986. Boss Graham Day was charged with privatising the company for the Thatcher government, which was completed in 1988 with the sale to British Aerospace. They in turn would sell the Group, which included Land Rover, to the German manufacturer BMW in 1994.

BMW Group invested heavily in Rover, deciding early on that a replacement for the Mini would be a priority. But considerable headwinds, including an unfavourable exchange rate and falling sales, led to BMW selling both Rover and Land Rover in 2000, while retaining the Mini brand, Plant Oxford, the associated Swindon body pressings factory and the new Hams Hall engine plant that was preparing for production.

Today, Plant Oxford is flourishing with the manufacture of the MINI Hatchback, Convertible, Clubman, Clubvan, Roadster and Coupé. It is currently undergoing a major investment that includes the installation of 1,000 new robots for both a new body shop and to ready the existing facility for the next generation of MINI. This represents the lion’s share of a £750m investment programme, announced in the last year, which also sees the significant upgrading and installation of new facilities at the Hams Hall plant and the Swindon pressings factory.

[From a press release courtesy of Newspress UK.]

March 2013

From The Barn
by Dave Black

Just a little bit more to report on Henry’s 998 Cooper. Boot lid, doors and hood went on as advertised, though the driver’s side was very difficult to get lined up. Tried several times to jack-up, loosen bolts, and retighten to get the top line of the door even with the body, to no avail. It still looks like it sags, though the rest of the lines are fine and the door closes like new. Guess it’s just one o’ them things that you have to live with. The sliding windows went in without a hitch and the windows actually slide properly with the new channels. The last time I did this, the channels were so tight they needed to be “massaged” repeatedly before the windows would slide at all. I reckon the manufacturers of this stuff finally figured out how to get the right tolerances. Door and dash cards went in next, then the dash tray liner. I soon discovered the tray liner should have gone in first, so took a long time to get it fitted properly.

So “Lazarus” is almost ready for delivery, just need to test drive and final-tune before Henry takes possession. Course, we need dry, salt-free conditions so it may be a couple of more weeks.

It’s not often that I get to write about others’ tribulations, but this month I’ve just got to tell you about Mark’s experiences! He is restoring a bodyshell that’s been in the family forever and started with the bare shell. He’s had to source out all the mechanicals (subframes, wheels, brakes, engine and tranny, etc.) and, if you recall, he ended up with a sweet 998 with rod-change. It took him about a day to install the lump and then make sure all the electrical was in order.

His first phone call was to announce that the wiring harness must be defective because it leaked a whole bunch of smoke! The whole harness from under the cowl (near the wiper motor) to the rear lights was melted! He came right over to get a replacement harness and ended up taking about four complete used harnesses just to make sure he had everything that got fried. Last weekend he called to say the short was in the bullet connector to the rear harness. Seems at least one of the bullets was not fully seated and shorted to the holding clip under the cowl.

Then he proceeded to tell me the engine would not start. It had spark and plenty of gas, so timing must be the issue. After talking through the proper firing order and static timing procedure, he called back to say it still wouldn’t fire and seemed to be flooded.

Now we had taken a used 1 1/2” carb out of a box to use, so it had never been tested. Mark had put several new parts into the carb, but never removed the dashpot. After checking the float bowl to make sure the new check valve was operating properly, it was suggested that maybe the needle was missing. About 10 minutes later, he called to report that, lo and behold, there was no needle! Luckily another carb was nearby and soon another call confirmed that the engine does, indeed, run!

I notice nobody else writes about their challenges. Can it be that we’re too embarrassed to share some of the mistakes made while working on our LBCs? I, for one, am not afraid to laugh at myself (or poke lighthearted fun at friends!). After all, we are driving “clown” cars!

February 2013

IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT!

For those who have not been contacted through our Google group...

The Annual NEMO Planning Meeting and Potluck Luncheon was rescheduled due to last Sunday's weather. It will now take place Sunday, March 3rd.

Same time (12 noon), same place, same activities (Mini stuff giveaway, potluck lunch, car talk, then down to business). For more details, please scroll down, past the MME 2013 information, to our February stories.

February 2013

[1-Mar 13 Exhibition Hall.jpg] Exhibition hall clearly less packed this year.
Photo by Tony Haslam

Smaller Crowds at Bingley Hall
by Tony Haslam

STAFFORD, Staffs., UK — With the recent spell of heavy snow followed by many flooded roads all over the UK, attendance figures at the annual Bingley Hall Mini Fair were down on previous years — but the spectators kept coming in a steady flow, which made everyone’s passage around the hall very comfortable.

I left my Elf at home and used my daily drive so that I could pick up some panels for my Mini Van project. Just as well I did I was diverted twice and had two detours of almost 40 miles extra on my normal 70-mile trip! I encounted three or more floods over 10 inches deep despite these detours. Most certainly lethal for the Elf!

There was a notable drop in the number of traders and used car jumble stands, too, but they did a very brisk business throughout the day. The standard of show cars was very high, I found it hard to pick out any winners. I left that to the show organizers — judges who found it extremely difficult, too!

I met up with a friend, Mick Whitehead, who was showing his orange 1275 GT Clubman. I was pleased at the prize ceremony that he took the best GT Clubman of the show!

[See more photos from Bingley Hall on our Gallery page.]

February 2013

MME 2013 Registration Now Open

You can now register on-line for this year’s Mini Meet East, being brought to you by NEMO! The registration form can be easily found on NEMO’s website — simply go to www.nemomini.org and download the form from the home page.

If you have any questions, contact Lorine Karabec at wolfelor@aol.com.

February 2013

Once Again, Mini ‘The Greatest’

The original Mini has been voted the greatest British car ever made in a poll by Autocar readers.

The Mini, produced from 1959 to 2000, beat off opposition from the original Range Rover, which invented a new category of car and that still thrives today, and the Jaguar E-type, which drew votes on the grounds of beauty, function and value.

The Mini, Range Rover and E-type occupied the top three places in the poll. In 4th place was Land Rover, followed, in order, by McLaren F1, Range Rover Evoque, Caterham 7, Morris Minor, McLaren MPF-12C and London taxi.

Autocar’s Editor-in-Chief Steve Cropley reacted with the comment, “The Mini had many faults and was never profitable, but it rewrote the rules and had the biggest impact on Britain’s car industry that any car has had.”

[From a press release via Newspress UK. No details were provided as to which London taxi was named.]

February 2013

From The Barn
by Dave Black

As expected, Paul Berton brought his nicely finished tranny cases to reassemble. We spent a marathon session one Saturday putting it all back together with new bearings and the gears as outlined last month. Only had to remove the first motion shaft once to realign fourth gear synchro! Now the rest of the restoration is up to Paul, though he may bring the lump down for a run on the test stand before installing it in the car.

Henry’s Mini (“Lazarus”) is coming along, though slowly. Most issues have been electrical in nature: dome light got wired backwards by yours truly, and it only took five fuses before figuring out the correct hookup. The headlights became another challenge — high beam was O.K., but no low beam. Dimmer switch seemed to be the culprit, and several different ones were fitted before finding the fault was a corroded bullet in one of the butt connectors behind the grille. The starter solenoid turned up bad, but not before trying every possible combination of the four wires at the ignition switch. Henry’s car has a steering column interlock ignition switch (a requirement for German Minis in 1967) and all four wires are colored white!

Next was the fuel pump. Of course, Henry has an under-dash switch for this. No combination yielded the SU click I expected from a pump with 4,000 miles on it. So out it came and removal of the cover revealed completely corroded points and a frozen pump assembly! A Facet from NAPA was installed, but the leads had to be switched to accommodate Henry’s positive-ground electrical system.

Next challenge was the heater blower. The connections didn’t match what was on the end of the wiring harness, so some jumpers were run to make sure the blower motor would operate. A couple of fuses later and a peek inside the heater revealed no motor in the under-dash unit at all! What the hey — they’d mounted an extra box under the hood that contains the blower, but it is controlled by the switch on the under-dash unit. Another wire that wasn’t part of the factory diagram and doesn’t run in the wiring harness.

Finally, with all systems working as advertised, it was time put some “fire in the hole.” Added gas, fuel pump operational, engine spins, but won’t start. Either fuel or spark. Got spark, got fuel at the line — another “what the hey” and the problem was traced to stuck float needles. (This was unexpected as the engine ran fine with these carbs on the test stand.) At any rate, the engine now runs just fine.

Next was installation of the windshield. This exercise made me very glad that I sell wire rope for a living and don’t install automobile glass! A little dish soap should make the job a breeze, but it was a fight the whole way around till I got to the top and no coaxing could get the glass to fit. Left it for the night and I think the realization dawned on me about 2 a.m. that I would have to remove the glass and start from scratch again. This time was a little easier and the glass was finally in. Then came the GD filler strip. Now, I invested in the proper tool for this job, because I have done it by hand and that was no bargain. Should be an easy job with the right tool, but I’m here to tell you that it may be easier on the hands, but it’s still a bear of a job. I’d sure like to see how the factory guys did it!

The doors, boot lid and hood come next and I’m sure there will be some bitchin’ and cussin’ to write about next month!

February 2013




The Latest on Mini Meet East 2013!

Schedule of Events (Tentative)

Tuesday, July 2

Registration — 12:00-5:00 p.m. and 7:00-9:00 p.m.
Arts & Crafts Contest — Displays in Registration room, vote for your favorite
Pre-Meet Pub Quiz — 8:00-10:00 p.m. ($5 per one-person or two-person team, six rounds, cash prize for winning team)

Wednesday, July 3

Registration — 8:00-9:00 a.m.
Arts & Crafts Contest — Displays in Registration room, vote for your favorite
Rallye — Drivers’ meeting 9:00 a.m., 1st car out 9:30 a.m.
Catered Picnic — 12:00 noon
Panoramic Photo — 3:00 p.m.

The Picnic will be catered by the famous Book's Barbeque of Oneonta, NY, at George Freer Park in nearby Esopus.

The Panoramic Photo will be taken at the historical Mills Mansion in Staatsburgh. The Mansion is located along the banks of the Hudson River with a view of the Esopus Meadows Lighthouse. The backside of the Mansion will serve as the photograph backdrop.

Thursday, July 4

Car Show — 9:00 a.m.-1:00p.m.
Funkhana — 2:00-4:30 p.m.
Cruise to Rainbow Drive-in — 5:00 p.m. — for drive-in food, ice cream and fireworks

Friday, July 5

Autocross — 9:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m.
Banquet and Awards Ceremony — 6:30 p.m.-?

Mini Meet East 2013 encourages you to bring spare parts, accessories, etc., to sell out of your boot!


MME 2013 Lodging Information

Host hotel: Quality Inn & Suites, 114 Route 28, Kingston, NY 12401, (845) 339-3900. Mention "Mini Meet East" for $99.99 a night rate.

**Host hotel is not pet-friendly. But there is an alternative…

Pet-friendly hotel: Holiday Inn, about 3/4 mile from the host hotel, at 503 Washington Ave., Kingston, NY 12401, (845) 338-0400.

RV parking: Walmart parking lot, 4.5 miles from the host hotel.

Campgrounds:

KOA Kampground — 13.5 miles, approximately a 20-minute drive to the host hotel, at 882 Route 212, Saugerties, NY 12466, (845) 246-4089.

**KOA is the closest campground, and easiest drive, to the host hotel.

Rondout Valley Resort — 18 miles, approximately a 25-minute drive to the host hotel, at 105 Mettacahonts Rd., Accord, NY 12404, (845) 626-5521.

Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park — 27 miles, approximately a 40-minute drive to the host hotel, at 50 Bevier Rd., Gardiner, NY 12525, (845) 255-5193.

“Mom & Pop” campgrounds:

Black Bear Campground & RV Park, about 13.5 miles, approximately a 20-minute drive to the host hotel, at 17 Bridge St., Phoenicia, NY 12464, (845) 688-7405.

Woodland Valley Campsite, 1319 Woodland Valley Rd., Phoenicia, NY 12464, (845) 688-7647.

Uncle Pete’s Camping, 570 Old State Route 28, Phoenicia, NY 12464, (845) 688-5000.

Sleepy Hollow Campsite, 5636 Route 28, Phoenicia, NY 12464, (845) 688-5471.

So-Hi Campgrounds, 425 Woodland Rd., Accord, NY 12404, (845) 687-7377.



January 2013

[1-Jan Feb 13 Lemoine.jpg] Ken Lemoine with his score in the Yankee Swap. Ah, but will he go home with it?
Photo by Bruce Vild

A Great Holiday Party!
by Dave Newman

PUTNAM, Conn. — Sixteen NEMO members gathered from all over New England and New York State to attend the annual NEMO Holiday Party held at J. D. Cooper’s Restaurant in Putnam.

Some of the members involved with planning Mini Meet East 2013 met from 11 a.m. before the official start of the Party at noon. MME 2013 will be held in Kingston, N.Y., this coming July, and is being sponsored by our club. They discussed some details of the Meet and made a few decisions, but as soon as the rest of the NEMO partygoers arrived the festivities began.

After a club-subsidized meal, and much friendly conversation, the best event of the year was held, the famous NEMO Yankee Swap. Many gifts exchanged hands and a few people were constantly going back to the table after losing their choice — but in the end everyone went home with some Mini-related gift in hand.

Along with our usual attendees, some new members and people we have not seen in a while attended. These included Dora and Dave Hellner from Rhode Island, Jack Larson and his friend Laura, and Paul Berton from Salem, Mass., who is rushing to get his Mini ready for MME 2013. Go, Paul, go!

And about four hours later, the Party was over, it was dark and time to go home. Another excellent, but smaller than usual NEMO Holiday Party.

January 2013

NEMO Annual Meeting Feb. 24!

Join us on Sunday, February 24th, for NEMO’s Annual Meeting and Pot Luck Luncheon. We plan the year of activities at this meeting so be sure to attend! Plan to arrive at 12 noon. The eating starts at 1 p.m. and the meeting follows at 2 p.m., so bring a dish for the lunch table and join in the fun.

We will be holding our Giveaway Freebie Raffle so if you have any Mini-related items you would like to donate, bring them along.

The Meeting and Luncheon will take place at the home of Faith Lamprey and Bruce Vild, 5 Old Nasonville Rd., Harrisville, R.I. Call (401) 766-6519 or e-mail nemo@auroratechedi.com with any questions. Directions have gone out to everyone on the Google Group e-mail list.

Whether you approach from the north or south, you will take Rt. 146 in Rhode Island to the Rt. 5/102 exit (Slatersville). Take a right at the end of the ramp and take a left (almost immediately) at the stop light (a “T”). You are now on Rt. 146A. Follow Rt. 146A through Forestdale. You will go through three stop lights (one in Forestdale, one at the Slatersville Plaza, one at Gator’s Pub). At Slatersville Plaza, intersect with Rt. 102 by going straight. After Gator’s, “The Island” will appear on your left and a sign on your right for Wright’s Farm. Slow down and turn left at the light at Inman Road. Then take an immediate left that (onto Old Nasonville Road), and an immediate right into the driveway at #5.

January 2013

From The Barn
by Dave Black

Quite a lot of activity in The Barn the past two months. First, an update on Mark Fodor’s engine and transmission. You will remember we left him in November contemplating the cost of replacing lots of both tranny and engine parts. Well, he decided to take the easy route and just buy a complete lump, ready to drive. So he will be the recipient of a very nice 998 with rod change tranny and 3.44 final drive. Should be a nice complement to his latest project. In the meantime, he’s been wrestling with an old wiring harness and figuring out which brakes would be best (cheapest) to fit.

Paul Berton has finally got a deadline to finish his ’67 S — MME 2013! To further the project, he brought the transmission here for an evaluation (seems the tranny had been full of water for some time). Well, he got lucky as just the bearings, layshaft and laygear need replacing. While at it, he decided to replace the idler and primary gears as a precaution — the original ones were not suitable for a restoration of this caliber. He has taken the case parts for cleaning and painting and will bring them back shortly to be re-assembled.

Steve Naczkowski stopped by for a primer on CV joints and axles. He’s still in the middle of extensive panel replacement, but wanted to have the driveshafts ready just in case! His question was how to fit the shafts properly into the CV joints. I explained that the hard part was going to be removing the axles from the old CV joints. A sharp wrap on a vise or similar device is often all that’s needed to release the circlip that holds the axle in place. Of course, the last time (see the November Marque) I had to figure out how to remove the axle from the CV joint by disassembling the CV joint with the axle still inserted — it can be done.

Now for Henry Herrmann’s restoration. The bodywork is finished and assembly has begun. First, hydro pipes, battery cable, fuel line and brake line, then steering rack, subframes, wiring harness, instruments, lump and all its connections, fuel tank, master cylinders, then bleed brakes and clutch, pressurize the hydro system. Next would have been the steering column and complete the electrical connections, then test everything before it gets covered up by a new interior. A couple of weeks ago, Mark was after a column bracket (holds steering column to shelf). I knew there was one upstairs and he took it. Well, it turns out that one of the missing parts for Henry’s car was this same piece! So another has been sourced (for 4X what I got for the other one), and as soon as it arrives, we’ll be able to continue with this saga.

Everyone should do at least one full restoration to appreciate the variety of bits and amount of time required to restore your Mini. This is my first (and last) full restoration!

January 2013

[2-Jan Feb Cowley.jpg] The Plant today.
Photo courtesy Newspress UK

In Other News, a Major Milestone at Plant Oxford

COWLEY, Oxon., UK — In 2013 MINI UK and its parent company BMW Group will celebrate 100 years of car making at the site of MINI Plant Oxford. The focus point for the celebrations will be 28 March, which is 100 years to the day when the first ‘Bullnose’ Morris Oxford rolled off the line.

As part of the commemorative exhibition at the Plant, MINI is keen to hear from any ex-employees and the families of ex-employees who would like to share photos and memories from the last 100 years.

Since 1913 tens of thousands of people — 26,000 at the peak in the 1950s and ’60s — have worked on the site, building over 11 million cars under brands including Austin-Healey, MG, Wolseley, Riley, Austin, Mini, Vanden Plas, Princess, Triumph, Rover, Honda, Sterling, the founding marque Morris, and over two million MINIs since 2000.

The Oxford plant generated considerable wealth for the UK, as well as for many other countries around the world during its 100 years. Today, Plant Oxford manufactures the MINI Hatchback, Convertible, Clubman, Clubvan, Roadster and Coupe, 80% of which are exported to over 100 global markets. It is currently undergoing a major investment in preparation for the next generation of MINIs.

To share a story or a photograph please contact oxford100@mini.co.uk.

  [From a press release courtesy of Newspress UK.]
November 2012

[1-Dec 12 Stowe.jpg] Checking out the classic Minis at Stowe, including Doug and Laurie Scribner’s Cooper S (right foreground).
Photo by Bruce Vild

Feature Marque Minis Out in Force
by Bruce Vild

STOWE, Vt., Sept. 14-16 — Not to take anything away from the other featured marque at British Invasion this year, Singer, but owners of Minis both classic and new really rose to the “featured” occasion. Dozens of fine examples were displayed on the Stowe Special Events Field to compare and enjoy.

There were even Minis (and MINIs) among the vendors. East Coast Collision & Restoration had Paul and Judy Nevins’ classic on display as an example of their work. The Automaster, a dealer who attended previous Invasions with the latest in Land Rovers, was now showing off their MINIs. And British Marque was making full use of Faith Lamprey’s Clubman for transporting staff and merchandise.

NEMO was well represented by members (the usual suspects) and friends, and while there were many familiar cars as well as faces, there were some Minis I had not seen before.

In the first category I have to mention David and Jean Icaza, who were class winners with their 1969 Austin Countryman, Chris Cole and Gail Gray, who placed 3rd in their class with a 1999 Rover Cooper, and Bill and Teri Cook, who topped their class with a 2012 MINI Cooper Clubman.

Among the “new to me” cars were Doug and Laurie Scribner’s 1964 Austin Cooper S, 3rd in the class the Icazas won, and Matt and Natalie Coleman’s 2010 Cooper, 3rd in the Cooks’ class.

Bill and Teri and Matt and Natalie were in the Tailgate Picnic Competition the following day, with the Colemans taking honors for “Most Humorous.”

On Friday we ran into our old friends Pierre Tanguay and Louise Trudel, who this year entered a 1959 Austin A35 Saloon — the predecessor of the Mini — and of course won their class, “British Saloon, Other”! They always do well with whatever car they show.

We met Pierre and Louise at the Invasion back in 1993. They were fellow Mini owners. At that time they were showing a lovely white Austin 850 Countryman. They eventually sold the car to a man named Claude. This is all worth mentioning because the same car is now in the hands of Lorine and Derick Karabec, who bought it from Claude at this year’s Mini Meet East. I so wanted the two couples to meet, but sadly we did not run into them again the entire weekend.

Maybe next year. Hope to see you there, too.

November 2012

From The Barn
by Dave Black

Dave Hayden called to report his restoration is just about complete and sent some pictures to prove it. Seems he’s having a problem getting the clutch to release fully. This is a common enough problem in the Mini to warrant a few sentences.

The problem is one of design there just isn’t enough movement in the linkage to release the friction disc from between the flywheel and the pressure plate. Things to look for that can cause a reduction in movement include condition of the master cylinder, slave cylinder and clutch hose. Rebuilding or replacing components here is recommended. Clutch adjustment must be checked no more than .020” should exist between the adjusting bolt and actuating arm. If you’re still having problems, make sure the system is completely free of air (re-bleed). Make sure you haven’t installed soundproofing under the pedals — this will limit pedal travel.

If you’ve done all this and the clutch still won’t release, you’ll have to increase the distance traveled by the slave cylinder piston. This is accomplished by starting the slave piston further down the bore. Utilize one these three methods to get this to happen:

First, install an adjustable clutch rod, available from Mini suppliers. Or, you can put a spacer between the slave piston and clutch rod. Or, bend the actuating lever by heating red hot and prising with pliers (do this out of the car and in a vise away from flammable materials!).

All three methods force the slave piston back to an earlier start position so a longer throw is accomplished. This should solve the problem.

Mark Fodor is busy trying to build a lump out of his vast collection of miscellaneous parts. He presented me with an old 3-synchro box with the oldest A-type gears and wants to come out with a dependable remote-shift box for his latest project. The shafts are toast, and it looks like it will be much more cost effective simply to source out another complete box than to start replacing worn components here. Then he showed me the 1100 block that will go on this gearbox. It will need a crank, pistons, rods and head at the least. Once again, it will no doubt be easier to source a complete unit to rebuild. To be continued.

Henry Herrmann’s Mini is getting painted — finally! Greg promises his next project is the bodywork on his van (this, too, no doubt will be continued).

Julia and Franchesco Sorrentino brought their Innocenti down because it’s running on two cylinders again. This seems to be an annual occurrence, and after a diagnosis it was determined that the head gasket had failed for the second time! Highly unusual in a 998 and frustrating for the rebuilder. We’ll have to be super critical of mating surfaces this time. A close inspection of the head (by magnifying glass) showed some micro-cracks at the point of failure. Don’t know if these could be the cause, but either way, we fitted a new head.

Next there were some concerns about the condition of CV joints and Hardy Spicer joints. Sure enough, the U-joints were about to fall apart! And the CV-joint boots were cracked and had allowed enough grit to get in to destroy the units.

Now, to remove the axles from the CV joint is a matter of simply applying a sharp whack to the outer case while holding the axle. Not this time — I had to hammer out the balls while holding the axle as far in the opposite direction as possible. Then it required cutting the inner race to get it off the axle! Fought me every step of the way. Thank goodness reassembly went smoothly, and just a small detail: the replacement CV joints were “Made in Italy”!

When removing the hubs, I noticed fluid on one of the front brake lines, so both got replaced and, of course, the hard line across the subframe broke, so that, too, was replaced.

Whew, finally finished!

November 2012

Are You on the List?

If you have not been getting e-mails from the club, then you need to be added to our Google List. It is easy to sign up! Just send a request to be added to nemo@auroratechedi.com. You will receive an e-mail that you need to accept in order to be added. Confirm that, and you will then be able to communicate instantly by e-mail to everyone on the list.

November 2012

Holiday Party Reminder!

Don’t miss the NEMO Holiday Party on Saturday, December 8th, at 12 noon at J. D. Cooper’s, 146 Park Road, Putnam, Conn., (860) 928-0501.

Take Exit 95 (Kennedy Drive) off I-395 and go left at the end of the ramp. Kennedy Drive becomes Park Road. J. D. Cooper’s is about a mile from the exit.

We will be holding a Yankee Swap so plan to bring a wrapped gift (try to keep the cost below $25).

Hope to see you there! —Faith Lamprey

October 2012

[1-Nov 12 Party.jpg] Line of classic Minis outside J.D. Cooper’s last time.
Photo by Barbara Newman

Celebrate at our Holiday Party Dec. 8!
by Faith Lamprey

The NEMO Holiday Party will be held at J.D. Cooper’s in Putnam, Conn., on Saturday, December 8th, at 12 noon.

To get there, take Exit 95 (Kennedy Drive) off I-395 and turn left at the end of the ramp. Kennedy Drive becomes Park Road. J.D. Coopers is about a mile from the exit.

For you folks with a GPS, the address is J.D. Cooper’s, 146 Park Road, Putnam, CT 06260, (860) 928-0501.

If you want to attend the pre-Party MME 2013 planning meeting, please arrive at 11:30. We need everyone’s help to put on a fantastic Meet, so please volunteer to help.

We need a head count so RSVP by e-mailing nemo@auroratechedi.com or calling me at (401) 766-6519 ASAP. Let me know how many are attending (and ages of any kids). The club will subsidize the cost of the buffet for members, so the member cost is only $12. Kids under 12 are half price and under 3 are free.

We will be holding a Yankee Swap so plan to bring a wrapped gift (try to keep the cost below $25). A Yankee Swap means that someone else may “take” your gift when it is their turn to pick. (Warn your kids so they don’t get upset if this happens!) You get to pick a gift for every gift you bring (please, no more than one per person or the Party will never end).

Our Holiday Party is one of our more popular events every year and this central location in Connecticut should be convenient for the majority of our members. Hope to see you there!

October 2012

MME 2013 Progress Report
by Lorine Karabec

ULSTER PARK, N.Y. — Mini Meet East 2013 planning is in full swing, with NEMO as the host club.

We have had a couple of organizational meetings to date. Our initial meeting was in Stowe, Vt., where we enjoyed a dinner out at Gracie’s. After dinner, we moved our meeting over to the Arbor Inn where we presented an overview of the meet and what needs to be accomplished. Since then we have worked out the details of the registration form and the program layout, along with advertising space, the trophies and the car show classes. The hotel and banquet are contracted. We are working on finalizing the details for the catered picnic and panoramic photo.

Derick and I attended a local club’s autocross on Sunday, October 14th. The initial meeting was positive. We have a couple more meetings scheduled with them to discuss the details to get them on board with our autocross.

Thank you to those members who have already volunteered to help with an event. It’s not too late to volunteer. We could always use additional helping hands from members. If you have not signed up for an activity yet, please contact me (Lorine) at wolfelor@aol.com and let me know what event interests you.

Thank you for your support, NEMO!

October 2012

From The Barn
by Dave Black

Greg and I always meet at a filling station in Leominster to form a caravan for the journey up to Stowe for British Invasion. I got there a little early and was gassing up when a couple of strangers came out of the coffee shop and struck up a conversation: “Where are you going?” A quick glance told me these were not a couple of locals on their way to work. They were clad in casual clothes and topsiders, and I pegged them for “Stowe aspirants.”

“Bet we’re all headed for the same place,” I replied and was soon introduced to father, daughter, fiancée and friend, each driving a different classic British motorcar! They were taking the back way up Route 100 for a full day of spirited driving, but Greg and I opted for the more direct route on the Interstate. Godspeeds were offered and we went our separate ways.

Now, as any of you readers who are as old or older than your cars can attest, the most important plan on a road trip is to know where the next rest area is, and one of the nicest I’ve ever had the pleasure of visiting is the Vermont Welcome Center on I-91. While there, we were treated to the Kittredge caravan — about a dozen of the most exotic British motorcars ever produced — and all in one line-up, all on their way to Stowe, too!

What a great gathering of Minis and Binis at Stowe this year! I counted 22 classics and nearly as many Binis — more than have been together here for many years. Erich Martin drove from Rochester in a finicky 998 that ran worse and worse the more they drove. Erich stopped repeatedly to adjust the carb and it would run better for a time, then worse. Thinking that the problem might actually be electrical (yes, even the so-called experts can be fooled), a group of us (no names) proceeded to change every component using spares borrowed from willing donors — all to no avail. Erich rented a truck and trailer for the trip back home where he was able to quickly diagnose the problem as a cracked dashpot! Has anyone ever heard of this happening? I mean, how could we be chasing nebulous electrical gremlins when the answer was literally right under our noses!

A planning meeting for MME 2013 was held late into the evening where NEMO members were treated to the wonderful organization of Lorine Karabec (see her update). This is going to be easy for the rest of us — Lorine and Derick have done just about all the big jobs and will just need volunteers at the Meet to man the registration booth and run the events. As Faith has reminded us, the next meeting is at the Holiday Party at J.D. Cooper’s restaurant in Putnam. Please come for the meeting to give us your ideas and get your name on one of the volunteer lists — and don’t forget, the Party that will follow the meeting is one of our most enjoyable gatherings of the year!

NEMO was most recently represented at the Cape Cod British Car Club show in Bourne, Mass. A rather poor showing of Minis (four), but a wonderful day spent with those in attendance. I calculated the odds of the Thurd winning one of the three trophies (this is the Thurd’s best show), but here was the Karabecs’ beautiful Woody, a Honda-powered Estate, Greg’s Cooper S, and the Thurd. So chances for a trip to the podium to retrieve a trophy were pretty slim, and Dave Newman showed me the approaching rainstorm on his smart phone, so the Thurd beat a hasty retreat for the hills and safety of The Barn.

Speaking of The Barn, there have been no Minis here all summer. Henry Hermann’s restoration is still waiting for paint, Mark Fodor is looking for some bits and pieces for his latest project, and Bruce needs the timing belt arrangement to be removed and go back to the original chain set-up. Looks like there’ll be some fodder for a Barn article in the coming months…

September 2012

[1-Oct 12-Kidscar.jpg] Kids car, as painted at MME 2012.
Photo by Bruce Vild

Mini Meet East 2013: An Update
by Faith Lamprey

Mini Meet East 2013 will be held Tuesday, July 2nd, through Friday, July 5th, 2013. The host hotel is the Quality Inn & Suites in Kingston, N.Y. Make your reservations at the hotel by calling (845) 339-3900 and mention you will be attending Mini Meet East to get the special rate of $99 a night plus tax.

New England Mini Owners will be the host club this time.

A meeting of NEMO members who were at the Stowe British Invasion — a good cross-section of our membership — was held after a club dinner that Friday night. We all learned how busy Lorine and Derick Karabec have been, planning for the Meet. Lorine handed out a 13-page document with ideas and plans for the Meet. Many items were discussed and people volunteered to take the lead on one or more of the many tasks that need to be done prior to and during the Meet. Please e-mail Lorine (wolfelor@aol.com) to let her know where your interests are if you haven’t already and volunteer so you can be assigned accordingly. With all of us working together, we can put on another great Mini Meet, like the ones in 1998 and 2008!

Our next Mini Meet meeting will take place at the Cape Cod British Car Club’s “British Legends” event, where again a large NEMO contingent is expected. Our meeting will be on Saturday night that weekend, October 6th. (The car show portion of Legends weekend is Sunday.) See the club website (www.nemomini.org), check the Google List e-mails or contact Lorine at (845) 532-8891 or wolfelor@aol.com for more details on time and place.

September 2012

Are You Part of Our E-mail Google List?

If you have not been getting e-mails from the club, then you need to be added to our Google List. It is easy to sign up! Just send a request to be added to nemo@auroratechedi.com. You will receive an e-mail that you need to accept in order to be added. You will then be able to communicate instantly by e-mail to everyone on the list.

September 2012

[1-Sept 12-Ken.jpg] Sunday was our day at the Larz Anderson Auto Museum. Ken Lemoine (in Traveller on left) and others gave spectators rides around the grounds.
Photo by Bruce Vild

Microcar/Minicar Classic:
A Different Schedule, but Still the Same Fun Event!

by Faith Lamprey

NEWTON, Mass. — Who says change is bad?

For years the Annual Microcar & Minicar Classic hosted by Charles, Nancy, Monique and Tiana Gould has been held the second weekend in July, with the show at the Larz Anderson Auto Museum on the Saturday and a drive on Sunday. This year a scheduling conflict bumped us from the Museum on Saturday, so the schedule was switched and we took the drive on Saturday and went to the Museum on Sunday.

That meant that more folks were able to join us on the drive — which was all the way to Mt. Wachusett. Many who did not join us on the drive in the past because it happened on the day they needed to leave for the trip home could relax this time and enjoy the leisurely caravan!

Also different this year was the restaurant we stopped at for lunch on the way to the mountain. We totally filled their function room (reports were that there were over 70 of us there!) but they managed and everyone left happy.

And the road to the top of Mt. Wachusett had been closed for the past few years, but it was open again so all of the micros and minicars could valiantly motor to the top! It is a great view from the top and on a clear day you can even see the Boston skyline.

When we got back to the Goulds’ after the drive we hunkered down to a neverending supply of salads provided by participants and a delicious barbecue spread brought in by a local eatery. This was followed by a plethora of desserts, again brought by participants. Those who stayed later that night partook of some serious frozen margaritas and general merriment.

On Sunday morning, we all gathered at the Goulds’ for a quick bagel and lots of caffeine and caravanned over to the Museum, where a crowd was waiting to view all of these unique cars. After all the cars were parked and folks got to ogle them a bit, Charles announced that the rides would start soon. Participants (young and not so young!) lined up for the opportunity to ride in one of the small, cool cars.

After the rides, awards were announced in the various micro and mini classes. In the Mini Class the winners were as follows: 1st, Ken Lemoine, 1965 Morris Minor Traveler, 2nd, Chris and Gail Cole, 1999 Rover Mini, and 3rd, Manny Barreiros, 1960 Mini.

The cars then packed up and caravanned back to the Goulds’ (yes, most of the weekend-long event takes place at their house!). Those who could stay into the evening went to a local Mexican restaurant, Sol Azteca, and then back to the Goulds’ for more frozen margaritas and more general merriment.

We appreciate that the Goulds have allowed our Minis to join in all this frivolity with their gaggle of micros (defined as having an engine displacement less than 500cc — now that’s small!) and minicars (more than 500cc, taking in your Fiats, Renaults, BMW 700s, and early Saabs and Hondas). We so enjoy being among the largest cars on the field!

The event really is a weekend-long car show, and it never ceases to amaze us what shows up in front of the Gould residence, in their back yard, or stashed away at Matchbox Motors, Charles and Nancy’s two off-site garages, down the road in Hudson, Mass. Their newest acquisitions include an Auto Union (forerunner to today’s Audi) and a Skoda 1000MB, both children of the ’60s and rarely seen today. These are not micros or minis per se, but they are interesting cars.

Our Austin Mini could not make this year’s event because of an ignition problem. Ironically, the car my partner Bruce got to drive most of the weekend, an early-’60s Renault Dauphine, started out having a similar problem. It was quickly diagnosed and fixed by the side of the road by the roving team of “wrenches” that come along on every drive during the event, just in case — Carter, Jon, Justin and Steve. They used a pair of pliers and some electrical tape and the repair lasted all weekend. Maybe Bruce should try that on the Mini.

We look forward to this event every year. If you could not join us this time, plan to join in on the fun next year, and bring your Mini or MINI if you can.

September 2012

Announcing… Mini Meet East 2013!

It’s official. Mini Meet East 2013 will be hosted by the New England Mini Owners (NEMO) and will be held from Tuesday, July 2nd, through Friday, July 5th, in Kingston, N.Y.

The host hotel will be the Quality Inn & Suites, 118 Route 28, Kingston, NY 12401, (845) 339-3900. We have negotiated a room rate of $99 a night, plus tax.

The hotel has recently been renovated. Please note that it has two floors and there is no elevator. Keep this in mind when booking if you would like a 1st floor room.

Meet information will be posted on the NEMO website, www.nemomini.org, as it becomes available. We will have the capability of accepting credit cards for registration. Lead contacts are Lorine and Derick Karabec, (845) 532-8891, wolfelor@aol.com.

September 2012

MME 2013 Planning Meeting at ‘British Invasion’
by Dave Newman

If you are attending the British Invasion in September in Stowe, Vt., please join other NEMO members for dinner and a Mini Meet East 2013 planning meeting. This will take place at Gracie’s Restaurant, corner of Eden Hill Road and Mountain Road in Stowe, at 7 p.m. on Friday, September 14th.

Many NEMO members met at Gracie’s last year at Stowe. We will have a reserved table on the outside tent area for our group and a fixed five-selection menu. The restaurant is right next to the Arbor Inn. The address is 3214 Mountain Road and many NEMO members are already staying at the Inn and can walk next door to the restaurant.

After the dinner, we will take the discussion to the Arbor Inn’s lounge, where they have a beer and wine bar. Items to be discussed are what has already been planned for Mini Meet East 2013 in New York, as NEMO is the sponsoring club (see announcement in sidebar), and new ideas for the Meet. We will also be looking for volunteers for various duties during the Meet.

If you are not going to Stowe for the Invasion, no problem, as there will be many, many more meetings about MME 2013 coming up further “south,” so to speak, over the next few months.

We put on excellent Meets in 1998 and 2008, and 2013 will be even better! See you there!

July 2012

[1-Aug 12-Tricolor.jpg] NEMO shows its colors at MME (right to left) — red (Dan Viola), white (Lorine Karabec) and blue (Ken Lemoine).
Photo by Barbara Newman

Trip Report:
Mini Meet East 2012
by Dave Newman


ORFORD, Que., June 29-July 3 — Mini Meet East 2012 took place at the Hotel Cheribourg in Orford, a wonderful hotel located about 30 miles north of the Vermont border and a six-hour drive from the Newman home in Kingston, Mass. The weather was sunny and dry, the drive in our classic Mini was easy and the crossing into Canada a breeze.

This year’s Meet was hosted by Mainly Minis Montreal (MMM), as it was in 2003 at the same location. The venue was excellent, as was the hotel staff. We arrived about 4 p.m. and registration started at 6. After that, a bunch of us NEMO members retired to the hotel restaurant for an outstanding meal and conversation.

The next day started as did all of them, with a three-hour window for the hotel’s breakfast buffet. Local maple syrup was provided by MMM member Denis Boisvert and his family business. The maple syrup alone made it worth driving to Québec, home of the best maple syrup in Canada.

After a bit of car washing, it was time to get the cars in place for the Concours event, held at the hotel. Lunch was on our own, but the hotel had a very nice barbecue and salad bar at poolside, so some of us ate there. At around 4 p.m. we all caravanned down the road to the base of the Mt. Orford ski area for the customary panoramic picture by Jay Best. There appeared to be about 75-80 cars for the picture. We had a nice conversation with Keith Calver, who was on vacation at MME and is the Mini expert from Mini Magazine in the UK.

That night some at the event headed south to the town of Austin for fireworks. Most of the NEMO crowd headed to a restaurant that had a singer named Rico singing in Spanish to mostly drunken local seniors, who were loving it! The food was good, Rico was not too bad and we ended up there again for ice cream afterwards — just before a huge rainstorm.

Sunday was July 1st — Canada Day, celebrating the confederation of Canada. Kind of like the USA’s 4th of July. The day started out again with the laid-back, three-hour-window buffet breakfast. I liked this part. No rush, and lots of maple syrup.

At 10:30 there was an indoor driver and navigator meeting for the Meet rallye, in English and French. At 11 a.m. the “leisurely drive, two-hour rallye” began. Historically, Barbara and I have not had any luck with rallying. We approached this one with an open mind, having studied the tulip diagrams beforehand, and with a “no yelling at each other” rule, and a Garmin GPS that just happened to have a rallye computer option in kilometers. We came in 36th out of 48 — our best finish ever in a rallye. (At the Ohio MME, we went off course five minutes into the route and gave up, opting for coffee at Tim Horton’s and shopping at CVS.)

At the end of the rallye was an excellent restaurant called Brandycreek in Valcourt for lunch with enough food to stuff yourself and a nice lazy creek running along just outside the covered deck. After the meal, some NEMO members visited the nearby Bombardier snow machine museum. Since we had gone in 2003, we skipped it and took a leisurely drive back to the hotel, but some NEMO members, enjoying their first time there, learned about the history and development of the snow machine, Ski-Doo and Can-Am roadsters. If you are thinking of buying a three-wheel Can-Am roadster, this is where they are made, in a huge factory. We saw over two thousand crated-up and ready-to-go roadsters in the factory’s lot.

Sunday night was the Team Event. This consisted of a specially built rig — the back half of a classic Mini, looking like a rickshaw, with an oversized shopping cart front on it. Teams of adults and children were selected and there was a person inside the car being pushed along who carried a large water squirter. His or her task was to knock tennis balls off of traffic cones with well-aimed squirts while the others filled the cart with boxes of “groceries.” Then it was all done backwards to replace the items and cones for the next run. Actually, it was a bit more complicated than that, but that’s kind of what Barbara told me as I missed the entire event, napping in the hotel room.

July 2012

[2-Aug 12-License Plate.jpg] Lorine, Derick and their new license plate.
Photo by Dave Newman

On Monday, July 2nd, we again started the day with a nice three-hour breakfast, again with lots of maple syrup. I confess to using it on the scrambled eggs, too. After breakfast, some of us went to the Meet autocross to compete or to watch. It was about an hour away at Sanair Raceway Park. The event consisted of lots of precision driving on a course made up of highway cones, the goal of which was to have the quickest time while staying on course and not hitting cones. Others drove into nearby Magog instead for a bit of shopping, sightseeing and the very nice restaurants.

This was the last day of the event and time that night for the awards banquet in one of the hotel’s function rooms. Since it was Lorine and Derick Karabec’s anniversary, and recognizing that Lorine has been working on plans for a future Mini Meet in upstate New York (near Woodstock?), we presented them both with a license plate with flowers and a peace sign on it, customized to say “MME 2013, Peace, Love and Minis, NY.”

Some awards were given out at the banquet, but the full results of the concours, rallye and autocross were not available due to some last minute problems. By the time you read this in the Marque, the official results will be posted on the MMM website along with the NEMO site. Some unofficial results from Deb Bolton are below.

On Tuesday, the 3rd, was another great hotel buffet breakfast. Yes, with maple syrup. We said our goodbyes to all our great Mini Meet friends.

In summary, it was a great Meet, smaller than usual, probably due to the economy, but a quality time was had by all. When it began, three days seemed just right. When it was over, we all wished it was longer. The weather was good, the company was excellent and the events went off without a hitch. We thank the Montreal club for hosting a fine event.

During the Meet, Derick and Lorine bought a woody wagon — see Lorine’s accompanying story.

Before the long drive home, Barbara and I stopped by a local food store, Loblaw’s, and stocked up on stuff we can’t get in the States. Bruce and Faith were in a caravan with John Gallagher and Ken Lemoine when their car lost a lower radiator hose. After a Triple A tow to a garage, John and Ken helped the garage replace the hose as Bruce had a spare.

Some unofficial results for NEMO members attending this year’s Mini Meet:

Concours — Ron Blanchette, 1st, Clubman Mark Foder and Chantal Brefort, 1st, Cooper & Cooper S Faith Lamprey and Bruce Vild, 1st, Mark I & II Barbara Newman, 2nd, Mark III & IV Dave Black, 11th, Mark III & IV John Gallagher, tied for 3rd, Mark V Dan Viola, tied for 1st, Moke John and Lisa Mastrandrea, 6th, Moke Ken Lemoine, tied for 3rd, Van-Wagon-Pickup Dan Viola, 5th, Van-Wagon-Pickup Derick and Lorine Karabec, 3rd, Wolseley-Riley Paul and Judy Nevin, 2nd, BINI (MINIs).

Autocross — Dan Viola, 1st in Moke Class, time 55.479 Derick Karabec, 4th in Class D, time 64.410.

Rallye — Faith and Bruce, 9th John and Ken, 14th Dave Black and his stunning guest navigator, 17th Ron and Carol Cowan, 34th Barbara and Dave Newman, 36th Lorine and Derick, 41st and Mark and Chantal, 42nd (first-ever rallye for them).

July 2012

[3-Aug 12-Karabec Mini.jpg] The ex-Claude Countryman.
Photo by Lorine Karabec

The Canadian Job
by Lorine Karabec


Traditionally, Mini Meet East falls on or near our wedding anniversary. This year at MME 2012 in Magog, I got an unexpected surprise for my anniversary: a 1962 Austin Countryman. Yes, a woody! Anyone who knows us knows that we had been looking for a “woody Mini” for a few years.

It was Saturday, the day of the car show. One of our friends from New Brunswick, Canada came running over to ask me if I had seen the “woody” for sale. He grabbed me by the arm and dragged me over to see it. Along our way, through the parking lot, we picked up my husband, Derick. We arrived at the car and it was gorgeous — everything one would want in a Countryman. There was a name and phone number on the “For Sale” sign, but no price. Our friend seemed more excited about the find than we were! He immediately called the number to find out the asking price. He reached the seller’s wife, who described what the seller looked like and what he was wearing when he left the house that morning. From there our friend went on a search to find the seller.

He came back within a few minutes with the owner of the car. In their native tongue, French, our friend introduced us to “Claude” and advised him that we were interested in his car. He told us his price and the deal was made within five minutes or less. We offered him a deposit, but he trusted us on our word and a handshake. We exchanged names and phone numbers and said we would discuss the details of delivery at the banquet.

Next we had to work on some minor details — payment, Customs, and how we were going to get the car home to New York. We could not do a wire transfer over the telephone, so we thought we were going to have to go home, get money, and drive back to Canada for the car.

We met up with Claude at the banquet. He offered to tow the car and deliver it to our house for the cost of fuel only. The only stumbling block left was making our way through U.S. Customs.

We met Claude at his house the following morning, where we gave him a deposit for the car. He had his original registration, as well at the Heritage Certificate to support that the car was indeed a 1962 Austin Countryman. We created the bill of sale and headed to the border.

We arrived at the Customs toll booth. The officer at the booth was young and not at all accommodating or friendly. I was concerned that he was setting the pace for the entire experience of the import. He pointed us in the direction of the first building that we had to report to. There we were greeted by a female officer who was friendlier. She told us where to park and to enter the building through “Entrance A.” There we were greeted by a worker who appreciated our cars. He told us to take a seat, that it wouldn’t be too long.

Then a stern-looking male officer from the counter asked out loud, “Who’s importing a car?” I raised my hand. He called the three of us (Derick, Claude and I) up to the counter. He scanned the three of us and said he just had a report of a stolen car that fit the description of the car outside. My heart began racing. I asked, “Which one?” He replied, “Both of them.”

Claude calmly and collectively said, “I’ve owned my car for 14 years.” I became a bit frantic and said, “That’s my car, who would say that?” He said, “The Royal Canadian Police.” Hysterically, I asked why they would say that, insisting it was my car. All I could think about was stories that I’ve heard about Customs and foreign countries. Yes, we were entering the U.S., but my thoughts were, “Here we go — they’re going to steal my car.”

I asked Derick to go get my registration just as the officer cracked a little smile and said, “You’re good.”

He directed us onto the next building and asked us if there was anything else he could do for us. I said yes, and asked him if he had an anti-anxiety pill so I did not have a heart attack right there.

Next step was our last step — the paperwork. This stop had the friendliest group of officers we encountered. The officer who helped us had a sense of humor and shared an interest in our cars. He made this dreadful task as simple as possible. He made copies of everything and created a packet for us to give to the DMV back home. He gave us back the original Heritage certificate, stating it would just be filed in their drawers. He also advised us it was our lucky day and we did not have to pay a duty. The car was over 25 years old, they considered it an antique, not a car, so no duty. He also made note that based on that he was an antique, too. I assured him he wasn’t alone, we all were. We finished there within two hours and continued on our way home.

We arrived home and took Claude to dinner and invited him to spend the night. The next morning he left. Not only did we add another Mini to our collection, but we also gained a new friend!

Then another ordeal started when I went to the DMV to try to register an imported car. But after two visits to the DMV, a total of two-and-a-half hours there and my first parking ticket ever, our Woody is on the road!

July 2012

Rally through the Valley Sept. 8
by Paul Nevin

The 3rd Annual Rally through the Valley: Minis in the Mountains will take place on Saturday, September 8th, beginning and ending in Londonderry, Vt.

The event is an untimed fun rally. Participants will look for answers to questions and collect a few scavenger items. At the start of the Rally you will be handed a set of directions to follow. The answers to the questions will be found along the roadway.

Most of the Rally will be on paved roads with a few good dirt roads included. Mid-day participants will meet at a designated spot to compete in a back seat driver competition. Participation is not mandatory and does not affect the Rally score, but all are encouraged to join the fun either by participating or spectating.

The winner of the Rally will be the participant(s) who answer the most Rally questions correctly. The back seat driver competition will be won by the car posting the fastest time through the course. Prizes will be awarded for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd in both the Rally and back seat driver competition.

The event will start and end at the Viking Nordic Center in Londonderry.

Participants are asked to arrive at Viking around 8:30 for breakfast snacks and a brief informational meeting. Rally packets will be available for pickup at that time. Cars will leave 10 a.m. All cars are expected to finish by 4 p.m. back at Viking, where you will turn in your answer sheet and complete one last task. An award ceremony will follow (BYOB).

Hope to see you in September. Please check out our website at rallythroughthevalleyvt.weebly.com for registration materials.

June 2012

[1-Jul 12 Skip.jpg] The latest NEMO Dragon slayer.
Photo by Barb Tannen

722 MINIs on The Dragon!
by Skip Tannen

There are lots of great automotive events to fill your calendar, but if you are a MINI enthusiast there is one that must not be missed — MINIs on The Dragon.

Held every year in the beginning of May (next year it’s May 1st to May 5th), MINIs on the Dragon (MOTD) is one of the largest regional MINI events of the year and the perfect time to be in North Carolina — everything is in bloom, the summer heat hasn’t set in, and the bugs aren’t swarming yet (save for the myriad of beautiful butterflies). The scenery throughout the Blue Ridge Mountains is some of the most breathtaking in the country and the roads throughout the region are incredible — tons of twisties, challenging switchbacks, and very little traffic. I think that they are some of the most amazing driving roads on the East Coast.

This was the 10th anniversary of MOTD, and a new attendance record was set — 1,115 people and 722 MINIs. When Barb and I arrived at the Fontana Village Resort for the orientation session, we immediately went into “full grin” mode. There were MINIs everywhere! And out on the roads around the resort, it was unusual to see a car that was not a MINI. The town of Fontana Village normally has a population of 868 people. Over the course of four days, we more than doubled that number.

The orientation session is a good idea for any newbies, and probably a good idea for veterans as well. They show a short video of driving The Dragon that’s shot from the back seat of a MINI convertible (http://vimeo.com/18611072), and it gives you a good idea of what to expect. They discussed safety information, tips on driving The Dragon, and other things to keep in mind — like “enjoy the ride, stay on your side.” The Dragon has 318 curves in 11 miles, which gives you a sense of what kind of driving experience you can expect. The road is challenging, and the driver cannot sightsee — full attention and awareness is required at all times. Drivers will encounter other cars and lots of motorcycles, and there is a chance that not everyone coming your way will respect the “enjoy the ride, stay on your side” mantra. But if you pay attention and respect The Dragon, you will have the ride of your life.

Like the orientation, the entire event was very well run, the facility was top notch, and along with many organized driving events there were plenty of things to do. There was a dinner to open the event, a dinner at the end of the event, a wine tasting, a pinecar derby (all of the cars were MINIs, of course), a radio-controlled car event (there were R/C Minis and MINIs), a well represented vendor area, detailing demonstrations, karaoke, fireworks, and a brew swap (my favorite non-driving event!).

But the driving events were what we were really there for. There were more than a dozen organized runs. Some had lunch, dinner or ice cream destinations and some were just pure driving. The runs were designed for 15 to 60 MINIs, depending on the routes if there were destinations, but it seemed that you could just tag along on a run even if you weren’t signed up for it.

June 2012

[1-June 12 Dam.jpg] Our other Dragon slayer.
Photo by Barbara Newman

Most people drove in a “highly spirited” manner. That’s what these cars are designed for and it’s what they do best. And on those roads, a MINI really shines. I’ve run my car hard, but it got more of a workout in those four days than it ever had — and it took everything I threw at it with complete composure. I’m even more amazed by how well that car handles and how sure-footed it is in the twisties. Another complement to the car’s handling abilities was the fact that Barb loved it from the passenger seat, and while she made good use of the roof mounted grab handle, she was at no time nervous or scared that something bad was going to happen.

People tend to talk about The Dragon and what a fantastic road it is, but there isn’t enough talk about all of the other fantastic roads in the area. There’s Route 28, referred to as “Hellbender,” that runs about 60 miles south/southeast from The Dragon to around Franklin, N.C. We mainly stayed on the western part since that road connected us from Fontana Village to our B&B, but it’s a wonderful road with lots of twisties as well as some nice sweepers and interesting elevation changes. There’s also Wayah Road, which people say is kind of an unknown, with all of the above as well as some long straightaways for really stretching the MINI’s legs. I think there were sections that were posted at 50mph, but it was kind of hard to read the signs at the speeds we passed them!

We got to experience Hellbender, Wayah Road, and a number of great roads on Saturday when we did an all-day run named Blimey’s Tiny Tour of Terror. This was a 200-plus-mile, all-day run. We started off from Fontana Village and stopped for breakfast at the Deal’s Gap Motorcycle Resort at the North Carolina end of The Dragon. After breakfast and a quick driver’s meeting, we ran The Dragon, headed over to the Cherohala Skyway, went through Robbinsville and stopped for lunch at an all-you-can-eat pizza joint (yup, all you can eat!). From there we drove Wayah Road to Franklin and then back to Fontana Village. About 15 MINIs did the run and everyone was totally jazzed. Many people on the run have done it every time they’ve come to the event, and for some of them it was their fifth or sixth year.

When we packed up to head out on Sunday morning, we decided to take our time and run parts of the Blue Ridge Parkway, which of course is another road not to be missed. The scenery is beautiful, there are tons of overlooks for pulling off and enjoying the vistas, and a great road for either cruising and winding down or having more spirited driving adventures. For us it was mostly the former, having done hundreds of miles of great driving roads with hundreds of great memories from one of the country’s premier MINI events. Before we left, three of the four couples that were staying at the B&B made reservations for next year.

June 2012

From The Barn
by Dave Black

I know, it’s been quite a while since the last Barn article, but there just has not been any repair activity to use as fodder for the column. So, you see, it’s not my fault, it’s yours!

This month has seen progress on Henry Hermann’s restoration, a visit from John Anastasio, Greg and Joe Gethins, and a very interesting conversation with Jim (didn’t get his last name).

John Anastasio is in the middle of a Cooper S restoration and called to see if I had some parts. When it became apparent that many of the parts were body-related, I suggested John come down and poke through the many boxes of stuff that has accumulated over the years. He and his wife arrived early Sunday morning and we spent a long time searching for all kinds of tidbits. One by one, items were crossed off his list until the only remaining item was a gas cap. I would have said there wasn’t one here, but John found one sitting on the top shelf in plain view! We all look forward to seeing this restoration when complete.

Greg Gethins and father Joe brought Greg’s turbo Mini in with a front bearing issue. It seems no matter what Greg did, he could not get the bearing tight. So, off with the hub and out with the bearings to see what could be amiss. Out came a set of roller bearings, not the usual taper roller bearings fitted since 1984. Never having seen this set-up on disc-braked Minis, the only suggestion I could make was to fit a new set of taper rollers. This done, the wheel was held in place properly with no bearing play (initial play was about 1/2” on the wheel!).

Had a conversation with fellow named Jim about his Austin America. He would like to get the car back closer to stock to improve driveability and reduce noise. Seems the previous owner had converted the car to dry spring suspension and had solid-mounted the subframes. Then he’d modified the drivetrain with a wild camshaft and square cut gears. All of this is great for the track, but troublesome for tooling around town. During our conversation, it finally dawned on me that this car had been at MME 2008 in Maine. I remember looking it over and being impressed by the workmanship and extent of the modifications, but thinking all the while “why on earth would anyone want to do this to an Austin America?” Well, it looks like I’ll find out come fall when we’ll be reversing some of the mods.

Tom Judson is keeping us informed on progress on his van. Seems last fall some bad luck befell the Tazmanian Devil (hangar rash) that would require the services of a professional body shop. Tom chose to take it to F40 Motorsports in Portland, Conn., where it’s being worked on next to Ferraris and Porsches. (There’s no accounting for taste.) In the course of arranging the repair, there was some discussion about how well the paint would match. The mechanic explained that with “feathering” it will look alright. Tom asked what it would look like if the whole car got painted. “Fantastic!” was the answer. Well, you guessed it — Tom is having the whole van redone — and we really can’t wait to see the results!

Henry Hermann’s ’67 Cooper is back in the news. After a very long hiatus at the body shop, I got word today that it’s now in primer and very close to being painted. In the meantime, I’ve been busy sorting and cleaning all the parts that have been in storage for about 15 years. The guys that disassembled this car obviously have never had to put one back together. They had wrapped everything in masking tape and even used some duct tape. That’s great if you’re going to put it all back together in a month, but after 15 years, the tape had all dried and the glue is hard as a rock. Very difficult to remove, but with WD40 and Goof Off, we’re getting the job done. The bumpers are covered with age spots and have to be painstakingly polished, and then polished again. The best product I’ve found for this is Mother’s Incredible Billet Metal Polish. It took three hours to do the first one, but it looks like new!

So, you see, good things comes to them that waits — you, because you waited so long to get this news, and me, because I now have a project for the foreseeable future!

May 2012

[1-June 12 Dam.jpg] The writer notes that in the movie The Fugitive, Harrison Ford is almost cornered by Tommy Lee Jones’ crew and decides to jump from the sluice gate of this very dam, in Tennessee on Rt. 129 just before the Dragon.
Photo by Barbara Newman

One MINI on the Dragon
by David Newman

Barbara and I are now “Dragon Slayers” and we did it while on vacation in North Carolina and Tennessee in our MINI Cooper S.  

This particular Dragon was not of the fire-breathing and flying-around type, it was an 11-mile road with 318 turns that runs just south of the Great Smokies National Park between North Carolina and Tennessee, and is part of U.S. Route 192. We started at the N.C. end and 20 minutes later emerged at the other end, swapped driving places and started all over again. Do the math and it means you are turning every 4 seconds for 20 minutes. No kidding! And you need to stay in your own lane as there is oncoming traffic in the other, twelve-inch-or-better drainage ditches on one side, and drops off a hill or into a forest on the other. The road is mostly glass-smooth with very few rough patches, mostly in blind hairpin corners.

Many motorcycles and other types of cars travel the Dragon, but in our opinion, the MINI is the perfect vehicle. Second gear in an MCS is all you need with a few shifts up to third. Speed limit is 30. We took the corners at the limit and popped up a bit on the small straights. Some NEMO members have attended the event called MINIS on the Dragon, which by rotten luck, was the next week, after our vacation, due to road-work-induced timing.

We stayed in the MicroTel in Robbinsville, N.C., which is on U.S. 129 about 10 miles from the start of the Dragon. Excellent hotel, most of the guests were there on that Friday night to run the Dragon the next day. There was an organized motorcycle run that weekend and a Mazda RX7 group. The locals suggested getting on the road at 8:30 a.m. as the motorcycle groups usually come out in force about 10 a.m. — as do the law enforcement people. We took their advice and at 8:30 were making our first run. After a few, we took some local roads past the Fontana Resort and on towards the Fontana Dam.

This road, while not as challenging as the Dragon, had long up- and down-sweepers with hairpin turns thrown in, along with Federal TVA cops shooting radar from unmarked Chargers just to make it interesting. The MINI was great. Faster in sharp corners than the RX7s, and about the same as some of the Golf GTIs we encountered. Of course, as responsible citizens, we obeyed all the speed limits as we do in our native Massachusetts.

Was it worth a diversion from our Southern vacation to travel to Western North Carolina, hundreds of miles off course, to drive this legendary road? Well, I think the next time we travel there, we want to drive down on a weekend, spend the week driving all the local roads and the Dragon over and over, this time remembering to use the stopwatch, and then drive home the next weekend. This road has no side entrances, some problems with trucks and buses coming the other way and some stupid drivers, but if you respect the road and pay attention, it is very safe to drive.

To partially simulate the Dragon in your own car, sit in the driver’s seat stopped in your driveway, and just flop your head from left to right every four seconds for 20 minutes. Oh, yeah, it is fun to drive, the G forces, the torque of the MINI turbo pulling you through the corners, and the thrill of thinking of what would happen if you stray over the yellow lines or the white side lines — all simply exciting!

Some of you may have driven the Dragon. Let’s hear your stories! Google “Dragon mini cooper” and see some of the videos people have put up on the net. Some good, some poor, but all exciting.

Yup, Barbara and I are Dragon Slayers, and our sword is our MINI Cooper S.

May 2012

Minis invited to Fanueil Hall!
by Kurt Steele

The Boston Area MG Club is holding its 5th series of British Car Days this summer at historic Faneuil Hall in Boston, Mass., and NEMO is invited! This series attracts cars and people from all over New England and beyond. Last year’s attendees came from as far away as Canada, Texas, Michigan and Florida.

We will once again be holding our “Morgans, Minis & MGs” show on July 28th. Several NEMO members joined us for this event last year, and despite a damp start, the day was a great success and everyone had a wonderful time. Web and registration pages for this event are at http://events.constantcontact.com/register/event?llr=ijhzwidab&oeidk=a07e5rl0ulyd9f445e1.

This is not your typical gathering of old cars in some field with stuffy owners and the same disinterested spectators. Instead, this is a limited number of premium spaces (12-15), right on the plaza between Faneuil Hall and the Quincy Marketplace in the very heart of Boston. These are up-close-and-personal shows with lots of public interaction, photos and energy from an enthusiastic crowd averaging 10-15,000 on a weekend day. It’s a great place for NEMO members to show off their cars and a rare opportunity for the club to get unprecedented exposure.

We are holding four shows during the summer, one each in June, July, August and September. They are loosely themed and anyone is invited to attend, regardless of the marque they own — we just ask for excited and enthusiastic British car owners. NEMO members are invited to all our shows. For more info and pictures of previous shows, visit www.bostonareamg.com.

[Kurt is President of the Boston Area MG Club.]

April 2012

[1-May Detailing.jpg] One of the many stations to visit.
Photo by Dave & Barbara Newman

MINI of Peabody New Owners Clinic
by Dave Newman

PEABODY, Mass., Apr. 11 — Since my wife Barbara and I had purchased a new Cooper S from MINI of Peabody in October, we were invited to the New Owners Clinic, which is held in the works area of their building from 6 to 8 p.m., three or four times a year.

Upon arrival we were seated with one of the Service Writers who showed us how their key reader could download the particulars of our MINI and how it all links to the national database of MINI Service and can show any and all maintenance performed at any dealer. After that, we made our way to the garage or works area, where they had different stations set up to explain the various services they offer.

The four-wheel alignment station had a lovely BRG Clubman on it for display. Another station was called “Ask Dr. Dave,” and sure enough, a mechanic called Dave would answer all your MINI questions.

There was an MOP preferred body shop there, just in case the unthinkable becomes your nightmare. And there were other stations, including one to teach you how to read the MINI dipstick. The last station was all about cleaning, waxing and detailing and the spa treatments available.

There was dinner for all — salad, baked stuffed shells, chicken parmesan, rolls and cookies and soft drinks. It was a great feast and very good tasting.

There were three ways to win prizes also. A glass jar was filled with brass keys. You needed to guess how many. The prize was $100 of MINI accessories.

The second area was a raffle for a spa treatment for your MINI. Third was by the nice people from Today’s Collision, giving away Red Sox tickets along with a gift basket.

It was a useful time with the wonderful people from MINI of Peabody, and worth the two-hour ride for us to get there in Boston traffic. We both recommend attending after you buy your next MINI.

April 2012

[2-May Tyre.jpg] The Newmans carry a spare even though they have runflats. Should you, too?
Photo by Dave & Barbara Newman

Runflat Back-up in the MCS
by Dave Newman

If your MINI is an “S” version, then it comes equipped with runflat tyres and carries no spare. BMW must believe that every puncture happens within the distance prescribed in the owner’s manual of the nearest tire dealer carrying the exact brand and size you need. Maybe in heavily populated areas where you can call MINI assistance, but if you travel in the boonies and on weekends, it may be good to have a spare tire just for those trips.

We keep a mounted spare in the garage and put it in our MCS for long trips. On our recent trip down south, we simply put it in the boot and cross-strapped it in (see photo above). Ours came from Out Motoring for less than $180 delivered, mounted and balanced on a steel MINI wheel. Since it is a real tire, if we do get a flat, we can change it and carry on. We have a tire rack cover installed to keep things neat and clean and can even put a small carry bag in the center for trips. Our luggage goes in the back seat.

April 2012

[3-May Galvanized Tank.jpg] British Motor Heritage does it again.
Photo courtesy BMH


Galvanized Fuel Tanks for Classic Mini Vans

WITNEY, Oxon., UK — Supplying newly manufactured components for a whole range of British classic cars, British Motor Heritage (BMH) is now offering a replacement galvanized fuel tank for the classic Mini Van — latterly known as the Mini 95.

The new tanks are made to the original specification on the original press tools, jigs and roller welder, refurbished to allow the use of corrosion-resistant galvanized steel.

The tanks (Part No. 21A691) carry a suggested retail price of £195 each, inclusive of VAT, and are available now through the BMH’s global dealer network. Check the BMH website, www.bmh-ltd.com, for contacts in the USA and Canada.

[From a press release.]

March 2012

[1-Apr 12wrapped mini.jpg] Unique ‘wrapped’ Mini at Spring Thing. The car was wrapped beforehand at a Minis of Miami event.
Photo by Lorine Karabec

It’s a Spring Thing
by Lorine Karabec

WESLEY CHAPEL, FL, Feb. 24-26 — “Spring Thing” is a Mini event hosted by FLAME (Florida Mini Enthusiasts), every year in February. It is a welcome break for those of us who live in the North. The event typically rotates location on a bi-annual schedule. This year’s event was a first year, ever, in Wesley Chapel.

When planning the trip, our intention was to take our ’65 Wolseley Hornet. A week prior to leaving for the event my husband Derick discovered that it needed a new wheel bearing. Time was limited, so we packed up our ’74 Innocenti and took the road trip to Florida.

We arrived at the host hotel in Wesley Chapel on Thursday. Several other Mini owners had the same idea, giving us an extra day to share Mini stories. Friday afternoon was registration. That night we had a caravan to Mulligan’s Irish Pub for dinner, drinks and laughs.

Saturday morning started off with a non-timed rally through the country roads of Florida. We had to collect two items on the rally: an orange and a gas receipt for $.25 (yes, twenty-five cents). The problem was that we didn’t find any farm stands along the way, only orange groves. After passing one of the groves, Derick made a U-turn. He pulled up in front of a grove surrounded by barbed-wire fencing. I thought to myself, “I hope you don’t expect me to climb through that fence.” Then I saw the lone orange that Derick had spotted on the side of the road. We got our orange! We also managed to get a $.25 gas receipt on the first try.

During the rally, the group stopped for lunch together and then continued on. At the end our efforts paid off — we were awarded 1st place in the rally. One group actually had hand-written their own $.25 cent gas receipt!

March 2012

[2-Apr 12 Red Bull MINI.jpg] Ex-Red Bull MINI, bereft of product livery.
Photo by Lorine Karabec

Saturday night we had a caravan to Wire Grass Mall. When we arrived, we proceeded in our Minis through the streets of the Mall, in a parade-like fashion. We parked on Main Street, two Minis per parking space. We all split up in groups and went for dinner “on our own.”

Sunday we headed over to the new MINI dealership of Wesley Chapel for the car show and funkhana. They weren’t open for business yet, but hoped to be by the time you read this. They provided us with an awesome barbecue lunch and gave us tours of the building. Some interesting Minis and MINIs showed up. There was a MINI that was made for Red Bull’s advertising campaign. It was a coupe that looked like a pick-up. There even was a fully wrapped Mini.

We took 2nd place in the funkhana.

We left Wesley Chapel at 3 p.m. for our journey home. We drove 15 minutes down the road and the rain moved in, sparing the event. What a great time!

A big thank you goes to Dion and Melanie Jardine, Sharon Priep, Al Frost, Bob Oberdoff, FLAME, Wesley Chapel MINI and everyone else who helped make this event happen.

March 2012

NEMO Gets a Reprieve on Hosting MME!
by Faith Lamprey

You may have read on this page last month that NEMO had voted to offer to host Mini Meet East 2013. Lorine and Derick Karabec had done lots of legwork to find a suitable place so we agreed at the Annual Meeting to give it a go. Well, it seems that the good folks down in the DC area, the Capital Mini Register, who hosted MME in 2006 want to host it again in 2013. Then there will be an East Meets West Meet in 2014, so the next opportunity for us will be in 2015.

It is a good sign that clubs are lining up to host these annual Meets. We hope you can join us at MME 2012 in Magog, Canada!

February 2012

[1-Mar12 Planning.jpg] NEMO members Derick Karabec, Dave Newman and Charles Laughton in serious planning mode.
Photo by Bruce Vild

Planning a Great 2012 for NEMO!
by Dave Newman

HARRISVILLE, RI — In the NEMO tradition, once again Faith and Bruce opened their home to NEMO members for the Annual Planning Meeting. Over twenty NEMO members attended. The front dining room was filled with plates of food brought by members and oodles of desserts covered a side table. The annual March through February NEMO calendars were on sale for $15 and sales were brisk. There are more calendars and also the famous “Dave Black Works” T-shirts and sweat shirts, for those in on the reason why.

After a filling lunch, Faith opened the meeting with a listing of some known events that NEMO members will be attending. These included the British by the Sea in Waterford, Connecticut on June 3rd and Mini Meet East 2012 in Magog, Québec, Canada from June 29th to July 2nd. There was a discussion of the high cost of the host hotel in Canada, and some thought that the GST-HST taxes could be refunded upon your return to the USA. (Upon checking, I found the Canadian government discontinued this in 2007.)

The Microcar-Minicar Classic was discussed, but at the time of our meeting the proposed date, July 13th to 15th, was not firm. The Stowe, Vermont British Invasion from September 14th to 16th was also mentioned.

After some discussion on the various major events, the floor, or shall we say the couch, was given over to Dave Black, our Keeper of the Funds, for his annual report on our debits and credits. All is well with the treasury, ending 2011 just a bit over the 2010 balance.

Then it was on to new business. Lorine and Derick Karabec told us it was announced at the Mini Meet East in 2011 that no club had come forward to run Mini Meet East 2013. Lorine then presented a detailed proposal for two venues along the Hudson River Valley, north of New York City, to have NEMO put in a bid to host the 2013 event. Lorine explained all the details of the different venues, mentioning local attractions, costs, initial contacts with hotels for pricing and such. It was a very professional and well-thought-out presentation. The Karabecs even had a detailed handout.

Much discussion followed about the various things that were needed to host the event, as many of the NEMO members present ran the last one in 2008 in Maine and many others had run the 1998 event in Seekonk. A vote was taken, and turned out 100% in favor for NEMO hosting this one.  And I think if there were a few who didn’t raise their hands they were too busy consuming seconds on the desserts and missed the vote. So NEMO may begin planning for 2013 and asking for other clubs to approve the proposal.

In more new business, it was clear that in 2012 we haven’t yet planned a NEMO-only event. That was solved by again bringing the Top Gear road show to Kingston, Mass., sometime in August.

Okay, so it’s not the real Jeremy, Hamster, James and the Stig. But Barbara and I ran the event in 2010, the Stig did arrive in a Porsche Carrera GT, and posed for pictures before disappearing in a cloud of tire smoke, leaving a twinkle in Faith’s eye. We had a slot car track in the shape of the real one on TV, and yes, Faith has topped the leader board with a 1:32 lap record. We had a TV trivia show with two teams, hosted on DVD by the Hamster. We had a session with our very own Cool Wall. And, of course, the BBQ outside and cool things to do inside the garage.

This year, it will be even better, with a chance to drive the Reasonably Priced Car around the virtual Top Gear track on PS3 and a driving seat/wheel setup — with real timers this time! And, a DVD motoring quiz for two teams with James May on the telly. And perhaps another appearance of the Stig — or his American cousin? Watch the NEMO website and paper for the announcement. The members who attended the last event gave it top ratings!

Then, after discussing all this, there was a raffle of goods donated by the members in attendance, and poof, it was over. Another wonderful meeting, with great driving weather and proof positive that NEMO is a vibrant and active Mini club.

February 2012

[1-Mar12 Bingley.jpg] Elf-Hornet Register display in Bingley Hall. Tony and his 1960 Elf were part of it.
Photo by Tony Haslam

Elfs & Hornets at British Mini Club’s ‘Fair’
by Tony Haslam

STAFFORD, UK — Once again, the British Mini Club excelled in producing one of the best shows ever, Mini Fair 2012, drawing well over four thousand visitors and causing traffic jams in the West Midlands of over five miles in each direction (not helped by an abnormal load passing through Stafford early that morning).

Fortunately, the Elf/Hornet Register members who attended with me stayed at a Premier Inn just 17 miles away and we were the first club being held up in our direction. We made good headway once the load turned left and we were able to head straight on.

There was a steel ramp up the side of Bingley Hall, where Mini Fair took place, which we found a little slippery due to a frost that morning — but the six cars took it in their stride, Italian Job-style!

We won no prizes this year (maybe because we didn’t “dress up our cars” in a “rat look” style) but it’s taking part that counts. The Register enrolled eight new members (we have over 150 at present)!

[Tony, a Register member, also belongs to Miniaddicts, NEMO’s sister club across the pond.]

February 2012

From The Barn
by Dave Black

Of course, the big project this month has been Henry Herrmann’s ’67 Cooper.

The lump went together with no surprises — new bearings and rings were fitted and all are still standard size (no overbore or grinding of the crank was needed). I never get tired of firing up the lump on the test stand. Sometimes some tweaking is necessary in the timing (I often install the distributor drive 180° off), but this time everything was right and the lump fired up very quickly. I thought this would be my first “got-it-right-the-first-time” lump, but after 15 seconds, a massive puddle of oil was accumulating under the radiator end of the engine!

Okay, so the possibilities at that end include front main seal, timing cover gasket, front plate gasket, oil gallery plug, or a combination thereof. The fix: drain radiator and remove same, remove timing cover, then cam drive sprockets and chain, and finally front plate. No abnormalities were noticed here, but a finger inserted in the oil gallery plug hole came out wet with oil.

Now this was a first. Since I changed to using 1/2” brass plugs instead of the stamped steel alternative, I’ve never had one leak — until now.

The old plug was drilled and removed (tricky) and a new one fitted, coated with liberal amounts of The Right Stuff (ask for it by name). All was reassembled (of course, the nuts and washers needed paint after being wrenched), and the lump ran flawlessly, no leaks detected, so it is deemed ready for installation.

Next came the subframes. All new mountings were installed, along with new rear brake cylinders and a complete rebuild of the front brake calipers. I stock all the parts needed for 7.5” discs, but a ’67 Cooper came with 7” discs, so the proper pistons and rubbers had to be ordered. The rear subframe went together as slick as all get-out and rope was tied from the trailing arms to both the top and bottom of the subframe to limit travel and hopefully keep the knuckles and hydrobags in their proper positions until they’re installed on the car.

The front subframe was even easier, as the A-arm bearings and shafts were all in like-new condition, so no rebuilding was required. Of course, every piece has been sandblasted, primed and painted, so a tremendous amount of care was required during assembly to avoid scratches and dings. Everything was installed, including hubs, axles, and brakes, though I left the ball joints loose so I can undo the top and tip it out to aid installation of the engine in the car. I know, I could install the lump in the front subframe, then drop the body onto same, but without a lift, I find it easier (though more time-consuming) to drop the lump in from the top after the subframes have been installed.

The morning I finished with Henry’s front subframe, Steve Naczkowski showed up with another front subframe! We will be cleaning, blasting, painting, and rebuilding all the bits that are required to give Steve a workable front end for one of his two project Minis.

Mark Fodor paid a visit and picked up a bunch of parts to complete yet another front subframe. After he left, I realized that all the pictures and Minis I’ve seen from him have been complete cars. It seems Mark is working on a “secret” Mini, one that he’s had for many years. He has finally decided to do something with it! You know, I think some of us need to “get a life”!

What did you think of our Planning Meeting? All seemed fine — the status quo of events — when out of the blue came a suggestion that NEMO host MME2013! Holy crap, I thought we vowed never to do that again! And don’t you know the vote was overwhelmingly for the proposal. Not just overwhelming, but unanimous. Was that my hand in the air?

All for now...

January 2012

[1-JanFeb12 Newmans at Holiday Party.jpg] Dave and Barbara Newman enjoy the buffet in high style at the NEMO Holiday Party.
Photo by Bruce Vild

Mini Enthusiasts Opt for Cooper’s!
by Dave Newman

PUTNAM, CT — The NEMO Holiday Party for 2011 was held on Saturday, December 17th, at a wonderful venue called J. D. Cooper’s that was found by our Garage Maven, Dave Black.

The place has the perfect name for a bunch of Mini enthusiasts to hold a party! The private room was just the proper size for the 30 or more NEMO members and guests who attended. The buffet meal was partially funded by the club and had something for everybody. Members traveled to the event in 12 classic Minis and six new MINIs and a bunch of other vehicles.

This was the first time in a long while (ever?) that the event was held on a Saturday afternoon, the logic being that the members that have to drive five or six hours to get home, could stay overnight, visit with friends or NEMO members in the morning, and enjoy a leisurely drive home on Sunday. And that is what happened. The Saturday change was a big hit with attendees.

After the meal and self-introductions, the famous NEMO Yankee Swap started. And this year was not boring, with many gifts changing hands five or six times before the end.

If you missed it, you missed a good one, so plan on coming to next year’s event!

January 2012

From The Barn
by Dave Black

First up this month is Mark Fodor. Mark has been hard at the restoration of a 1960 850 and is pleased to report that it’s finally roadworthy. (“Finally” to Mark means he only started it a couple of months ago!) Having fitted a new nose, stripped, prepped, and re-sprayed the entire car, Mark called when he got hung up fitting the sliding window units. As he was looking for advice on how best to get the job done, I recommended he pay someone else to do it! Not to be undone, he forged ahead and used a little “Mark’s Magic” to complete the task. Final fitment of some of the brightwork also brought frustrated phone calls, but Mark worked through it all and the result is stunning.

We got together a couple of weeks ago to fine-tune the lump. It was hard to start and wouldn’t respond to the usual ministrations. Chasing both spark issues and carburetor butterflies, we finally got it to smooth out. Later in the day, Mark called to say it wouldn’t start to get it off the trailer. When asked if he’d changed the coil and plugs (both had been recommended) he admitted that, no, he hadn’t. Well, you know what happened after both were replaced — vroooom! We look forward to seeing this Mini at our next function.

Dave Hayden called from LA (that’s Louisiana!). Dave is in the middle of restoring a 1967 as a surprise for his wife and was trying to source some rubber cones. On another project, Dave had had a problem with the headliner turning inside out as soon as he got to speed. Suspecting that air was leaking up the pillars from the wheel wells, he solved the problem by filling said pillars with foam insulation!

The Barn project this winter is restoration of a one-owner 1967 998 Cooper. Henry Herrmann bought his Mini new in Germany 45 years ago and has driven it only 5,000 miles! Fifteen to 20 years ago, some kids turned it on its roof as a joke. The building manager (this happened in Boston), called the fire department because gas was leaking and the firemen, in all their wisdom, dragged the Mini out of the garage on its roof (instead of simply rolling it back right-side-up). Of course, a fair amount of damage was done and Henry went in search of a shop to do the job. Over the years the body was repaired, but left in primer.

It sounded like quite a challenge, and I can tell you that was the understatement of the year! Henry’s Mini is completely stripped with all the parts stored in plastic totes and cardboard boxes in a huge storage facility in Stratford, CT. Having been there for years, when Tim and I went to collect it, some key pieces were missing and we’ll have to go back to search for them.

The bodywork is being done at Northeast Auto Body, Thompson, CT, and the mechanicals, lump and both subframes are here at The Barn. The lump had been painted at some point, but the color was wrong and the painter must have gobbed on an entire gallon of paint — what a mess! The entire unit, including every bit in the transmission, had to be completely disassembled and sandblasted, then hot washed to remove the blast media. Every nut, bolt, shaft, fixture, and washer has been either wire-brushed or blasted, then primed and painted.

Henry insists on keeping this Mini original, so every picture available has been consulted to make sure all the colors are correct. It really is a lot of fun to work on mechanicals that were last put together at the factory, and with so few miles on them, in like-new condition! More on Henry’s project next month.

And this just in from Mark Fodor...

“My adventure on Yokohama 008 snow tires:

“October 29th, mid-afternoon, driving my Clubman Estate wagon home for winter storage. The ride normally takes less than five minutes to go just under two miles, uphill both ways. Well, it was snowing, and it took a little more than 25 minutes with no heat or wipers that worked well and no brake lights.

“Halfway there, slipping and sliding — there is no turning back now. A half-block away now — home is in sight. Just have to make it through the double esses cruising at a cool 10 to 15 miles per hour. Set myself up for the apex — make it through the first three. The Yokohama 008s are sliding real good now — just can’t make the fourth turn. Yanked the emergency brake — got her sideways, lined right up for the straight hill going up, but still sliding sideways.

“BAM! Kiss the curb, bouncing off, still going — now making the turn into the driveway. No brakes, great! Thank the Queen the emergency brake still works, even with rusted-out backing plates. Amen.

January 2012

Remember the NEMO Planning Meeting this Month!
by Faith Lamprey

This is just another reminder for the upcoming Annual NEMO Meeting and Potluck Luncheon. Join us for the festivities on Sunday, February 12, 2012. Arrive at 12 noon and bring a dish for the lunch table. The eating starts at 1 p.m. and the meeting at 2.

We’ll hold the usual Giveaway Freebie Raffle so if you have any Mini-related items you’d like to donate, bring them along.

This will take place at our house (Faith and Bruce’s), 5 Old Nasonville Rd., Harrisville, RI 02830-1905, (401) 766-6519 or nemo@auroratechedi.com. Directions will go out to the Google Group e-mail list and are as follows.

From the Providence area: Take Rt. 146 North. Take the Rt. 5/102 Slatersville exit off 146. Turn right off the exit ramp and take a left (almost immediately) at the stop light (a “T”). You are now on Rt. 146A. Follow the directions from Rt. 146A below.

From the Boston area: Take Rt. 95 South to Rt. 295 South to Rt. 146 North. Take the Rt. 5/102 Slatersville exit off 146. Turn right off the exit ramp and take a left (almost immediately) at the stop light (a “T”). You are now on Rt. 146A. Follow the directions from Rt. 146A below.

From the Worcester area: Take Rt. 146 South to the Rt. 5/102/146A Slatersville exit. Turn right off the exit ramp. You are now on Rt. 146A. Follow the directions from Rt. 146A below.

From Connecticut and southern Rhode Island: Take Rt. 95 North to Rt. 295 North (in Rhode Island) to Rt. 146 North. From 146, take the Rt. 5/102 Slatersville exit. Turn right off the exit ramp and take a left at the stop light. You are now on Rt. 146A. Follow the directions from Rt. 146A below. (See below for an alternate route.)

From Rt. 146A where you’ve all converged: Follow Rt. 146A through Forestdale. You will go through three traffic lights (one in Forestdale, one at the Slatersville Plaza, one at Gator’s Pub). At Slatersville Plaza, intersect with Rt. 102 by going straight. After Gator’s, “The Island” will appear on your left and you will see a sign on your right for Wright’s Farm. Slow down and get ready for a left turn at Inman Road (at the traffic light). Take that left, and then take another left immediately after that (onto Old Nasonville Road), and an immediate right into our driveway.

You will see the number 5 on our mailbox and, if it's a nice day, our red-and-white classic Mini in the driveway. Call us at (401) 766-6519 if you get lost. Be sure to identify yourself in case the answering machine picks up before we reach the phone.

November 2011

[1-Dec 11 Mini MINI.jpg] MINI owners loved the only Mini in the Rally, here lined up before the start.
Photo by Ian Cull

MOP’s 2nd Annual Rally for Hrach
by Dave Newman

PEABODY, MA — Sunday, November 13th, was a perfect sunny and warm day in Peabody. And it was also the day that MINI of Peabody (MOP) held its 2nd Annual Rally for Hrach, to remember “Mr. Mini” Hrach Chekijian, star MINI salesperson for MOP and our NEMO President, who passed away suddenly in October of 2010. To the staff and customers of MOP, Hrach was larger than life itself, and of course to fellow NEMO members Hrach is still the center of the Mini universe.

Over 100 MINIs and just one classic Mini arrived at 8 a.m. at MOP’s back lot and lined up for the start of the one-hour rally. In the half hour wait, a crowd gathered around Barbara Newman’s classic “British Open” Mini as it was admired by all, many who said they had a classic Mini at home or a Moke or two!

At 8:30 sharp the Rally began, taking us all over some of the best roads north of the Peabody area and then back to the dealership garages for an amazing hot breakfast of eggs, meats, veggies, muffins and more, along with coffee, juices and teas. Barbara had no problem keeping up in the classic Mini and I was driving Barbara’s brand new 2012 MINI Cooper S, Chili Red and a blast to drive!

After breakfast the MOP staff told stories about Hrach and invited others to tell their stories. I told the story about when we first met Hrach, at Mini Meet East 1998 in Seekonk, MA, put on by NEMO. During the storytelling we met one of Hrach’s sisters and many MINI owners who have known Hrach since way before he worked at MOP, including one couple who had known him since 1975, having met him while driving their Moke around Boston.

The whole affair was coordinated and run by the Motoring Advisors and Molly Waugh of MOP. We hope that more NEMO members will make an effort to attend the next year’s event as their stories of Hrach will serve to keep the memory of the greatest Mini guy we have known alive in all of our hearts and minds.

It is certainly tearful to think of poor Hrach being taken from us at a very young 61 years of age, but it is through events such as these that we can pass along his infectious love of the Mini and the MINI and for all of us, his friends. When you really get down to what Hrach was really all about, he loved all of us as much as we did him. Thank you to everyone at MINI of Peabody for having such a wonderful event to remember and honor him.

November 2011

NEMO Holiday Party Dec. 17!

The NEMO Holiday Party will be held at J.D. Cooper’s in Putnam, CT, on Saturday, December 17th, at 12 noon. For you folks with a GPS, the address is J.D. Cooper’s, 146 Park Road, Putnam, CT 06260, (860) 928-0501. Take Exit 95 (Kennedy Drive) off I-395. Kennedy Drive becomes Park Road. J.D. Cooper’s is about a mile from the exit.

We need a head count so RSVP by e-mailing nemo@auroratechedi.com or calling Faith at (401) 766-6519 ASAP. Let me know how many are attending (and ages of any kids).

The cost for the buffet is $22.45 per person, which includes tax and tip. The club will subsidize $10.45 for members, so the member cost is only $12. Kids under 12 are half price and under 3 are free.

The buffet will include Chicken Marsala and Pasta Primavera (vegetarian), tossed garden salad, vegetable medley, rolls and butter, and coffee and tea as well as lemon cream cake for dessert.

We will be holding a Yankee Swap so plan to bring a wrapped gift (try to keep the cost below $25). A Yankee Swap means that someone else may “take” your gift when it is their turn to pick. (Warn your kids so they don’t get upset if this happens!) You get to pick a gift for every gift you bring (please, no more than one per person or the Swap will never end).

Our Holiday Party is one of our more popular events every year and this central location in Connecticut should be convenient for the majority of our members. Hope to see you there!

November 2011

From The Barn
by Dave Black

Okay, so it’s been a while since you’ve heard anything about rumblings at The Barn. Seems most of the Minis behaved this year, so there were very few repairs required. And this columnist cannot dream up fantasy stuff at will, so instead of making up stories about hypochondriacal NEMO members, I wait for the stories to come here.

And came they did. Bruce was first with a brake issue. He called to report no brakes at all and was about to head out to get an inspection sticker! Please, if you think you have a brake issue, get it resolved before you really need to use them. We’ve been lucky as a club in the accident department (one rear-ended, totaled; one deer strike, ouch). The roads are dangerous enough without us adding to the melée!

Anyway, Bruce’s condition was soon diagnosed as leaky rear brake cylinders. The fix was replacement cylinders and shoes. I used to think it was cheaper, and just as good, to rebuild the old cylinders, but have changed my mind over the years. When doing the rear brakes, it’s imperative that you get the adjuster loosened up. This can be a bit of a bugger and may require removal of the backing plate so you can get after it with a torch (been there!). Fortunately, Bruce’s adjusters were operational, so the job was pretty straightforward. Even bleeding was a breeze!

On his way home from British Legends Weekend, Greg’s “S” blew a universal joint. At 65mph on Route 495, no less. You’ll have to ask him what it sounded like — words just can’t describe it! At first, Greg wanted to simply replace the universals, but soon decided to upgrade to a pot-joint output. Of course, converting to pot joints requires changing the output shafts and that requires removal of the differential, and with a remote-type shift, the engine has to come out. In the time it took you to figure out that sentence, Greg and I had the lump out on the floor (it’s always a pleasure to work with someone who knows the next step and can anticipate both tool needs and where the extra hands are needed!)

As Greg had recently changed the oil, he didn’t want to drain the crank, so we simply used the engine jack to tilt the engine forward far enough to keep the oil away from the diff cover. Pot joints were sourced from Alan Harvie (Alan bought the lump from Curtis’ Mini), and Curtis’ axles were used to complete the conversion. Reassembly was the reverse of disassembly and soon Greg was back from a successful test drive and on his way home.

November 2011

NEMO Planning Meeting Set
by Faith Lamprey

Join us on Sunday, February 12, 2012, for NEMO’s Annual Meeting and Potluck Luncheon. Arrive at 12 noon and bring a dish for the lunch table. The eating starts at 1 p.m. and the meeting at 2. We’ll hold the usual Giveaway Freebie Raffle so if you have any Mini-related items you’d like to donate, bring them along.

This will take place at Faith and Bruce’s, 5 Old Nasonville Rd., Harrisville, RI, (401) 766-6519 or nemo@auroratechedi.com. Directions will go out to the Google Group e-mail list and will be put on the website.

October 2011

[1-Nov 11 Dave Greg Vince.jpg] Dave, Greg and Vince had their Minis on display, but Barbara, Steven and Mark took the class prizes. Not an easy choice!
Photo by Barbara Newman

A Sunny Mini Day on the Cape
by Dave Newman

FALMOUTH, MA — October 9th found a gaggle of classic Minis and their proud owners attending the Cape Cod British Car Club’s annual British Legends show. The show field was dry, the day was downright hot for October and six Minis were there, along with a few hundred other different models and makes of British cars. Greg was there with his red Cooper, Dave Black with his brown Thurd, and Vince and his wife Julie with their beautiful blue Sportpack Mini.

After the popular judging was over, in the Classic Mini class the winners were as follows: 3rd, Mark Fodor with his highly modified ’63 Mini Cooper; 2nd, Steven Aoyana and his family with their ’72 Honda-powered Mini estate, and 1st, Barbara Newman and her British Open Classic Mini.

Some say that Barbara got some votes by displaying an electric hamster running in a wheel on the bonnet of her car. This type of vote-getting stunt was started at the Cape show years ago by NEMO member Glen Carliss and his Banana Cream Mini, when he displayed a moving hula girl mounted on a stick stuck into his grill. Never underestimate the value of marketing props in a popularity contest.

And last but certainly not least, NEMO members Bruce and Faith did not display a Mini but manned a tent pushing British Marque Car Club News, some Mini cards and stuff that can clean and protect your car’s finish.

This show is a winner for all NEMO members and their Minis that attend and we recommend trying to make this show next year. There are other activities on the day before so check out the sponsoring club’s site for details.

See you there next year!

October 2011

[2-Nov 11 Icaza.jpg] Plenty of storage space in Dave and Jean Icaza's Countryman (a class winner).
Photo by Barbara Newman

Mini British Invasion
by David Newman

STOWE, VT, Sept. 16-18 — Over 700 British motorcars and their owners attended the annual British Invasion in Stowe for a great three days of fun. This little ski town is transformed into a bit of England as the local residents welcome hundreds of owners and their families and thousands of spectators. Check out the event website for details and if you were there, stop reading. If you missed the event, here is some of the NEMO-related things you missed: the drive up and back, stunning scenery, the NEMO nights out at local restaurants, the free beer on Friday night, the two-day show with all it entails, the vendors selling all kinds of car-related and British-related goods, the food and seeing all your Mini friends from Canada and the U.S. who attend from different Mini clubs. Yes, the hotels are a bit pricey that weekend, as it is a resort town, but there are bargains. The weather can be poor, but this year, it was dry and hot in the day and cool at night. And the Sunday drive home was in excellent weather made for British cars.

As far as Minis go and the popular judging, the results in the three classes were:

Class #45 — MINI Cooper, 2001 to present: 1st, David Greenberg, 2011 Cooper JCW; 2nd, Harry Malkasian, 2004 Cooper S MC40; 3rd, Richard Fitzhenry and Erin Carroll, 2002 Cooper.

Class #46 — Austin and Morris Mini, 1959 to 1969: 1st, David and Jean Icaza, 1969 Austin Mini Countryman; 2nd, Lorine and Derick Karabec, 1965 Wolseley Hornet; 3rd, Judy and Paul Nevin, 1968 Austin Mini Pickup.

Class #47 — Austin, Morris and Rover Mini, 1970 to 2000: 1st, Bill and Teri Cook, 1983 Austin (Rover) Mini; 2nd, Marcel Boucher, 1980 Austin Mini with matching Mini-back-end trailer; 3rd, Ron Blanchette, 1999 Rover Mini Cooper.

Our estimate of MINI and Minis was over 40 cars out of the 700 or so at the Invasion, including Mokes. A few dozen NEMO members attended with their families also. It was good to see you all.

See you next year in Stowe. Did I mention free beer at the hospitality tent on Friday night?

October 2011

[3-Nov 11 Wolseley.jpg] Derick and Lorine Karabec's 1965 Wolseley Hornet.
Photo by Barbara Newman

Save the Date!

The NEMO Holiday Party will be held on Saturday, December 17th, at 12 noon, at J.D. Cooper’s in Putnam, CT.

For you folks with a GPS, the address is J.D. Cooper’s, 146 Park Rd., Putnam, CT 06260, (860) 928-0501. Take Exit 95 (Kennedy Drive) off I-395. Kennedy Drive becomes Park Road. J.D. Cooper’s is about a mile from the exit.

We need a head count so RSVP by e-mailing nemo@auroratechedi.com or calling Faith Lamprey at (401) 766-6519 before Thanksgiving. Let her know how many are attending (and ages of any kids).

The cost for the buffet is $22.45 per person, which includes tax and tip. The club will subsidize $10.45 for members, so the member cost is only $12. Kids under 12 are half price and under 3 are free.

The buffet will include Chicken Marsala and Pasta Primavera (vegetarian), tossed garden salad, vegetable medley, rolls and butter, and coffee and tea, as well as lemon cream cake for dessert. We will be holding a Yankee Swap so plan to bring a wrapped gift (try to keep the cost below $25). A Yankee Swap means that someone else may “take” your gift when it is their turn to pick. (Warn your kids so they don’t get upset if this happens!) You get to pick a gift for every gift you bring. (Please, no more than one per person or the Swap will never end.)

Our Holiday Party is one of our more popular events every year and this central location in Connecticut should be convenient for the majority of our members. Hope to see you there!

—Faith Lamprey
September 2011

[1-Oct 11 Reid Mini.jpg] The Hemingway quote just so fits the vintage racer...
Photo by Bruce Vild

Lime Rock Truly ‘Historic’
by Bruce Vild

LAKEVILLE, CT, Sept. 1-5 — From start to finish, this year’s Lime Rock Park Historic Festival was something else — and I’m not just talking about the weather.

Sponsorship by Jaguar brought out several historic vehicles including the Group 44 E-type campaigned by Bob Tullius, who was himself at Lime Rock ready to pose with the car. Parked under a tent on the midway was the Tom Walkinshaw Jaguar Sport Team XJR-9 that won Le Mans in 1988.

Fred Simeone, owner and curator of the Simeone Foundation Museum in Philadelphia, brought four cars from the collection and displayed them in A Paddock. Dr. Simeone and his assistant took two of them out on the track and delighted everyone with loud noises and ample smoke — an Alfa Romeo 8C 2300 and an MG K3, both from 1934. Most of the cars at the Museum, such as these examples, are unrestored and run. The MG fired right up, but the Alfa took a little coaxing.

A real event highlight for this writer was something that took place this year for the first time: a parade of racecars through the surrounding community that ended in the town square of Falls Village, where the cars were parked and could be viewed by the general public. This happened on Thursday and essentially kicked off the weekend.

But of course the races are what the Festival is all about and it was easy to read the history of the British motor industry as you went from group to group. Group 1, for example, took in “Prewar Sports and Competition Cars and Early MGs,” the most modern car being the 1954 MG TF. Serious contenders in Group 1 included a 1935 Bentley, 1939 MG TB and 1931 Morgan Super Aero. Group 2 gathered “Sports Racing Cars of the ’50s,” and that brought in Lola Mk1s, Lotus Sevens, a Jaguar D-type and a Devin MG. Group 3 was “Best of the British,” Group 5 “Small-bore Production Cars” (lots of Midgets and Spitfires), Group 6 “American Iron Against the E-types,” and then there was the one that piqued my interest the most, Group 9: “Minis Against the Rest.”

The racers got to experience everything Lime Rock has to offer weather-wise. Morning fog, blistering sun, clouds, hot and cold track temperatures, drizzle and then downpour, they were all there this weekend. At least two of the racers I talked to expected to do well in the rain that finally came with a vengeance on Monday.

One of them was NEMO's own Dave Reid in his #57 Mini Cooper. Dave was running in Group 9 against everything from a Ginetta G-4 and Lotus Elan to a Datsun 510 and Yenko Corvair. He had four races, two Saturday and two Monday. In both sessions on Saturday he placed 3rd, but Dave had his best race Monday morning, where he and the Datsun swapped the lead three or four times -- but then he lost it in the penultimate turn before the finish line and wound up coming 5th.

Conditions went from bad to worse weather-wise that day (Labor Day), but Dave and his “Chief Scientist,” Nick Mango, seemed to be enjoying the rain. Heavy rain. They explained why. Rain tires really make the Mini a contender, but caution must govern their use. Rain tires are soft and will “chunk” as a track dries, so they are best used in a downpour when conditions are kept wet.

However, conditions got too wet by Dave’s afternoon race, the second to last on Monday. He hit a puddle, hydroplaned, and wound up half on the track and half in the grass, unable to move. The race was called early as a result. The last race was called off before it started, the rain having no end in sight.

So now, dry or wet, the Historic Festival is itself history. It was a great time, for reporter and spectator alike, and racers, too. Right, Dave?

August 2011

[1-Sept 11 Tony Elfie.jpg] The two as they appeared on the cover of The Riley Record, June 2011.
Photo courtesy Tony Haslam

My History
by Tony Haslam
(and his Riley Elf)

First, my Elf will introduce itself. Elfie?

“I was born on the 21st January 1964 after which I was transported to Taunton in Somerset to be sold to my first owner and was given the Registation Number 510 XYD. Licensing Authorities were instructed to use as many existing numbers as they could before issuing the prefix letters, which in my case would have been a B registration. Things then became rather vague as my owner moved to Liverpool and sometime in her ownership my flywheel was removed for some unknown reason. I sat in my garage from 1986 until 2005 when my owner died and I was found by the beneficiary of her will who was not interested in keeping me. I was offered to my second and present owner, Tony Haslam of Chester who took me to his home and restored me to my present state...

“Now, Tony, you take up the story.”

Elfie was delivered to my home and given a good clean-out and wash-down. Polish was out of the question due to the paintwork and chrome work being speckled with rust. My first problem was to ascertain why the flywheel had been removed, there being no receipts or paperwork with the car and therefore no history and even the logbook was missing!

I decided to clean the old petrol out of the tank and line from the new electric pump (already fitted, as were the brake lines to the rear brakes). The rear subframe was perfect (maybe the result of a repair after a rear-end shunt?). I sourced a replacement flywheel from my son-in- law together with a replacement clutch housing. The clutch plate and pressure plate found in the boot were fitted and are still in use today! Fresh petrol and a new battery, plugs cleaned, points checked for spark, four turns on the key (one of the first models to have a key start) — and she fired and ran just like a sewing machine! I drove her round a little-used garage site to test the gears, which appeared to be O.K. Just one problem, I found I could not stop! The brakes had seized! These were duly rectified and I decided to sort out the bodywork first and run the engine for a short while before deciding to do anything to it (now 8000 miles on I enjoy driving the car so much I still haven’t done it!). In between times I applied successfully for a new logbook, luckily without any trouble.

What seemed a pretty solid body was found to be not so — removal of the layers of carpet, felt and mastic that BMC thought would make the little car waterproof and rustproof proved not to be the case! I had to replace the two front footwells, both front wings, both inner and outer A panels (these added together give the car strength to hold the very heavy doors with the external hinges). In addition to these panels, I also had to replace the inner and outer sills on both sides. As these cars have no chassis it is essential that these sills be replaced.

On and off this took me over three years, with family events interrupting progress, until the time came for a respray. By now funds had dried up and for some time Elfie sat forlornly in the garage until a little win on the lottery allowed me to proceed. She surfaced with a beautiful coat of Florentine Blue and Old English White roof.

Now for the chrome work. Many hours spent on the Evil Bay auction site proved worthwhile! A newly chromed front bumper was won for less than half the price of having the existing one re-chromed. Some new old stock rear light cluster surrounds completed the rear end after having the rear bumper re-chromed together with four brand new re-manufactured overriders fitted.

The powder blue interior was stained to the extent there was nothing that could be done to renovate it, so I decided to replace with new from Newton Commercial who also supplied me with a new headlining which nearly drove me mad trying to fit it! Three days and several attempts sorted that out. A job I would not like to attempt again!

Fitting of the windows was found to be easy but the chrome strips turned out to be another nightmare. I had to squeeze the strips slightly to enable me to snap them back onto the clips on the body.

This little car is now restored to its former glory, with three exceptions which are for me to know and for you to find out! Just recently I removed the cylinder head in order to replace the cam followers and timing chain. This gave me the chance to have the c/head skimmed and new valve guides and hardened seats replaced for unleaded petrol. Once it was refitted she ran like a dream, and a recent trip from Chester to the Brooklands Racing Circuit Museum and back, a round trip of just over 450 miles, proved what a hard-working little engine it is.

I would like to thank the following people for their help, for without it I would still be restoring the Elf today: my son-in-law Dean, for doing most of the superb welding, Cliff Lilley of Scratchy and Denty body resprays, Ellesmere Port, Cheshire (highly recommended), and my wife Jill for her patience and endless cups of tea!

[Tony belongs to Miniaddicts, our UK sister club.]

August 2011

[3-Sept 11 Lads.jpg] The lads enjoy Peter Sprague's hospitality.
Photo courtesy Ken Lemoine

A Chance Meeting

by Ken Lemoine

The encounter happened during the recent Tanglewood British Motorcar Festival in Lenox, MA. While strolling down Main Street on Friday evening with my friend John Gallagher (we are also known as Bill and Ted, for our excellent adventures), we stumbled upon a black Aston Martin Lagonda. The owner had just gotten out of the car. We went over to meet him and mention that we had had the good fortune to have owned a very similar William Townes “wedge car” in the past. The gentleman, Peter Sprague, thanked us for that. Puzzled by that response, we just had to ask, “Why?” He said, “Come to dinner at my house tomorrow night and I will tell you more.”

We drove out to the address he gave us. The address was on a pair of stone pillars; that should been a signal. We drove up the crushed stone drive to Ventfort Hall, a charming, 20-plus-room, classic brick Victorian on very mature landscaped grounds. It turns out Peter bought the estate in very neglected condition. It was on the most endangered list of the National Historic Register and Peter personally invested millions in its restoration (and has many more to go). It is open as a museum now. Be sure to come visit it.

We were greeted on “the porch” by his lovely wife Tjasa, and so began our evening with proper libations, marvelous appetizers, dinner in the main salon and a telling of a story. For the full story go to www.sprague.com, click on Peter’s blog and then on Aston Martin. I have considerably abbreviated it for this article.

It seems that in 1974 Aston closed their factory one weekend, locking the gates with their employees’tools inside and declaring to the world that they were suspending operations and bankrupt. A young man here in the States who happened to love Astons, one Peter Sprague, cried foul. His wife said, “Why don’t you do something about it?”

So Peter called Rex Woodgate, who represented Aston in the USA. Rex volunteered the name of Charles Warden and his UK phone number. Peter called Charles and briefly introduced himself.

At the time Peter was the perfect person to get involved in Aston Martin. He was 35 years old, knew nothing about the car business, and had never been inside the factory or met any Aston luminaries other than Woodgate. He was not as impressed as he should have been that the British economy was in terrible shape. There was even the possibility of an intervention by the World Bank. Things were grim, but he was cheerful. He truly did not understand the situation.

On the positive side Peter had had some experience with startups and troubled companies. At the ripe old age of 26 he became Chairman of National Semiconductor when the company was coming out of receivership. His education consisted of political science at Yale and MIT and economics at Columbia.

Warden called members of the press and announced that an American was coming over to “save the company.” The Evening News reported a millionaire, “an American aged about 35, bearded and wearing spectacles,” had toured the factory but told everyone, “I cannot reveal my identity at this time.” Peter did not actually say that, of course, but that’s the quote.

As Peter told us, “I was curious. Curiosity can get you in a lot of trouble. I have always been fascinated by what might be on the other side of a hill. Aston was truly a curious hill.

“I read all the clippings and realized that I had been maneuvered into the center of a circle of attention I had not expected. I determined that I would put in a month to better understand what had gone wrong and what could be done. If it appeared to be impossible, I would have a press conference, assemble some serious-looking flip charts, and explain what I had concluded. I trusted that people would forgive me for raising their hopes.”

The basic underlying problem was that Aston Martin Lagonda had never in its history made a profit. One of Peter’s favorite David Brown stories, possibly apocryphal, was that when approached at a cocktail party by a gentleman who asked if Brown could arrange for him to buy a car directly from the factory, at factory cost, the reply was, “Certainly! That will be two thousand pounds over retail.”

In late May 1975 Peter decided that he would try to purchase the assets on his own, and then sort out the situation afterwards.

As you can tell by now we are fully engrossed in the story. He went on to talk about the excellence of British craftsmen, the secret development of the Lagonda, the Bulldog project and the resurrection of Aston.

One of my favorite anecdotes was that the Lagonda was not ready to run — because there was no transmission in the car — about two weeks before its introduction at the London Auto Show, so they hauled it up to the highest hill in the area and took glamour video of the Lagonda touring through the countryside — with no transmission in it, coasting all the way! The press gobbled it up.

More food, wine and dessert followed this chance meeting with a fascinating man and the true tale of his imprint on automotive history. Truly this was a “Bill and Ted” most excellent adventure!

August 2011

Rally through Okemo Valley II Sept. 10-11!

The Mini Cooper Rally through the Okemo Valley (in Vermont) returns the weekend of September 10-11.

On Saturday, the 10th, will be an untimed scavenger hunt-type rally, looking for answers to clues, run mostly on paved roads with a few good dirt roads included. Rally enthusiasts will assemble in Belmont, VT, at around 8:30 a.m. for a continental breakfast.

Belmont is in the town of Mt. Holly off Route 103. Coming from the south, turn left at the blinker about 8 miles north of Ludlow. From the north go about 10 miles south on 103 from Route 7 and turn right at the blinker. Belmont is about two miles up the hill. Breakfast will be in the basement of the Community Center.

The rally cars will leave Belmont at 10 a.m. The rally will finish at Outback Pizza in Ludlow after covering about 80 miles. Prizes will be awarded starting at 4 p.m. Outback Pizza will be glad to serve you dinner.

On Sunday we will have a back seat driver competition at the Jackson Gore area of Okemo. This will start at 10 a.m.

The cost is only $30. Contact Paul for details at (802) 259-2443 or paulknevin@gmail.com.

August 2011

From The Barn
by Dave Black

First up this month, Giulia and Franchesco Sorrentino. Giulia called one evening announcing they were leaving the Cape with the Mini in tow and would it be all right to bring it right over. Apparently it had broken down in the middle of vacation and ruined all their plans! On arrival, it was determined the head gasket was blown. (I thought all the defective head gaskets had blown already!) They left the car and mentioned the clutch needed adjustment as well. Tackled the gasket first, thinking the clutch would be a five-minute fix at the end (remind self: stop thinking). The clutch ended up being a full system rebuild and would have been loads easier without the head on the engine. Their Innocenti has wet suspension and requires much more wrenching to get to the firewall end of the clutch hose than a dry-suspended Mini. It all got fixed in the end and Giulia and Franchesco went tooling back to Boston in their baby.

Mark Fodor claimed his 1100 and installed it in the old 850 he acquired this spring. All reports are good to date. Then he called to say he’d just purchased a 1970 Clubman! I reminded him he can only drive one at a time, but I don’t think he was listening!

Jay Cady brought his S (accompanied by Jack and Emma) over for some minor adjustments, but mostly the clutch. Hard to shift and grinds going into reverse were the symptoms. Did the quick adjustment mentioned above and it still ground like a bugger. Then Jay told me he’d replaced the throwout arm pushrod because the old one was a homemade job and looked rickety. Well, the old one had been modified to make it adjustable, so we installed one of the stainless steel aftermarket versions that look beautiful. That did the trick and Jay, Jack and Emma went slogging off for home.

Greg has been chomping at the bit to use his new Sawzall on Curtis Boivin’s rusty Mini. We finally got the chance last week and made very short work of the shell (Greg had previously spent a day stripping the car of any useable pieces), and now it’s in pieces small enough to fit in a pickup and take to the scrapper. We swept up the rust in the driveway and got at least 30 pounds in a bag!

So now we’ve caught up with Mini work and are back to the Gravely tractors, but that’s for another publication!

August 2011

[3-Aug 11 Micros.jpg] Moke joins Micros in the front yard of the Gould residence on Sunday, ready for a road trip.
Photo by Bob Stanichar

Microcar Classic Exciting, Fun!
by Faith Lamprey

NEWTON, MA — NEMO has been heavily involved with the Gould Microcar Classic for many years now. Charles and Nancy Gould have so graciously welcomed us into their fun-filled event that we now feel we are an important ingredient to this unique mixture of whimsy, two-stroke engine fumes, funny little cars, and fun!

This year was no exception, with Bruce and me preparing the keepsake nametags and helping with registration, and Marsha and Tom Judson, along with Marsha’s sister Diane, preparing and serving all the food for the Friday night reception and doing kitchen duty on Saturday for the “Eclectic BBQ.” Unlike last year where we had downpours at the field at Larz Anderson and had to all move inside the Museum, this year was bright and sunny with only a few drops of rain on Friday night.

There were over 50 amazing little cars on the field on Saturday, with many of the owners giving rides to the kids (little kids and adult kids!). Some friends of mine attended with their two girls and all the girls could talk about for weeks after were the strange little cars they rode in at the event.

As always, Minis and their derivatives had a special class at the show on Saturday. Class winners were: 1st, Ken Lemoine, 1965 Morris Mini Minor Traveller; 2nd, Paul Nevin, 1968 Mini Pickup; 3rd, Joe Darisse, 1977 Mini Cooper. There were ten Minis on the field and they all were exceptional.

On Sunday we took a Micro/Mini excursion to Mt. Wachusett, a 60-plus mile trip that included stops for lunch and to visit Matchbox Motors, where Charles and Nancy keep most of their Micros. We celebrated at dinner that night that none of the cars had to be towed home.

If you have never attended this special event, you must put it on your calendar for next year! It is usually the weekend after the 4th of July.

August 2011

U.S. Owners of Elfs, Hornets Wanted!
by Tony Haslam

As administrator for the Elf/Hornet Register I have been asked to create an American Section for owners in the USA, so I am inviting those who have one of these little marvels to have a look at the club website and join us for free (just register): http://elf-hornet.4forum.biz/.

Thank you in anticipation.

[Tony is a member of our sister club in the UK, Miniaddicts, and a frequent contributor to the NEMO page. He owns a nicely appointed Riley Elf.]

August 2011

Join NEMO at the Putnam, CT Car Cruise!

NEMO has been invited to attend the 6th Annual Main Street Car Cruise in Putnam, CT, on Sunday, August 14th. The Cruise runs from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. with registration beginning at 8 a.m. Let’s show those hot rods how cool a small, cute Mini is! We are sure to draw attention from the crowds. Putnam has many antique shops and great restaurants if you want to venture away from the cars. It should be a fun day out. Hope you can meet us there!

July 2011

[1-Aug 11 Hrach Manikin.jpg] Guess who.
Photo by Lorine Karabec

Is that the Chattanooga Mini?
by Lorine Karabec

This year’s Mini Meet East was held at the Chattanooga Choo Choo, in where else but Chattanooga, TN.

We started our journey with a stop at the Lane Motor Car Museum in Nashville. This is a “must-see” museum if you are in the area.

The weather was hot and in the 90s all week. Thankfully, there were plenty of shade trees for everyone. The hotel consisted of three buildings with accommodations, each one with a pool, several restaurants and little shops. If you wanted something a little different you could stay in a renovated train car room. The hotel was very accommodating to the group and put the majority of us in one building.

Tuesday, July 5 — Open registration started with cars rolling in throughout the day. One of the Minis arrived in a box truck. The owner had to drive around town to find a loading dock so he could unload his car.

Wednesday, July 6 — This was a busy day starting with arrival photos taken in front of a steam locomotive. The cars arrived for the photos in typical Mini fashion, driving on the sidewalks to get the locomotive. One MINI lost his balance and fell off the platform. Fortunately, only the driver’s pride was hurt. Photos were followed by the concours event at 10 a.m., a bagged picnic lunch in the parking lot, an organized drive to the Coker Tire Museum, a visit to the International Towing and Recovery Hall of Fame and Museum, an organized drive to Lookout Mountain, dinner and a Beatles tribute band in the hotel parking lot from 7 p.m. to midnight. It was a jam-packed day of fun and exhaustion!

The concours had the most Rileys and Wolseleys I have ever seen together in one place. There were five in total: three Wolseleys and two Rileys.

My highlight of the day was our stop at Coker Tire. Coker Tire is located a few miles from the hotel in Chattanooga. The company is a three-generation, family-run business that is currently run by Corkey Coker. Unbeknownst to the group, Corkey is a fellow Mini enthusiast. He owns a 1967 Tasmanian Mini, which was on display when we walked into the showroom. His daily driver is a 2005 MINI Cooper S.

In the 1970s Coker Tire became aware of the need for vintage tires. In 1974, Corkey began traveling the world to buy as many vintage tire molds as he could. At that time, vintage tires were 5% of their business; today they are over 99%. The last stop on this tour was the Museum, which consisted of a large variety of vehicles dating back to a 1908 Thomas Flyer and a 1911 Marmon Wasp replica. The collection also included several Indian motorcycles dating back to 1909. It was a great tour. For more information and photos from our visit go to www.cokertire.com.

Thursday, July 7 — The morning started out with a rally/scavenger hunt. The rally ended at Nickajack Dam where there was a catered picnic lunch and then the panoramic photo.

The rally was a tough one. We drove around the city five times and only answered five questions out of 50 when we called it quits. I believe only three cars finished, and two of them missed the panoramic photo. In memory of our own Hrach Chekijian, there was a life-size manikin of him, all geared up for the photo, in his yellow suit and hat. Later on that evening was an organized drive to dinner.

July 2011

[2-Aug 11 Potato Head.jpg] Derick Karabec (far right) and his winning Mr. Potato Head team.
Photo by Lorine Karabec

Friday, July 8 — Today there was an organized drive to Lookout Mountain for those who wanted a “zip line” experience. At 2 p.m. started our favorite event, the funkhana. Nick Lehner of Illinois did a great job creating the event. It featured local and tourist attractions. The event started with the navigator collecting a rock from under “Ruby Falls,” then the driver had to back up to a stand for the navigator to purchase a Moon Pie (made in Chattanooga) for a quarter. The next task, both the driver and navigator had to get out of the car to get a piece of wood and ring the Chattanooga Choo Choo’s bell. Then the driver had to back up to an outhouse for the navigator to grab a piece of paper, go over to the “Rock City” barn to grab some binoculars, and then go over to get a bottle of moonshine. During the course, the driver had to drive around two pylons, one forward and the other backwards. We all had a blast, both participants and spectators.

During a funkhana run, spectator Mike Guido hid in the outhouse. When a participant, Hugh Cannon, opened the outhouse to get a piece of paper, Mike jumped out and scared the daylights out of him. He went stumbling across the parking lot and did a belly flop on the pavement, then got right back up and finished the course!

The funkhana was followed by a team event called “Mr. Potato Head.” A team consisted of a minimum of four members. A non-running classic Mini was pushed through the course, with a driver. The team members had to collect and add Mr. Potato Head’s ears, eyes, glasses, lips, moustache, eyebrows and hat prior to the car crossing the finish line. What a hoot!

Friday night was the banquet, along with the photography and art contest, the awards ceremony and a live auction to help fund future kids’ events. The awards followed dinner. Our 1965 Wolseley Hornet received 1st place in the Personal Wolseley/Riley class. First place in the Mr. Potato Head event went to Derick’s team, which consisted of Nick and Ahren Lehner, Gary Shaffer and a fellow Mini enthusiast from Tennessee.

There was a unique trophy presented at the awards ceremony. It is to be carried by the recipient until the next Meet, where it will be passed on. It was the “Running Out of Gas” trophy, essentially a gas can with a toilet seat mounted to it. It was awarded to two people this year, Larry Atkinson and Jim Davidson. It seems Larry and Jim — in two separate cars! — ran out of fuel on the way back from the panoramic photo.

A very special award in memory of Hrach was presented to Nick Lehner for being the “Most Mini-Spirited Attendee at Mini Meet East.”

The night was shared with both tears and laughter. Congratulations to all the winners!

For those who chose to stay aboard, the autocross was hosted on Saturday.

It was a great week, with a lot of excitement and fun! A big thanks to Hugh Cannon and everyone who took on a part of the event and made it happen.

June 2011

[1-Jul 11 Brits by the Sea.jpg] The line of Minis included Buffy Carney’s 1960 850 (foreground).
Photo by Dave Newman

A Perfect Mini Day by the Sea
by Dave Newman

WATERFORD, CT, June 5 — The Connecticut MG Club once again offered up a bright sunny day for their annual British by the Sea car show. Over 18 classic Minis and six new MINIs and their wonderful owners attended the show. Oh, yes, I should mention that a couple hundred or so other type British cars were there also, of all types.

The Mini contingent was assigned the far back row, overlooking the entire field with a view of the ocean to our left, furthest from the delectable pulled pork BBQ van and way across the field from where Faith and Bruce had a tent for the British Marque.

The count of NEMO members was estimated at 14, with some members attending without their Mini as they brought an MG or some other make for the show, but stopped by to say hello. The show was very well organized and is highly recommended for next year for those who missed it.

The winners in the Mini Classic category were: 1st, David Icaza of Amston, CT, in a 1969 Austin Mini; 2nd, Lorine and Derick Karabec of Ulster Park, NY, in their immaculate 1965 Wolseley Hornet; 3rd, Buffy and Ray Carney, North Franklin, CT, with their just-out-of-the-factory-looking 1960 Morris 850.

In the New MINI category, the winners were: 1st, Geoff Salvas, East Granby, CT, 2006 Cooper, and 2nd, Davian Santos, Newington, CT 2005 Cooper.

If you didn’t attend, please consider it for next year. It is a grand day out.

June 2011

Microcar/Minicar Event July 8-10
by Faith Lamprey

Hope you can attend the 16th Annual Microcar and Minicar Classic July 8-10 in Newton, MA, at the lovely home of Charles and Nancy Gould!

NEMO participates in this event in a big way! One of our members, Marsha Judson, helps coordinate the food for Friday night, Bruce and I help out with registration and others help out moving and parking cars and with anything else that Charles needs us to do. Many of our members attend and call it one of the best events we do all year!

Go to bubbledrome.com for the registration form and more info on the schedule of events. Check out the picture on the first page of the registration forms. The house is the Gould residence and this is the setting for a good part of the weekend.

Try to arrive on Friday in time for food and libations. You will find me behind the registration table and Marsha in the kitchen! If you cannot make the whole weekend, at least join us at Larz Anderson Museum in Brookline, MA, Saturday from 1-4 for the show (and rides!) part of the weekend. You may know what it’s like to ride as a passenger in an 850 Mini, but how about a classic Fiat 500, a Messerschmitt, or BMW Isetta?

There are no special Mini-only events as Charles graciously allows us to participate in all of the activities for the microcars. We feel all grown up and special as it is the only show where we are among the largest cars on the field! (Metropolitans, Trabants and Citroën 2CVs also show up.) Charles has even created award classes for us and considers us as part of his merry band.

Hope to see you there! If you’ve never been, you never will forget it.

June 2011

Save the Dates: Okemo Valley II
by Paul Nevin

LUDLOW, VT — On September 10th and 11th, MINIs and Minis will assemble in the Ludlow area for “Rally through the Okemo Valley II.” Saturday will be the main event with a day-long fun rally with clues and scavenger hunt components. This is an untimed leisurely rally so you can take in the sights. On Sunday, a back seat driver’s competition will be held at the Jackson Gore area of Okemo Mountain Ski Area. Prizes will be awarded for these events. Many prizes have been donated by area businesses.

The rally route will wind through the hills of Vermont during beautiful fall foliage. Rally stops will include local points of interest and history.

Don’t miss all the fun and join us in September. This event is sponsored by NEMO and the Okemo Valley Chamber of Commerce. If you wish to participate contact me, Paul Nevin, at paulknevin@gmail.com or call me at (802) 259-2443.

Hope to see you in September!

May 2011

[1-Jun 11 BN Mini 850.jpg] Barbara and the 1961 Mini 850. It was pitiful...
Photo by Dave Newman

You Never Forget Your First Mini
by David Newman,
‘The Stig’s American Cousin’

It was the spring of 1976 when Barbara got her first Mini. She was only two years older than the Mini itself, and in much better running condition for sure. At the time her father, Scotty, was driving an Austin America, and since Scotty was from Glasgow and her mother from London, it was almost a given that her first car would be something British.  About a year before she had met me, and since we started dating and got married after she let me work on that Mini, she either made a huge mistake, or I got away with being a self-taught shade tree mechanic for all these years.

When it came time to look for a car, the Mini was on her mind.  Barbara had been to the UK many times with her parents and fell in love with the Mini.  She has pictures of Minis from those trips in the 1960s and even has a picture of an Outspan Orange, which underneath was a Mini. So, having just got her license, it was off to the Bargain Hunter’s Guide and what popped up?  A 1961 Mini 850 “needing work” — but only $250, well within the price range of a fixer-upper.  

Love is blind, so they say, and it was no different here.  We went and saw the car.  It was pitiful.  And like a puppy at the pound, its personality showed through and said, “Please take me home.” Some hands were shaken, and we arranged to rent a U-Haul enclosed trailer the next weekend to pick it up and deliver it to Barbara’s home in Weymouth, MA.

I think Scotty had an old Dodge van with a hitch, and that is what we used to tow the enclosed trailer. We thought it would be a good idea, just pop the Mini into this 6x12 and put the brake on and leave it in gear. It wouldn’t move, would it? Tie downs? We didn’t need no stinkin’ tie downs! Well, actually, we did, but stupidity and cheapness prevailed. A few minor dents to the bumper mounting areas followed.

Brakes? Nope, no brakes, no handbrake. It would start, but the clutch master needed work and was hard to manipulate smoothly. So we pushed it into the trailer, stuck some 4x4 blocks under the wheels and off we went. Arriving at the house on a nice sunny day, we carefully pulled and pushed the car out of the trailer using planks for ramps. Another lesson in trailering — always attach your ramps somehow to the trailer or they go boom boom at the wrong times.

Now the car was out and facing the trailer.  Scotty got in the car, saying he was going to back it up, turn it around and drive it to the position outside their house.  Eh, Scotty, remember, no brakes.  Okay, no problem.  The car was in gear, the starter button on the floor was pushed and off it went.  Straight into the back of the U-Haul trailer. The headlights were at ramp level. Scratch two sealed beams.  So we pushed it around with Scotty driving.  

Now the car was moving by its weight alone down a slight grade to the dirt area in front of the house, sort of an extension of the dead-end street.  At the end was a chain link fence.  Since Newton’s law of motion applies here, the Mini in motion remained in motion until acted upon by the fence.  Scratch two signal lenses, and the grille fell off.  Enough for that day, time to bring the trailer back (in dead silence from Barbara’s side of the van).

The next day it was time to make a list of everything the car would need in order to become roadworthy.  I somehow knew of Mini City and their famous catalog, so we ordered one.  We had a Haynes Manual, which was somewhat old and battered, but it came with the car.  

The body was rusty, the sills had huge holes, the brakes didn’t work, the carb needed rebuilding and the battery had all but gave its last and needed replacement.  The tires were not bad, and the spare was original — meaning as hard as an old rock but it held air, somewhat.  The wiper blades were shot, as were the door seals, which was no problem in the rain, as it had holes in the rusty floors to allow any water to drain out as fast as it came in.

May 2011

[2-Jun 11 Haynes.jpg] De rigeur for a project of this kind.
Marque file photo

Not having any garage space to work in, all the work was done on sunny days just outside the house. I was driving a 1968 Pontiac Catalina at the time, and all my SAE tools and supplies fit handsomely in the trunk, which was about the same size as a Mini. First up, order all the parts. Then, get delivery of half of them with the rest backordered. The brakes got fixed first, then the handbrake, then the lights and turn signals, and onward to the carb. An oil change followed, and then the clutch master went out and needed a rebuild. We then fired it up and found that the radiator needed fixing, so off it came and over to the local radiator “specialist” who thought it was a “heater core” and only charged us half price of the usual service, as long as he and his overalls-clad buddies could laugh at the size of the radiator. We never dropped by with the car as promised, as we were sure the laughter would be longer and louder.

At the time I was a poor college student and working two part-time jobs, one of them at a local garage, pumping gas, installing tires, changing oil, and other minor things, so I had use of some tools as needed. As far as bodywork went, we pulled out the dents, filed down to bare metal and bought a gallon of Bondo and hardener and went at it. Now comes the stupid part (in education circles, they call that “getting experience”). Unibody construction was not too common those days on American cars, and owning a car myself with a full frame made me think that the sills were “strong enough” even though they were missing their entire tops when looking down from an open door. We were short on funds and on Bondo but had a surplus of gravel at the end of the street. So, just like a concrete foundation on a building, we mixed up Bondo, hardener and gravel, and filled the entire sills up with this slurry. It hardened and we sanded it smooth. Voila! As far as the bottoms of the doors, which were rotted out completely, a boat fiberglass repair kit with cloth and resin fixed those nicely.

After that treatment, we had half the blue body in gray primer, so we sanded the roof, sprayed it black and then the rest of the car in primer to match, registered it, and took it to the garage where I worked for an inspection sticker. It passed. So I thought I would treat Barbara and her new car to a full tank of high-test to celebrate. I pulled the car out of the inspection bay, out to the pumps and opened the door while bragging to my boss how wonderful a Mini was. The door opened out, the window channel gave its last breath and the sliding windows fell into the space between car and door, right onto concrete. Without saying a word, my garage boss walked to the bays, got a broom and shovel and handed it to me and walked away. I had to explain to Barbara that I never checked to see if the channels were in fact attached, and looking at the passenger’s side, we saw that only rust was fastening them to the car. Duct tape was installed for the ride home, minus two left side front windows.

Now it gets better. On the way home from the inspection I was driving. The bonnet let go of the front latch at about 50mph and smashed into the windscreen. Luckily, there were no driver side windows, so I stuck my head out to see and slow down. Barbara did not speak to me for a few days, as she drove her new Mini, sans boyfriend, around town. After a few months, with repairs becoming more frequent — like wheel bearings, tie rod ends, tires, etc. — she decided to sell the car and move up to a Morris 1100. (Kind of like a fat Mini, same type mechanicals but nicer. That is another story.)

A chap from Portugal bought the car, and for the next few years drove it all around town. Where it is now we do not know, but I can assure you, the sills were never stronger than gravel-reinforced Bondo.

[Dave and Barbara now have a very nice British Open Special Edition Mini with which Barbara has won several awards, at Mini Meet East, British Legends Weekend, etc.]

May 2011

From The Barn
by Dave Black

A typical May at The Barn, with lots of phone calls about Mini problems that all of a sudden have become emergencies! We’ll tackle them one by one.

John Holden’s Machinist Mini is definitely up for sale and needed an oil change after being in storage for two seasons. The car looks as good as ever (and so does John!) and I wished him no luck in selling — we’d rather see him active again in the club.

Rian Dittmer complained of hard starting issues last fall, but wasn’t able to sort things out before the Big Snow. Now that the world has softened, Rian had his Inno towed to The Barn for a look-see. Hard starting (or no starting) can be caused by a number of issues. The engine must have fuel and spark to run, so process of elimination: make sure there’s fuel getting into the carb, then pull a spark plug and check for spark. If you’ve got both, then it’s time to diddle with distributor timing, or look for carburetor issues. We got Rian’s engine started with a little effort, but it was running very rough, missing and backfiring. You might think it was fuel-related, and some of it may have been, but a change of plug wires made the real difference and brought that Mini Smile back to Rian’s face.

Mark Fodor brought his ’63 Mini in for an alignment, complaining it was real squirrely at speed. The rest of you just have to see this Mini — race-ready inside and out and what a show car! I showed Mark how to do an alignment with some basic tools and he was amazed at how far out of alignment he had been. It’s difficult to tell by eye if your tires are parallel because the Mini body is curved, so there’s nothing to line up with. Mark has adjustable lower arms with several degrees of negative camber dialed in, making it impossible to line up with your eye.

Lorine and Derick came over last weekend to pick up Ben’s 1275. It seems they’re finishing up a pickup truck and want it to go like stink!

Alan Harvie (new member from Grafton) has been busy all winter restoring a 1960 Mini body. At present it’s upside down in his basement where he’s putting the finishing touches on fenders and inner closing plates. He has taken the 1275 that was removed from Curtis’ Mini last month for this project and hopes to be driving before the end of this season.

All for now…

April 2011

[1-May 11 Brooklands Elfs.jpg] Cars and aircraft outside the Brooklands Racing Museum.
Photo by Tony Haslam

A Record Turnout of Elfs and Hornets!
by Tony Haslam

WEYBRIDGE, UK — Miniaddicts did not manage to organise a run this past month nor were there any local shows to attend.

(We have a Rolling Road Day organised for late April and I guess a few are souping up their Minis for the competition! More about that in next report. I won’t be competing; my Elf only produced 27bhp last time!)

However, I attended this year’s Mini Day at Brooklands Racing Museum and joined my other club, the Elf Hornet Register. It was a brilliant day after a dull start and there were 11 Elfs and 11 Hornets, a record for our little club and I think a record for any show in the UK!

The standard was exceptionally high with the majority being in their original, standard form. The show was attended by many Minis as can be seen from the photograph. Many were parked around the remains of the famous concrete racing track as far as the eye could see. The track is so high and difficult to walk up, being covered in slippery moss. Warning signs are plentiful, advising people not to attempt the climb!

The EHR was the largest club there and was situated in front of the main building of the Museum, which also has several aircraft on display — including the Concorde, and a Lancaster bomber that was rescued from its watery grave in Lake Windermere.

Several Minis tried their hand (wheels?) at the famous Test Hill. It being dry, they all made it to the top. No timing here, it was just for fun and there was plenty of tyre smoke at the standing start at the bottom!

More information can be found on this link: www.brooklandsmuseum.com.

April 2011

From The Barn
by Dave Black

This was looking like sort of a bleak month for subjects, but today brought in a raft of information from several members. John Webster and son Glenn came up in their ’76 Mini to pick up an alternator. For some time now they’ve been charging the battery in between drives, a risky undertaking and one that can leave you walking! Glenn pulled into The Barn and in short order had installed the rebuilt unit and reported the problem fixed.

Rian Dittmar called to report he’s unable to get his Mini started. Seems there’s no spark — a problem he’s encountered before, but only been able to fix temporarily. We’ll explore this one a little more closely as information becomes available.

John Anastasio came down from New Hampshire for a few tidbits. He’s finishing a second Mini and needed a hydro bag, crankcase vent, and fuel pump to complete the project.

Mark Fodor has been busy doing the bodywork on the 850 he bought from Matt Lussier last fall. It’s almost done and soon he’ll be ready for the lump. Of course, the lump has been at The Barn all winter — the transmission is almost complete (just need to build a differential unit with 3.44/1 gears to replace the welded unit supplied). Before finishing the tranny, the block was disassembled to determine parts required and get them coming. Lo and behold, the crank thrust washer had spun and rendered both the crankshaft and block unserviceable. Not to worry, a quick perusal of short blocks under the bench found another 1100 — and this one doesn’t even need to be overbored. Just a set of rings, bearings, cleaning and painting and Mark will be good to go!

As you get in your Mini this season, don’t forget to check all those fluid levels — oil, water, clutch, brake, and carburetor. Air up the tires (I run 36psi), make sure the brakes work before you reach the end of the driveway, and then go out for a spin and experience how much fun you can have with your clothes on!

March 2011

[1-Apr 11 Mokes SF.jpg] A scene from Spring Fling in Florida, which NEMO members Lorine and Derick Karabec attended. The Karabecs were at the planning meeting and brought a CD of photos of recent events with them.
Photo by Lorine Karabec


NEMO Sets the Date(s)
by Dave Newman

HARRISVILLE, RI — The threat of snow kept away some of the faithful from the annual organizing meeting held in February at the home of Bruce and Faith in Rhode Island, but in the end, about 20 members came, from as far as Maine and eastern New York State and points in-between.

There was the potluck lunch, which as always was delicious and plentiful, and then introductions before getting down to the meeting. Lots of events were brought up and discussed for merit. The best will be listed on the Events section of the NEMO website. A further update of the small group working on Hrach’s estate was given. The NEMO calendar was delayed until the first big event in June, “British by the Sea” in Connecticut.

Faith then brought out the tickets for the raffle drawings. There were enough donations of stuff that everybody got something to take home.

Members attending were Dave Black, Mark Fodor and Jackie, Bud and June Hall, Tom and Marsha Judson, Ken Lemoine, Paul and Judy Nevin, Tim and Sharon Russell, Lorine and Derick Karabec, Barbara and Dave Newman and of course, Bruce and Faith, whom we thank for opening their home to us each year in February, the weekend before the Daytona 500 and in all weather!

NEMO’s 2011 Calendar

June 5 — “British by the Sea,” Harkness State Park, Waterford, CT. Contact Steve or Annie Wincze, (860) 693-4249 or MGTD52@comcast.net.

July 5-8 — Mini Meet East, Chattanooga, TN, www.minimeeteast2011.com.

July 8-10 — Microcar/Minicar Classic, Newton, MA. Call Charles Gould, (617) 965-4848, or go to the website, www.bubbledrome.com.

July 23 — Morgans, Minis & MGs, Faneuil Hall Marketplace. Pre-registration required. Contact Kurt Steele, (508) 395-5800 or kurt.f.steel@gmail.com.

September 10-11 — Okemo Mini Rally, Ludlow, VT. Contact Judy and Paul Nevin, paulknevin@gmail.com.

September 16-18 — British Invasion, Stowe Events Field, Stowe, VT, www.britishinvasion.com.

October 7-9 — Cape Cod British Car Club Legends Weekend, Falmouth, MA. We understand that the Car Show portion of the weekend will be held on Saturday instead of Sunday this year.

Mid-October — “Minis for Preemies” Drive for the March of Dimes, Worcester, MA. Contact Wayne McLennan, wayne.d.mclennan@gmail.com.

Note

Since this meeting, a new event may be added to the calendar:

June 17-19 — Tanglewood British Motorcar Festival, Tanglewood, Lenox, MA. For details, a guide to Lenox dining and lodging specials, visit www.tanglewoodmotorcarfestival.com.

March 2011

From The Barn
by Dave Black

Let’s begin where we left off last month — Curtis Boivin’s project. After a close inspection by the body shop and subsequent conversations with Curtis, it appears he has no choice but to scrap his Mini. The tin worm has just gotten too far to make it practical to restore this body shell. He has given me the green light to strip anything of value and recycle the body. It has a 1275 on a rod-change tranny, new rear subframe, 8.4” discs, 12” Minator rims, and all the rest. Anyone interested in the bits can contact me. Curtis has plans to pick up another Mini later this year and so won’t be Mini-less for long.

Also for sale is John Holden’s Mini. Nicknamed “Machinist” for its first owner, this car is the cleanest Mini in the NEMO club and has a lot of extras added. Refer to John’s advertisement, coming soon, for details.

If you subscribe to NEMO’s Google-group, you’ve been reading about Joe Darisse’s struggle to change the bypass hose on his 998. He is replacing an accordion hose that started leaking where the clamp had caused a puncture. This accordion-style hose is intended to be a temporary repair and is not reinforced like the permanent hose. It is very fragile to allow fitment without removing the head and as you have seen from Joe’s letters, it is a bear of a job. If you have one of these hoses on your Mini, make sure you carry at least one spare with you — and all the tools necessary for a roadside repair. A better fix, and almost as easy, is to remove the head and fit a piece of 1/2” reinforced heater hose and never have to worry about this hose again! Of course, if you have the head off, it’s good practice to do a valve job, plane the head, and fit a new gasket. Though now you’ve turned a $5 fix into a couple-of-hundred-dollar repair!

Greg Mazza and wife Janet recently spent a week in Florida and had a chance to visit Randy and Betty Koehler at their “retirement community.” They had a wonderful visit and discovered that Randy isn’t quite ready for retirement yet. He’s mowing lawns and running a people-mover business to keep from getting too bored. Greg commented that there are more golf carts than any other vehicle in this community. One can only hope that Randy and Betty are getting some use out of their Mini as well!

Mark Fodor picked up his 1275 lump and dropped off an 1100 lump to rebuild. The 1100 hasn’t run in years and looks it! The tranny is an old 3-synchro unit with bronze bushings on the mainshaft instead of bearings. Everything looks good, except that someone welded the spider gears to the diff cage, creating a “no-slip” differential. I guess this was standard practice in the racing/autocross world of old, but won’t do very well in the street car that Mark is restoring.

There will be more on this rebuild in future articles, but now it’s time to go wash the winter’s dust off the Thurd and go for a drive!

February 2011

[1-Mar 11 Jason Elf.jpg] The show’s winning Elf and owner Jason.
Photos by Tony Haslam

Celebrating #50 in Staffordshire
by Tony Haslam

BINGLEY HALL, STAFFS., UK, Jan. 30 — This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Riley Elf and Wolseley Hornet, as well as Mini pickups and Coopers, and the milestone was marked by a show in Bingley Hall.

Several Miniaddicts had their cars laid up for repairs, etc., and only a few made it to the show individually to buy spares and other bargains. I myself, being a member of the Elf/Hornet Register, organized a stand at the show, assisted by two other members. Ten cars met at a brand new Premier Inn at Newport/Telford (of Ironbridge fame) and enjoyed a grand meeting and meal the night before the show.

At 8 the next morning we were all meandering down the lanes to the showground at a leisurely 50mph — only to find myself running out of petrol. (We were only allowed a quarter tank or less in Bingley Hall for “health and safety” reasons. Daft, I know. I reckon an almost empty tank gives off more lethal vapors than a full one!) Back on the road brought us to the showground in less than 30 minutes and straight into the exhibition hall, where we set up our little club stand using eight Mini pickups as our back cloth.

It wasn’t long before the doors opened to the public and boy, were we busy! Over three thousand visitors in the first two hours. Hundreds of questions. “What’s the difference between the two marques?” was a popular question, followed by many technical questions. (None that weren’t Mini-related I might add, but we could have done with Dave Black to help out!) Other enquiries concerned availability of parts.

The day drew to a close around 4 p.m. when the British Mini Club started the prize presentations and the famous “Win a Mini for £1” — a real crowd puller, and very popular as you can imagine.

The highlight of the day for us as a little club of approximately 150 members was when Jason, one of our members, won the trophy for the “Elf of the Show”! A fantastic finish to the day!

We are now looking to try and get the biggest number of Elfs and Hornets together at another show this year!

[Miniaddicts is the sister club of NEMO in the UK. See more photos of the event in the Gallery.]

February 2011

From The Barn
by Dave Black

It’s been a winter for the record books with almost constant snowfall and removal. The driveway was a breeze and it looked like we were going to be able to keep the paths open to the various outposts, but then came news reports of roof failures. Not to worry, these were just older barns, or flat roof buildings — then came instances of residential cave-ins. A look up at our own roof and the truth began to settle — it would have to be cleared or risk a catastrophic failure. But how to proceed on a roof too steep to walk on when dry? Aha! They make a device called a roof rake, so we’ll just go down to the local building supplier and buy one.

A week-long search ensued, covering most of Connecticut, and no one had roof rakes available. A chance news report told of a industrious fellow in North Haven who was making them! At 7 the next morning I was his third customer out the door. (That evening a follow-up report showed roof-rake hopefuls lined up around the block!) Then the work began — shovel what we could get to, rake as much as could be reached, then move the piles that had accumulated in front of the door and garage.

Moving it once was a chore, twice was just a whole lot of work. The deck now had 6’ piled up on it and concerns about its integrity forced a decision to start shoveling. About four hours of that and my back was done-in. A little imagination got the snow blower up on the deck and the front portion was soon clear. Access to the back deck was blocked by 4’ of snow on the ground, so the only access was through the house. Putt-putt-putt, ignore the nasty, rusty old tire chains on the carpet, the exhaust fumes. I was on a mission! It worked, but a week later I’m still nursing a tender back and able to take the time to relate the tale.

Not to worry, The Barn has not been inactive from a Mini prospective. Mark Fodor’s 1293 is finally finished and ready to install. A couple of unusual failures were about to cause a rapid disintegration of Mark’s lump. The double-row main shaft bearing in the tranny was broken and came out in pieces! The front bushing on his primary gear on the end of the crank, normally about 1” wide, had disintegrated so there was only a 1/4” ring left! First time this writer has ever seen either of these failures.

With the lump reassembled and on the test stand, first thing is to leave the spark plugs out and run the starter till oil pressure develops. This usually takes 15-30 seconds with a little priming through the banjo bolt on the front of the block. After about two minutes of trying, and still no oil, it was apparent that something was amiss. Had to pull the clutch end and side cover, then remove the new oil pump to discover the problem. We had opted to keep Mark’s camshaft as the engine ran quite satisfactorily with it. It’s an old Kent, KC550, and the oil pump drive pin is located deeper in the shaft than newer cams. The new oil pump was 1/2” shorter than the old one and would not engage the pin! A close inspection of Mark’s old pump showed acceptable condition, so it was refitted and now develops plenty of pressure — whew!

Many of you will remember Curtis Boivin from East Providence. He was active in NEMO back in 2000-01 and was the recipient of my first rebuilt engine way back then. Curtis has since relocated to New Hampshire, and had left his Mini in outside storage in Rhode Island. He called to say he had to move his car and was ready to have the body looked after. Those who had seen his Mini will remember it had a fair amount of rust when he first got it. You should see it now! Certainly a sad state of affairs — floors gone, battery falling out, etc, etc. On arrival, the tow truck driver announced the brakes were frozen, so the first chore was to remove the brakes to create a rolling chassis. The lump has been removed and will be gone through when the bodywork begins. We will be reporting on this project as it progresses. Kudos to Curtis for taking on the challenge to restore instead of scrap a Mini!

All for now…

January 2011

[1-Feb Hrach Rally.jpg] Less than ideal driving conditions, but it was for Hrach...
Photo by Lori Connolly

MINIs rally for Hrach
by Lori Connolly

PEABODY, MA — It was cold. It was icy. It was rainy. Hrach would’ve said it was the perfect day for a rally. Over 100 participants came out to MINI of Peabody on Sunday, December 12th, to honor their friend who will be forever remembered as Mr. MINI, Hrach Chekijian.

The rally kicked off at 8:30 a.m. with two Peabody police officers escorting MINI drivers out onto Route 114. A huge caravan of MINI Coopers headed north onto Route 128 for a one-hour drive in celebration of Hrach. There were no checkpoints, nor was the rally timed, just a nice drive through the towns where Hrach took many of his customers on the “test drive of their lives.”

After returning from the drive, guests were treated to a fully catered breakfast downstairs in the MINI of Peabody shop.

Warren Waugh, MINI of Peabody’s Managing Partner, then presented a framed poster of Hrach wearing his signature yellow tracksuit to put on display at the dealership and opened up the floor to those who wanted to share their favorite memories of Hrach. Several guests spoke of Hrach taking them on “terrifying, yet unforgettable test drives” as well as his incredible stories. However, every story concluded with the point that Hrach was truly an extraordinary man with a big heart.

Hrach will be remembered by all as a true legend in the MINI/Mini community. He had a smile that could light up a room and he touched the lives of those around him. MINI of Peabody will host a rally for Hrach every December — rain, snow, sleet or shine.

[Lori is MINI of Peabody’s Marketing Director. Hrach, a sales associate at the dealership, was known for driving in a “spirited” fashion to demonstrate to customers how well a MINI handles before handing them the keys. He passed away last October.]

January 2011

Annual Planning Meeting, Potluck Feb. 27

Join us on Sunday, February 27th, for NEMO’s Annual Meeting and Potluck Luncheon. We plan the year of activities at this meeting, so be sure to attend! Plan to arrive at 12 noon. The eating starts at 1 p.m. and the meeting follows at 2 p.m. Bring a dish for the lunch table and join in the fun.

Once again we will be holding a Giveaway Freebie Raffle so if you have any Mini-related items you would like to donate (get rid of), bring them along.

The Meeting and Luncheon will take place at the home of Faith Lamprey and Bruce Vild, 5 Old Nasonville Rd., Harrisville, RI. Call (401) 766-6519 or e-mail marque@auroratechedi.com. Directions will go out to everyone on the Google Group e-mail list and will be put on the website.

Directions

From the Providence area: Take Rt. 146 North. Take the Rt. 5/102 Slatersville exit off 146. Turn right off the exit ramp and take a left (almost immediately) at the stop light (a “T”). You are now on Rt. 146A. Follow the directions from Rt. 146A below.

From the Boston area: Take Rt. 95 South to Rt. 295 South to Rt. 146 North. Take the Rt. 5/102 Slatersville exit off 146. Turn right off the exit ramp and take a left (almost immediately) at the stop light (a “T”). You are now on Rt. 146A. Follow the directions from Rt. 146A below.

From the Worcester area: Take Rt. 146 South to the Rt. 5/102/146A Slatersville exit. Turn right off the exit ramp. You are now on Rt. 146A. Follow the directions from Rt. 146A below.

From Connecticut and southern Rhode Island: Take Rt. 95 North to Rt. 295 North (in Rhode Island) to Rt. 146 North. From 146, take the Rt. 5/102 Slatersville exit. Turn right off the exit ramp and take a left at the stop light. You are now on Rt. 146A. Follow the directions from Rt. 146A below.

From Rt. 146A where you’ve all converged: Follow Rt. 146A through Forestdale. You will go through three traffic lights (one in Forestdale, one at the Slatersville Plaza, one at Gator’s Pub). At Slatersville Plaza, intersect with Rt. 102 by going straight. After Gator’s, “The Island” will appear on your left (with a very worn sign) and you will see a sign on your right (not so worn) for Wright’s Farm. Slow down and get ready for a left turn at the light at Inman Road. Take your left and then the very first left after that (a sharp turn) onto Old Nasonville Road and an immediate right into our driveway.

Call Faith and Bruce at (401) 766-6519 if you get lost.

January 2011

[1-Feb Smile.jpg] Smile!
Photo by Tony Haslam

Wirral to Llandudno 2011
by Tony Haslam

CHESTER, UK, Jan. 16 — Once again 200 Minis turned up for the 12th annual run with Wirral Minis from all over the Northwest of the UK. A miserable start with a slight drizzle greeted the faithful to Bromborough Retail Park, where we received our route and driving instructions for the day. A Commemorative Plaque was available for a mere £6 (donations going to a local charity). These provided excellent rain protection for the distributors! Every Mini made the trip successfully to Rhos on Sea for a pit stop and regroup before attempting the ascent up the Great Orme (a magnificent granite eruption of many moons ago).

Cost of entry to the private road to the summit was just £1 per Mini (normal charge is £2.50). The Minis were parked in ten neat rows of ten at the summit for a brief 30 minutes due to high winds before the tortuous descent down the promenade for the public to inspect. By this time the drizzle of rain had ceased and an enjoyable time was had by the Miniaddicts, despite having to be asked to smile for the camera!

[Miniaddicts is NEMO’s sister club in Britain. Tony reports on their events regularly for NEMO Newsbeat. See photos in the NEMO Gallery.]

November 2010

[1-Dec Hrach MOP.jpg] Hrach Chekijian at a MINI of Peabody driving event.
Photo by Barbara Newman

A Renaissance Man of Mini and MINI
by David Newman


October 31, 2010 was the saddest day for Hrach Chekijian’s family — his immediate family, his NEMO family, his MINI of Peabody family — and all the many thousands who knew him. It was on that day that Hrach passed away at a very young and vibrant 61 years of age, from a sudden stroke the day before at work at MINI of Peabody, where he was a top MINI salesman.

Hrach was born in Lebanon in 1949, spent his high school years in Baghdad (where he got his first Mini), and settled in Watertown, MA, with his family. His first profession was as a gemologist in Boston with his family business. But his passion, his very reason for life, was the Mini. Hrach lived and breathed Mini. His knowledge of the marque was encyclopedic. He was arguably the most expert individual on earth when it came to the history and heritage of the Mini. And when the new MINI was being developed, he was writing letters to get the marque re-introduced to the USA.

Hrach attended every Mini Meet East there was, lots of Mini Meet Wests, and even drove his favorite Moke across the country and back. We met him at shows in the U.K. and he attended others in Europe and Mexico. He owned hundreds of Minis of all types. His collection of Minis at the time of his passing was massive.

When the MINI came to the USA in 2002, Hrach gave up his first profession and started his second — selling the MINI at MINI of Peabody. Actually, “selling” is not the correct word here. What Hrach did was to immerse a potential MINI buyer totally in the history of the Mini, the pedigree of the Mini and the lifestyle that the car implies — and another MINI fanatic would be born. And each of his customers became a friend.

There are so many people who know so much more than I do about Hrach, as I have only known the man since meeting him at Mini Meet East 1998 in Seekonk, MA. My wife Barbara and I had just rebuilt our ’78 red Mini 1000 and by far it was the most “tatty” Mini there. But it had sat for a few years and we had made it our goal to attend MME and to join NEMO.

When we arrived that sunny day, with our 11-year-old daughter Christa in tow, it was Hrach, wearing a bright yellow jumpsuit, who greeted us like the Wizard of Oz, hugging Christa, shaking hands, looking the car over and, when finding out that it was our first Mini Meet, becoming our tour guide to all things Mini for the next four days. When it came time for a nighttime dash around Providence, Hrach suggested that Christa ride shotgun with him. Having just met him, but figuring he was “O.K.,” off Christa went for what was the ride of her life — on four wheels, then three wheels and she thinks two wheels on some corners! Hrach had smitten our entire family.

And it was like that with everyone that met him. You became a close friend within a minute. Is there anyone who met him who didn’t immediately love him? We have been blessed knowing Hrach for 12 years. We cherish those years.

Now, here are some quotes from others who e-mailed me their memories of Hrach:

Buffy Carney: “Ray and I are beyond devastated, so are the kids. They adored Hrach and he was so good to them.”

Alex Jimenez (from Mexico): “Dear friends, we are very sad for this. Hrach stayed with us in San Luis Potosi, Mexico, and all my family called him ‘Uncle Hrach.’ He knows many members of Mini Asociados Mexico. He was a very good friend.”

Jonathan Eunice and Virginia Mason: “Hrach made MINI accessible to us. We loved what we saw, but didn’t have any real experience or knowledge. Hrach connected us with what MINIs had been in the first incarnation and why people love them so. And he helped get us involved in the new MINI. He helped us pick what we needed and avoid what we didn’t. He gave us tips on how to drive them — ‘Brake here! Accelerate there! No, no! Don’t shift yet! Okay, now turn!’ — and helped us understand the MINI history and culture. It was our great fortune to deal with Hrach. He made our introduction to MINIs a rich and fun experience. It is our loss to be without him.”

Warren Waugh (Managing Partner, MINI of Peabody): “Hrach was known throughout the MINI world as Mr. MINI, not just because of his collection of cars, but for his enthusiasm for this vehicle. When he came to work for us in 2002, he stepped up the level of enthusiasm for not only our customers but also our employees. He provided a wealth of knowledge about the heritage of MINI that enthralled all his fans.”

November 2010

[1-Dec Hrach and Moke.jpg] Hrach, mugging for the camera in front of his Moke.
Photo by Faith Lamprey

Faith Lamprey: “Back in 1997, when NEMO was just getting started as a club, Hrach came back from a Mini Meet and announced he had volunteered us for the next one! Well, most of us had never been to any of the Mini Meet Easts and had no idea what was involved and what happened at one. So following the lead of our fearless leader we plunged into the planning of MME 1998. Many folks told us that they enjoyed the Meet, so we felt all that work was well worth the effort. Looking back at it now, we realize that working together to plan and run MME 1998 is what brought us together as a club and developed those friendships that have continued to this day. So, thank you, Hrach, for pushing us over the edge so we could realize we could fly!”

Bruce Vild: “The power of Hrach — how he could make things happen through sheer charm (or amazing luck?) — was demonstrated to me at MME 1998. The event was billed as being in ‘Boston,’ but the host hotel was in Seekonk (closer to Providence than Boston), and many rides and activities were in Rhode Island, so how would we deliver Boston to the people attending from out of town, the simulated experience in John and Lisa Mastrandrea’s funkhana notwithstanding? Answer: Hrach’s Wild Ride, complete with police escort! First to visit the Larz Anderson Auto Museum, which was coincidentally having its British Car Day that weekend and is located on the very outskirts of Boston, and then through the streets of the city, downtown, through every red light, sirens and horns shaking the citizenry awake that Sunday to witness the awesome spectacle. There had to be a line of 15 or 20 cars — I’m not sure, but Faith and I were in the middle of it and we saw Minis way ahead and way behind us. Some say the police escort had no idea what the route was and that Hrach just kind of planned it as it went along. Shut out of our Plan A restaurant for lunch, Hrach went ahead of the motorcade to Legal Seafoods and announced to the wait staff they were about to be bombarded with business. It was fine with them, and we even parked in the fire lane so that Minis would surround the restaurant. Hrach delivered Boston, alright.”

Lori Connolly (MINI of Peabody Marketing Director): “Hrach was an extraordinary man. We think of him every day here at MINI — we miss him so dearly.”

And now my own thoughts: Hrach, thank you for changing all our lives for the better! Barbara and I are planning on driving the wheels off our classic Mini in honor of you.

And next year Barbara wants to buy another MINI from MOP. Hrach would like that. He would tell all of us just to get out there and motor. Drive your Mini or MINI as much as possible. Rev the engine until the valves come through the bonnet and dance! Enjoy the new MINI while preserving the old. Squeal the tires, break the speed limits, and take the impossible road trip. Tell and re-tell the stories of Hrach’s life and times to our younger enthusiasts. Make that trip each year to Mini Meet East.

Hrach was larger than life while he was with us and his legend will live on ever larger. And picture this in your mind: he probably is hanging around heaven’s gates right this minute with St. Peter and the gang, telling jokes and puns and planning on frightening God Himself with a Wild Ride in the Moke!

We do miss him so.

November 2010

Hrach Memorial Rally Dec. 12

PEABODY, MA — The folks at MINI of Peabody are organizing a rally in memory of Hrach Chekijian, their associate and friend. It will be held on Sunday, December 12th, at 8:30 a.m., starting at the dealership (at their new location, 209 Andover St., Rt. 114). Participants will be taking an hour drive up into the North Shore and end back at the dealership.

Said Lori Connolly of MOP, who extends the invitation, “We thought, what better way to celebrate the life of Hrach than to hold a rally in his honor? When everyone returns to the dealership, we’ll have breakfast, coffee, juice waiting. We’ll also have some time when we return to share our favorite Hrach stories.”

Those attending should e-mail Lori at lconnolly@minipeabody.com by December 7th to ensure she has enough time to place a catering order. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact her at (978) 532-8312.

November 2010

[1-Dec Heinz 57 Wolseley.jpg] One of the Heinz 57 special-edition Wolseley Hornets.
Photo courtesy Miniaddicts

8th Malvern Mini Show
by Tony Haslam

MALVERN, U.K. — Although Miniaddicts did not have a stand at this show, I decided to join the Elf/Hornet Register on their club stand. Two other Miniaddicts also made the journey to the show. Jill and I decided to make a weekend out of it traveling just over 100 miles on the Saturday, stopping off in a few little towns on the way. We had arranged to meet up with seven other members from all over the U.K. at a hotel for a meal and a chat over a drink or two on Saturday evening before meeting up again at the show on the Sunday.

The club had four Elfs and three Hornets on the stand. One of the Hornets was a soft-top convertible, one of 57 made for Heinz to celebrate their ‘57 varieties’ of tinned foods and soups. It is believed there are only 41 left today.

The show was a success and was enjoyed by the club, which took two trophies for 1st and 2nd in the Elf/Hornet/Clubman Section — with the Heinz car taking 1st, and I collected the 2nd! There were only two other Elfs at the show.

[Miniaddicts is NEMO’s sister club in the U.K. See more photos from the show in the Gallery.]

November 2010

Save the Date!

Join us on Sunday, February 27, 2011, for NEMO’s Annual Planning Meeting/Luncheon at Faith and Bruce’s home in Harrisville, RI. Details to follow.

November 2010

From The Barn
by Dave Black

I got the news from Bruce on Monday or Tuesday evening: Hrach had passed. I was walking from the house to The Barn when the call came on my cell phone — and I paused, utterly stunned at the news, and thought, what now? How to do justice to the memory of a guy like Hrach? Of course I was headed to The Barn to finish working on Paul Tamas’ Mini 998 (Audrey) and did just that — thinking it fitting to do Mini work after losing our most avid Mini fan.

And I was right. Paul had opted to keep his car stock with a 998 and keep within a budget, so he ended up with the lump that had come from John Holden’s Mini: The Machinist. It was satisfying to work out my grief at losing a friend (who can forget those self-portrait Christmas cards!) while bringing one of his loved ones back to life. Paul must have been anxious to get Audrey back, for he arrived at 8:30 Sunday morning after driving five hours! I understand that Audrey is really his daughter Meghan’s car, so perhaps she was the real motivator!

Saturday was Hrach’s funeral in his hometown of Watertown. Of course there were lots of Minis and MINIs present — in fact, they let us park in the middle of the street and nobody seemed to care that we were in the way. The service and subsequent lunch was a wonderful (though tearful) tribute to a great human being. We heard some truly funny and remarkable stories from people who’d been touched by Hrach’s magic. He really did have a lasting effect on all who met him.

The last I saw Hrach was at MME 2010 in Dayton. He was my navigator in the rallye and I thought at first that with him we would have a chance at a trophy. By the time the first turn came, I realized that was not to be. Hrach was not really interested in competing in a rallye; he wanted to take a ride in a Mini! And that’s just what we did — several hours of driving through the Ohio countryside with lots of other Minis going every direction. He truly seemed to enjoy himself. The midway stop was at a dairy bar frequented by farming locals. Hrach got out and immediately drew a crowd. (I realized then that Hrach was as much an attraction as the Mini!) He was holding forth on Minis and Armenians and all sorts of historical trivia when after almost an hour I had to remind him it was time to continue on the rallye. Reluctantly he bid goodbye to his new friends and off we went through the tunnels of corn, chasing (and being chased) by other Minis until we’d finished the course and departed close company. If there’s a heaven, I know we’ll all be able to drive Minis by the time we get there!

November 2010

[Hrach Racer.jpg] Hrach Chekijian
Visiting Hours and Funeral Arrangements

The funeral service will be at Saint Stephen's Armenian Church, 38 Elton Avenue, Watertown, MA, on Saturday, November 6th, at 12 noon. Relatives and friends are kindly invited to attend. Visiting hours will be at the Aram Bedrosian Funeral Home, 558 Mount Auburn Street, Watertown, on Friday, from 4 to 8 p.m. In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be made to Saint Stephen's Armenian Church. Cemetery services are private.

If you can attend, please bring your Mini or MINI. We are trying to get as many Minis and MINIs at the service as possible as a fitting tribute to our dear friend, fellow enthusiast, and club Big Guy.

November 2010

[1-Nov Falmouth Minis.jpg] The Austin/Morris Mini class at the ‘British Legends’ show in Falmouth was exclusively NEMO, with the cars of (left to right) Greg Mazza, Barbara Newman and Dave Black.
Photo by Bruce Vild

Falmouth a Winner for NEMO!

FALMOUTH, MA — Sunday, October 10th was a sunny and warm day — perfect for attending the Cape Cod British Car Club show on the waterfront in Falmouth that was part of their British Legends Weekend. Many NEMO members attended the show, with four cars being displayed in two classes for the classics.

About another hundred British cars of all types attended, with NEMO’s Bruce Vild displaying his MGB, and with partner Faith running the Marque booth with Faith’s MINI Clubman, which was not officially in the show, parked alongside. NEMO members Lorine and Derick Karabec drove all the way from upstate New York for the weekend events and displayed their Wolseley Hornet, which took 1st in its class.

In the classic Austin/Morris Mini class, 3rd Place was Greg Mazza’s Cooper S, 2nd was Dave Black’s 1000, and 1st was Barbara Newman’s Mini British Open Classic.

The show was well attended by spectators the food vending was good and the location nice, right on the harbor. If you didn’t come, please consider coming next year to support the CCBCC event and get a bigger showing of classic Minis for NEMO.

November 2010

Holiday Party with Mexican Flair
by Faith Lamprey

The NEMO Holiday Party will be held at Casa Mariachi in Putnam, CT, on Sunday, December 5th, at 12 noon. For you folks with a GPS, the address is 5 Heritage Rd., Putnam, CT 06260-2715, (860) 928-7311. It is located right off Exit 96 of I-39 (head toward CT 12/Putnam Heights off the exit).

We need a head count so RSVP by e-mailing nemo@auroratechedi.com or calling me at (401) 766-6519 before Thanksgiving. Let me know how many are attending (and ages of any kids).

The cost for the buffet is $23.55 per person, which includes tax and tip. The club will subsidize $8.55 for members, so the member cost is only $15. Kids under 12 are half-price and under 3 are free. The buffet will include a variety of Mexican favorites (chicken, steak and vegetarian) as well as flan for dessert.

We will be holding a Yankee Swap so plan to bring a wrapped gift (cost below $25).

Our Holiday Party is one of our more popular events and this central location in Connecticut should be convenient for most of you. Hope to see you there!

November 2010

From The Barn
by Dave Black

It’s been another busy month (or two) in The Barn. Dave Brown limped in with a serious clutch problem in his van and was complaining that one side of his car was lower than the other. His wife observed that it was leaning to the driver’s side and suggested that it wasn’t a mechanical fault, but more likely a fault with the driver! This problem is fairly common with Minis and can usually be traced to a worn-out knuckle cup. Dave had checked this out and couldn’t see that the cup was worn through, so today we completely disassembled and removed the A-arm to get a better look at the cause. Looking in, the cup did not seem to be worn through, but when we removed it the problem became apparent. At some time in the past, the previous knuckle cup had worn through and a replacement fitted. What had not been repaired was the worn spot caused when the knuckle ball ground its way into the A-arm. A new cup worked for a while, but without support underneath it collapsed into the worn spot (hole) and the car started leaning. The fix is relatively simple — fill the hole with material like JB Weld, insert the cup and reassemble the car to put weight on the assembly and allow the JB Weld to ooze out the weep hole in the A-arm. When dry, the JB Weld will conform to the interface and support the cup indefinitely.

During this job, Dave decided to fit new rubber cones to each side of the front suspension. With the A-arm removed this should be easy. There was a fair bit of rust holding the cone to the subframe and I figured a tap or two with a hammer should set things free. I was soon beating on the top ring of the rubber cone with a 3 lb. sledge! Nothing would shake the dang thing loose — until I noticed it was still quite firmly held in place by the cone compressor tool! Once that was removed, the cone dropped out easily! Duh. The opposite side also proved to be a challenge because there were no threads left in the cone to use the compressor! We finally persuaded the pivot shaft out of the A-arm to remove same and discovered that it was so rusty, new bearings and a new shaft were required. All went back together without mishap and Dave’s Mini now sits level.

The clutch was relatively easy - massive amounts of oil leaking from the rear main seal had soaked the clutch disc and caused enough slippage to wear the rivets right into the pressure plate.

While disassembling, we discovered that the rear main seal had been installed backward! A trip to the machine shop for resurfacing and Dave was soon on his way ‹ a Mini smile on his face!

Brian Jablonski called with news that one of his front brake cylinders had failed. His car is old enough to have just one slave cylinder on the front drum brakes. He fitted a new one and this one failed in just a couple of days! Makes you wonder what the manufacturers are doing. I mean, the original stuff lasted 30-40 years or more, but the replacements are junk. I guess we just have to take our chances! When lifting the Mini for the second time, Brian reported he popped an engine mount ‹ another project to replace! Steve Naczkowski called for tips in chasing a clutch release issue. He`s trying to fix the problem by rebuilding master and slave cylinders, but may have a report on another clutch job for next issue!

Tom Judson has blown another head gasket! More on this after the job is finished.

Paul Curci, a friend of Charles Gould and the microcar group, and owner of a very nice Moke, blew the engine this summer. A spun rod bearing ruined an EN40B crank (genuine Cooper S). His rebuild included a new crank, rods, all the transmission bearings (big and small), primary gear, etc. It was worth it, though, because he has a genuine 1275 Cooper S engine with original transmission. He called today to report that it ran flawlessly in last weekend`s Shriner parade.

All for now.

September 2010

[1-Oct Black Stig BBQ.jpg] The crowd was truly awed by the brief appearance of the Black Stig.
Photo by Barbara Newman

A Top Gear BBQ!
by Faith Lamprey

KINGSTON, MA — What a great time everyone had at Dave and Barbara Newman’s Top Gear BBQ! Huge thanks to Dave and Barbara for all the hard work they put into getting everything ready for this special event. The day had everything: good food, getting to vote on where to place cars on the Cool Wall, a slot car track patterned after the actual track used on the show with a Top Gear-style time board, an interactive video trivia game hosted by the Hamster, posters galore, even a visit from the Black Stig, proving wrong the rumors of his demise after his car ran off the airplane carrier! Clarkson, Hammond and May could not have planned a more fun time.

We had been cautioned beforehand that the Stig might make an appearance, and that we should not confuse him with questions when (or if) he arrived. Used to Dave’s protestations, via T-shirt, that it was he who was the Stig, you can imagine our shock when the quiet Kingston neighborhood was shattered by the sound of a black Porsche 911 roaring down the street and up the driveway. Who should emerge but the Black Stig, who walked over to the slot car track, dismissed it with a wave of his hand after wiping out, and then seated himself wordlessly in a folding chair in the garage. NEMO members gathered round but respectfully honored his space and Dave and Barbara’s request not to badger him. He dismissed himself, again wordlessly, with another blast of the Porsche down the driveway and then up the street, leaving all of us to wonder whether he had really been there or we had just imagined it. Some say we’ll never know for sure.

NEMO members from Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Hampshire, and North Carolina attended this event. It was great to see everyone there.

September 2010

[1-Oct Rev Girls.jpg] Rev Girls with NEMO banner on Lamprey Clubman.
Photo by Bruce Vild

NEMO Does Soccer
by Faith Lamprey

FOXBORO, MA — Our group was small (two classic Minis, two modern MINIs, a Morgan and an MGB), but the fun quotient was high! We gathered the evening of August 7th in the tailgate picnic area of Gillette Stadium in Foxboro to cheer for the New England Revolution against D.C. United while the Rev Girls gushed over our cars and made us feel welcome.

Management got us discounted tickets and our home team was victorious — it does not get better than that!

September 2010

[1-Oct Faneuil.jpg] NEMO members’ Mini and MINI mix it up with MGs at Faneuil Hall.
Photo by Paul Saulnier

NEMO at Faneuil Hall
by Paul Saulnier


The Boston Area MG Club (BAMG) invited NEMO to participate in their show at Boston’s Faneuil Hall on August 22nd. Although several NEMO members signed up for the event, rain forced a rescheduling to August 29th. With such late notice, it was no wonder that only two members from NEMO were available to participate. But as luck would have it, we were represented with an old Mini and a new MINI. Jamie Knapp of Mendon arrived with his 2005 bright yellow cabrio for his first time at this event, and I brought my 1964 Mini Traveler for my fourth time at Fanueil Hall.

Forget everything you know about car shows. This event is totally different. There are usually about a dozen cars on display from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. In addition to the 15,000 people stopping to ask questions, have their pictures taken with their favorite car, or telling us when they had one just like that one, uniformed British soldiers march by shouting orders as we all remind them that they lost the war (not to rub it in, Miniaddicts!).

This was Jamie’s first show with his MINI as he had only owned it for one month prior to the event. And he was convinced that the Minis were getting most of the attention. If you can sit still while people put their hands on your car and occasionally open a door, then this show is worth a few fingerprints just to see the looks on the faces of the kids and adults as they turn the corner and find a display of British tin on the cobblestones of historic Boston. Thank you, BAMG, for including NEMO.

September 2010

[1-Oct Rally.jpg] Rallyists gather for a group shot at the Fletcher Farm School.
Photo by Judith Nevin

Rally through the Valley
by Judith Nevin

LUDLOW, VT — The first annual Mini Cooper Rally through the Okemo Valley kicked off on Saturday, September 11th, with 10 enthusiasts touring a very scenic part of Vermont.

The Rally started in Ludlow at Fletcher Farm School for the Arts and Crafts and continued through Andover, Weston, Chester and Cavendish, finishing in Plymouth. Each team was asked to answer 50 questions with answers found along the route. Five stops were made where scavenger hunt items were collected. After rally sheets were collected and tabulated, NEMO’s own Faith Lamprey and Bruce Vild were the 1st place winners. Liz and Pete Crowley took 2nd place with Malcolm and Dana McNair taking 3rd. Following the award ceremony, we gathered for a delicious buffet dinner and lively conversation at the Echo Lake Inn.

On Sunday, those who wished returned for a back seat driver competition, where the blindfolded driver had to navigate a course with directions from his back seat driver. This year’s course was shaped like a rough number three. The 1st place winners were John and Kirsten Arnold with a time of 1 minute and 15 seconds. Fra and Carol Devine drove to 2nd place with 1 minute and 55 seconds, and Peter and Liz Crowley rounded out the top three with a time of 2 minutes and 14 seconds. If laughter is an indication of a good time, everyone had a great time.

Those who participated in the weekend were Karen and Chuck Olivieri, Fra and Carol Devine, Peter and Liz Crowley, Eddie Johnson, Jason Marechaux and Suzanne Ebel, Kirsten and John Arnold, Sara and Troy Wunderle, Stan and Patti Szydlo, Karen and Kevin Surma, Malcolm and Dana McNair, and Faith Lamprey and Bruce Vild. Christina Jacobson joined us for the dinner and also joined NEMO. My husband Paul and I had a great time even though we didn’t rally.

Plans are underway for Mini Cooper Rally through the Okemo Valley II. We hope to see many new participants joining this year’s enthusiastic group.

August 2010

[1-Sept 10 Rain LAAM.jpg] It rained on the microcar parade at Larz Anderson. Can you see the cars through the mist? Sadly, no rides...
Photo by Bruce Vild

Micro/Minicar Classic: Hot-hot!
by Faith Lamprey

NEWTON, MA, July 9-11 — And what do I mean by hot-hot? Well, the first “hot” means it was an amazing event, as always, with microcars (under 500cc) and minicars (all above) zipping around the streets outside of Boston. (The Citroëns and Mini Coopers so relish being the largest cars at this event!) The second “hot” refers to temperature, as it climbed closer and closer to three digits and the humidity did the same. This fun-loving group has a reputation for enjoying a lot of adult beverages during the weekend, but we understand that water was the most consumed liquid this year!

Friday evening at the home of Nancy and Charles Gould in Newton, we all feasted on a splendid repast fixed by NEMO member Marsha Judson. The assortment of finger foods was perfect for a sultry evening. Bruce and I worked at registration, getting people their packets and name badges with the wonderful, whimsical event logo designed by artist Wendy Costa.

Saturday morning found us back at the Goulds’ for some last-minute registrations and then the parade over to the Larz Anderson Auto Museum for the car show. This show is a favorite with the spectators as rides are given in the microcars. Unfortunately, the skies opened shortly after we arrived and rain teemed down, preventing any rides this year. We all hustled inside the Museum, where Charles thanked the folks who had helped with the event.

Back at the Goulds’ after the show the rain finally stopped and we enjoyed the (in)famous Eclectic Barbeque. Charles then gave out awards for the show. Winners in the Austin Mini Class were: 1st, Ken Lemoine, 1965 Morris Traveller 2nd, Ken Lemoine, 1980 Domino Mini 3rd, Carmen Mauricio, 1974 Innocenti Mini Cooper.

Before we knew it, it was time to head out for ice cream and an impromptu show (it happens wherever you go with these cars!) in Newton Center. Then, back to the Goulds’ for tubs of frozen margaritas. (Ice cream and margaritas — a great way to cool off on a hot summer night!)

On Sunday we caravanned out to Mt. Wachusett. The mountain road was being repaired, so no trek up to the top this year, and off we went to a local restaurant for lunch. Then some went to Matchbox Motors in Hudson, MA, which contains the rest of the Gould microcar collection. Others went back to the house to relax before dinner. The group, now smaller, but still going strong, motored over to a local Mexican restaurant for dinner and then back to Goulds’ for more frozen margaritas.

So, despite the heat, all had a great time — and we again want to thank Charles and Nancy Gould for including NEMO in on the fun!

August 2010

[Trams and Minis.jpg] Trams and Minis in Derbyshire.
Photo by Tony Haslam

Tramway Museum Village Tour
by Tony Haslam

On Sunday 25th July 2010 (the British way of stating the date), Miniaddicts organized a run to The Tramway Museum Village in Derbyshire, set in a disused stone quarry. The run of almost 100 miles took in some tortuous twisting bends on the U.K.’s most notoriously dangerous road across the Derbyshire peaks (a very big favourite route for motorcyclists, I might add!). We passed the famous highest inn in the U.K. called The Cat and Fiddle. On our arrival at the Museum, they had to take the day’s trams out of the depot so the Minis could park in the marshalling yard! We had a memorial day with several runs down the main street to the museum visitors’ delight. Readers may like to read further on the Museum’s website, www.tramway.co.uk/, and see more photos on NEMO’s, www.nemomini.org.

[Miniaddicts is NEMO’s sister club across the pond. See all the photos under "Gallery."]

August 2010

From The Barn
by Dave Black
There’s one thing about writing articles about Mini repairs — during the driving season, there’s no lack of subjects to write about!

Robert Manocchio was the first up with a clutch issue. It seems the pedal would stick to the floor and would need to be pulled up each time it was used to allow the clutch to engage. This is a strange malady, and usually points to a master or slave cylinder problem, or perhaps a collapsed hose. So, with these preconceptions in mind, we immediately looked at the master (with a direct connection to the pedal, this seemed the best starting point). And Robert was more than willing to get on his back under the dash to remove those pesky little pins! While under there, he noticed the alignment of the pedal spring looked odd. It appeared the spring would push the pedals toward the floor, and not up the way it is supposed to. A peek under the dash of the Thurd confirmed it — Robert’s spring was indeed installed backwards. Now Robert has been driving his Mini for a year or more with no clutch issues — but how could that be with a reversed spring? One of the things he’s been doing is spraying a lubricant on the pedal cluster shaft to keep things operating freely. The problem is, it loosened up the shaft to allow the spring to pull the clutch pedal down. Before that the shaft was bound up enough that the spring couldn’t overcome the friction. So how to fix this problem? Just remove the pedal cluster, disassemble, reverse spring, and reassemble same. Robert drove home late that night and I haven’t heard from him since, so I assume the clutch is fixed!

Tom Judson drove in to check out his front end “growl,” but on arrival he announced it wasn’t doing it today. Just my luck to have to look for something to fix before it’s broke! We suspected a wheel bearing from Tom’s astute assessment of the problem (before it fixed itself), so disassembled the driver’s side and took a good look at the bearing. There was none of the usual darkening of the bearing or race to indicate a failure, but a 1/4” piece had broken off the back of the race and was rolling around amongst the rollers. As luck would have it, the piece was large enough and shaped just right not to get caught under the rollers. A new bearing was fitted and fixed the problem.

Pay attention to any changes in the noise your Mini makes. This is its way of communicating to you how it feels and you should be paying attention to its moods.

Ben VanRheen called to announce he’s decided to do a VTEC conversion to his Mini and would I start the process by removing the lump? Not one to pass up an opportunity to perform a lumpectomy in the July heat, and wanting to share the experience, I called Greg and he readily agreed to help. We had the lump out in short order and I’ve asked Ben to chronicle the rest of the conversion as it progresses.

Mark Fodor called to consult about an overheat problem with his modified Mini. We talked about the usual suspects: thermostat, radiator, timing, fuel mixture. After changing all of these, Mark mentioned his Mini has a tilt nose. Something came to mind about body modifications and airflow. Could the mods have affected the way air travels through the radiator? It seems that’s just what happened and by plugging a few holes Mark has managed to correct the problem!

There is one other project in The Barn this month, but I can’t tell you about it until the owner becomes a NEMO member…

July 2010

[Lorine for website.JPG] Derick and Lorine Karabec drove their Wolseley all the way from New York, placed 1st in class in the Concours, and (left) won their class in the Funkhana!
Photo by Dave Newman

Mini Meet Is Maxi Fun!
by Dave Newman (the other Stig)

DAYTON, OH — This year’s Mini Meet East was put on by the Ohio Mini Owners group and, simply put, it was one of the best Mini Meets that we have attended — smoothly and professionally run, with an excellent host hotel in Fairborn, excellent event locations, bright, sunny weather for a week straight, one of the most professional programs ever, and friendly people all over!

Compared to past Mini Meets, this year attendance was a bit down, most likely due to this thing called the recession. I estimated the Minis and MINIs there to be about 120, which made for a very nice meet as, for example, it gave the attendees more runs in the Funkhana and Autocross. NEMO members who attended were down slightly from other events similar distances away, with more NEMO members who brought classic Minis trailering instead of driving.

Two NEMO couples drove their classics to the event, with one classic actually making it. How’s that again? Faith Lamprey and Bruce Vild planned to drive their Mk1 Mini to the home of Lorine and Derick Karabec in eastern New York, and then caravan out to Dayton. Just before they arrived at the Karabecs’, their Mini quit on them. Derick hauled them into his home garage and worked all night on the car to no avail. Then Lorine offered up her personal MINI for Faith and Bruce to drive and off to the Meet they went, with the Karabecs in their Wolseley Hornet.

[After spending more time after the Meet taking things apart on our car, Derick discovered that an aftermarket timing belt installed during an engine rebuild more than 15 years ago had failed, resulting in stalling and an inability to restart. A new timing belt solved the problem. —Exec. Ed.]

But wait, there’s more! As Derick turned off the motorway junction to the hotel and descended the steep hill, the brakes failed on the Hornet. Repairs followed, and they completed the Meet and made it safely home, too.

Barbara and I took the lazy route, trailering our Mini the 890 miles to the Meet from eastern Mass. It was an enjoyable and uneventful trip. The Mini performed well at the Meet except for one exciting glitch. On the way to the panoramic photo at the nearby USAF Museum at the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, the gas pedal stuck under the fancy English mats and caused the engine to race at full throttle for an instant until it was kicked out. When we arrived at the photo, the offending mat was relegated to the boot where it still sits, rejected and lonely until we can trim it back. Seems like mats made for RHD British models do not do well in LHD Continental-spec cars. We never thought of that until it caused a problem.

Dave Black exercised his new long trailer and drove non-stop from Connecticut. Lisa and John Mastrandrea and crew also trailered their green Moke from Rhode Island. Dan Viola and family trailered his blue Moke from upstate New York. “Big Guy” Hrach Chekijian, our humble NEMO President, flew in on his private jet on the middle of the first day, just missing the panoramic photo. (Okay, so I lied about it being a “private” jet, but it was a jet nonetheless…)

The event was spread over three days, Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Most arrived on Wednesday evening and picked up their registration packets. Thursday found us up bright and early for the Concours, then the afternoon was spent at the USAF Museum for the panoramic photo and a Museum visit, where admission is free. (Expect to spend at least four to eight hours to study each aircraft and display.) Some members took a drive to the open house at the British Transportation Museum and spent a few hours looking over the collection. Later, after everyone returned to the hotel, there was a cruise over some very nice and scenic Ohio country roads to Young’s Jersey Dairy for dinner and their famous ice cream.

July 2010

[1-Aug 10 Viola.jpg] Dan Viola ran his Moke through both the Funkhana and Autocross.
Photo by Barbara Newman

While Dave Black was off to the Dairy car park for some technical Mini talk with other owners, it was time for mini golf for Lorine, Derick, Faith, Bruce, Barbara and myself. Bruce and Barbara had very low scores, in the 40s if I remember correctly. The others were in the middle and I scored a 72, having hit a pickup truck and a fiberglass cow and just missing a stray cat with various putts. So you could say I had the highest score. (Not good I presume, in golf?) We literally closed the place down as they were shutting off the lights when we left at 11 p.m., motoring back to the hotel in the cool night air.

Friday found us all up early for the Rally. First car out was at 9 a.m. Hrach was navigator for Dave Black. Faith and Bruce missed only two questions on the trivia and tied for 2nd place in the event. Lorine and Derick are still married after their first MME rally and so are Barbara and I, after missing the second turn and ending up in the middle of nowhere and giving up and returning to the hotel early. (We learned after the one in Magog to be very laid back on these events in order to keep marital bliss.)

After the Rally was a picnic behind the hotel under a big tent. Then at about 2 p.m. the Funkhana started. NEMO members participating were Derick and Lorine, who won their class, Dan Viola and Keith Degauque, who won their class, and John, Julia and Jessica in their Moke. Dan also ran the course with his son. The rest of us lazy members cheered on while sitting in the shaded sidelines. (Are we getting old, folks?) Friday night found some of us out to the local East Indian restaurant for a curry or two. This was enjoyed by all.

Saturday was autocross and banquet day. As far as NEMO members go, Dan Viola in his Moke took 1st place in Class F with a 50.346 time. No other NEMO members I know took part. A lot of us watched for a while in the blazing sun, then took a ride to an old fashioned five-and-dime store and then onward to the USAF Museum again.

At 6 p.m. the Banquet began, and when the awards were given out, other than previously mentioned, NEMO members took home quite a few! In Class 9, Mk5 Mini, Barbara took a 2nd place. In Class 11, Wolseley Hornet/Riley Elf, Derick and Lorine took 1st. In Class 18, Mini Moke Dan Viola took 2nd. In the “judged” Concours, Derick and Lorine took 3rd. After the Banquet, the cool night weather gave everyone a reason to hang around and talk with other Mini owners in the hotel lot.

All in all it was a very enjoyable Mini Meet for everyone involved. If you could not make this one, you certainly missed one of the smoothest-running and best-weather events ever. Our congratulations and thanks to the Ohio Mini Owners!

July 2010

Rally through the Okemo Valley Sept. 11 & 12!

LUDLOW, VT — There will be an untimed fun rally sponsored by NEMO on Saturday, September 11th, through Vermont’s beautiful Okemo Valley. Entrants will be looking for answers to clues. There’s a scavenger hunt component, too. The rally will be mostly on paved roads with a few good dirt roads included.

Registration is $30. Rally enthusiasts will assemble at Fletcher Farm on Rt. 103 in Ludlow for a continental breakfast. The rally cars will leave the Farm at 10 a.m.

The rally will finish at the Echo Lake Inn, covering about 80 miles. A banquet/gourmet buffet will follow. You need not buy the buffet to attend the banquet (the buffet is $33 per person including tax and gratuities). Dash plaques, plaques and many other prizes will be awarded in many categories.

On Sunday, September 12th, we will host a back seat driver competition at Fletcher Farm. This will start at 10 a.m.

Call (802) 228-8770 and ask Laurie for details Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., or reach her at info@fletcherfarm.org. A packet will be mailed out with registration information.

July 2010

From The Barn
by Dave Black

The plan was to write about MME, but there have been several other happenings that you’ll no doubt want to read about as well.

The month started with planning the trip to Dayton. Several NEMOites were actually going to drive Minis all the way to Ohio and that was the reason for listing all the “recommended spares” in the June issue. The group had planned to take two days and I would follow on the second day with trailer to pick up any stragglers. On arrival, I discovered that only one classic Mini had made the trip — and had no mechanical issues at all! (Save for a small oil leak...)

I won’t go into details about the Meet itself, as my view is if you’re interested, you should have been there! Outside of Minis, the Air Force Museum was a must-see. Imagine a B-52, B-1, B-2, and the B-29 that dropped one of the atom bombs all under one roof!

On to the mechanical side. While preparing for MME, Julia and Franchesco called asking if I’d have time to look at their Inno. Thinking that this would be a quick fix (from their description it sounded like carburetor problems), I said sure. Sunday before MME, we discovered that the head gasket was compromised. Not such a quick fix, and here it was 90° plus and I had a deadline — had to get the head off Sunday evening, disassemble and clean it, get it to the machine shop 7 a.m. Monday, pick it up at 8:30 (and you wonder why I use this shop!), and reassemble everything Monday afternoon. “How I spent my first day of vacation”!

Next comes Greg and his “Mazza-saga.” (Isn’t that a town in Ontario?) Remember when I announced that Greg had finally gotten to the bottom of his electrical issues? Well, he started having problems again — car would start and run fine, but wouldn’t restart when warm. This column has chronicled the various symptoms and fixes applied, and Greg realized he’d changed almost everything electrical (and some mechanical bits) in an attempt to stop the gremlin that inhabited his Mini. So this time he decided to put in new spark plugs, cap and rotor. When he removed the plugs, the gap seemed a little larger than normal — .025” is normal, and his measured .060”! With a new set of plugs, his car seems to be behaving much better, though this writer is not going to announce that the problem is completely solved just yet…

Greg Gethins is having problems with his Turbo Mini. Poor compression in two cylinders usually points to a gasket problem (especially in a turbo). Upon removal, the head gasket was found to be in perfect shape, but his valves looked a bit suspect, so we cleaned and re-cut valves and seats, re-ground same and Greg is reassembling the head on the engine.

Upcoming attractions: Tom Judson and his “front-end growl,” and Robert Manocchio with a clutch issue.

All for now…

July 2010

Repeat Notice: ‘Top Gear’ NEMO BBQ!
by Dave Newman

Reserve this date: Saturday, August 14th. Bring yourself and your classic Mini or modern MINI to our Top Gear-themed barbeque and day of games!

The location is Barbara and Dave Newman’s home garage, 7 Chestnut St., Kingston, MA. The festivities will be held from 12 noon to 5 p.m. This event is especially for NEMO members who love the BBC show Top Gear. We will have a barbeque, so please bring something for the barby or desserts or beverages to share, along with a folding chair to sit on. This event will be held inside the garage, so come rain or shine.

It’s optional, but feel free to dress like your favorite Top Gear presenter or Star in the Reasonably Priced Car. We’ve invited the Stig, so no dressing like him. If the Stig does appear, don’t confuse him with questions.

Activities will consist of a DVD-based team game based on car knowledge presented on screen by Richard Hammond, and a slot car track based on the actual Top Gear track, where you will attempt to set a lap time like the guests — only since this track is small, it will be based on a 10-lap time. There will be a Cool Wall participation game, a Top Gear trivia game, and plenty of time to talk with other NEMO members, enjoy the barbeque and a beverage, and admire all the cool Minis and MINIs attending. (Lots of parking on the flat lawn area.)

If you love NEMO and Top Gear, then this is the event to attend! If you have no idea what Top Gear is, then come with an open mind and be prepared for some fun. Questions? E-mail Dave Newman at Dave@airportworld.com.

Rain or shine, it’s a Top Gear time! BTW: some say the Stig knows two things about ducks. And both of them are wrong.

June 2010

[1-July 10 Barn.jpg] The two Daves work on the brakes.
Photo by Barbara Newman


Seasonal Maintenance at The Barn
by Dave Newman

WOODSTOCK, CT, May 29 — For the past six years our British Open Classic Mini has been losing a bit of brake fluid each time we drove it. Since it was so little and since we knew it was the rear cylinders, it didn’t bother us too much. More than 80% of the stopping power of a classic Mini is in the front disc brakes anyhow.

(For those of you with all-wheel drum brakes, it’s about the same percentage, but since drums in front only hint of stopping it’s a different situation. Our 1978 Mini with all-wheel drums really makes you think about places to swerve into if there is going to be a panic stop. Issigonis would have said to slow down!)

We really noticed the leak problem when loading the Mini onto the trailer to travel to Mini Meet East in Maine in 2008. Nothing like putting the Mini on a lift, even if it’s the back end of a trailer, to see things. So of course we waited almost two years to fix it. You could say we lacked a “sense of urgency.” So, off to The Barn at Dave Black’s home as he has the expert know-how and all the proper tools. He also has the ability to form a brake line if I had broken one, so that made more sense than doing it at my home garage and then having to order parts or drag it to Dave afterwards. Also, it is always pleasant to work with Dave Black and we hadn’t seen him in a while, so Barbara and I went for a drive.

I won’t go into great detail on how to change the cylinders and shoes on your Mini, but perhaps tell a short story on what we did that day. Dave Black did all the professional work, and I did parts washing, bearing packing, oil pouring and wheel nut twirling. Barbara took a bunch of pictures.

Before starting, Dave loosened the lug nuts and opened the bonnet, then jacked up the front of the car under the sump with jack and padding of a two-by-four. Opening the bonnet eliminates finding that the engine mounts have broken and the engine is now imprinted into the bottom of the bonnet, which can be nasty. Dave then placed two jack stands under the front of the car just behind the wheels. After that, it was around to the rear, jacking up the rear and placing another two jack stands under the rear subframe. A quick wiggle of the car before the jack removal showed that now the car was about 14 inches off the floor and stable to work on.

While Dave removed the oil filter, I removed all the wheels. Our car has the grille riveted in place, making changing the oil filter a pain and a knuckle scraper. After the new filter was installed, five quarts of Castrol were installed. This is not the oil Dave Black recommends, but since I’ve been using it for 40 years in our Minis, I stuck with it. It’s very important to change your classic Mini’s oil at least once each year, even if you only drive a few thousand miles in the show season. I prefer the spring. More frequent changes are better. But never let sludge build up in any engine by thinking all that oil leaking out on your garage floor results in a pro bono change.

After taking off the wheels and then the screws holding on the drum, Dave slackened the brake adjusters and we gently tapped the drums and they came right off. This is not usual. But if your cylinders are leaking, everything is a bit wet inside with fluid and they come off easier. Then off came the springs and the old shoes.

I was sent to the parts washer to clean the springs and drums to be squeaky clean. After that, they were sprayed with brake cleaner solution and let dry. The drums were not scored or out of round and amazingly the adjusters on both sides worked easily. We pulled the bearings and these too were cleaned and greased. They looked almost new. Why keep old grease when you have everything apart?

Dave then fitted the new cylinders. No brake lines broke and they went on easily. Now the tricky part — fitting the new shoes and getting those springs onto the shoes. Having done that, Dave re-assembled the drums and worked the adjusters.

It was time to bleed the brakes. I had brought two huge bottles of DOT 3 from Auto Zone. Starting at the rear, Dave worked the bleeders and looked for bubbles in the jar and I pumped and filled the reservoir. The backs done, we did the fronts, finding a bit of air in the left front, which explained the tendency to pull right on panic stops.

After a check of the front steering and suspension, the road wheels were refitted and the car lowered. Another great day in The Barn with Dave Black.

June 2010

‘Top Gear’ NEMO BBQ!
by Dave Newman

Reserve this date: Saturday, August 14th. Bring yourself and your classic Mini or modern MINI to our Top Gear-themed barbeque and day of games!

The location is Barbara and Dave Newman’s home garage, 7 Chestnut St., Kingston, MA. The festivities will be held from 12 noon to 5 p.m. This event is especially for NEMO members who love the BBC show Top Gear. We will have a barbeque, so please bring something for the barby or desserts or beverages to share, along with a folding chair to sit on. This event will be held inside the garage, so come rain or shine.

It’s optional, but feel free to dress like your favorite Top Gear presenter or Star in the Reasonably Priced Car. We’ve invited the Stig, so no dressing like him. If the Stig does appear, don’t confuse him with questions.

Activities will consist of a DVD-based team game based on car knowledge presented on screen by Richard Hammond, and a slot car track based on the actual Top Gear track, where you will attempt to set a lap time like the guests — only since this track is small, it will be based on a 10-lap time. There will be a Cool Wall participation game, a Top Gear trivia game, and plenty of time to talk with other NEMO members, enjoy the barbeque and a beverage, and admire all the cool Minis and MINIs attending. (Lots of parking on the flat lawn area.)

If you love NEMO and Top Gear, then this is the event to attend! If you have no idea what Top Gear is, then come with an open mind and be prepared for some fun. Questions? E-mail Dave Newman at Dave@airportworld.com.

Rain or shine, it’s a Top Gear time! BTW: some say the Stig knows two things about ducks. And both of them are wrong.

June 2010

[1-June 10 MOP.jpg] Lori Connolly, Molly Waugh and Brig Currie (left to right) launched Minis and MINIs from the dealership parking lot.

5th Annual MOP Poker Run
by Paul Saulnier

PEABODY, MA — There were 85 MINIs and Minis pre-registered for the 5th Annual MINI of Peabody (MOP) Poker Run.

This was the first year without rain, and several first-timers took credit for that. The weather was perfect and the route laid out by MOP was scenic and challenging. Many Minis took wrong turns but, no matter where they went, the scenery was great.

The entrants left MOP at 10 a.m. as traffic on Rt. 1 would allow. The back roads of Topsfield and Beverly and the coastal roads of Manchester-by-the-Sea were the highlights.

Of the 85 cars, only two classic Minis were entered, my ’64 van and the 1973 of Joe and Brenda Darisse, NEMO members from Topsfield.

Stops to pick up a card included the home of NEMO President and MOP salesman Hrach Chekijian, and the future home of MOP, 209 Andover Street (Exit 25B off Route 128) in Peabody.

The winning hand — a royal flush! — was awarded a pair of Red Sox tickets. Everyone got MOP hats and other items.

The event was organized by MOP staff, including Lori Connolly, Marketing Director, Molly Waugh, Corporate Partners Manager, and Brig Currie, Sales Manager. They made everyone feel welcome and invited us all back next year to their new site.

June 2010

MME Is Coming Soon!
by Howard Collins, MME 2010 Registrar

Ohio Mini Owners cordially invite all to the 36th Annual Mini Meet East 2010, being held July 1-3 in Fairborn, Ohio. The event website is up and running, and the pre-registration process is well underway. The following two incentives are being offered for your registration to occur prior to June 15th: 1) you will avoid the $30 late registration fee, and 2) your name will be entered into a drawing to receive a free two-night stay, during the Meet, at the host hotel.

Avoid the costly delays associated with registering after June 15th by mailing your registration in today. Also, remember to make your room reservations before the hotel rooms are sold out.

For more information, please visit the event website at http://www.mme2010.com.

June 2010

From The Barn
by Dave Black

A wee bit short on news this month — only two projects in The Barn and very little member news.

Dave Icaza brought over his Woody to let me take a look — beautiful — and for once Jo-Ann agreed that this is one pretty Mini. (She thinks it’s neat because it has heated seats.) Dave wanted a hand in final tuning and front end alignment and it was soon sorted out and ready for action. You may wonder why a fellow who works on British cars for a living (Dave owns D&J Motors in Manchester, CT) looks for help on his own car. I wondered the same thing and can only explain it by thinking of the carpenter living in a trailer or the plumber with leaky pipes — no time for his own projects! We’re looking forward to seeing his Mini in Waterford this month.

Al and Linda DeArroyo called last weekend to say they were on the way to The Barn with an engine and would arrive at 5:30 (no further details). It’s been months since I heard from them and the last news was the report of yet another head gasket problem. Al was understandably disgusted as this was gasket #3. We discussed pulling the lump and skimming both head and block and I guess I offered to do this last fall. But now it’s spring and time to be outside! Oh, well, we’ll work on it after dark — ’course this time of year it gets dark about bedtime and who feels like working on an engine after spending time in the garden? Anyway, the grass is long and weeds are getting a leg up, but Al’s lump will be on the test stand later today! Just a matter of setting priorities, right?

Remember to do your spring tune-up: adjust valves, inspect and clean spark plugs, top-up the piston oil on your SU carbs, adjust or change points, change oil and filter, check condition of wiring (primary 12v to and from solenoid, coil, dizzy, and secondary high voltage plug and coil wires). Jack up the car and grease the two rear swing arms, top and bottom ball joints, and upper A-arm. Shake some things around to check bearing condition, ball joint and tie rod end tightness, and rear swing arm bushing condition. A few minutes spent early in the season on preventive maintenance can avoid an embarrassing, and costly, breakdown when you least expect it!

Now that the driving season has arrived and plans are made for a pilgrimage to MME, I thought it wise to give you my list of spares to carry on those journeys past the limits of free towing: fan belt, wheel bearings (front and rear), water pump, spare tire (with appropriate lug nuts for the rim), bottom rad hose, flashlight, top rad hose, 3/8” socket set, bypass hose, 1/4” socket set, head gasket, torque wrench, manifold gasket, 3/4” breaker bar with 1 1/8” and 1 5/16” sockets, rocker assembly, pickle fork, points and condenser, sledge hammer (that’s right!), rotor, 11/16” wrench, cap, wheel puller, throttle cable, water, starter, oil, alternator or generator, grease.

Last time I drove to Ohio, I used everything on this list except the starter! If you carry all these items, chances are you will have what’s needed to effect a repair on almost any foreseeable breakdown. Even if you’re not able to do the repair yourself, there’s lots of help available at MME.

Happy motoring!

April 2010

[1-May 10 Miniaddicts.jpg] Minis (and a Land Rover) pause to enjoy some of the fine Welsh scenery.
Photo by Tony Haslam

Miniaddicts on an Easter Run
by Tony Haslam

NEMO’s U.K. sister club, Miniaddicts, had a beautiful day for their Easter Run, organized by a fellow member who guided 10 cars around North Wales, stopping in Llangollen for lunch (world famous for the Eisteddfod, http://www.eisteddfod.org.uk/english/).

The Run took in some single-track roads with passing bays to allow cars to stop and allow us to drive through, much to the amusement of the drivers we encountered! A total of 75 miles was covered without any problems or breakdowns, and all had a good time.

April 2010

NEMO to Turn Fanueil Hall and Haymarket into a Mini Mart!
by Ken Lemoine

BOSTON, MA — This August 22nd the New England Mini folk will invade the hallowed ground of Boston’s home of the American Revolution, Faneuil Hall, courtesy of Kurt Steele of the Boston Area MG Club. This British invasion should have a much more receptive audience as 10,000 to 15,000 people a day are expected to shoot the British (Minis) with cameras this time! Look out for random hugs and little kid fingerprints — people can’t help themselves around our little metal friends.

This is a great opportunity for you to show off your car to a whole new audience and for NEMO members to get some publicity that is second-to-none — just steps away from both the fabulous Italian North End and the Boston waterfront.

Because of the limited number of spaces available to us on the Quincy Marketplace Plaza, all participants must pre-register. Unfortunately, no day-of-event registrations can be accepted. On-line registration is available by e-mailing Kurt at kurt.f.steele@gmail.com, but we expect this season’s show to fill up quickly, so contact him and reserve your spot today.

April 2010

But First, NEMO Does Soccer!
by Faith Lamprey

FOXBORO, MA — Planning on joining us on August 7th at Gillette Stadium for the car display and soccer game? We have a bit more info.

The tickets (discounted to $21 for us) will need to be purchased in advance. For the August 7th game, anything that is purchased before 10 a.m. on Thursday, July 29th can be mailed out. Anything purchased between that time and the end of the day on August 6th will be left at the Will Call window to be picked up on the day of the game. So, we would like the majority of tickets to be purchased in time to mail out because it’s easier for everyone, but if there are stragglers who come in after that date they can still be accommodated all the way up until the close of business on the day before the game.

All classic and new Minis are welcome as well as all other British cars.  If you have not been to the new Patriot Place with its classy retail and restaurant space, you need to give this a try!   If you want to attend, I need you to RSVP to me with your name(s) and the car you plan to bring. You can contact me at nemo@auroratechedi.com or (401) 766-6519 (leave a message).

Like the display at Faneuil Hall, this should not be missed!

April 2010

Rally ’round Okemo
by Paul Nevin

LUDLOW, VT — NEMO will host a Mini/MINI Cooper Rally through the Okemo Valley on the weekend of September 11-12. This will be a fun rally, with clues and scavenger hunt combined. The route will take driver and navigator through the towns of Ludlow, Andover, Weston, Chester, and Cavendish, VT.

The day will start with a Continental breakfast at Fletcher Farm School for the Arts and Crafts on Rt. 103 in Ludlow, VT, which will also be the starting point. Fun events will also be scheduled on Sunday. Prizes and plaques will be awarded as well as dash plaques for all entrants.

The cost will be $30 for the two-day event, and it will be open to all marques. Registration will be limited, so make your reservation early. For more information call (802) 228-5830.

April 2010

The Mini Miscellany: A Good Read
by Vince Tamburo

Geoff Tibballs has been writing for over 25 years and has more than 80 books to his credit. He is a huge fan of motor racing and a lifelong fan of the Mini. Geoff’s latest book is a fun, quick read: The Mini Miscellany, Fifty Years of Facts, Figures, Stories and Oddities Featuring the World’s Greatest Little Car.

The book begins with Geoff telling the reader that his family’s first car was a Mini. The car was named Ada (in honor of her Hastings registration, ADY). He goes on to tell us about how Ada took them through the countryside and never complained.

Geoff then tells the story of Alec Issigonis and his family. The history of the Mini is presented. The book is divided into sections that discuss and outline various fun and interesting facts about the Mini.

For example: “Keeping it Small” tells us John Cutler, a member of the design team, recalled putting four seats on the shop floor and getting all sorts of people from secretaries to 6’ workers to sit in them to indicate how big the car should be. He wanted to make sure that there was enough room for a map to be opened and for the installation of a pocket to put the map in. Issigonis allowed 80% of the car’s 10’ length to passengers and luggage, which left him 18” to accommodate the engine.

“Wizardry on Wheels” informs us that female buyers were deliberately targeted, with emphasis being placed on the car’s suitability for shopping due to its interior space and parkability. “Women of the world, rejoice,” trilled a typical Austin Seven press release. “In a man’s world a car has been designed with women in mind.”

“A Slow Starter” states that the Mini was slow to take off. Most people did not trust it due to its low cost. In the first winter of the Mini’s release, only 20,000 had been sold. Confidence did not grow as a technical fault caused a recall due to numerous water leaks and rotting carpets. One motorsports journalist wrote, “When driving the ‘World’s Most Exciting Car’ I found it to live up to its reputation — part of the excitement being to see which foot got wet first!” Another journalist invited a Longbridge press officer to see the goldfish he had swimming around in the door pockets. Who knew they had recalls on cars back then!

The book is full of short paragraphs that present facts, trivia and lore about the Mini, such as why the Mini was designed the way it was, the famous actors, actresses and race car drivers who drove them, why the wheels went from 10” up to 13”, why the “boot” opens the way it does. Did you know there are a total of 3,016 screws, nuts and bolts on a Mini? Do you know Bernd Pischetsrieder? Read the section “Family Ties” and you will be surprised. You will also find out from where the phrase “You’ve Just Been Mini’d” derives.

The book also discusses racing history, rallying and road racing, and how the much faster competition was beaten by the Mini.

Some of you (you know who you are, Mr. Black) probably have read and heard the stories, but I have only scratched the surface here of the first 30-something pages of this fascinating book.

Geoff Tibballs does a great job and will keep you entertained cover to cover. You can find it at amazon.com for as small a price as the size of the car.

April 2010

[1-Apr 10 Meeting.jpg] Chit-chat over lunch quickly gave way to some serious planning.
Photo by Paul Saulnier

Planning Is Easy NEMO-style!
by Dave Newman

HARRISVILLE, RI, Feb. 28 — The Annual NEMO Planning Meeting was held at the usual location, the wonderful home of Bruce and Faith in Rhode Island. Over 20 members attended, with Derick and Lorrine from Kingston, NY, driving the furthest distance — over four hours drive one-way to attend a four-hour meeting!

After collecting Mini-related gifts members had brought for the customary raffle and handing us our tickets and name tags, Faith let us tuck into the also donated food and drink. And what a buffet table it was! Let’s just say that nobody went home hungry unless they wanted to.

Between the food and the meeting proper came the raffle. Everybody got something they liked to take home, wear home, or, “It just followed me home, honest...”

The next few hours contained discussions on various events that members wanted to attend or to run themselves. Details are on the NEMO calendar on the website. Take a peek and come to something!

If you were not at the planning meeting, you can still sponsor an event. Join the NEMO Google List and toss out some ideas and dates and get back comments. Something as simple as a drive on a weekend, starting at a restaurant for breakfast or a meeting for a BBQ at your house, would work perfectly.

Only rule is, if you plan it, then plan on running the event. It’s really simple, and you might get four or 40 members attending, you never know! Somebody has to “captain” an event, and if you need help just ask on the NEMO Google List.

April 2010

You Say You Want the Revolution
by Faith Lamprey

How would you like to show off your car to 10,000 soccer fans at Gillette Stadium on August 7th?  

We have been approached by the New England Revolution’s team management about showcasing our cars in Patriot Place before a game.  We sent a notice out to our e-mail list and the consensus was 1) we did want to do this and 2) August 7th was the best date for a majority of the folks who responded.

The game will be between our home team, the Revolution, and DC United. We will get discounted tickets of $21 per person to the game (regular price is $34).  

We will arrive between 4:30 and 5:00 p.m. to set up prior to the spectators arriving. The game is at 7 p.m. so we will have plenty of time to show off our beauties! This is open to all British cars, but NEMO will be the host club.

All classic and new Minis are welcome.  If you have not been to the new Patriot Place with its classy retail and restaurant space, you need to give this a try.   If you want to attend, I need you to RSVP to me with your name(s) and the car you plan to bring. You can contact me at nemo@auroratechedi.com or (401) 766-6519 (leave a message).

This should not be missed! Save the date!

February 2010

[1-Mar 10 Surfer.jpg] MINI is looking to tap into new markets with the Countryman — including surfers.
Photo courtesy BMW Group UK

The Mini Countryman Arrives

MINI is adding a fourth model to the family: a genuine “crossover,” bridging the gap between the classic concept of the MINI and a modern sports activity vehicle.

The MINI Countryman is the first model in the range with four doors and a wide-opening rear lid, providing greater freedom of space for more versatile use, a slightly elevated seating position, and optimized driving comfort. At the same time the MINI Countryman maintains that go-kart feeling likewise so characteristic of MINI, optional “ALL4” all-wheel drive offering an additional highlight in handling and safety.

The new Countryman carries on the design of the brand, combining larger body dimensions, greater ground clearance and four doors with those the design features so characteristic of MINI. Short overhangs, a high window line, powerful stance on the wheels, and window graphics extend round the entire car to create the proportions typical of other MINIs.

Proceeding from that MINI design “language,” the front end is positioned almost upright and incorporates the familiar hexagon radiator grille and large headlights integrated in the engine lid. The extra space within the car is emphasized by extra-large windows, the adoption of four doors, and the individual shape of the roof. The particularly wide frame around the lower part of the body and the powerfully flared wheel arches suggest the robust character of the car and all-wheel drive, though plans are to offer ALL4 on only three models rather than across the range. (In Europe, the range includes the MINI One, MINI One D and MINI Cooper D — for diesel — models.)

Within the interior, the slightly elevated seating position should offer comfortable and pleasant access to the car and optimize the driver’s all-round view. The Countryman’s Center Rail, extending from front to rear instead of a conventional center console, opens up new, individual options for integrating all kinds of storage boxes, cupholders, external audio devices, mobile telephones and other comfort features (or distractions, depending on your point of view). Flexibly positioned clip-in elements allow the storage boxes to be subdivided individually as required, keeping travel utensils within easy reach wherever they are required, by either front or rear passengers.

The Countryman comes as standard with four seats, while a three-seat bench will be available as a no-cost option. The rear seats move fore-and-aft either individually or, with the three-seat bench, in a 60:40 split. The backrests may be tilted for angle either individually or, with the bench, in a 40:20:40 arrangement, increasing the capacity of the luggage compartment from a little over 12 to more than 40 cu. ft. 

The Countryman is entering the European market with a choice of three gasoline and two diesel engines, part of a new generation of power units that comply respectively with EU5 and ULEV II emission standards. The power range extends from 66kW/90hp in the MINI One D Countryman all the way to 135 kW/184hp in the MINI Cooper S Countryman.

The 1.6-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine in the top model comes for the first time not only with a twin-scroll turbocharger and direct fuel injection, but also with fully variable valve management, offering what BMW claims is “by far the best balance of engine power and fuel consumption” in its class. A six-speed manual gearbox is featured as standard, and the gasoline engine models are also available with six-speed automatic complete with Steptronic.

February 2010

[2-Mar 10 Comparison.jpg] With the coupe (left), for comparison.
Photo courtesy BMW Group UK

More about ALL4

As an option the Cooper S Countryman and Cooper D Countryman, and by 2012 the Cooper Countryman, will be available with MINI’s new all-wheel-drive system, ALL4.

The designers of ALL4 realized that not everyone will need four-wheel-drive capability all the time. Accordingly, a Countryman with ALL4 is a front-wheel-drive car in most normal circumstances, but when wheel slip on the front wheels is detected or if the car is being driven “enthusiastically,” an electro-magnetic clutch, located on the rear axle, engages drive to the rear wheels to improve traction.

To enable this change to occur imperceptibly, a propeller shaft from the front axle is driven constantly and is ready to direct drive forces from the front axle to the rear instantly. The amount of power fed to the rear wheels is infinitely variable between 1% and 100%, depending upon the driving conditions.

This traction and drivetrain technology will complement the the already top-end suspension features of the MINI, including the front axle with McPherson spring struts and forged track control arms, the multi-arm rear axle, and the EPS (Electric Power Steering) complete with Servotronic.

The Countryman furthermore comes as standard with DSC (Dynamic Stability Control), with DTC (Dynamic Traction Control) offered either as an option or as a standard feature on the Cooper S Countryman and the Cooper D Countryman with ALL4, as well as an electronic limited-slip function for the front axle differential. 

Designed for optimum safety in the event of a collision, the body structure has precisely defined load paths and deformation zones. Frontal and side airbags as well as curtain airbags at the side are standard both front and rear, as are three-point inertia-reel seat belts on all seats, belt latch tensioners and belt force limiters at the front, and Isofix child seat fastenings at the rear.

Another standard feature is the Tire Defect Indicator, with runflat tires coming as an option but standard on the Cooper S Countryman with ALL4.

Customizing your Countryman

The wide range of customization options on both the exterior and interior are typical of MINI and will include new features exclusive to the Countryman. New combinations in the range of interior colors, trim strips and upholstery will enable even the most discerning customer to create a very special car with truly unique character.

Offered will be features such as high-end audio and navigation systems, as well as mobile telephone interfaces enabling complete integration of an Apple iPhone and other Smartphones in the car. Further options are the extra-large panorama roof, adaptive headlights in combination with xenon units, a heated windscreen, a towbar, light-alloy wheels ranging in size from 16” to 19”, sports suspension lowering the entire car by 10mm or almost 0.4”, and a wide range of John Cooper Works performance components.

Price

On-the-road prices will range in the U.K. from £16,000 for the MINI One Countryman to £20,810 for the Mini Cooper S Countryman. Adding ALL4 increases this by £1,065 to £1,220, depending on the model, and of course there are all those options to choose from.

The MINI Countryman makes its debut at the Geneva Auto Show this month and goes on sale in the U.K. September 18th. Oh — and it will not strictly speaking be a “British car,” as it will be assembled by Magna Steyr in Austria. At present, BMW says, there is insufficient capacity in Oxford to build the car there.

[Prepared from BMW Group UK press releases, Sarah Heaney, MINI Media Relations Manager.]

February 2010

From The Barn
by Dave Black

We left off last month with what appeared to be a timing cover oil leak, but the engine had already been installed in Robert Manocchio’s Mini. Hmmm — do we pull the motor out again or work within the confines of the Mini’s engine bay? If it weren’t for the brake servo, I’d have popped that sucker out of there and got it up where we could have a good go at it. As it was, I wimped out and decided to pull the radiator end whilst in the car. Actually that turned to be not too bad a job — the newer Minis (Mk3, 4, 5) don’t have a radiator cowling and there’s just enough space to ease the rad out. We were looking for a leak coming from the timing cover, but after an exhaustive series of tests, couldn’t find anything wrong with it.

I wrote it off to a misalignment of the seal to the crank pulley and put everything back together. Leaked again! So it follows that if you eliminated the problem at the timing cover, then the leak must be further back, and that requires removal of the timing chain, sprockets and backing plate. Of course to get further back, you have to disturb everything you’ve just put together so carefully. That done, we got the engine up to temperature and everything stayed dry!

Robert trailered the Mini back home and by the time he’d gotten it off the trailer and into the garage there was oil dripping from the bottom of the tranny. Now this was starting to get old — never had a timing end oil leak get the better of a “second” sealing, and the worst part was that Robert now had to get the car back to The Barn. In the meantime he introduced a dye into the oil and used a blacklight to illuminate the oil and try to find the source of the leak. After a lot of time poking around, moving hoses, repositioning one’s head to get a better angle and getting whacked by the hood safety catch (actually, Robert stuck a tennis ball on the catch), we found a dribble of oil coming from the head gasket.

Now I won’t bore you with the details (followers of this column have no doubt grown weary of reading about head gasket jobs), but after replacement and a spirited test drive, there were no leaks.

Of course, stemming the flow of liquids in a Mini lump has to be viewed as a temporary fix at best. Gaskets fitted between dissimilar metals (cast iron and aluminum) must eventually fail due to the differing rates of expansion/ contraction in the heating and cooling cycle. So if you’ve got a drip or two, it just means the old girl is aging gracefully (and correctly).

Next month we’ll talk about a Domino Mini (if Lemoine & Gallagher can get their act together)!

January 2010

[NEMO Jan Karabec2.jpg] Derick and Lorine Karabec in some very stylish shirts.
Photo by Dave Newman

Another Great Day Out!
by Dave Newman

WAYLAND, MA — Twenty-seven members of NEMO attended the Holiday Party on December 6th at JJ McKay’s Pub in Wayland. The food and drink were excellent, and being in the company of NEMO friends was, too. Many new NEMO members attended and enjoyed the event.

After the meet-and-greet and meal were over, it was time for the famous NEMO Yankee Swap. Every year we do this, one gift brought by a member is highly, shall we say, “sought after.” Actually, it makes things entertaining and this year was no different. The hot item was a Mark One Mini Cooper Dan St. Croix had drawn on a canvas with pencil. As Dan is an accomplished artist, the piece exchanged hands eight times before ending up with Greg Mazza. Greg had picked the first ticket in the Swap and also got the last choice at the end per the rules.

The “favorite shirt” award, if there was one, would be for the Mini shirts worn by Lorine and Derick Karabec (see photo).

If you missed it, then make plans for attending next year’s party! And speaking of plans, don’t forget the Annual Planning Meeting coming up in February (see the accompanying sidebar).

Attendees at the Holiday Party (in no particular order) were: Ken and Brett Lemoine, John Gallagher, Robert Manocchio (plus his two cute young daughters), Dave Black, Greg Mazza, Jay Cady, Bruce Vild and Faith Lamprey, Paul and Nancy Saulnier, Dave and Barbara Newman, Barbara and Geoff Neiley, Skip Tannen and Barbara Webster, Charles Laughton, Howie and Ardi Staples, Lorine and Derick Karabec, Brian from Poets Seat Auto, and Dan St. Croix and Rosie.

January 2010

[NEMO Jan W to L.jpg] Minis on the promenade.
Photo by Tony Haslam

Wirral-to-Llandudno Run 2010
by Tony Haslam

WIRRAL, U.K. — Wirral Minis had their Annual Wirral (England) to Llandudno (Wales) Run on Sunday, 10th January, for which they invited applications for 200 Minis to join them on this popular 60-mile trip. Nine Minis from Miniaddicts turned up on the day despite the severe icy conditions the U.K. is experiencing at the moment.

My Riley Elf brake lights decided to stick on permanently at the last minute so I had to leave him at home and cadge a lift with my son, Philip, and his young lady in his 2007 Cooper Diesel.

On the club’s arrival at the starting point there were another 61 Minis waiting and raring to go!

The run went smoothly with the convoy stopping at Rhos on Sea promenade to allow any stragglers to catch up. After a 10-minute stop the starter’s horn sounded again and we continued on our way to Llandudno (pronounced Clanduno) and then onto the coastal road around the Great Orme.

News reached us as we approached the Orme that there was ice at the summit and the ascent to the top was cancelled. Instead we continued to a point halfway round the Orme to a café adjacent to the Coastguard Station (probably just as well, as the temperature was -3C and no doubt warmer here than at the summit! ) Following a nice hot drink and a call of nature we continued our journey down the North Shore, where we proudly displayed our pride and joy for promenaders to admire.

January 2010

From The Barn
by Dave Black

Only one Mini happening in The Barn the past two months! Robert Manocchio called to say he wanted to rebuild the engine after getting frustrated with performance. Remember in the last article, we had rebuilt his tranny, but decided the top end was probably good to go. Well, they say a day in which nothing is learned is a day lost. The past two weeks we’ve been gaining days at a prodigious rate!

The head came off and required a full valve job, plus milling to flatten a warped surface. The pistons came out and showed some damage caused probably by metal chips remaining after the last rebuild. The cam bearings looked tortured, one valve lifter was cavitated and one lobe on the new Piper 270 cam was destroyed! All this on an engine that still has honing marks on the bore!

So all the bits went off to the happy machine shop and were returned Friday. Robert had sourced all the parts in the meantime, so all we had to do this weekend was assemble, test and install the lump in the car.

One small glitch — Robert had decided to replace the ring gear because several teeth were knackered. Friend Jack said, “It’s easy, cut off the old gear and place the flywheel outside, while heating the new gear in an oven — it will slip on easily!”

I wish Jack were here I know he heard our exclamations on the West Coast! It is not an easy job. We packed the flywheel in the snow for a couple of hours while the ring gear heated up atop the woodstove. Hammer, vise and clamps wouldn’t convince the gear to go where it should. Back to the snow, while the torch was used to really heat up the gear. Still no go, but a couple of burned hands was the result (it was closer to going on, though). So the flywheel went back in the snow whilst the torch was used for what seemed like an hour on the gear. Then clamps, hammer, vise and it finally caught, but required a serious beating to get pried into position.

Lesson learned: next time, just buy a whole new flywheel!

Okay, so all was ready for the test stand. The engine started and ran strong, but what’s this fluid being flung by the fan? Antifreeze everywhere — emanating from the top of a thermostat housing bolt. Easy fix, just drain down the coolant, put some sealant on the threads and voila — another disaster! Still leaking, so this was a little more serious. Pulled the thermostat housing and inspected the surfaces to find a wee bit of the head is missing where the gasket should make contact. Choices: JB Weld and wait a day, or The Right Stuff and drive away. It took two tries to get the leak plugged and the rest of the test went fine (read: no oil leaks!) The lump was deemed worthy of installation, so we did.

While reinstalling the brake servo, one of the lines cracked. No problemo, just pull the brake line fabrication kit out and make a new one. But wait, my brother had borrowed that kit last month, and, no, he hadn’t returned it yet! Called and met halfway, then back to The Barn, fabricated the line, installed the servo and bled the brakes (we had replaced the front hoses as well).

Robert went out for a test drive. “Don’t you want to come?” he asked. “No, someone has to stay here to take the distress call,” was the answer.

Off he roared and back he came after a while. We raised the hood to adjust the idle and what did we see, but oil everywhere! Initial diagnosis put the leak in the timing cover and you’ll have to wait till next month to hear the outcome, ’cause we haven’t yet tackled it!

November 2009

[NEMO Dec 09 1.jpg] Welcome to our world, Robert! It’s not so bad!
Marque file photo


Settling in with Gazoo
by Robert Mannocchio

I’m new to NEMO, but not so to Minis. I have an ’05 JCW convertible. It is our “family time” car, as we try to do runs with the crowd from NEMINI.org. I made the leap to a Classic last year, about this time of the year, and it has been a disaster from the beginning. I have been fixing “Gazoo” since then.

It is a ’78 Saloon with a 1275, and an open roof. The kids named it “Gazoo” because the Great Gazoo from the Flintstones only caused trouble. At one point in the repairs, I broke down with the kids in the back — I got out, popped the bonnet, and started fiddling with the distributor. The girls got out (on the side of the road), I asked what they thought they were doing by getting out of the car, and they answered, “We’re going to help you push, Daddy.”

I laughed too hard to be upset.

Just today, I was sorting another electrical gremlin and my youngest daughter got down on the cardboard and wanted to help. Oh, yes, and they are 5 and 6 years old, and love MINIs and Minis.

Just a week ago Dave Black put my lump back in after he rebuilt the tranny and sealed up my leaking hunk. Big thanks to Dave! He gives all the details in his column.

November 2009

NEMO Holiday Party Dec. 6!
by Paul Saulnier

WAYLAND, MA — This is a repeat of last month’s announcement.

We are set for the NEMO Mini Holiday Party on Sunday, December 6th, at JJ McKay’s in Wayland — (508) 651-3758 — from 12 noon to 3-ish.

McKay’s is at 171 Commonwealth Rd. at the intersection of Rts. 30 and 27, just a few miles from Exit 13 of the Mass Pike (bear left onto Rt. 30 past the tolls).

The buffet menu includes seasoned steak tips, ginger sesame salmon, Caesar salad, potato, vegetable, and a variety of fruit pies for dessert. Yummy!

Again this year NEMO will be subsidizing part of the cost of the buffet (regular price $27.30 per person) so your cost will be only $20 per person. Kids under 12 are half price and under 3 are free.

We will be holding a Yankee Swap so plan to bring a wrapped gift (try to keep the cost below $20). A Yankee Swap means that someone else may “take” your gift when it is their turn to pick. (Warn your kids so they don’t get upset if this happens!) You get to pick a gift for every gift you bring (and please, no more than one per person or the party will never end).

I’ll be crushed if you can’t attend so please respond to me — paul.saulnier@verizon.net or (508) 429-7192) — in the affirmative ASAP. I need your name and how many will be attending (and ages of any kids). Classic and modern Minis are encouraged to come.

November 2009

[NEMO Dec 09 2.jpg] Minis in Harrisville.
Marque file photo

Feb. 28 — save the date! Planning Meeting/Pot Luck

HARRISVILLE, RI — Join us on Sunday, February 28th, for NEMO’s Annual Meeting and Pot Luck Luncheon. We plan the year of activities at this meeting so be sure to attend. Plan to arrive at 12 noon. The eating starts at 1 p.m. and the meeting follows at 2 p.m., so bring a dish for the lunch table and join in the fun.

We will be holding the usual Give-Away Freebie Raffle so if you have any Mini-related items you would like to donate, bring them along.

The Meeting and Luncheon will take place once again at the home of Faith Lamprey and Bruce Vild, 5 Old Nasonville Rd., Harrisville. Call (401) 766-6519 or e-mail editor@britishmarque.com. Directions will go out to everyone on the Google Group e-mail list and will be put on the website.

See you there!

November 2009

From The Barn
by Dave Black

There’ve been two Mini projects in The Barn this month, but first let’s talk about Greg. He reports now that his S has gone several months without any starting problems. Remember that we’ve been chasing gremlins for a number of years and were continually frustrated by the gremlins’ ability to reappear. (Kind of like the possum we had in the garage and then The Barn!) Greg called last week to say it’s O.K. to report that we’ve solved the problem. As reported last time, the most likely root cause to all his electrical problems was a loose battery cable!

In other news, new member Robert Manocchio (Newington, CT) came in complaining about oil leaks. A quick slide under his Mini told the story — rear main seal, shift seal, timing cover. He also said it would slip out of 2nd gear when decelerating. Now, you know the rule — one or two problems can be fixed with the lump in the car, but three strikes and it’s out! So out it came for resealing and a rebuild of the tranny. Good thing, too. The double row bearing that supports most of the main shaft was in pieces! Wouldn’t have gone too many more miles before a catastrophic failure. And 2nd gear was worn well past its useful point. So all was put right again and Robert can again take his daughters with him in the Mini to help push if necessary (see attendant article).

Rian Dittmer from East Providence, RI, brought his Mini out to convert the drum brakes to disc. This was the first I’d installed a newly purchased kit with all new parts. It was fairly straightforward, though ball joints had to be installed on the hubs and the old steering arms had to be robbed from the removed hubs to make it all work. New boots were installed on both the pot joints and CV ends, the brakes bled and Rian should have been on his way… except that his stock steel rims wouldn’t fit over the disc calipers! So it was back to the credit card to get a new set of S rims and tires from the West Coast — and dang-it, now the rear tires interfere with the shock absorber. S drums were sourced, installed and now we need longer studs to go with the wider drums. No problem, got ’em right here, except after installing the bolts (requires removal of hub and some hammer work) and torqueing the lug nuts, the bolts are about 1/4” shy of showing past the nuts. Serviceable, yes, but not a comfortable situation, so longer studs are on their way here so Rian can bolt in his Mini!

Matt Lussier is anxious to get started on his 850 powerplant, but reports that funds-a-lacking, he may have to cool his jets for a bit!

In the meantime, the Gravelys are multiplying at a prodigious rate — six more this week alone! Anybody need one, or two, or three for that matter!?

All for now…

October 2009

[NEMO Nov Icaza.jpg] Dave and Jean Icaza`s award winning Traveller.
Photo by Barbara Newman

NEMO at the Cape Show
by Dave Newman

BUZZARDS BAY, MA — It was a cool and cloudy day on October 4th as a few NEMO members attended the Cape Cod British Car Club show in Buzzards Bay. The weather got continually better as the day went on and four Minis were entered in the show, along with one Morris Minor, which was in the same class for judging.

Faith and Bruce were there for the Marque with their MINI Clubman, which was not entered in the show. There were also two MINIs in a modern-day class.

Attendance appeared down from last year, probably due to the weather, but the show is still one of the nicest run shows to attend. The CCBCC does a great job organizing it as part of their British Legends Weekend, and the venue is well set up, right next to the Canal and its famous Vertical Lift Railroad Bridge.

The awards for Mini and Morris class were as follows: 1st, the recently restored Mini Traveller of David and Jean Icaza 2nd, the British Open Classic 1275 of Barbara Newman, and 3rd, the Morris Minor of J. Keith Hartinger.

Also in the show were Greg Mazza’s early ’60s Mini Cooper and the Chris and Gail Cole’s ’99 Mini Cooper Sports Pac, with a 1275 fuel-injected engine and big 13” wheels. The Cole Mini had recently been down to Maryland for MGs on the Rocks, an all-British show sponsored by MGs of Baltimore.

All the Minis present that day were very impressive machines.

October 2009

Mini Holiday Party Dec. 6!
by Paul Saulnier

WAYLAND, MA — We are set for the NEMO Mini Holiday Party on Sunday, December 6th, at JJ McKay’s in Wayland, MA from 12 noon to 3-ish.

McKay’s is at 171 Commonwealth Road, at the intersection of Rts. 30 and 27, just a few miles from Exit 13 of the Mass Pike (bear left onto Rt. 30 past the tolls).

The buffet menu includes seasoned steak tips, ginger sesame salmon, Caesar salad, potato, vegetable, and a variety of fruit pies for dessert. Yummy! Once again NEMO will be subsidizing part of the cost of the buffet (full price is $27.30 per person), so your out-of-pocket cost will be $20 per person. Kids under 12 are half price and under 3 are free.

We will be holding a Yankee Swap, too, so plan to bring a wrapped gift (try to keep the cost below $20).

I’ll be crushed if you can’t attend so please respond in the affirmative to me at paul.saulnier@verizon.net or (508) 429-7192 ASAP. I need your name and how many will be attending (and ages of any kids). I understand that the owner of the Mini with the most horsepower in North America will be there! See you on the 6th.

October 2009

[NEMO Reid Mango.jpg] Dave Reid (left) with Nick Mango, his Chief Scientist, right after his Group 4 victory.
Photo by Bruce Vild

Ah, yes, a fine Vintage...
by Bruce Vild

LAKEVILLE, CT, Sept. 4-7 — Wine, cheese, cars, drivers... all of these are better when they become “vintage.” And no one quite lives up to that like NEMO’s own vintage racer, Dave Reid, and his vintage race car, the #57 Austin Mini — that vintage being 1964 (the car, not Dave).

Shortly after our arrival at Lime Rock Park to cover this year’s Rolex Vintage Festival over the Labor Day weekend, we heard that Dave was racing and sought him out. We found him in the paddock with his back turned to the road and his front bent over into someone else’s Mini.

“Mr. Reid!” I called, to get his attention.

“Who the hell wants me now?” was the response as he turned.

I knew I had found Dave.

It was Saturday afternoon and Dave had just completed a Group 4 race, placing 4th behind an Aston Martin DB4 GT, an MGB, and another Mini. “I’ll win the next one on Monday,” he promised.

Well, guess what? He did.

Group 4 was a very interesting collection of cars. Labeled “Sport Road Cars and Sedans of the Mid-20th Century,” it included the exotic (a Ferrari 250, an Allard J2, an Aston DB3 and two DB4s), the less so (five Morgans and a Lotus Elite), and the more commonplace from the ’60s and ’70s (two MGBs, a Volvo 122, four Alfas, a Fiat, a Lancia Fulvia, an Elva, a Spitfire, a Healey 3000 and a Datsun Fairlady. Remember those?). If there was a longest distance award in the group, it would have gone to Jack Boxstrom from Picton, Ontario, and his DB3. Otherwise, the racers were drawn pretty much from the Northeast USA, going as far south as Maryland.

Dave resides in Marblehead, MA. So what’s it like to race on probably the closest thing he has to a “home track,” Lime Rock Park? Much better than it used to be, he told me after Monday’s race.

“Racers feel more welcome here now,” Dave said. “Gone are impractical rules that discouraged Minis and other ‘lower end’ racers.” These rules forced racers to keep their cars looking as showroom/stock as possible, even at the expense of safety and certainly of performance. There were also stories of racers being asked not to compete to their fullest so a favored patron who was racing in their group could get a trophy.

The man who was managing vintage racing at LRP did not have his contract renewed, and Dave believes that Skip Barber himself has now taken full control of the vintage program — and that that’s a good thing. Real racing is back, even for those of relatively modest means. (No matter how you slice it, vintage racing is an expensive hobby.) Besides, Dave added, the other guy “didn’t like Minis.”

Good riddance.

Our talk turned to the car itself. One glance at the dashboard and you can see why someone who was insisting that the race cars look as stock as possible would get heartburn. Basically, there is no dash, at least in the conventional sense. There are no gauges, not even a tach turned sideways so the redline is at the top. There are three indicator lights instead. These tell Dave when to upshift, when to downshift, and when to start to swear (I’m exaggerating about the third one). Think about it: the indicator lights give all the information Dave needs when he’s racing. Dials that have to be read would take his eyes off the track and break his concentration. Those lights give him a competitive advantage.

Does Dave know the car’s limit? For sure. Not only do the dash indicators tell him when he is “revved out” (such as when he’s at the bottom of the long LRP straight, traveling at about 115mph), the Mini has so much frontal area that he can actually feel a wall of wind when that limit is reached. Sheesh!

We talked about his racing strategy. When I was watching him race I saw him build momentum lap after lap to the point where it almost looked like he was racing all by himself — he would speed by, and then a moment later the rest of the pack would follow. How does he keep up speed, and really make it seem so easy?

“Don’t use the brakes,” he replied. I snickered, and maybe he thought that I figured he was kidding, so he explained. “You keep up speed by not slowing down. I find a hole and get through it. I stay in high gear from the esses [on the LRP course] to Big Bend.”

What about the second name painted on #57’s roof, Nick Mango? The roof designates him “Chief Scientist.”

Dave clearly is giving credit where credit is due.

“I couldn’t have done it without Nick Mango,” he told me. “He’s done everything to this car inside and out — engine, suspension, everything.” To Dave, Nick is as good an engineer as ever produced by MIT, and after seeing the car perform as well as it did, who could argue?

Will Dave and Nick come back to the Vintage Festival next year?

“We had too much fun not to come back,” he said.

October 2009

A Halloween gathering with a Mexican slant

Join the NEMO gang at a new Mexican restaurant in Putnam, CT, on Saturday, October 17th, at 5 p.m. Costumes are optional as it will be a bit early to dress for Halloween and you may get some strange looks! The place is Café Mariachi and it is located at 5 Heritage Road in Putnam. It is in the same location inside the King’s Inn that used to be a British pub where we held our Holiday Party a few years ago. Take Rt. 395 to Exit 96, Heritage Road. It is just north of the exit.

If you plan on attending, please e-mail Faith at NEMO@auroratechedi.com so she can give the restaurant an approximate headcount. Hope to see you there!

October 2009

From The Barn
by Dave Black

Several of you have commented on the absence of a “Barn” article in the last issue. There’s a good explanation: Ben’s Mini. I don’t know exactly why, but this summer has been one of deadlines — the hay had to get picked up due to impending rain, the tomato plants had to get buried fast (that day) due to late blight and the presence nearby of commercial crops, the potatoes had to be dug before they either rotted (wet conditions) or the dreaded blight got into the tubers, and then they had to be processed because they wouldn’t keep. We have a freezer full of mashed potatoes! Jo-Ann finally called it quits and refused to cook anymore! And then came Ben with brake problems.

I try not to tackle any major work during the summer due to outside activities, but I mean, how bad could a brake job be? Ben had all the parts either to rebuild or replace the master and slave cylinders, flexible lines, pads, shoes, and rotors.

It all started innocently enough and because Ben wanted the experience, work progressed according to his schedule. While puttering one evening I thought it would make sense to grease his car. No problems till I got to the front left A-arm where the grease fitting was broken. Replaced same, but it wouldn’t accept any grease. Removed the zirk fitting and dug around in there to remove the old, hardened grease, but it still wouldn’t take. Closer inspection revealed rust outside of the subframe where the pivot arm goes through. Now, this arm is nutted both front and back and has a holding plate at the front to keep it from rotating, but the rust indicated it had been rotating in the subframe. That meant the shaft was frozen in the A-arm.

Now I want all of you with classic Minis to go out, jack up the left front of your car, remove the tire and tell me how to remove this shaft if it won’t slide out of the A-arm. I tried using an air wrench (coming in through the front, between the radiator and motor mount). In fact, I put the air to it for so long, the shaft broke! The only way to do the same to the back end is to sawzall it off! That would have worked fine, but the shaft is heat-treated and took several blades to finally get through.

So now the A-arm is out, but you’ve still got to get what’s left of the shaft out. A 12-ton press got no results, but when the arm was heated red-hot it just barely started to creak and move full pressure and full heat for the full length was required to remove the shaft! A couple of minutes in the blaster and things looked as good as new. New bearings and a new shaft and it went back together just fine. Just think — if we hadn’t thought to grease, this shaft would have continued to wear both itself and the subframe until failure occurred, causing loss of control!

While messing around with this, I decided to change the rod change shift seal due to a steady drip. Got the outer seal out, but couldn’t get to the inner one and it leaked even worse! How is that possible?

Anyway, back to brakes. Couldn’t get the master cylinder to pick up fluid. Ben said the brake pedal wouldn’t return to top — must have messed up the rebuild, so out with the master. Disassembly showed no problems, but with the master out, the brake pedal still wouldn’t come all the way up without help. Possibly a broken return spring, but no, the pedal shaft was rusted to the pedals! So out with the pedal cluster, another candidate for the press to remove the shaft, then blasting and painting and reassembly. Finally got fluid into the master and noticed a puddle on the floor coming from the crossover brake line at the joint under the radiator. No big problem, just replace that line and voila — still a leak at that joint! Removed the flex line and compared it to another to find the female end had been drilled down too far the nut flats were contacting the top of the brake line before the flared end! Replaced the brake line, bled the system... and Ben finally drove home!

You might think we’re finished, but you’d be mistaken (sadly).
October 2009

From The Barn (continued)

Ben drove up Saturday for a final brake adjustment and all seemed fine. That evening he called to say the engine was misbehaving, backfiring through the carburetor and running rough. That can only mean the head gasket, and as we’d replaced it once earlier this year and machined the head it meant that we would have to machine the block this time. And that meant that the engine had to come out!

Sunday: Auto arrives at Barn.

Monday through Wednesday: Peck away at removal as time permits. Greg comes Wednesday for final pulling of lump.

Thursday: Realization dawns that time is critical due to commitments both during the week (work) and after this weekend for the next three weekends (play). Machine shop only works M-F, so if Ben is to get his car anytime in the next month, parts must be at the shop tomorrow morning.

After work Thursday: Begin disassembly of lump, only to be interrupted by a neighbor who has just purchased a classic Mini and wants to visit! Can’t work and talk at the same time, so we talk. When Matt leaves, time is even shorter for the job at hand, so out come the air wrenches for a rapid undoing of the lump. Had fits with the flywheel (broke one puller), but by 9:30 block and head are ready to go.

Friday 5:30 a.m.: Parts are dropped off at machine shop and off to work. At 2 p.m. parts are picked up, then start masking and painting (can’t go this far without freshening up the lump)!

Saturday: Assembly, test stand run (successful) and re-install lump in car. Ben drives home!

So you see why this article missed last month’s deadline. And in the middle of Ben’s project Ray calls with a clutch problem, and Greg is still chasing electrical problems! Ray called while waiting for AAA. Seems his clutch wouldn’t disengage — pedal was fine, had one push that felt funny, and then wouldn’t work at all. Ray pulled master and slave to rebuild both, realized the original builder of the car had switched brake and clutch masters, so pulled and rebuilt the brake master as well. That evening he called to say he still didn’t have a clutch, so started looking for mechanical flaws. Found the ball at the bottom of the clutch-actuating arm had broken! In hindsight, the rapidity with which he lost the clutch should have been a clue to a catastrophic mechanical failure rather than a fluid problem. Fluid problems usually result in a gradual loss of clutch response.

Greg’s electrical problem just won’t go away. At least this summer he’s driving the car more and chasing the problem with some regularity. He’s converted to Pertronix ignition and likes the results, though he admits to having the points, condenser (and screw) in a bag in his door pocket! Electrical connectors have been renewed and soldered and the battery ground strap redone.

The strap was found to be loose — do you suppose that this has been the root cause of all his various electrical problems? Entertain the idea that all the voltage generated in the engine compartment must eventually ground out to the body and thus back to the battery. If the battery ground connection is weak, the voltage has to go somewhere, like through the rotor cap or burning the points prematurely. Regular readers will note that both of these have occurred. Could it also have affected the voltage regulator, coil, and all the other bits that have gone wrong over the past five years? Once again, Greg may have stumbled onto the root cause of all his problems! Time will tell and you can rest assured that you will read about future developments first right here in this column!

All for now.

October 2009

MINIsOnTop raises $11K

HOLDEN, MA — The 7th Annual MINIsOnTop MINI Cooper car rallye, held June 27th at the Mt. Washington Auto Road in New Hampshire resulted in $11,000 being raised for the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Maine and the Mt. Washington Observatory.

Make-A-Wish received $10,315.82 and the Observatory received $692.18. Major donors were Herb Chambers MINI of Boston, with a lease of a MINI, and the law firm of Hamilton Brook Smith & Reynolds, with luxury box tickets to a Red Sox game.

The checks were presented August 8th during a barbeque for the volunteers at the home of one of the organizers in Holden.

This is the fourth time one of the Make-A-Wish Foundations has been supported and the second year for the Mt. Washington Observatory. The Observatory receives 6.288% of the total raised, honoring the height of the tallest peak in the Northeast (6,288’), and the balance goes to one of the state chapters of the Make-A-Wish Foundation. This year was Maine’s turn.

MINIsOnTop was started by a group of like-minded individuals who met on an Internet forum dedicated to the MINI Cooper. A suggestion for a fun run up Mt. Washington to view the sunset during the Summer Solstice has turned into a major fundraising event in the Northeast involving MINIs. While MINIsOnTop is not directly affiliated with NEMO, many NEMO members with MINIs participate.

[From a press release.]

October 2009

Holiday Party announced

After many e-mails back and forth on the NEMO Google List it was decided to have the NEMO Holiday Party back at JJ McKays in Wayland, MA. Since most places we looked into wanted a guaranteed number and have a minimum of 40 people or so we decided to return to McKays, which is not so restrictive.

The date is Sunday, December 6th, at 12 noon until 4 p.m. We need a head count so RSVP to Paul Saulnier by e-mailing civilizeds@aol.com or calling him at (508) 429-7192 before Thanksgiving. Let him know how many are attending (and ages of any kids). We will get back to you with the menu and the cost.

August 2009

[NEMO Sept First.jpg] Paul Saulnier poses with the very first Mini.
Photo by Tony Haslam

1000s of Minis at IMM/Mini 50!
by Tony Haslam (Miniaddicts) & Paul Saulnier (NEMO)

BIRMINGHAM, U.K., Aug. 7-9 — Beautiful weather for three days greeted over 3500 Minis and over 7000 participants and visitors from all over the world, all meeting in Longbridge to celebrate the 50th birthday of this wonderful little car. The Birmingham Mini Owners Club excelled to produce a fantastic show despite being overwhelmed by the masses that turned up for the fun.

Miniaddicts mixed with many different nationalities young and old on the campsite. Among our little group were two Australians, one New Zealander and Paul, our American visitor and NEMO representative. I drove my Riley Elf from Chester with Paul riding shotgun on the left and our wives following in my Citroën. I parked in a space reserved by the Elf Registry along with several others.

The event was held on a series of open fields on a rolling hillside and when viewed from the top, it was Mini Nirvana for any enthusiast.

The main event area was host to vendors and reserved for some notable Minis, like the first and last production Minis off the assembly line (see photo with Paul), as well as an area set aside for 1959 Minis. The Monte Carlo winners were also on display. —TH

“Unbelievable”

The Brits, and all of Europe for that matter, will travel unbelievable distances in a Mini to be present at the IMM, especially for the 50th anniversary of the Mini. Next year the IMM will be held in Germany and many of the miniaddicts plan on attending. I was even invited by a German Elf owner who wanted to practice his English on me. All I could say in response was danker shane.

Hosting the event across the lane from the factory (now razed) was even more reason for some to attend. Many towed trailers and campers, or caravans as they call them, to live on site for up to five days. Just walking by the camps of the clubs from all over the world was an experience for a homebody like me.

The Spamfritter Mini Club of England gave me a can of Spam from the Monty Python movie Spamalot as a souvenir from their club display. I’m told one of these cans actually sold on eBay for £8!

I was anxious to see what crazy things folks over there do to their Minis as I have an uncontrollable urge to modify Minis myself. I wasn’t disappointed. There were chromed Minis, 4x4 Minis, stretched Minis, shortened Minis, flip-nosed Minis, funny car Minis, camper Minis, and more. Not to mention the endless display of flowers, racing strips, plaid paint, and roof decorations on Minis from every nation on earth. Now I feel better knowing that there are lots of people with the same uncontrollable urge to modify their Minis! —PS

August 2009

[NEMO Aug Al de Arroyo.jpg] NEMO’s Al de Arroyo was among those offering rides to a very long line of spectators at Larz Anderson.
Photo by Bruce Vild

NEMO out in force at Micro/Mini
by Faith Lamprey

NEWTON, MA, July 10-12 — NEMO was very involved with this year’s Microcar and Minicar Classic. This weekend-long event, held in and around the home of the area’s foremost microcar enthusiasts, Charles and Nancy Gould, brings out many of our members every year. There are not many events where the Minis are some of the largest cars in the group!

Marsha Judson once again prepared the Friday night buffet and coordinated the kitchen help for Saturday’s Eclectic Barbeque. Bruce and I prepared the keepsake nametags and helped with registration. Barbara Neiley assisted us at the show on Saturday at the Larz Anderson Auto Museum with day-of-event registrations and did all the ballot counting.

The event logo this year, created by Troy, NY-based artist Wendy Costa, was based on the classic Dodgem ride in amusement parks (as in bumper cars) we all remember as kids. When people were giving rides in the micros and Minis at the show on Saturday, I thought about that theme as they zipped on and off the field, carrying spectators on a ride they will not soon forget! Don’t worry, nobody bumped.

There were a lot of Minis there this year — I would say well over a dozen. Minis have their own class (as opposed to other “minicars,” such as BMW 700s and NSU Prinzes), and the numbers were so impressive Charles even asked us if they should offer a separate class for new MINIs next year.

It was great to see Al de Arroyo among those giving rides, and Mike Browne, from the Positive Earth Drivers Club, up from New Jersey to attend the event. Both gentlemen came away with trophies for their cars, too — Al a 2nd, Mike a 3rd — but 1st was Ken Lemoine once again, in his turquoise Morris Mini Traveller.

At the end of the awards presentations, a token of our club’s appreciation was given to Charles and Nancy for opening up their home every year to us Mini enthusiasts and including us in all the micro activities. Appropriately, it was something small — a scale model of four BMW Isettas on a car transporter. We figured there is always room in their garage for more Isettas.

Upon our return to the Goulds’ I took over their back yard and gave a cooking demonstration (how to make rice rolls for sushi), complete with heckling from the audience. Besides rice rolls, that night’s Eclectic Barbeque was supplemented by Friday night’s leftovers and then an ice cream run to downtown Newton. As micros doubled up in single parking spaces or parked pretty much wherever they felt like (they could squeeze in anywhere) they were the source of much amusement to the locals.

Sunday the wild fun continued as Charles led us on a micro/Mini caravan to Mt. Wachusett. The mountain road was closed, but of course getting there was half the fun. We enjoyed lunch in the area and met up with Dave Black and Greg Mazza at the restaurant.

We did work the event, but there was plenty of time to wind down, too. If you have never joined us at the Microcar and Minicar Classic, you must consider it next year. It is always held in July, usually on the second weekend. As I am fond of saying, “It is more fun than adults should be allowed to have!” Kids can come, too.

August 2009

[NEMO Faneuil1.jpg] Minis strike an historical pose.
Photo by Ken Lemoine


British re-invade Faneuil Hall!
by Ken Lemoine

BOSTON, MA — In cooperation with Kurt Steele of the Boston Area MG owners and the British Embassy, five Minis (three from NEMO’s Ken Lemoine, Paul Saulnier and Vince Tamburo) established an encampment on the bricks of Faneuil Hall and the marketplace in downtown Boston.

During this, the Mini’s 50th anniversary year, NEMO has been motoring about “New” England spreading the good will of our little Minis, and on Sunday, July 19th, we subdued over 15,000 Bostonians to the strains of Gerry and the Pacemakers, the DC5, Herman’s Hermits and many more British Invasion bands of ’60s. Unlike the earlier colonists these 21st century revolutionaries embraced our little Brit mobiles, and some clown (literally) hugged them (also literally).

It just proved that if you take the cars to the people they will give you back a mountain of friendship. If we are to engage the next generation of enthusiasts, events like these will be a great place to make that connection you never know when they may see their first Mini.

August 2009

From The Barn
by Dave Black

First up this month — Brian Jablonski with his unique ’63 850. In for brakes and out with that, plus a new rear main seal and engine steady bushes. The early brakes are very simple — both front and rear are identical drum systems! Same slave cylinders, same shoes, springs, drums, etc. And they actually work! Well, they do when properly adjusted, and adjustment needs to be done regularly or a very low brake pedal will result. While poking around on the creeper, I noticed oil dripping from the cotter pin in the bottom of the side cover (clutch end). This is an indication of rear main seal failure and needs prompt attention or forward motion becomes impossible due to clutch slippage. A bear of a job with the motor in place, but can be done with a modicum of patience and a fair bit of luck (like, how tight is the flywheel?)

Next was Tom Judson, who wanted to replace his generator with an alternator. I mean, how hard can that be? The tricky part is the voltage regulator wiring, but it’s really just a matter of connecting all those wires together and getting rid of the regulator altogether. So Tom gets the alternator in and realizes that the coil was mounted to the generator and now needs a new mount. The kit came with a bracket that mounts on a head stud, so out came the stud and we thought it would be smart to install a longer stud so future removal of the coil would not require disturbing the head torque. Another stud was sourced from the Barn’s stud collection and installed, then torquef almost to 50ft-lbs when pop! Oh, crap — it broke! Now what? The break was at the very top of the block, too far down to get at it with a standard drill and easy-out. The only solution was to remove the head.

At this juncture, I should mention that it was late on Wednesday evening and on Friday morning, Tom and Marsha needed to have this car to haul all of the food for microcar weekend to Newton, MA. You see, Marsha prepares most of the food consumed by the multitudinous crowd at the microcar meet and none of their other vehicles is capable of fitting all of the fixings. Now, I hate a deadline, but here we were — Tom was prepared to drive the car sans the one head stud (I wasn’t) — so off with its head! Thursday evening we finished the job and nobody went hungry in Newton.

That Sunday, Greg and I met up with the microcars on their jaunt to Mt. Wachusett. We had a wonderful drive up and were following the micros when I noticed Greg falling behind. It seems his electrical problem had reared its ugly head once again, and so a coil change seemed to work — but only for a couple of miles. We started to look for wiring problems that would rob the spark (nothing obvious). Then checked the points, replaced the condenser and had a hard look at the rotor. I mean, what can possibly go wrong with the rotor? It’s such a simple piece with no moving parts, but Greg saw a flat black spot on the underside where it goes on the distributor shaft. It seems the spark was leaking through to the shaft and not getting to the plugs! Fitment of a new rotor got him running again and in time to visit with the micros at their lunch stop.

Convinced that we’d finally got to the bottom of Greg’s electrical problems (this has been chronicled in this column for many years), all went merrily on their way and all arrived home with no incident. Greg was so happy he started driving his S regularly and was just getting used to the idea that it was going to be dependable when it left him walking once again! This time it sounds like some wiring problem, but I’ll let you know as soon as I know something more!

June 2009

[NEMO Isetta Fiat Mini.jpg] Isetta, Fiat 500 and Morris Cooper get ready to set out on an ice cream run with other micros and Minis at the Gould compound.
Photo by Bruce Vild

More fun with little cars!
by Faith Lamprey

NEWTON, MA — In fact, it’s more fun than adults should be allowed to have! So do not miss this year’s Microcar & Minicar Classic Event, July 10-12. It is three days of fun and frolic with folks who are more obsessed than we Mini owners are with small cars. What other car event can you go to with your Mini and be one of the largest cars in attendance? Expect to see Messerschmitts, Isettas, Citroën 2CVs, and maybe a Trabant or two!

The Classic is hosted by world famous microcar enthusiasts Charles and Nancy Gould at their home at 163 Country Club Road in Newton.

People start arriving Friday afternoon to unload, polish and, if needed, repair their cars (they have a whole gang of “wrenches” who are on call to assist). Registration opens at 6 p.m. and that is when the wine, beer and a sumptuous finger food buffet are available as well. The welcome party lasts long into the night!

Coffee, bagels and pastries greet folks as they assemble 8 to 11 a.m. on Saturday morning. At 11 the cars parade four miles to the Larz Anderson Auto Museum in Brookline for a show. This is the only show held at the Museum where spectators are given rides in the show cars! There is a Mini/MINI Class with awards, so make sure you bring yours. The show runs until 4.

We then parade back to the Goulds’ for the notorious “Eclectic Barbeque.” Participants are asked to bring unusual foods to share. This is a favorite part of the weekend activities as the only thing that this group enjoys more than the little cars is the food!

Around dusk we parade over to Newton Center where we park and create quite a stir. Once back at the Goulds’ serious margaritas and general merriment wind down the day’s activities.

Pastries and coffee await those who come back the next morning to join in another adventure with the Goulds. At 10 a.m. we will set out on a 50-mile tour to Wachuset Mountain and ascend to the summit. (The only car not to make it to the very top last year was a Mini! However, the car had just been restored and perhaps was not yet sorted out.) We stop for lunch after our descent from the Mountain and then, time permitting, stop at the Goulds’ Matchbox Motors Microcar Museum storage facility to view all of the unfinished projects and potential show winners that were not able to be driven in the Classic this year.

If you are still with us Sunday evening, you can join the gang at a local restaurant and then go back to the Goulds’ for another round of margaritas and merriment.

NEMO is very involved in this event. We help out with name badges, registration, vote tallying and food preparation. If you would like to volunteer to help us, please e-mail me at nemo@auroratechedi.com.

For more details, a registration form and directions, go to www.bubbledrome.com.

June 2009

[NEMO Lynda Madison.jpg] Lynda Madison`s 2009 convertible at BBTS.
Photo by Bruce Vild

Winning Minis at British by the Sea
(Courtesy of the Connecticut MG Club)

WATERFORD, CT, June 7 — The hosts of British by the Sea, the Connecticut MG Club, announced that BBTS set a record this year for number of cars, trucks and motorcycles on display: 340!

The lineup of Minis and MINIs was particularly impressive. Winners came from the ranks of NEMO and beyond. They were:

Mini Classic — 1st, John and Denise Leary, 1963. 2nd, David Icaza, 1969. 3rd, Tom Marantz, 1967.

Mini New (MINI) — 1st, Keith Pennifold, 2006. 2nd, Paul Kramm, 2008. 3rd, Lynda Madison, 2009.

June 2009

From The Barn
by Dave Black

A regular reader of this column will no doubt be growing tired of hearing about yet another head gasket failure. Or perhaps the reader takes pleasure in others’ misery (like gawking at an accident). At any rate, we’ve had another head gasket problem. This time Vince Tamburo was the lucky winner. As many of you know, replacing the head gasket requires removal of the head — sometimes a quick job, sometimes it gets complicated. Vince’s removal was fairly straightforward, but turned into a real project when it became apparent that the whole engine had to be removed to machine out a burned spot on the block.

Head removal: jack up car loosen exhaust and slide back off head studs hang intake manifold and carb back out of the way don’t remove cables as these can take a long time to get back in place remove valve cover, plugs loosen bypass hose disconnect rad top connections off with the rocker assembly and with any luck, there’s nothing left but a beheaded block! Now, when you realize that the whole engine must come out, you must first reinstall the head to provide an anchor for the exhaust so you can disassemble the exhaust to get the LCB out of the way. Then, of course, the carb cables must now be removed to allow for complete removal of same. I told you this was like passing an accident — you just could not read this far, could you!

There’s more. Vince came with friend Bob Trigo to pick up the car and through a miscommunication, I was out of town. Not wanting to take the car without letting me know, Vince went to get my cell phone number and found he didn’t have it with him. Knowing that Faith would know how to reach me, they called information to get Faith’s number (unlisted) and no listing for any of the company names that Bob and Vince could think of. In desperation, Bob knew where he’d left his copy of the Marque at home. A call to his wife and a quick search by her found a phone number for the Marque and soon we were talking.

I suggested he take it for a drive and call me afterwards, as I was still a couple of hours away from being available. It took about 1-1/2 hours for Vince to call back. Seems his Mini just quit about three miles from anywhere! Vince hitched back to The Barn to get his trailer and go rescue Bob and Mini. By then I was getting close, so they decided to wait.

Well, when faced with an abrupt stoppage, it’s always better to keep it simple. The lack of only one of two things can stop an engine dead in its tracks: fuel or spark. Checked fuel first — lots. Pulled a plug and found... nothing. Aha, so it’s electrical, I announced. (While thinking, oh, crap! — it’s electrical. Do you know how many possibilities there are for failure in the Mini electrical system? We could be here all night!) So now with a nervous sweat running down my back I start grabbing wires to see if there’s any obvious fault. We got real lucky — while I was pulling on the primary coil lead it came off in my hand! Five minutes later Vince was loading his Mini on the trailer for the long trip back to the South Shore.

Next came Jay Cady, who has recently been autocrossing with his Mini. On the last tech inspection, one of his front wheels wasn’t as secure as it should be, so Jay wanted to fix the problem post-haste. It’s always fun to show a guy how to fix his car himself and Jay took to it easily. He did say that his daughter, Emma, would be upset to learn that she’d missed the job of removing the front wheels, her favorite task (got to meet this girl!). In no time we had both hubs off, cleaned everything up and were ready for reassembly. One CV boot was torn, then it was noticed that the other one was in bad shape — and that the inner boots were nothing to write home about, so all were replaced along with the one bad bearing.

I was working one side, Jay the other. Sharing tools, I put my side’s caliper on and installed the bolts as far as could be done by hand, thinking Jay would tighten them up when he came around with the wrenches. Not another thought about this until taking a shower the next morning when I wondered if he had checked those bolts. Well, we got lucky — he hadn’t — and had driven 100 miles home, luckily with no ill effects. Jay reported that Emma was ecstatic about having to remove this tire after all!

And then came Greg for brakes on all four wheels. New drums on the rear, new discs on the front, and a full ball joint tune-up. Now his car not only goes like stink, but stops on a dime!

All for now got to go weed!

May 2009

[Smugglers Minis.jpg] Minis, led by Chris and Gail Cole, blast through Smuggler’s Notch near Stowe.
Photo courtesy Bikes & Buggies

Fun in the Mountains
by Faith Lamprey

STOWE, VT — After getting the horn in our 1967 Mini fixed (see Dave’s article below), Bruce and I were ready to roll to “Minis in the Mountains,” an eat, lodge and drive weekend held May 15-17.

We were very excited about this trip because it meant going to Stowe entirely for pleasure. The only other times we have been in Stowe have been for the annual British Invasion, and while we always have a wonderful time, we are totally occupied in the vendor area and are not able to tour around and enjoy some of the wonderful scenery and special features that part of Vermont has to offer.

We decided to take the back roads up to Stowe this time, and the Mini really loved the curvy roads instead of being forced to scream down the major highways while avoiding being run over by the huge semis.

The event was held at the wonderful Ye Olde England Inne. We had reserved a suite with our friends Tom and Marsha Judson and were looking to spending some time with them. We always see them at the “British by the Sea” show where we are vending and they are working the show with their other club, the Connecticut MGs. We also see them at the Goulds’ for the Microcar/Minicar event, but we all help out at that one so there is not much time to chat.

We checked in at the Inne and were greeted with a big hug from Lyn Francis, who owns the Inne with her husband Chris (whom you may know as one of the organizers of the British Invasion). After settling into our charming suite, we returned to the lobby and sampled some afternoon tea and freshly baked brownies. Then Tom and Marsha arrived and the fun began!

Part of the activities Chris had planned for the weekend was a wine and cheese get-together followed by a barbeque dinner. The other couple who had registered for the event had not yet arrived so the four of us sat down on the porch of the Inne, where we were served an enormous plate of cheese, crackers and fruit and beverages. After consuming more cheese than I have ever had in one sitting we saw a Mini pull in to the parking lot across the street. We thought it was the other couple and they were lost, so Bruce and Tom ran across the street to get them. Well, it turned out that they were not the missing event participants, but NEMO members Chris and Gail Cole from nearby Johnson, VT! They had been out for some exercise and wanted to grab dinner before heading home. Tom and Bruce convinced them to join us for dinner and they ended up being with us the entire weekend! Our missing couple, Derick and Lorine Karabec, arrived just as we were digging into the barbeque, and so our group of four had doubled in size.

The next morning at breakfast Chris Francis bade us good morning and gave us a map with a suggested route for some great driving and scenery. We also met a group of photographers from Bikes & Buggies, who had arranged to take some photos of the group. So, our first stop was at a lovely covered bridge for a photo session. Then we were off to a stop at a waterfall that was only a short hike in from the road (see, it helps to have local folks with you!).

Once we returned to the cars, up we went to Smuggler’s Notch, where the road gets very twisty. The photographers were waiting for us there and got some great shots. It was very windy and cold once we got to the top of Smuggler’s Notch, but there were restrooms so we all got out of our cars and took advantage of them.

May 2009

[Minis in the Mountains.jpg] Our Minis in the Mountains.
Photo by Bruce Vild

While we were heading down the mountain it started to drizzle. A gaggle of Porsches passed us going the other way and they looked like they were also having a fun weekend. By the time we got down to the bottom it had begun to rain in earnest. No matter, we were planning to cruise and see the scenery until lunch, and the occupants of the four Minis were snug and dry so we just continued on our way. Tom and Marsha had a little trouble with their windshield wipers, but even this did not slow our group down very much and we pressed on. We traveled across northern Vermont, passing through charming small towns, and then crossed the bridge over to the islands on Lake Champlain. We stopped at a general store/deli in North Hero and had some great sandwiches. Mother Nature stopped the rain long enough for us to get lunch and then get back in our cars before starting the downpour again.

Chris and Gail (being locals) had led the way the entire tour and they suggested we avoid the traffic in Burlington and detour over to their house. We all agreed and off we went across another bridge and back to the mainland. The Coles have a right-hand-drive Mini and it was fun to see Gail stick her head out of the left window to get photos of the cars in the caravan.

We traveled through some beautiful country and finally arrived at the Cole estate. It is a gorgeous piece of property high up on a hill, complete with a pond, friendly wild turkeys and, of course, a garage/workshop where Chris and Gail keep their fleet. We oohed and ahhed over their Morris woody wagon, Triumph TR3, TR4 and Spitfire, all stablemates of the Mini.

After enjoying some hot beverages and the view from their lovely house, we reluctantly said our goodbyes. Chris and Gail graciously led us back to a main road so we would not get lost and end up in Canada.

We arrived back at the Inne in time to relax a bit before assembling in the lobby for our Saturday night dinner. Chris Francis escorted us to a great table in the corner of Mr. Pickwick’s Pub and joined us for a bit to hear about our adventures. After a good meal and much conversation, we headed off to our rooms.

At breakfast the next morning the photographers arrived with the pictures they took of our cars, blown up, printed on archival quality paper and ready to frame, which they offered for purchase at a good discount. After pictures were selected and money changed hands, it was time to finish packing the cars and head home.

Minis in the Mountains was a wonderful weekend, and many thanks go to Lyn and Chris Francis and the friendly staff at Ye Old England Inne as well as our impromptu tour directors Chris and Gail Cole. Derick and Lorine decided we were such a fun group that they are now NEMO members. We hope to see them at another event soon!

Innekeeper Francis hopes to make Minis in the Mountains an annual event. Once the date is set for May 2010, we urge you to put it on your calendar. Being in Stowe, enjoying and touring with a bunch of wonderful Mini folks — there is no better way to spend a late spring weekend!

May 2009

From The Barn
by Dave Black

Another active month here in The Barn. Al and Linda DeArroyo needed to have their rear main seal replaced. It had leaked enough to cause clutch slippage bad enough not to allow forward motion. As many of you know, this can turn into a real project, so Al arranged to leave before the crack of dawn to arrive at The Barn early enough to allow for unexpected problems with the changeout. Don’t you know — nothing went wrong! The flywheel popped off without so much as a grunt from Greg Mazza, who was there to help, and the seal was removed (I use a hose clamp on the primary gear as a puller to remove the main seal saves trying to get in there with a screwdriver and bugger up the side cover). Installation was exactly the reverse of disassembly — no surprises, no glitches. The best part of the day was lunch with Greg, Linda, and Al at a local eatery that serves Newcastle!

Curious as to why Al’s main seal had failed, a very close inspection revealed a very slight dimple in the seal area — probably from manufacture. Also, the running surface on the primary gear was quite rough from the factory. Al spent some time with the stropping sander to smooth things up (or is it down?) before reassembly. When working the primary gear into the seal, we always put a wrap of electrical tape over the step to prevent damage to the seal.

Bruce Vild called to say he couldn’t toot — what could it be? When I realized it was his Mini’s horn to which he was referring and not some dread medical ailment, it got interesting. Greg took the lead on this one, starting with the horn to make sure it actually worked (it did). Next, we checked conductivity of the wires to their first stop (fuse box) — all O.K. Then we put the voltmeter to the fuse box with the key on to see if the problem lay further up the wiring. With key on we got 12v on the hot side of the fuse box, but nothing on the other side. Could it be as simple as a blown fuse? (Of course not!) It required removal of the fuse box and wire brushing of the terminals to restore electrical conductivity. Toot-toot!

I know all our Minis have their own quirks and one of mine is corrosion in the fuse box. Every couple of years I have to remove it and clean everything back to bare metal. The symptom I look for to tell me when the cleaning is needed? My signal lights don’t work. And I’ve discovered that when the signal lights don’t work, neither do the brake lights, not a great situation on something as small as a Mini. I like to drive as predictably as possible, and my rear lights are a big part of communicating my intentions to the driver behind. Pay attention to those people — they quite literally holds your life in their hands!

Next month we’ll have another head gasket saga…

May 2009

[Dave Newman listens intently.jpg] The writer listens intently to a proposal during the meeting.
Photo by Bruce Vild

Planning for 2009
by Dave Newman

HARRISVILLE, RI — Almost 20 members made the trip on Sunday, March 8th, to attend the annual NEMO Planning Meeting, graciously hosted each year at Faith and Bruce’s lovely home in northwestern Rhode Island. Usually the weather is snow, rain or otherwise wintery, but that day was pleasant and sunny. A few members drove their MINIs and others their “regular” cars, but nobody dared venture out with a classic Mini as the weekend before had been icy and a good amount of salt still covered the roads.

After all, the #1 enemy of classic Minis is road salt. The Brits would call the resulting rust “being eaten by the tin worm.” I’m not sure there is any actual tin in a Mini, but there is certainly a backbone of mild steel and the cars were not designed to last too long, certainly not the 50 years that some of our members’ cars are approaching.

Speaking of 50 years, the Mini has a birthday in 2009. The first Mini to come off the line for general sale hit the streets on August 26, 1959. They were in production from 1959 to 2000, over 41 years, before the new-design MINI came out. We in NEMO like to think of the classic Mini as the best car ever made. (As in fact, it is.) So it is fitting that the discussions at the Planning Meeting included how to celebrate this birthday year!

Some of the members will be going to England for the big IMM bash and other celebrations near the factory in Birmingham. If someone sells this writer the winning lottery ticket, we all may be going! (Gotta be a big win!) Dreams aside, the economy has put the bite on everyone’s wallet and most who would like to go can’t afford to or are keeping their piggy banks full for a rainy day. Having been to the 40th celebrations at Silverstone and Mini-in-the-Park in 1999, I can say that anyone who goes to the 50th should have a great time. See the archive stories with pictures at www.airportworld.com in the Mini section.

The members brought food and treats and Bruce and Faith supplied the soft drinks and beer, so a break was taken to indulge ourselves. After that, Faith detailed some upcoming activities in which members can and should participate:

May 15-17 — “Minis in the Mountains,” a great getaway weekend at Ye Olde England Inne in Stowe, VT. Make reservations by calling the Inne at (802) 253-7558, and let them know whether you’re bringing your Mini/MINI.

June 7 — “British by the Sea” in Waterford, CT. This is a very nice show and quite a few Mini owners attend for a good day out. See the Connecticut MG Club website, www.ctmgclub.com, for a registration form.

July 10-12 — Mini and Microcar Day in Newton, MA, a weekend-long event that’s very popular each year with NEMO members.

Other activities were discussed, revolving around meeting at a breakfast place, having a nice spirited run in our cars and ending up at a diner, or other activity. We are looking for members to volunteer to run one of these easy get-together events. Come on and volunteer — it’s easy! Plan out a Saturday or Sunday, pick a place, a time, and give a month or two notice so it can get into the Marque, and let’s go!

As far as other activities go, there is a possible weekend of Minis at the Kitzhof Inn later in the season, and of course the British Invasion in Stowe in September. After Stowe, the Cape Cod British Car Club show at the Bourne Marine Park in October is well attended by NEMO members, who usually take all three trophies in the Mini class.

Lisa Mastrandrea has been the NEMO Keeper of the Money for quite a few years and expressed a desire to Faith before the meeting that she wanted to pass the torch. The members attending gave Lisa quite a few compliments on the great job she’s been doing, and then almost everyone jumped up and volunteered. Actually, that last bit about jumping up and volunteering didn’t happen, but after some application of guilt and shame and more beer, our very own Garage Wizard, Dave Black, stepped forward. After the beer wore off, he realized what a great service he will be providing to the club, and as to his experience in bookkeeping, he said he understood the “two sets of books theory” started by Capone in the 1920s and would keep us in the Black. (Only joking and horrible pun, and I wished he had thought of it for real!)

Faith organized a raffle of gifts donated by members and by the club. We discussed selling off the remaining MME2008 hats, shirts and bags at events and on eBay. Faith is going to sell them on the club merchandise area of the website also.

Then, Bruce brought out a DVD with a cameo appearance by a Mini, Rendezvous, and members watched that or left for home. Another great meeting over, another NEMO prime-anniversary Mini season begun. So attend an event or plan an event — just get out there and drive.

May 2009

MINIsOnTop Chooses Charities to Benefit from This Year’s Run

ESSEX, MA — The 7th Annual MINIsOnTop MINI Cooper Car Rally will be held Saturday, June 17th, at the Mt. Washington Auto Road in New Hampshire. MINIsOnTop, Ltd., has chosen two charities to benefit from the fundraising efforts that will be part of the event: the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Maine and the Mt. Washington Observatory.

The Make-A-Wish Foundation (www.mainewish.org) and the Mt. Washington Observatory (www.mountwashington.org) will share the proceeds from a raffle of a MINI Cooper lease donated by Herb Chambers MINI of Boston as well as money raised through other activities held throughout the day.

MINIsOnTop assists an individual New England state foundation of Make-A-Wish each year. The Observatory will receive 6.288% of the total raised, honoring the height of the tallest peak in the Northeast, and the balance will go to Make-A-Wish.

MINIsOnTop, Ltd., is a registered 501(c)(7) non-profit organization and not is affiliated with MINI USA, BMW of North America or any of its subsidiaries. Contact information: Michael Smith, Public Relations, michael@minisontop.com or (508) 397-2587.

[From a press release.]

May 2009

From The Barn
by Dave Black

What a treat this month to get to work on Randy and Betty’s Mini! Not only was the work easy — all it needed was some minor tuning and other bits — but the best part was visiting with Randy and Betty. They are planning to retire to Florida as soon as possible and this may be the last time we see them in the Northeast. It was a great time out for Koehlers, Blacks and Mazzas!

Ben called last week (see the Jan./Feb. Marque) with a problem. “Sounds like firecrackers under the hood,” he said, and water bubbling out of radiator very quickly leading to overheat condition. “Runs like crap!”

The diagnosis was easy — head gasket — the cause not so easy to pin down. I’ve been using the same copper gasket (VAF460) on all my rebuilds with good luck. My car has run over 20K miles without a head gasket problem. While trying to work through the possibilities, I found out that Vince Tamburo has the same problem! So, the last two rebuilds have failed head gaskets — time for a change. Trying the BK450 or “black” gasket. Ben drove away last night and haven’t heard from him yet (read: no news is good news). Vince will be out this weekend for his replacement.

Steve Nacky has been wrestling with his Metro calipers, trying to drill out bleed screws. Jay Cady is in the middle of the same project and had sourced out a bleed screw repair kit. The two have communicated and seem to be happy with the results. Steve, though, ordered a set of new calipers just to be sure. He plans to use the old ones as spares. Can’t have too many spares!

All for now — on to yard work — and, as I write this, it’s OITC (Old Iron Tractor Club) Plow Day tomorrow. The most fun you can have at walking speed. No registration, insurance or cops, just you and the dirt!

March 2009

[NEMO_Wet_Minis.jpg] Rain or shine, we always have a good showing of Minis at the Stowe British Invasion. Now we have the opportunity to visit in the spring!
Photo by Druha Nahoda

Minis in the mountains in May!
from Chris Francis

STOWE, VT — I would like extend a warm, welcoming invitation to you and all your members to a special weekend event we shall be hosting exclusively for Mini owners here at Ye Olde England Inne in Stowe, Vermont, May 15-17. We are calling it “Minis in the Mountains in May.”

The wonderful roads of Vermont are superb, a driver’s dream with little traffic, good surfaces, and there is no better vehicle to enjoy the winding mountain roads here than a road-hugging Mini! Views are fabulous in all directions and the spring foliage will be spectacular with every shade of green bursting from trees ancient and young in the welcome warmth of springtime. We have included driving tours to enjoy the waterfalls and covered bridges of Lamoille County and of course the famous Smugglers Notch. A stop at Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream Factory is a must.

On Friday goodie bags and a complimentary wine and cheese welcome reception for Inne guests who are Mini owners will be hosted in the Copperfields Room. Friday night is barbeque time, with our chef flashing up the giant grill to sizzle and serve your favourites. Saturday morning starts with a shine and show event (car care products, hoses, and buckets provided by us) followed by group photographs. A professional photographer will be on hand if you wish to capture some special images of your Mini. Saturday night is time to let your hair down for a great dinner with dancing to our favourite blues band in the Boathouse. Sixties garb is optional but you may win a prize if you get in the Carnaby Street mood!

A special Mini rate of $85 per person will include: a wine and cheese reception Friday evening Friday night BBQ on the deck breakfast Saturday and Sunday mornings afternoon tea Saturday and Sunday Saturday night dinner. Rooms at the Inne have been heavily discounted. Ask about our Special Value Rates (from $85 per night for our feature rooms to $175 for a suite that can accommodate four people.) Many of the rooms have Jacuzzis!

It should be a fun weekend and we hope to get a great turnout. For reservations call (802) 253-7558. At the time of booking, let us know if you are bringing your Mini along with its model, year and colour. All Minis, both classic and modern, are welcome!

[Many of you know Chris as a co-organizer of the British Invasion held every September in Stowe. His establishment, Ye Olde England Inne, is a favorite watering hole for many of the folks attending the Invasion. We discussed this event at our March 8th planning meeting and agreed it would be a great time away. Let’s start looking at caravan routes and sign up quickly to avoid disappointment.]

March 2009

MINI USA at Mini United
from Gina Koutros

SILVERSTONE, U.K. — I am sure that you are as excited as the people at MINI USA are about celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Mini this year. What better place for Mini fans to come celebrate together than at Mini United 2009 in Silverstone, May 22-24?

While American Mini and MINI owners may be a little sad leaving their cars behind to go overseas to Mini United, MINI USA has put together a special package for them to relieve any separation anxiety. The package includes some of the following elements: a Friday Night Pub Crawl, a track lap in a MINI at Silverstone Track, Sunday private lunch with Mike Cooper, access to the Mini Challenge Paddock Hospitality Lounge, limited edition gifts and goodies, and even a commemorative Royal Mail stamp of the Mini’s 50th anniversary.

Registration for this package has just opened, and it is only for U.S. guests, so please spread the word about this unique opportunity. The participation fee is $50.

If you have any questions about the event or this special package, feel free to give me a call, or you can go directly to http://www.miniusa.com/#/play/go_a_motoring/ united-m to learn more about the program.

[Gina is Shows and Events Manager for MINI USA.]

March 2009

The first ‘Mini’
by Geoff Wheatley

[Elsewhere on this page notice is given of the 50th anniversary of Alec Issigonis’ classic Mini. But even though our favorite little car was a trendsetter back in 1959, it was by no means the first based on the concept of smaller being better. Consider this piece from British car historian Wheatley...]

Could it be that the first “Mini” was not only American but was made in New York?

In 1928 James V. Martin, an airplane manufacturer in Garden City, NY, announced that his company would introduce a Baby Car in the following spring that would give the owner a cost of only two cents a mile with speeds in excess of 60mph. Furthermore the showroom cost for the car would be under $200 — including a portable garage in which to store the car when it was not on the road! In reality, he was talking about a two-seater automobile that had a five-foot wheelbase (smaller than the modern Mini by at least two feet), with a total unladed weight of less than 600 lbs., which meant that the average male owner could lift the car to change a wheel without the use of a jack.

Production was estimated at 2000 cars a day once the vehicle had been fully promoted and seen at selected dealers. The press release stated that the car could be parked in half the space of a standard car and had a turning circle within its own length. Furthermore, on a 400-mile road test the car gave over 50 miles for a gallon of gasoline. The car had no chassis or springs and there were no axles in the usual sense of the word. Each wheel was independently attached to the underside of the body, and the support was provided by “aviator cord,” which was used at that time to absorb the shocks in airplane wheels. The cord was comprised of a core of rubber strands and a protecting coat of fabric. (You can find a similar product in modern-day rubber-based tie downs with plastic hooks on each end.) These cords were guaranteed to last a total of 25,000 miles and then the owners could simply fit a new set for a modest cost.

Power reached the rear wheels through a diminutive differential gearbox attached to the bodyshell. Lightweight shafts drove the rear wheels through universal joints so that the car could roll over inequalities in the road surface. The fact that no heavy springs were used reduced the weight especially in the front section, which made steering easy. The power unit was a four-cylinder air-cooled motor that produced in excess of 20hp.

The unique cooling system consisted of a jacket completely enclosing the motor through which a fan forced cooling air, moving it through the jacket and around the engine. The VW Beetle produced some years later adopted the same principle, and it worked!

The gear selection was three forward gears and one reverse housed in the rear axle differential. The starter unit was electric, with a “kick starter” like a motorbike for those moments when the battery was low. You could have any color you wished, as long as it was black or red. The free garage was supplied by packing the car into a wooden weatherproof case with two front doors that could be locked. The car fitted into the space with room to spare.

One other interesting feature was the design of the interior. The two independent seats were offset to provide more internal space for the driver and passenger.

As far as the records indicate, the company made at least three of these vehicles before the effect of the stock market collapse halted further production and also closed the aircraft plant. What happened to Mr. James Martin is not known, but we do know that his car had the misfortune of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Had he been around a few years later there is little doubt that the car would have been a winner, especially when gas was rationed at the start of World War II.

The promotion reports of the day stated that a major mail order company was interested in selling the car. As Sears & Roebuck had been successful before the First World War in selling the “Sears Buggy” from a catalog, one can’t help but wonder if they were the mail order company in question.

February 2009

[NEMO Paul Smith Mini.jpg] Special edition Mini by designer Paul Smith (only 300 made) was given away as a raffle prize.
Photo by Tony Haslam

Bingley —
Good Show!

by Tony Haslam


The British Mini Club are the first to have a big show in the U.K. every January and this year was no exception celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the Mini. I was invited by the BMC to display my 1964 Riley Elf to represent the 60s Era.

The show was attended by over 5000 Mini enthusiasts eager to see what surprises were in store in this fantastic indoor show, and they were not disappointed!

A Paul Smith Mini was the prize this year in BMC’s “Win A Mini for a £!” and what a fine magnificent specimen it was.

Wood & Pickett were there as well, showing off their Margrave 50 for the first time. (That’s on my shopping list for when I win the lottery!)

I did not win a prize for Elf but hey, it’s the taking part that counts. Many friends visited me on the stand from Miniaddicts, Snowdon Minis, the Riley Club, and the Elf/Hornet Register.

Outside there were a few problems. Too many Minis and not enough parking spaces! Many Minis were parked on the grass verges outside of the Staffordshire Showground!

February 2009

Get ready for Mini Meet 2009!
by Karl Jenstad

WINONA, MN — Registration for Mini Meet East Meets West 2009 is now open! The event will be in Winona, Minnesota, starting the evening of June 29th, and going through July 2nd. Go to http://www.minimeet09.org/, click the registration button, and follow the instructions from there.

Registration is being done on-line, so you can pay on-line by credit card through PayPal (you do not have to join PayPal to do this) or you can pay by check through the mail. When you have filled out the registration form click on the PayPal symbol for credit card payment or click on the mailbox symbol for payment by check. Either way, you will get a confirmation e-mail listing your choices. If you choose to pay by check, payment details will come with your confirmation e-mail.

We’re going to have a great event with a lot to do this year. Here are the plans:

Monday, June 29th is check-in starting at 1 p.m. at the Riverport Hotel. Mini vendors will be present all during the car show. That evening there will be a welcome reception in the hotel’s ballroom. This will be a great chance to catch up with old friends and meet new ones.

Tuesday, June 30th is the car show at St. Mary’s University, followed by the panoramic photo. Tuesday evening we’ll be celebrating the Mini’s 50th birthday at the bandshell in the park in Winona with a live band, cake and soft drinks.

Wednesday, July 1st is Autocross and Funkhana Day at Southeast Tech University. They have a great track for the autocross and drivers should have a ball. With time constraints, we need to limit spaces in the autocross to 150 so be sure to sign up early.

Since spaces are limited in the autocross, we are making that event a la carte for Meet registrants. The wacky hijinx of the funkhana will be held nearby and should provide a great time for all.

In between the two venues, there will be vendors setting up shop along with several planned tech sessions. Wednesday evening will be Cruise Night at the local drive-in.

The rally will be held on Thursday, July 2nd, and with all the scenic river bluffs throughout the area, it will prove to be an unforgettable drive in the countryside on some great Mini roads. Thursday evening is the awards banquet, featuring some great food, fascinating speakers and door prizes.

We’re looking forward to a great time and hope all of you can come to the meet in Winona, Mini-sota!

February 2009

Don’t miss the Annual Meeting!

Don’t forget that NEMO’s Annual Pot Luck and Planning Meeting is on Sunday, March 8th, 12 noon, at Faith and Bruce’s house in Harrisville, RI. (For directions, see the February article below, or go to the "Events" page elsewhere on this site.) Come eat great food (our members always outdo themselves — not only does NEMO have some great mechanics, we have some great cooks!) and help us plan fun events for this year.

February 2009

[NEMO Miniaddicts March.jpg] Miniaddicts February Run
by Tony Haslam


Off to a motor museum in Cheshire this time...
Photo by Tony Haslam

Twenty Minis turned up for Deano’s run on the 15th February at the local McDonald’s car park in Mold, North Wales. After a quick briefing all the cars were given a route sheet in case we were broken up en route to a Cheshire car museum approximately 40 miles away.

Like Paul Saulnier keeps saying, “It’s raining!” The forecast said dry but is it ever right? Well, today it was not! A little drizzle saw us on our way for around 30 minutes and then stopped. From then on it was dry and the run went smoothly. One or two members lost their way but soon retrieved their steps (so to speak) and all arrived safely at the Mouldworth Motor Museum, www.mouldsworthmotormuseum.com.

After an interesting look around — and spotting an unused, brand new Mini 30 which had been purchased for posterity with zero miles on the clock — members returned to their Minis for a short run to a café in Delamere Forest before continuing on the run and eventually heading for home. A good time was had by all.

[Tony, our U.K. correspondent, belongs to our sister club in North Wales, Miniaddicts, www.miniaddicts.co.uk.]

February 2009

From The Barn
by Dave Black


I don’t know why it is that the slack time soon becomes unslack. Thinking that I would be able to take a “wood-break” for the rest of winter, those plans were soon scrapped with the arrival of Ben Van Rheem’s Mini. We had done some diagnosing over the phone and discovered that one of the plugs was fouling regularly and causing rough running. Also, the old complaint: “Can you do anything about those oil leaks?”

Not afraid of driving his Mini in the winter (like a real man!), Ben showed up a week ago. I have a rule about doing seal replacement while the engine is in the car: one seal, O.K. two seals, maybe it would be easier with the engine out three seals, out you come so we can have a proper look at you! Well, Ben’s front main, rear main, and axle seals were all leaking, and after a compression test we were going to pull the head for a valve job and seal replacement. There was a look of horror on Ben’s face when I announced the lump would have to come out, but we muckled down and in a couple of hours it was out in all its greasy, grimy glory.

Off with its head! That’s to have a look inside and determine where the compression loss and oil consumption were coming from. Intake valves looked fine, but the exhaust showed serious signs of cavitation and leakage. The valve seals should remove easily with a little help from a screwdriver to pry them up — they broke into little pieces like hard plastic when removed! Now these seals are soft rubber when new and require a certain amount of flexibility to maintain a seal on the valve stem. When they turn hard, they stop sealing and allow oil to cascade down the intake valves and cause the plug fouling. A valve regrind and new seals should do the trick.

The rear main seal had been leaking since it had been replaced long before Ben bought the car (probably back in France). The cause was a gouge in the side cover surface that the seal needs to seat against. It’s easy to damage this surface when removing the old seal with a screwdriver, and this damage should be smoothed over before fitting a new seal. Axle seals were as brittle as the valve seals and the front main seal was the same!

Brittle valve seals can be caused by overheating, but axle and main seals can’t get hot enough unless the whole car is on fire. The last time I saw seals this hard was on Bill O’Connor’s Mini. I wrote that one off to synthetic oil, but what could have caused the same condition on Ben’s car? Now in the course of cleaning up the engine bay it was determined that new choke and heater cables would be fitted. Also we would clean up and move some unnecessary bits from under the master cylinders. First step to removing master cylinders: take out drivers seat to gain better whole body access up around the pedals. Upon removal, a glance under the back seat revealed an open quart of Mobil 1! I don’t believe in coincidence: two cars with brittle seals that had been using Mobil 1 tells me that this is the wrong stuff to be using. My recommendation is a 15-40 diesel-rated oil of API spec CJ-4+.

One other discovery: while removing the master cylinder pins under the dash, the clutch pin came out as easily as it can, but I could neither see nor feel the brake pin. I mean, it wasn’t there at all! I can’t believe that Ben has been driving this car without this pin. If the master cylinder clevis had slipped off the end of the pedal…

So, all has been replaced and/or fixed and the lump re-installed. While hooking up the axle boots, shift linkage and exhaust, I noticed some oil coming out of the shift seal! Can you believe we forgot to replace this seal? I guess we’ll just have to do it in the car!

In other news, Steve Nackowski has been up to sandblast parts, rebuild A-arms, and attempt to rebuild 8.4” calipers. The bleed screws broke off and Steve is trying to drill them out and rethread the holes. More on this as it develops.

Ed came by to go through my gear collection and ended up with several “good, used” gears for his rebuild.

Tom Judson called for a telephone consultation on how to get his horn button to work again. He’s been using a button mounted to the side of the steering column and would like to have the horn back in the middle of the steering wheel.

And last but not least, the matter of wood versus bio-bricks: I’ve burned about three cords in the house so far (call it $300 worth of wood). I’ve gotten exercise cutting, splitting, and hauling this wood. It took about a gallon of petrochemicals to cut it, and an unknown quantity of carbohydrates to split it! The only machinery involved is a chainsaw (which I already own). Don’t know what kind of carbon footprint all this activity has and how it would compare to the footprint of the same quantity of bio-bricks, do you, John?

January 2009

[NEMO Summit Elf.jpg] Elf among rows of Minis at the summit of The Great Orme.
Photo by Dean Jones

Two Hundred Minis!
Miniaddicts join Wirral Minis on First Run of 2009
by Tony Haslam


Folks may remember my report on last year’s Wirral to Llandudno Run with it being one of the first and most popular every year. Well, this year was no exception. It was as magnificent as ever and very significant for me, as it was the first time for my Elf!

At 8.00 a.m. Sunday morning 200 Minis, young and old, assembled at the Bromborough Retail Park. After checking in we were able to buy a rally-style plaque to commemorate Wirral Minis’ 10th ‘W 2 L’ Run with toe plastic ties to fix to our grilles. (Makes an excellent water deflector to keep the rain off our distributors!)

At 9.15 the hooter sounded, and 20 marshals drove off, each leading ten Minis. The drive to Rhos-on-Sea was marred by a few entrants breaking down (nothing serious, only water causing malfunctions amongst the electrics). All were soon solved within minutes using WD40 and other water repellents.

The stop at Rhos-on-Sea allowed all to regroup after being split up over the 45-mile trip on the A55 Expressway by traffic overtaking and the water-sodden electrics. The pit stop (bathroom visit) provided great relief to many participants before moving on to The Great Orme, where we were given a concession pass for £1 instead of the normal £2.50. (We are only half cars anyway!) Once the toll was paid, the Minis braved their way, zigzagging up to the summit and parking in 20 rows, ten deep, in the centre of the public car park, with just enough room to open the doors to clamber out into a wind of almost 45-50mph. Many foolhardy drivers and passengers braved this by leaning into the wind at approximately 20°. Some even jumped up and landed three metres away from the spot!

Soon the hooter sounded again and everyone scrambled to find their Minis and drive round the mountain road to park on the promenade on the North Shore. We were allowed to drive on the promenade at 5mph or less provided we had our hazard indicators on. (The Elf has none so had to make do with headlights on.) Hundreds of day-trippers strolling up and down the promenade stopped to admire the Minis, many asking questions. I was the only Elf on display and was inundated with questions. I had forgotten to type an information sheet, which would have helped my throat no end!

The popular question was “How old is it? or “What year is it?” I was proud as Punch to be able to say “She will 45 years old on the 21st of January!”

[Miniaddicts are our sister club in the U.K.]

January 2009

Annual Planning Meeting March 8

Join us on Sunday, March 8th, for NEMO’s Annual Meeting and Pot Luck Luncheon. Plan to arrive at 12 noon. The eating starts at 1 p.m. and the meeting follows at 2.

Bring a dish for the lunch table and join in the fun. We will be holding a give-away freebie raffle so if you have any Mini-related items you would like to donate, bring them along.

The Meeting and Luncheon will take place at the home of Faith Lamprey and Bruce Vild, 5 Old Nasonville Rd., Harrisville. Call (401) 766-6519 or e-mail editor@britishmarque.com.

Directions:

From the Providence area: Take Rt. 146 North. Take the Rt. 5/102 Slatersville exit off 146. Turn right off the exit ramp and take a left (almost immediately) at the stop light (a “T”). You are now on Rt. 146A. Follow the directions from Rt. 146A below.

From the Boston area: Take Rt. 95 South to Rt. 295 South to Rt. 146 North. Take the Rt. 5/102 Slatersville exit off 146. Turn right off the exit ramp and take a left (almost immediately) at the stop light (a “T”). You are now on Rt. 146A. Follow the directions from Rt. 146A below.

From the Worcester area: Take Rt. 146 South to the Rt. 5/102/146A Slatersville exit. Turn right off the exit ramp. You are now on Rt. 146A. Follow the directions from Rt. 146A below.

From Connecticut and southern Rhode Island: Take Rt. 95 North to Rt. 295 North (in Rhode Island) to Rt. 146 North. From 146, take the Rt. 5/102 Slatersville exit. Turn right off the exit ramp and take a left at the stop light. You are now on Rt. 146A. Follow the directions from Rt. 146A below. (See below for an alternate route.)

From Rt. 146A where you’ve all converged: Follow Rt. 146A through Forestdale. You will go through three traffic lights (one in Forestdale, one at the Slatersville Plaza, one at Gator’s Pub). At Slatersville Plaza, intersect with Rt. 102 by going straight. After Gator’s, “The Island” will appear on your left and you will see a sign on your right for Wright’s Farm. Slow down and get ready for a left turn at Inman Road/Old Victory Hwy. (ignore the road on your left across the street from the sign). Make sure you use your blinkers—this is a busy intersection! Take an immediate left after that (onto Old Nasonville Road), and an immediate right into our driveway. Call Faith and Bruce at (401) 766-6519 if you get lost.

January 2009

[NEMO Poor Lil Mini.jpg] Our poor little Mini
by Dave Newman

Photo by Dave Newman

Our poor little 1978 Mini has been in outdoor covered storage since July 2003.

Five and one-half years of not being driven has not been kind to the poor sod. It failed Massachusetts’ inspection due to rotted body panels back then. It didn’t get restored as our newer and better Green Mini was using up our spare funds. Then it was time to fund daughter Christa’s college and blah, blah, no money, etc. So it got Sta-Bil in the petrol tank, cement blocks under the tires, a soft cover and a tarp tied onto it for what was to be about a year. Then another, then another, and we stopped looking at the car, just making sure that nobody damaged it or a tree fell on it. It just sat and sat, while the Green Mini was the apple of our eye.

All the while, the Dave Black-rebuilt engine was sitting there, not breathing, not moving, simply waiting to be loved again, like a long lost little terrier — eyes still bright, still a feisty little thing, ready for action.

It won’t start, owing to fuel turning to sludge and the fact that the carb was bad before it went to sleep. The tires have sidewall rot but still hold air. The vinyl interior surfaces have started to go all white from mildew.

A family of mice was living under the wiper motor on the shelf inside the bonnet. Cranking it over via booster cables let them make their escape. Spiders were all over, under and inside. Another family of mice crawled up through the drain hole under the spare tire in the boot, making a nest there. I was wondering why the insulation in the nearby shed was missing all its bottom sections. Anything rusted is rusted more.

The brakes were totally frozen but are not any longer. We pumped and pumped and have them working somewhat. No leaks so far.

It won’t stay in gear. The clutch was frozen but we broke that free. The slave cylinder appears to be frozen. The radiator is dry, most likely evaporation or rotted hoses. We tried starting it but the battery is gone and jumping it did not work. Did I mention spiders?

After checking under the tarps we felt extreme pity for the car that was going to be “restored when we have the money.” We drove the Ford van up onto the lawn, out to the back and towed the Mini around front. Then, by using the towrope, we lowered it down the hill into the driveway and hence the photo — it is getting a bath, a cleaning and then being put into the garage for the start of the restoration. Every classic Mini deserves new life, as they are not making any more new ones. Spiders, did I mention it has spiders?

So, this week the garage is getting a cleaning and soon that 1988 VW Cabrio that we bought in an extreme moment of weakness or madness is getting worked on so it can be sold in the spring. I can’t have a pretty little Hun car taking up space that our Birmingham honey needs to live in. Hopefully enough cash will be raised for the body work by selling the VW. Our poor car, first brought back to life for the 1998 NEMO-sponsored Mini Meet East in Seekonk, will once more become a living, breathing Mini.

As soon as we get rid of the spiders.

January 2009

From The Barn
by Dave Black

It’s -8° (that’s minus) outside, but 80° in The Barn! Not many Minis on the road today, but we’ve had a chance to do some work this month. It didn’t look like anyone would have need of The Barn, so I started work on the Thurd. The throw-out bearing has been protesting for a couple of years now and I figured it was about time to change it. After getting it up on all fours a cursory glance underneath showed a couple of oil drips. I knew about the shift seal (it leaks whenever there’s fresh oil, then stops after a bit), but why was there oil on the cotter pin in the hole under the clutch housing? It could only be that the rear main seal was leaking! Rats — that meant the flywheel had to come off and it’s a trick to get the seal in straight on these newer side covers (there’s no lip to drive the seal up to).

All went reasonably well, though, and I felt so confident I decided to replace the rubber cones. The Thurd has been sagging lately and with all the spare parts packed for a trip the rear just about bottoms out. Though not the easiest task with the lump installed, it is possible to remove both upper arms to gain access to the trumpets, which are invariably frozen solid into the cones. The rears pose their own challenge as new cones are at least an inch taller (longer) than the old beasties. But a bit of prying, crying and cussing and they were in!

A tip if ever you venture this task: install new gaiters and cups. It’s nearly impossible to get the old gaiter back over the lip of the cup, and the cup usually needs replacing anyway. Put them together as a unit then slip the cup into its hole.

The last bit was to insert trumpet into cone. The Thurd now has the stance of an SUV — rides incredibly high both front and rear — but I’m told it will settle down in a short period of time. We’ll see — maybe should have installed adjusta-rides!

Vince Tamburo brought his baby over last month with Bob Trigo to see if I could adjust his twin carbs to smooth out the engine. If not, he wanted to go with an 1-3/4 HIF carb to eliminate the hassle he’s had trying to get his carbs sorted. He also wanted to take care of the oil leaks. Experience tells me that if you’ve got oil leaks at the axle seals, rear main seal, front timing cover (and it looked like a couple of more places!), then it’s easier to attack them with the engine out of the car. Oh, Vince complained of smelling exhaust, too.

Just for jollies, we did a compression test — one cylinder much lower than the others. Could be valves, head gasket or rings. Performed the old trick of squirting a little oil into the cylinders and rechecking compression. The oil will seal rings, so if the compression increases appreciably, you can eliminate valves as the culprit. Well, you guessed it — the lump had to be removed and a complete rebuild was undertaken. Upon inspection, it appeared the head gasket had been leaking — this could be the cause of the exhaust smell. And lo and behold, the cylinders were worn, so the block was bored and new pistons fitted. All is back together and waiting for Vince and Bob to come for a test drive and transport back home.

As an aside, I did a little more work on the old Dodge this month. Steering gear, crank sensor, U-joints, head lights, and steering gear again! The best job was the headlights. The old plastic lenses were yellow and severely pitted (300K-plus miles) and NAPA provided me with a refurbishing kit. Claimed to be a five-minute fix. And they were right, about five minutes per side and the lenses look like new! I won’t bore you with the details on the other jobs — give me a Mini to work on any day!

December 2008

[NEMO Riley Elf.jpg] My ’64 Riley Elf’s maiden run!

(Well, in my ownership anyway)

by Tony Haslam

The Elf, posed near an island windmill.
Photo by Tony Haslam

CHESTER, UK — After three years work of blood, sweat and tears the big day arrived. My Riley Elf was to have its first MOT in 30 years (the length of time it had been off the road) — and it passed! Next job was to re-register it as an Historic vehicle (every vehicle here pre-1972 qualifies for road tax exemption) and collect the free tax disc. I was even given a receipt for it!

So what’s my next step? Well, as it happened, some dear friends of mine who run Snowdon Minis arranged a Charity Run around the beautiful, rugged Island of Anglesey on Sunday 26 October, and I decided to join them.

I left Chester 1 1/2 hours early to cover the 60 miles to meet the club in Caernarvon. The little 998cc motor purred along with no fuss along the expressway, and we arrived 15 minutes before the start.

Twelve Minis were waiting for me to join them. The convoy of Minis then carefully negotiated the Island like a snake with hardly any other vehicles cutting in, most of them stopping and giving way to enable us to keep together, a lovely sight to see! With stops for photo shots and “pit stops” we were able to take in a few sights that make this island unique.

The £100 raised on the day was presented to the Air Ambulance Service, which does a grand job of rescuing sailors around the North Wales coast and many climbers on the Snowdon Mountain range.

[Tony is a member of Miniaddicts, our sister club in the U.K.]

December 2008

[NEMO Brake Servo.jpg] Mini brake servo, believed gone south.
Photo by John Holden

’Twas the night before...
by John Holden

HOLDEN, MA — Oops, wrong line. ’Twas the week before Halloween (that’s better) and all through our log house... the annual NEMO party was underway.

The Mazzas have graciously hosted this event for many years and last year we volunteered to host to give them a break. Attendance was unfortunately minimal, and only half dressed in costume (no, I did not). A couple of wizards in flowing garb and Willy Loman with freshly used hangman’s noose and plaid jacket came. But, like always, great food and malt and vineyard beverages were served, and the usual Mini talk was heard round the table. Pretty low key, but great people and great conversation.

Party coverage over, I suppose this is a good place to discuss the bit of Mini fixin’ that I was required to do last month. Let me tell you, I’ve never been fortunate to enjoy the complete loss of brakes before. It’s quite interesting.

After leaving the house the first stop I came to exhibited very soft brakes and very iffy stopping ability. Hmm, I thought. Next stop exhibited... well, nothing — the pedal went right to the floor. Joy! So being only a mile from home I turned around and carefully hand-braked my way back to my garage.

Habit is hard to break — even though I was downshifting and using the handbrake I naturally went for the foot brake, which of course didn’t cooperate and I think may have been sniggering at me.

Inspection showed half a master of fluid. No leaks at the corners or along the lines. No spots on the floor. Nothing on the carpet under the pedal. So let’s bleed the system. Got it back to about 80-90% or so, took it for a ride and confirmed that yeah, it still has some air but I’ll leave it until tomorrow since it’s late.

Next day, I have zero brake pressure again. After talking it over with Dave Black to confirm, we both assume it’s the servo. So after bending a line and bypassing the servo and bleeding yet again with my helpful 13-year-old son Scott — you know, “Up. Down. Up. Down...” — I have full pressure and all is well. Thanks, Scotty.

I sure miss the enhanced performance the servo provided so now I’m considering a rebuild kit. The only info I have to go on is what’s stamped on the unit, “5/8 Girling,” which I gather could be Jaguar or Rover. With the brakes back it’s now time to change the oil and get the little bugger tucked in for its winter hibernation.

Next month both Dave and I return with how to maximize your wood stove’s potential. We will be enthusiastically debating the merits of cordwood vs. BioBricks!

December 2008

[NEMO Riley Elf.jpg] My ’64 Riley Elf’s maiden run!
(Well, in my ownership anyway)
by Tony Haslam

The Elf poses with an Anglesey windmill.
Photo by Tony Haslam

CHESTER, UK — After three years work of blood, sweat and tears the big day arrived. My Riley Elf was to have its first MOT in 30 years (the length of time it had been off the road) — and it passed! Next job was to re-register it as an Historic vehicle (every vehicle here pre-1972 qualifies for road tax exemption) and collect the free tax disc. I was even given a receipt for it!

So what’s my next step? Well, as it happened, some dear friends of mine who run Snowdon Minis arranged a Charity Run around the beautiful, rugged Island of Anglesey on Sunday 26 October, and I decided to join them.

I left Chester 1 1/2 hours early to cover the 60 miles to meet the club in Caernarvon. The little 998cc motor purred along with no fuss along the expressway, and we arrived 15 minutes before the start.

Twelve Minis were waiting for me to join them. The convoy of Minis then carefully negotiated the Island like a snake with hardly any other vehicles cutting in, most of them stopping and giving way to enable us to keep together, a lovely sight to see! With stops for photo shots and “pit stops” we were able to take in a few sights that make this island unique.

The £100 raised on the day was presented to the Air Ambulance Service, which does a grand job of rescuing sailors around the North Wales coast and many climbers on the Snowdon Mountain range.

[Tony is a member of Miniaddicts, our sister club in the U.K.]

November 2008

[NEMO Clubman Brochure.jpg] The MINI Clubman, open wide in a brochure shot.
Photo courtesy MINI USA

Who said buying a car isn’t fun?
by Faith Lamprey

A few months ago I ordered a new Clubman from Hrach at MINI of Peabody and have really enjoyed tracking its progress from manufacturing to the dealer.

On the MINI USA website they let you keep track of your “baby” and give you messages all along the way. My favorite so far has been the message that it was on the ship from England, getting its sea legs and really enjoying the buffets!

The latest, now that it has made it to the Distribution Center in New Jersey, is that it is getting a comprehensive inspection and being taught not to make fun of Americans who call the “bonnet” a “hood” or the “boot” a “trunk.”

I should have the car by the NEMO Holiday Party. I hope you are there so I can introduce you!

November 2008

Holiday Party Date Set

WAYLAND, MA — The NEMO Holiday Party will once more be held at JJ McKays in Wayland. The date is Sunday, December 7th, at 12 noon.

McKays is at 171 Commonwealth Road at the intersection of Rts. 30 and 27, just a few miles from Exit 13 of the Mass Pike (bear left onto Rt. 30 past the tolls). We need a head count so RSVP by e-mailing (civilizeds@aol.com) or calling Paul Saulnier at (508) 429-7192 before Thanksgiving. Let him know how many are attending (and ages of any kids).

The club will subsidize part of the cost of the meal for members, so the member cost is only $10. Kids under 12 are half price and if they are under 3 are free. The buffet will include vegetarian lasagna, chicken marsala and sausage with peppers and onions as well as salad, bread and dessert.

We will be holding a Yankee Swap, so plan to bring a wrapped gift (try to keep the cost below $20). A Yankee Swap means that someone else may “take” your gift when it is their turn to pick. (Warn your kids so they don’t get upset if this happens!) You get to pick a gift for every gift you bring (so please, no more than one per person or the party will never end).

November 2008

[NEMO Morris Mini.jpg] One of the first 10?
Photo by Bruce Vild

Early Mini at Stowe

This rather scruffy looking Morris Mini-Minor is a 1959 model registered as a 1960, but records indicate it was the 10th vehicle off the line when Mini production commenced. It is owned by Colin McLean and was displayed at the recent British Invasion in Stowe, VT (and is for sale).

November 2008

[NEMO Dave Black BI.jpg] Dave, behind his beloved `Thurd`, takes a breather at Stowe.
Photo by Bruce Vild

From The Barn
by Dave Black

After taking a couple of months off from the task of writing so you could concentrate on the Nackowski Letters, it’s time to get back in the saddle.

First, John Holden hasn’t had to do anything major to his 1275 in 3 months! The lump seems to have finally settled into its new home and is happily powering John’s Mini from here to there. This reporter is only aware of one problem — on the way back from MME, the roll pin on the shift coupling broke, stranding John and family in the wilds of Maine. A fellow Mini driver stopped to offer help and supplied a cotter pin of sufficient strength to get the Holdens back home. Since then, the only issue has been a reported oil leak. When asked from whence the slippery fluid was emitting, John admitted he wasn’t sure, as the quantity was not enough to force that first drop to the floor!

(Not much of a leak = Not much of a problem!)

Greg Mazza’s saga continues. Remember he has been trying to find what we now know has been an electrical fault for some years. Engine starts fine cold, will run all day if needed, with no hint of a problem — it even starts up right after shut off — but when it sits for a half-hour, will not start. Cranks just fine, has fuel and spark, but won’t fire. We’ve changed almost everything in the system once or twice, but never suspected the Lucas Sport Coil. Every other time we’ve found another reason for it not to start and rectifying the immediate problem seemed to fix it. Like last year in Stowe, the voltage regulator. This spring, points and condensor. This summer, manifold gasket (the carb was loose enough to shake with your hand!). Another set of points and condensor. Each fix seemed to take care of the problem for a few days or weeks, then the issue would rear its ugly head again and leave Greg stranded. Finally, in desperation, he swapped coils and got it to start. Unsure of whether this was the real problem, Greg reinstalled the old coil and duplicated the start problem. Still not sure, he switched coils three times with the same results! Now, we’ve chased this problem long enough to know not to it fixed prematurely. Hopefully this is the end, but stay tuned for updates!

Ken Daly called to say he was getting rid of some Mini parts and if interested I was to show up in the near future or said parts were going in the dumpster! In an effort to preserve the few Mini parts still available, Peanut and I headed to Sudbury to see what was what. Our efforts were duly rewarded with the acquisition of a recently rebuilt 998 lump! Lots of other stuff as well. It seems Ken is moving to a new house in Woodstock, VT (sounds like a dream come true), and he is taking this opportunity to trim the amount of “stuff” he’s acquired over the years. Thank you, Ken!

Jean and Brian Landry ran into a bit of trouble on the way to Stowe this year. Seems Jean hit a pothole with her Traveler so hard it broke a front strut (trumpet). Her Mini made it to the show and back again, though the right front fender was very, very close to the tire! Brian has since acquired the necessary parts, and with help from friend Gene will soon have it repaired.

November 2008

From The Barn -- Continued

Ron Blanchette called with a starter problem, which turned out to be a loose ring gear! I couldn’t describe it any better than he did in this e-mail: “The job as usual went bad — I broke the puller! Got new bolt for puller, still won’t pop. Cut my finger and bled on the flywheel! That’s the magic fluid, the thing came off easily after that.”

On another subject, Ron was concerned about how lean his engine seemed to be running. He had installed a K&N filter and LCB, but hadn’t changed the carb setting at all. We pulled a spark plug at Stowe and it was white as white can be! That indicates an extremely lean mixture that can lead to overheating and piston failure. A different needle will have to be fitted to get the mixture anywhere near correct. I always use plug color to determine final carb adjustment. After a good run of several miles at highway speeds, pull over and check plug color. Slightly brown is what you’re after.

Next we come to Joe Jarosz. He’s still working to complete his perfect 1071 S. The engine is in and has been tuned. While running up on the jack stands, I suggested he run it through the gears to make sure everything works. From my vantage point outside the car, everything looked hunky-dory. I noticed Joe in the drivers seat —1st gear, rev it up — opening his door and looking at the only wheel he can see. 2nd gear, 3rd, then 4th. It all looks good to me, but Joe suggests we have to do a clutch adjustment. Why? He says, “Can’t you see the wheels aren’t turning?” I’ll let your imagination be your guide! The look on his face was priceless as the dawning came!

We were about to drop the car and run it around the driveway when Joe noticed some play in the front end. His steering rack, though rebuilt, was quite loose. The only thing for it was removal — and that requires dropping the front subframe a few inches to gain access. This is such a project on a car that has been so meticulously restored as this one! We are in the middle of re-rebuilding the steering rack as of this writing, so we’ll have to wait for the conclusion.

That’s it for the past three months... oops, just got off the phone to Al and Linda DeArroyo in New York. They had finished the restoration on their ’79 998. Changed the color from brown to a beautiful electric blue with flag on top and nice highlights. Seems their 1275 is leaking antifreeze and it looks like the head gasket. To be continued…

November 2008

Mini Class Winners at Stowe

British Invasion XVIII brought out a nice assortment of Minis and MINIs from throughout the Northeast and nearby Canada. Those that did win, place or show in the three Mini classes are listed below, along with their owners. They include NEMO and non-NEMO cars. Congratulations to all, and thanks to Michael Gaetano of the British Invasion for supplying the information.


CLASS #13, MINI COOPER, 2001 to Present
1st Place: Bill & Linda Joyce, Manchester, NH, 2003 MINI Cooper S (Car #90)
2nd Place: Lynn & Stuart Brainerd, Stony Creek, CT, 2005 MINI Cooper S (Car #304)
3rd Place: Steve Bombowsky, Ronkonkoma, NY, 2008 MINI Cooper (Car #144)

CLASS #14, AUSTIN & MORRIS MINI,1959-1969
1st Place: Jean Landry, East Brookfield, MA, 1964 Austin Mini Countryman (Car #113)
2nd Place: Paul & Judy Nevin, Mt. Holly, VT, 1968 Mini Pickup (Car #30)
3rd Place: Tyler Gaudette, Franconia, NH, 1961 Austin Mini (Car #368)

CLASS #15, AUSTIN, MORRIS & ROVER MINI, 1970-2000
1st Place: Will & Rebecca Seymour, Ontario, NY, 1971 Leyland Mini (Car #512)
2nd Place: Al DeArroyo, Scotia, NY, 1979 Austin Mini (Car #483)
3rd Place: Ron Blanchette, Lewiston, ME, 1971 Leyland Mini Clubman GT (Car #149)
October 2008

[NEMO Hall MINI at Kitzhof.jpg] The Halls` MINI at rest at the Kitzhof Inn.
Photo by Bruce Vild

A Fun Weekend Away
by Faith Lamprey

WEST DOVER, VT — But for a very sturdy little car, our much-looked-forward-to weekend away at the Kitzhof Inn in southern Vermont might not have happened for Bruce and me.

This was to be NEMO’s Italian Job Weekend, and being fans of both the original and more recent movies, we thought it sounded like our kind of event. We decided to take Bruce’s 2002 MINI Cooper S as the 1967 classic Mini was without a horn, which is much needed on highways to remind bigger vehicles that we are there. A good move, because when we were exiting from Route 91 in Vermont we came upon a line of traffic backed up at the exit and stopped in time, but a pickup truck and a fully loaded logging truck behind us did not. The end result was a four-car accident (as we were rear-ended we slammed into the car in front of us, too), but, thanks to the wonderfully built MINI, we came out of it without a scratch or bruise! The car was towed away to await the insurance adjuster.

We did not want the accident to spoil our weekend so we rented a car, called the Kitzhof to explain why we would be late, and off we went to arrive in time for dinner!

Our hosts, Simon and Alison Ferris, treated us to a wonderful Italian dinner (part of the theme weekend) and fellow NEMO members June and Bud Hall were great dinner companions, making us forget about the accident. That night we watched the original Italian Job and even though we have seen it many times, loved seeing the Minis zoom around Turin in the escape scenes.

The next morning we had a lovely breakfast and were sent on our way with directions and questions for a scenic rallye. Since we had rented an SUV (all they had available!) all four of us went together and had a fun time traveling the countryside and finding the answers to the questions.

Arriving back at the Inn, we enjoyed a delicious British meal — roast beef and Yorkshire pudding — and settled down to view the new Italian Job. Simon gave us the answers to the rallye questions and even gave us all Kitzhof Inn T-shirts for doing so well.

The next morning after another great breakfast we bid adieu to our gracious hosts, Simon and Alison, and our wonderful weekend companions, Bud and June, and traveled home in the SUV (without incident!).

Unfortunately the MINI was eventually “totaled” by the insurance adjuster (it was, after all, six years old, had over 75,000 miles on it, and took quite a hit). Luckily, Bruce was able to find a gently used 2007 MINI as a replacement, so we are back to being a three-Mini family!

[Having also hosted local MG clubs, the Kitzhof Inn is becoming famous for its British car-themed weekends. The Inn can be reached at (800) 388-8310 or via www.kitzhof.com].

October 2008

Halloween Party Oct. 25!

OXFORD, MA — The owners of the slime green Mini with all the locks, yours truly — John and Donna Holden — are hosting this year’s NEMO Halloween Party on Saturday, October 25th at 6 p.m. at our home in Oxford (that’s Oxford, Massachusetts, not England).

Bring your favorite dish, an entreé, appetizer or dessert. And dress in costume — it’s optional, but you can win prizes for the best and most original creations. No need to RSVP, just come with some great food to share... well, don’t everybody bring meatballs!

Directions

The destination is 2 Turk Hollow Rd., Oxford, and the phone number is (508) 987-0695 if you get lost. For those not using GPS or GoogleMaps and navigating the analog way:

From Rt. 395: Take Exit 4A onto Sutton Avenue toward Sutton. Go straight through the traffic light at the Home Depot and continue up a long hill to the top. At the top you’ll go past a Country Store on your right, around a slight S curve, and after a small, dilapidated veggie stand on your left, you’ll take your immediate left onto Turk Hollow Road. Our home is the first log home on the right.

From Rt. 146: Take the Sutton/Oxford/Central Turnpike Exit onto Central Turnpike and head toward Oxford. You’ll go up a long hill, straight through a yellow blinking light and continue to a four-way stop with a burned down restaurant on your left (it wasn’t that good anyway!). Continue straight into and out of a small valley. The Singletary Rod & Gun Club will come up on your right. Next, you’ll come to Butler Fuel on your right and the first right after that will be Turk Hollow Road. Our home is the first log home on the right.

From Rts. 9 and 20: Find your way to Rt. 12/Main Street and at the center of Oxford turn left onto Sutton Avenue. Go straight through the traffic light at the Home Depot and continue up a long hill to the top. At the top go past a Country Store on your right, around a slight S curve, and after a small, dilapidated veggie stand on your left take your immediate left onto Turk Hollow Road. Our home is the first log home on the right. —J&DH

October 2008

It was a dark and stormy night… concluded
by Steve Naczkowski

[When we last left Steve, back in July, he was on his way home with a crank pulley after visiting NEMO’s Dave Black, enthusiastic about his present project and projects yet to come...]

With my newly acquired crank pulley I quickly finished my wife’s Mini. Well, finished probably is not the best word to describe where I’m at, but at least the Mini is re-assembled and it started, and I drove it around the block. It actually still needs some minor (I hope) adjustments...

I know the shifting can seem a little vague but I don’t remember needing to double-clutch for every downshift. The brakes are pulling to the left, and was I just imagining there was more power in that little 998? But hey, this is only minor sorting and I figure it’s best left for warmer weather.

My wife takes the car for a drive around the block, comes back and asks me if her Mini will ever be the same. “Minor adjustments honey, no problem.” After her drive, the first in a couple of years, she parks her Mini for its winter hibernation.

Thanksgiving comes and goes, the Mini is buttoned up in the barn and I am trolling for parts on-line for my next project, a ’64 MkI. I come across a guy doing a VTEC conversion and he is selling off everything that is going to be scrapped in the rebuild, including a nicely spec’d 1293 with a Kent 276 cam, 1.5 roller rockers and a straight-cut gearbox. Only problem, I am seeing this post about eight hours after it was posted and I’m sure I’ll be at the bottom of the line on this one. But what the heck, I make the call anyway. No answer, so I leave my number and mention that I am interested and local.

The “local” is unusual. Most of these deals seem to be on the Left Coast, not in New England.

Anyway I get a call later that evening and the guy tells me there has been a lot of interest but nothing firm. I jump, and tell him I’ll take it all and will be there Saturday.

I pull the trailer up from out back and talk a friend into taking a nice winter drive to pick up Mini parts. You can tell that it’s winter and not much going on when he jumps at the offer and asks if we can go out to breakfast before we leave. Saturday rolls around and we make the trip, fill the trailer with lots of Mini goodies, and head for home. Nothing goes wrong. It’s cold but no bad weather or breakdowns.

So now I’m sitting at home looking at all these parts, some of which could go right into the ’64 — if the body work was done. I notice that there is oil on the trailer where the engine had been tied down, and wonder whether I should just run the engine as is or tear it down and check it out. I’m tempted to put it in but my gut tells me this is a bad idea.

But wait, I joined NEMO, and I know a guy, a tech expert who would probably give me some expert advice. So I call Dave Black and explain to him what I’ve done.

“What do you think I should do?” I ask.

“You can do whatever you want,” he replies, “but I would tear it down to see what I really have and make any repairs that may need to be done. It will never be easier to do than now.”

So I ask if this is the type of project that could be done in his shop. Dave tells me that I am welcome to bring the engine and transmission up and we can check out what I have.

October 2008

(Dark and Stormy -- continued from above)

The next weekend I put the engine back in the trailer and haul it out to The Barn. Dave meets me at the shop door and has me back right up to the door. We walk the engine down a pair of wooden ramps and we set the engine in the middle of the bay. Dave looks around. John, another NEMO member, has been rebuilding a 1275 to replace his current 998, and that project is spread out on a couple of worktables further into the shop. We spread out some newspaper and cardboard and Dave tells me just to disassemble the engine right there on the floor. Remember to count the number of nuts and bolts you take off as you go, Dave advises. He gives me a couple of cans to store the nuts and bolts before cleaning.

“Okay,” Dave says, “first up is to drain the oil and coolant.” Off comes the radiator and hoses and the coolant is transferred to a big bucket. Next I undo the oil drain plug.

“Hey, Dave, is there usually this much fur on the drain plug?” I hold the drain plug up for Dave to see. It looks like something with a ’60s Afro.

Dave quickly says, “I think you are going to be glad you pulled this engine apart and didn’t just plunk it into the car.” As he scrapes the metal filings off the plug he murmurs something about how much he will get for this “fur” at the scrap metal yard.

We get the engine stripped down. Looking at the cam and tappets we have a pretty good idea of where the metal shavings came from. Let’s hope the gearbox did not grind through too much of that metal.

And so it has started. The next four weekends are spent cleaning and wire-brushing nuts and bolts and media blasting and painting parts for re-assembly, all with coaching and expert advice from Dave.

As we are preparing the block for painting I ask Dave about some numbers stamped into the block. The top of the block is stamped with DB0102.

“What is that?” I ask.

“It means it’s one of mine,” answers Dave. “I rebuilt this engine in January of 2002 it looks like the roller rockers and straight-cut gearbox were added sometime after.”

So like with most Minis there is a history, and the engine for my ’64 is being rebuilt in the same shop where it was built six years ago!

During the course of about 12 weeks I clean, paint and assemble the power unit. My first complete rebuild. Along the way I learn a lot about the basics of engine building and a lot of Mini-specific info. I meet a bunch of interesting Mini people who stop by The Barn from time to time just to say hi or have something done, or do something to their car, have a few beers, and enjoy some good, greasy-fingered lunches.

With the engine finally assembled we put it on the test stand. With crossed fingers I wait to hear the engine come to life. The engine fires right up and sounds awesome. I knew after leaving The Barn the first time last fall that I’d be drawn back there, and I’m sure I’ll be back again.

Oh. And as the winter comes to an end and the warmth of spring returns, I do make all the minor adjustments to my wife’s Mini — and yes, they were minor, no surprises. We take the Mini to a great event hosted this year by the New England Mini Owners in Bethel, Maine — our first Mini Meet East. A great event!

Kenneth Grahame almost said it right in The Wind in the Willows. What he really meant to say was, “There is nothing — absolute nothing — half as much worth doing as simply messing about in these little buggers we call Minis!”

September 2008

[NEMO Miniaddicts Sept.jpg] Members of our sister club in the UK.
Photo courtesy Miniaddicts

Miniaddicts Report on MME 2008
by Tony Haslam, miniaddicts.co.uk


We all had a delightful time in the United States. We were made to feel extremely welcome by everyone we had the pleasure of meeting. Your generosity and hospitality knew no bounds. (In particular that of Nancy and Paul Saulnier, who had a lot to put up with our sense of scouse humour. Scouser being the slang description of Liverpool residents!)

MME was brilliant, good fun and very well organized. We were amazed at the extremes you folks go to, to preserve this brilliant little car (air-conditioned garages, etc.). The standards of the Minis we inspected were excellent and I can assure you that most of them “knock spots off British concours entries” (if that’s not a compliment, I don’t know what is).

This was our first show where we have had the pleasure of being in the company of such nice people for three/four days, because all Mini shows in the U.K. are one-day events (excluding the IMM August 2009), and are normally within 250 miles of home. Occasionally, if we have a club stand at a show, we do consider making an overnight event of it (usually camping). If we don’t camp it’s an early morning rise for us on the day!

My son Phil really enjoyed the treasure hunt, driving Paul’s green Mini van. My son-in-law Dean enjoyed driving the same van in the funkhana, giving other contestants a run for their money!

I myself, born and bred in Liverpool, enjoyed the “pub quiz” and had a good laugh trying to discuss the English equivalent questions and explain all the words we were using, such as bonnet/hood, boot/trunk, spanner/wrench, pavement/sidewalk, paraffin/kerosene, wing/fender, petrol/gas, smashing/fantastic, cot/crib, butty/sarnie/sandwich, mickey/pigeon, and handbag/pocketbook.

The look on Nancy’s face was a picture when I said my granddaughter (18 months) could have a drink of cordial (which to us Brits is a liquid to be diluted with water!)

I am now trying to persuade Paul and Nancy to join us next year at the IMM 2009 at Longbridge, the birthplace of the Mini, on its 50th Anniversary. Anyone care to join them?

The photo shows Miniaddicts displaying the MME banner at our meeting last month. I do hope to meet some of you again one day.

September 2008

More winners from MME 2008

BETHEL, ME — Here are the winners from the Funkhana and the Rallye at Mini Meet East.

Funkhana results

Classic Mini Sedan: 1st, Terri and Graham Mingst, time: 1:33:44. 2nd, Andrew and Austin Hurst, time: 1:34:44. 3rd, Derrick and Lorine Karabec, time: 1:38:83.

Classic Mini Long Wheel Base: 1st, Olly Boss and Alex Zeeman, time: 1:20:03. 2nd, Nick Lehner and Ahren Lehner, time: 1:20:35. 3rd, Michael Scheg and Michael Scheg Jr., time: 1:25:97.

Classic Mini Moke: 1st, Denis Boisvert and France Joly, time: 1:20:27. 2nd, Gail Woelfe and Rhonnie Guido, time: 1:40:28.

Modern MINI Sedan: 1st, Ken Graham and Ahren Lehner, time: 1:29:68. 2nd, David Lawrence and Nick Lehner, time: 1:41:78. 3rd, Roger Barr and Tatiana Robberts, time: 1:46:56.

Rallye results

Scores: 1st, with 277.7, Lynn Skowden and Sandy MacNamara. 2nd, with 276.2, Nick, Ingrid, Heidi, Timothy and Nicholas Beck. 3rd, with 275.8, John Blanchette and Michelle Washburn.

Special note: Six teams hit the mileage at less than 1 mile off, #24, #115, #59, #98, #46, and #8.

Scoring: Every team started with a base of 350 points. Wrong answers were then subtracted. Every question was worth 10 points. Thus a correct answer was minus 0 points. Calculated mileage was worth 60 points and the difference from 66.6 was subtracted down to the 10ths. Cards were worth deducted points as follows: Aces, minus 0 point 1-10, minus face value in points Jack, minus 1 point Queen, minus 5 points King, minus 10 points. Beer coasters and bottle caps were minus the value written on them. Moxie bottle caps were all minus 0 points, plus the team got a Moxie gift prize.

July 2008


If you don't know what this is, friend, you need to go to the Goulds'.
Photo by Bruce Vild

By the Time You Read This...
by Faith Lamprey & Bruce Vild

The July issue of the Marque went to press just before NEMO’s big “stuffing party” the weekend before Mini Meet East, which means that by the time it reaches our members, MME will be in full swing — and if you’re up in Bethel, you won’t get to read this until after the Meet. So, assuming you were there, let us just say, hope you had fun!

The good times keep rolling the following weekend, July 11-13, at the Goulds’ 13th Annual Microcar and Minicar Classic Event. The activities alternate between Charles and Nancy Gould’s lovely home in Newton, MA, and the Larz Anderson Auto Museum in nearby Brookline — and other destinations for micro/mini tours as the event unfolds.

If you’ve never been to the Goulds’, for goodness sake, go! Your jaw will drop at the sight of all the odd little two-strokes in company with their larger brethren — the classic Minis! MINIs of course are welcome, too, and Metropolitans and Citroën 2CVs show up regularly. Bet you’ll see a couple of Smarts (sorry, “smarts” — no capital S), too. Be sure to catch a ride or two. Get all the details from Charles and Nancy at (617) 965-4848, e-mail Chasgould@aol.com, or visit bubbledrome.com.

The weekend of August 8-10 we’ll be spending at the Kitzhof Inn in West Dover, VT, at a designed-just-for-us Italian Job weekend. The innkeepers hail from the U.K. and have a special place in the hearts for Minis and MINIs, and we’ll be treated to (among other things) viewing of each version of the famous movie. The Rat Pack, with Ocean’s 11, had nothing on Michael Caine and his crew in the ’69 version of The Italian Job, and every guy watching the Mark Wahlberg remake will find yet another reason to fall in love with Charlize Theron (damn, she can drive!).

But you won’t be able to go to our Italian Job Weekend unless you call the Kitzhof Inn to make reservations — so call them now at (800) 338-8810.

July 2008

From The Barn
by Dave Black

It had been another quiet week with no news from John Holden, so we assumed the best. Then the call came. “It sounds like the exhaust is coming through the carburetor.” Could be a head gasket, or manifold gasket, or maybe it’s a wheel cylinder! Whatever, come on down and we’ll fix it straightaway.

4 p.m. Wednesday — Arrived. Determined it was head gasket failure.

6 p.m. Wednesday — Head off. Gasket burned between #2 and #3. Cleaned head and block mating surfaces to find a scratch in the block where gasket was burned. Attempted to smooth same, but soon came to the conclusion that the block would have to be resurfaced. John upset because this is now his daily driver and he wants it back by the weekend.

9 p.m. Wednesday — Lump out and completely disassembled on the floor. Block ready for machine shop.

2 p.m. Thursday — Machine shop asks what day next week would we like this done. Suggested later today would be better. Check back at 4. All was ready! Make note: Don’t go anywhere else for machine services.

9 p.m. Thursday — Block is cleaned, dried and reassembled, ready to go on transmission.

7 a.m. Saturday — Reassembly continues and when John arrives at 9, lump is almost ready for test stand. By afternoon, persistent timing cover oil leak has been cured and lump is back in car. I suggest to John that he helps out with other lumpectomies, but he quickly declines. This time I ask John to let me know every day that things are O.K.

One, two, three days and all is well, and then the boot pulls off the pot joint.

9 a.m. the next Saturday — Axle out, clean pot joint, turn small end of boot inside out to make a better fit, and back together by 10.

Haven’t heard from John in two weeks!

Greg Mazza called to report he had broken one of the rockers on his 1.5/1 roller-rockers. This unit was purchased from Mini Sport a few years ago and has failed twice since then. The first to fail was a valve cap washer on Rt. 128 on the way back from Mini of Peabody (article written about this).

So now one of those fancy aluminum rocker arms has broken. We quickly decided to go back to a stock set of forged rockers and get rid of the junk. Replacement was straightforward with no surprises, and Greg informs me his car is now a pleasure to drive. Much more manageable and smooth with very little loss in performance. Another reason to keep our lumps as original as possible. The Brits knew a thing or three about building engines that were relatively dependable for their time. Remember that the next time you dream of getting 100-plus hp out of your 1275 — every increase in performance affects the longevity of the engine.

Also had to bleed his brakes. Now those of you who’ve done this more than once know that it can turn into a project. And Greg’s car certainly turned into a project. It took a few hours (and a quart of fluid) before we had the pedal anywhere near right. There seems to be enough air trapped in the proportioning valve to cause the pedal to go all the way to the floor. It took lots of pumping to get that last little bubble out!

Bruce Vild had replaced his brake pressure switch to rectify his lack of brake lights and now needed to bleed the system. What should have been a half hour job took two hours! We actually bled the system three times due to continual emptying of the master cylinder. Note: refill the master after bleeding each wheel.

Dan St. Croix drove all the way from Kingston, MA, to make sure his Mini was ready for the season. He had a laundry list of things to do before he left, but decided after 100 miles that maybe his car was alright after all! We pumped some brake fluid through his system to freshen it and that’s about it. Ended the evening by attending the local Putnam Cruise Night — Dan’s favorite was a fenderless Rat Rod in original grey.

Ray Carney is installing a new MED 1380 in his Mini. He’s trying to get it ready for MME, but an incredibly busy travel schedule is getting in the way. Stopped by yesterday to check on progress and was duly impressed. He’s fitting a fancy new carb that is designed for motorcycle engines and requires a fair amount of retrofit to go in the Mini. It even comes with an O2 sensor that shows air/fuel mixture on a gauge in the car. He’s spent hours fitting his top engine steady because the MED head has been so highly machined that the stock bracket had to be modified to fit. And then there’s sourcing out and fitting a breather canister…

July 2008

It was a dark and stormy night… continued
by Steve Naczkowski

[The story so far: Steve strikes out looking for a crank pulley to fit a 998 Mini at his local foreign car parts shop, but he gets a lead from the owner — call a gentleman by the name of Dave Black. And so...]

So I give this guy, Dave Black, a call. I explain that I am looking for a crank pulley for a 998 and was told he may be able to help me. He tells me he’s pretty sure he has at least a couple pulleys that have been cleaned and painted, and if I’d just be patient for a minute he would look through his parts to locate one. Meanwhile, on the other end of the phone, I have this mental image of a man rummaging through piles of boxes and bags of automotive junk... er, I mean “spares,” looking for something that he knows he had at one time and doesn’t remember having used it yet. At least that is how it would play out at my place.

In a matter of just a few seconds with no sounds of heavy breathing or stuff falling over followed by the universal garage-speak of frustration, he says, “Yep, I got two hanging here on the wall all cleaned, painted and ready to go.”

“Great!” I say. “When can I come and pick one up?”

He tells me he works during the day but is in the Barn after supper each night by about 5 or 5:30 and works out there until about 8 and is around most of the day on weekends. I ask if I can come out the following evening. “That would be fine,” he says, and gives me directions to the Barn. It is located in Connecticut’s “Quiet Corner.”

The “Quiet Corner,” also known as “the Last Green Valley,” is in northeastern Connecticut. It is situated between the Quinebaug and Shetucket Rivers and was designated by Congress in 1994 as the Quinebaug and Shetucket River Valley National Heritage Corridor. I believe it is the largest remaining un-urbanized area in the Boston-to-Washington, D.C. corridor. It comprises over 1000 square miles of beautiful farmland, hilly woods and pastures. If viewed from space or a satellite image it shows up as a dark path through an otherwise brightly-lit metropolitan sprawl. Imagine all those miles of twisty country roads with minimal traffic perfect for Mini cruises, and in the middle of it all, a Mini guy, with a crank pulley.

The following day I hop into the Explorer (come on, give me a break, I need the truck — I’m picking up parts!) and drive out to The Barn. As luck would have it it’s raining again. I find Dave’s house and pull into the driveway. The Barn is to the right, the lights are on and there is the smell of a wood fire in the damp air. Dave greets me at the door of The Barn.

“Come on in!” As I walk in I’m hit with the warm, dry air of the wood fire.

“Well, here is where we do everything Mini,” Dave explains. He asks me if I have ever heard of NEMO, the club not the fish. As a matter of fact I had heard of them — my wife and I stumbled across what I believe was Mini Meet East back in the ’90s, in a hot hotel parking lot in Seekonk, MA. Dave explains that he is a member and also the club’s tech guy.

Just standing there it becomes obvious why this might be. What a great workspace. Neatly arranged shelves of cleaned, refurbished and new parts neatly arranged and organized. Now I know why he was able to put his hands right on the crank pulley when I called. I have a brief epiphany and suddenly realize that I need to get a little more serious about how I organize and maintain my own little workspace.

“You should think about joining,” he says. “There are a lot of great Mini owners and it is a great resource to help you enjoy your Mini.”

I tell him I did not realize the club was that active. “As a matter of fact,” he replies, “NEMO is hosting MME 2008 next summer.” I tell him that membership sounds like a good idea.

He gives me a tour of the rest of The Barn, showing me the sandblast cabinet, cleaning tanks, benches and vises along with a complete selection of tools.

“Boy, I wish I had a set up like this at home!” I mutter.

“Well,” Dave says, “we do a lot of informal tech sessions here in The Barn. I‘ve done a lot of Mini work for people over the years, but Mini owners are welcome to do their own work on their cars here. They can use the tools and equipment and I will help them. They can do as much or as little of the work themselves. We try to build people’s technical skills so they can get the most out of their Mini experience.”

I thank Dave for the tour and take my crank pulley out to the truck. As I begin the drive back home I reflect on what I have just seen. What a tremendous resource for a Mini enthusiast! And right in my back yard.

As I drive home in the rainy darkness, in my mind I have already installed the pulley on my wife’s Mini and started my next project, a ’64 MkI which sits in my garage stripped, sandblasted and ready for bodywork. I have a feeling that this would not be the last time I would be taking this ride.

[To be concluded.]

July 2008


Miniaddicts (NEMO's sister club from the U.K.) pose on the car show field.
Photo by Bruce Vild

Minis and MINIs Meet in Maine
by Howard Collins


BETHEL, ME — The Jordan Grand Hotel at the majestic Sunday River Resort in western Maine was the official site of this year’s Mini Meet East. Hosted by the New England Mini Owners (NEMO) from July 2nd through 6th, the event attracted about 300 registered participants from all over North America and as far away as the U.K. and the Netherlands, with over 125 classic and new Minis.

The four-day Meet included an opening night pub quiz, a visit to the privately-owned Bob Bahre Car Collection Museum in Paris Hill, ME, a people’s choice, popular vote car show, a nature trail hike staged as the Meet’s Kids’ Event, the “Moose and Squirrel Run,” an evening drive through the mountains (thankfully there were no moose to run into) to a small town to watch its 4th of July fireworks, a road rallye that concluded with the staging of the cars for a panoramic group photograph, an afternoon barbecue, an autocross, a special “Dress Up Your Mini” contest, radio-controlled Mini racing, a funkhana with a Maine theme, and a closing banquet complete with awards presentations and a charity auction for next year’s Kids’ Event.

The pub quiz, organized into teams named after characters in Alice in Wonderland, was won by the White Rabbits. They wound up with the highest number of points at the end of six rounds. A cash prize of $100 donated by the British Marque was divided equally among the team's members. Teams winning individual rounds during the pub quiz, which included the Mad Hatters, the Mock Turtles and the Alices as well as the White Rabbits, were awarded cans of Moxie, a soft drink invented in Maine. (Thanks to Bud Hall for procuring same.)

Awards for other various events and in different categories were given as follows:

Car show

Classic Mini - Saloon Mk1 — 1st, Ray and Buffy Carney, 1966 Austin Mini; 2nd, Andrew and Austin Hurst, 1961 Austin Seven; 3rd, Jim Davidson, 1965 Morris Cooper S.

Classic Mini - Saloon Mk2 — 1st, Dave and Barbara Lang, 1969 Austin Cooper S; 2nd, Fred and Betsy True, 1968 Austin Cooper S; 3rd, Bob and Karen Lyle, 1969 Austin Cooper S.

Classic Mini - Saloon Mk3 — 1st, Michael and Karen Bernard, 1971 Austin Cooper; 2nd, Larry Atkinson, 1972 Austin Mini; 3rd, Mark and Steph Jewett, 1975 Austin Mini 1000.

Classic Mini - Saloon Mk4 — 1st, Megan Tamas, 1973 Mini 1000; 2nd, Don and Belle Vasbinder, 1973 Innocenti Mini Cooper; 3rd, Marcel and Adelaida Boucher, 1980 Mini 1000.

Classic Mini - Saloon Mk5/Mk6/Mk7 — 1st, Frank and Carter Ambrister, 2000; 2nd, Howard Spencer IV, 1999; 3rd, Jim and Betty Harrison, 1995 Balmoral Edition.

Classic Mini Clubman — 1st, Wendy Atkinson, 1975 Clubman Estate; 2nd, Ron Blanchette, 1976 Leyland Mini Clubman; 3rd, Martin Fontaine, 1972 Clubman Estate.

Classic Mini Van — 1st, Ben Ouellette and Carol Gordon, 1981; 2nd, Michael and Tracy Scheg, 1980; 3rd, Tom and Marsha Judson, 1964.

Classic Mini Moke — 1st, Robert Overdorff and Winnie Miale, 1965; 2nd, Gail Woelfle, 1967; 3rd, Denis Boisvert and France Joly, 1968.

Classic Mini Pickup — 1st, Shannon Robbins, 1967; 2nd, Jimmy and JoAnne Banz, 1970; 3rd, Katrina and Ahren Lehner, 1964.

Mini Estate — 1st, Bob and Barbara Rath, 1979 Austin Countryman; 2nd, Nick and Jeanne Lehner, 1973 Austin Countryman; 3rd, Ken Lemoine, 1965 Morris Mini Minor.

Classic Mini Variant — 1st, Bob and Greg Jonah, 1969 Riley Elf; 2nd, Deb Bolton-Degauque and Keith Degauque, 1967 Riley Elf; 3rd, Eric Daniels, 1969 Austin America.

Custom Mini — 1st, Carmelie Laflame and Donnie Neron, 1967 Austin Mini Speedster; 2nd, Paul and Nancy Saulnier, 1964 Austin Mini Van; 3rd, Russell Cushing and Debby Trask-Cushing, 1969 Austin Custom Sedan.

Competition Mini — 1st, Kevin and Adam Chappell, 1978 Austin Mini; 2nd, George and Marcia Cox, 1962 Austin Cooper S; 3rd, Pete and Nancy Stroble, 1960 Austin Mini.

MINI Mk1/Mk2 Cooper — 1st, Pam and Tristan Ambrister, 2006; 2nd, David and Marge Lawrence, 2003; 3rd, Karen Oesterle, 2003.

MINI Mk1/Mk2 Cooper S — 1st, Howard Collins, 2006; 2nd, Karl and Lee Strauch, 2002; 3rd, Tatiana Rabbets and Roger Barr, 2004.

MINI Clubman — 1st, Steve Demske and Sue Lamie, 2008; 2nd, Mike and Sheila McMillan, 2008.

MINI Convertible — 1st, Sharon and Howard Dickinson, 2007 Cooper S; 2nd, Ruth and Joseph Simokaitis, 2007 Cooper S; 3rd, Judy and Paul Nevin, 2005 Cooper.

MINI Special Edition and Modified — 1st, Ken Graham, 2004 Cooper 40; 2nd, Alec and Joanne Borthwick, 2002 Cooper S.

July 2008

(Meet in Maine -- Continued from above)


Kevin's Webasto sunroof acts as an air spoiler...really!
Photo by Mike Guido

Best of Show — Carmelie Laflamme and Donnie Neron, 1967 Austin Mini Speedster.

Most Interesting — Paul and Nancy Saulnier, 1964 Austin Mini Van (V8 conversion).

Hard Luck Award — Denis Boisvert and France Joly (ask France what can happen when you are in a Moke during a torrential rainstorm!).

Longest Distance Driven in a Mini — Mike McMillan in a 1994 classic Mini (Tennessee to California to attend MMW, then to MME in Maine!).

Longest Distance Driven in a MINI — Marilyn Egler (drove across the country diagonally from San Juan Capistrano, CA to Bethel, ME!).

Longest Distance Traveled — Olly Bos and Alex Zeeman (all the way from the Netherlands!).


Arts, crafts, etc.

Arts & Crafts - Kids’ Class — Mieles Mingst, MME2008 Edible Car.

Arts & Crafts - Adults’ Class — Bert St. Onge, “Going to MME2008” Diorama with Moose.

Dress Up Your Mini — 1st, Sharon and Howard Dickinson, 2007 MINI Cooper S Convertible (“Chubish Checker Super Star”); 2nd, Michael, Coreen and Corey Smith, 1987 Austin Mini City-E (“All Canadian”); 3rd, Barbara, Christa and David Newman, 1978 Rover Mini (“Spitfire Fighter Plane”).

Autocross

Classic Mini - Class A - Race — 1st, Martin Fontaine, 38.226; 2nd, Micael Bedard-Houde, 38.246; 3rd, Pete Stroble, 39.474.

Classic Mini - Class B - Rallye — 1st, Graham Mingst, 36.659; 2nd, Tom Christ, 37.562; 3rd, Jim Davidson, 39.623.

Classic Mini - Class C - Street Modified — 1st, Kevin Chappelle, 37.345; 2nd, Bill Fralick, 38.479; 3rd, Dave Black, 38.919.

Classic Mini - Class D - Mildly Modified — 1st, Jim Harrison, 42.315.

Classic Mini - Class E - Stock - Non-S — 1st, Denis Boisvert, 38.883; 2nd, Claude Racine, 39.117; 3rd, Marcel Boucher, 39.777.

New MINI - Class A - Cooper — 1st, Steve Oesterle, 41.110.

New MINI - Class B - Cooper S — 1st, Steve Halleck, 39.79; 2nd, Phil Turkington, 40.41; 3rd, Jason Owens, 41.621.

New MINI - Class C - Special — 1st, Don Laberge, 37.589; 2nd, Donnie Neron, 39.713; 3rd, Ron Nist, 41.124.

Other results

The rest of the results from the Funkhana, Rallye, Radio Controlled Racing, and the Kids’ Favorite Car will be listed in the September issue.

[Howard is a member of Mid-Atlantic Minis and assisted NEMO by posting information about the Meet and replies to questions asked on the Mini Forum. As if that was not enough, we asked Howard to write an article on the meet for us and he graciously obliged. Thanks are due Mike Guido, too, for providing photos taken during the autocross.]

July 2008

MINIsOnTop Raises $14K for Charity

ESSEX, MA — MINIsOnTop, the annual weekend event that culminates in participating Minis and MINIs climbing to the top of Mt. Washington in New Hampshire to watch the sunset, raised $14,131.23 this year for two selected charities: the Make-A-Wish Foundation of New Hampshire and the Mt. Washington Observatory. Of the total, the Observatory will receive 6.288%, honoring the mountain’s elevation, or $888.57; the rest, $13,242.66, will go to Make-A-Wish.

This announcement was made on July 21st by MINIsOnTop Event Coordinator Ian Cull. Many NEMO members have taken part in MINIsOnTop, currently in its 6th year. Total charitable efforts from the event have now broken the $50,000 mark.

A major source of money was the raffle of a two-year lease on a new MINI Clubman donated by Herb Chambers MINI of Boston. Another source was New Country MINI of Hartford, which donated $6,288 for each person to attend an ice cream social. The rest was raised through the sale of MINIsOnTop mementos and door prize tickets used to win items donated by various individuals and businesses.

For more information about MINIsOnTop, go to www.minisontop.com.

[Adapted from a press release.]

May 2008

[NEMO Just Another.jpg] Micros and Minis Combine!

Micros and their fans meet at the Goulds' again in July.
Marque file photo

NEWTON, MA — The 13th Annual Microcar and Minicar Classic Event, hosted by Charles, Nancy, Monique and Tiana Gould is coming on July 11th, 12th, and 13th, near Boston, hot on the heels of Mini Meet East. Though the two events are quite distinct, NEMO members are looking forward to back-to-back weekends of Mini fun.

The Goulds are world famous as microcar enthusiasts (autos with engine displacements of less than 500cc), and their Microcar and Minicar Classic Event has become nothing less than legendary. In its first 12 years, the Event has grown to include three micro-tours, a huge eclectic gourmet feed, a cruise night and a spectacular farewell breakfast, as well as the celebrated lawn event at the nearby Larz Anderson Auto Museum. Last year, the Event drew 125 registered guests with 70 unusual microcars and minicars (including Minis and MINIs) and over 1,000 spectators at Larz Anderson.

It’s a lot of fun! The Goulds’ home, deck and yard provide an intimate and relaxed setting for this huge gathering. There will be the usual abundance of incredible food throughout the weekend, the micro-tours will include a run for ice cream, and on Sunday, the micros and minicars will drive to a cool surprise destination.

Forget any preconceived notions you may have had about “car meets.” The Microcar and Minicar Classic is a blast for spouses, kids, and people who have never even seen a micro or minicar before. Far from holding a “too precious to touch” attitude about these vehicles, many owners will gladly offer rides so that everyone is included.

This is a major event on NEMO’s calendar. Make it one on yours! For details, go to the website www.bubbledrome.com.

[From the event website.]

May 2008

Mini Meet East 2008 Update

BETHEL, ME — Only five weeks to go and things are falling into place!

The rooms at the Jordan are being snapped up and are almost gone, but overflow rooms are available at the Summit only a few miles away at the same discounted rate. Registrations are flowing in. If you have not sent yours yet, drop it in the mail today!

The activity schedule has gone through several revisions and is about set. The parking lot at the Bethel High School is reserved for the autocross. A guided nature hike has been planned for the Kids’ Event. The final touches are being made to a very scenic rally and many local tours (to town, to fireworks, and even to the Bob Bahre Collection!). The funkhana course has been designed with a “Maine” theme. We have added some tech sessions from recognized experts and an entertaining slide show of Mini driving adventures. We even arranged a stop on your way to Mini Meet to view the John Moir Car Collection.

Hope to see you in Bethel July 2-6!

Mini Meet East 2008 schedule

Wednesday, July 2 — 4-7 p.m., registration; 8 p.m., Pub Quiz.

Thursday, July 3 — 9 a.m.-12 noon, registration; 9 a.m., Special Event, Tour to the Bob Bahre Car Collection and Museum, Paris Hill, ME; 1 p.m., People’s Choice Car Show (ballots due by 4 p.m.); 1 p.m., Kids’ Event; 6 p.m., Moose and Squirrel Run (ending at Town of Rangeley’s 9 p.m. Fireworks Display).

Friday, July 4 (U.S. Independence Day) — 9 a.m., Rally (approximately two-hour run, staggered start); 12 noon, panoramic picture; 2 p.m., BBQ; 3 p.m., radio- controlled Mini racing; 4:30 p.m., local in-town Driving Tour ending with a pub break; 9 p.m., Dancing with the Mini Stars.

Saturday, July 5 — 8 a.m., Autocross; 10 a.m., Dress Up Your Mini Event; 1 p.m., Funkhana; 6 p.m., Banquet.

Sunday, July 6 — Departure day.

May 2008

Don’t Miss The Italian Job Weekend in August

Even though planning for Mini Meet East is consuming many of us right now, don’t forget that we have booked the weekend of August 8-10 at the Kitzhof Inn in West Dover, VT. Full details were given in the April British Marque. The Inn’s proprietors, Simon and Alison Ferris, have planned the whole weekend around us and our love for everything Mini, and other than making reservations and getting there, we do not have to plan a thing!

The weekend schedule includes a Welcome Reception 4-5 p.m. Friday night, followed by an Italian Evening Meal. The night’s entertainment is the viewing of the original Italian Job. Saturday morning, after enjoying a full English breakfast, we will gather for a group photo and then depart for a Vermont Road Cruise. That night we will enjoy an English Evening Meal and view the updated version of The Italian Job. We will depart Sunday morning after breakfast.

The whole weekend, including the Welcome Reception, two breakfasts, two evening meals, movie viewing, gratuities, and taxes, is $321.20 for two people sharing a room.

The Inn only has 24 rooms and a number of folks have already gotten in their reservations. So you need to call right away and reserve a room. Call (800) 338-8310 or (802) 464-8310 and tell them you want to book a room for the NEMO Italian Job Mini weekend. You do not want to miss this weekend of Mini fun!

May 2008

It was a dark and stormy night
by Steve Naczkowski

It was a dark and stormy night… well, actually it was 2 p.m. Thursday, October 18, 2007. It was pouring rain, windy and raw. I had promised my wife I would have her 1971 Mini running before the first snow.

I had acquired a rebuilt transmission from my local neighborhood West Coast Mini parts supplier. I assured my wife that this one large part would fix all those popping-out-of-gear problems. I had had the transmission for about a year now. I had pulled the power unit out the first weekend after the transmission arrived. I separated them, and then, while looking at the empty engine bay, thought it might be a good time to pull the front subframe out, and just clean things up a bit. Suddenly I felt the need to rebuild the front end and clean up the engine bay. It will never be this accessible again, I reasoned...

So there the poor Mini sat for a year while I slowly, very slowly, worked intermittently every few months, cleaning and replacing parts as I let the project drag on.

Let me stop here momentarily and take a handful of words to describe my mechanical background. I am no mechanic. My high school aptitude tests suggested that with my mechanical abilities and abstract reasoning skills I would be well suited to become a shepherd.

But who needs natural ability when you have the “passion”? I was never afraid to pull something apart; hell, assembly is just the reverse of disassembly. And the worse case scenario is you just end up with extra parts, which then become your “spares,” and every one knows you can never have enough spares.

The day came when I couldn’t drag the project out any longer and I was ready to reunite the power unit with the subframe and then ultimately with the car. I slowly pushed the assembled power unit to the other side of the garage, where the front subframe waited patiently.

Now I’m not going to embarrass myself revealing any shop secrets or details, but while I was moving the engine across the garage the engine slid off the dolly, landing on the timing cover — actually, on the crank pulley. The crank pulley now had a flat spot. It didn’t look too bad. “I’ll just tap it back into round,” I thought, “and I’ll be all set.”

Good thing these crank pulleys were designed with a crumple zone to protect the crank taper. After a couple of hours of tweaking it became clear this pulley would never be round again.

I hopped into the Ford Explorer and cruised down to the local foreign car shop looking for a replacement pulley. The lot was packed with rows of mostly ’60s and 70s British Rust, all dreaming of the day they would leave the lot with a new owner willing to open his heart and his wallet and make them one of the family. I pulled up as close to the shop door as I could and shut off the engine. I opened the door and jumped into the cold rain and ran for the shop door. Once inside the owner came over to ask if he could help me. I gave him the short version.

“I am looking for a crank pulley for a Mini 998.”

He said he was sure he had a one and started moving piles of parts and boxes — only to expose more piles of parts and boxes — looking for the pulley. After about 10 minutes we both realized we were wasting his hourly rate and that he was not going to find the pulley.

“I can’t seem to locate that pulley, but I know where you can get one. I know a guy, a Mini guy; he will definitely be able to put his hands on one for you. I have his number on my desk.”

I looked out into the office. There in the corner was a desk piled with a month’s mail, stacks of manuals, old Road & Track magazines, and a box of Saab parts. I think the desk was one of those old steel office desks, but I couldn’t really see it under all the stuff.

“Damn, I guess I struck out here,” I thought to myself.

The owner walked over to the desk, brushed aside a pile of mail, lifted the box of Saab parts, and put his hand on a yellowed, coffee-stained index card.

“The guy’s name is Dave Black,” he said, proudly holding the index card up for me to see as if to say, “See, I really do know where all my stuff is.”

“Here is his number. He will be able to help you.”

So I had a piece of paper with the name of a guy, a Mini guy, Dave Black, who would have a crank pulley, that would allow me to complete my wife’s Mini, before the first snow and bring this project to an end.

And this brings me to the beginning of the story… well, actually the beginning of the story started five years earlier in January of 2002. But I didn’t know that yet.

To be continued…

May 2008

[MME Moke.jpg] Mini Meet Update
by Faith Lamprey

NEMO member Dan Viola's Moke at MME 2006.
Photo by Bruce Vild

BETHEL, ME — Things are really starting to percolate now! Only a handful of rooms are left at the Jordan, but there are rooms (of all sizes) available at the Grand Summit a few miles away. We have 30 registrations for MME 2008 already processed, with more arriving every day.

The vendors have been contacted and stuff for the goodie bags and raffle items are starting to arrive. We are also getting ads for the MME 2008 program booklet. Much thanks to Dave Newman, who is orchestrating all the vendor coordination.

Thanks to Dave Black and Tom Judson, we have completed and submitted the very lengthy and confusing insurance application. Ken Lemoine has arranged a tour of the wonderful Bob Bahre Car Collection for Wednesday morning. Bud Hall has been working on a very scenic rally for Friday morning. Bud also has visited with the Bethel Chamber of Commerce and told them about the Meet and our plans. They are providing us with lots of local info for the goodie bags.

Hope to see you in July!


Mini Meet East 2008 schedule

Wednesday, July 2 — 4-7 p.m., registration; 8 p.m., Pub Quiz.

Thursday, July 3 — 9 a.m.-12 noon, registration; 9 a.m., Special Event, Tour to the Bob Bahre Car Collection and Museum, Paris Hill, ME; 1 p.m., People’s Choice Car Show (ballots due by 4 p.m.); 1 p.m., Kids’ Event; 6 p.m., Moose and Squirrel Run (ending at Town of Rangeley’s 9 p.m. Fireworks Display).

Friday, July 4 (U.S. Independence Day) — 9 a.m., Rally (approximately two-hour run, staggered start); 12 noon, panoramic picture; 2 p.m., BBQ; 3 p.m., radio- controlled Mini racing; 4:30 p.m., local in-town Driving Tour ending with a pub break; 9 p.m., Dancing with the Mini Stars.

Saturday, July 5 — 8 a.m., Autocross; 10 a.m., Dress Up Your Mini Event; 1 p.m., Funkhana; 6 p.m., Banquet.

Sunday, July 6 — Departure day.

May 2008

From the Barn
by Dave Black

Those of you who have been paying attention know that last month we had just about finished John Holden’s lump. Well, it’s done now and in the car, and John’s comment was, “It was fun and interesting, but I wouldn’t ever want to do it again!” And we thought that was the end of it… until a pesky clacking noise developed in the clutch end. Diagnostics were inconclusive as to its source, but after driving it has become apparent that there is something amiss in the drop-gear/idler gear area. “Oh, nooo!” cries John. “Can’t it be fixed whilst the engine is still in the car?” Afraid not — so the saga continues and will be updated as appropriate.

Ever wonder what happens in the Barn on the odd weekend? Don’t care? I’m going to tell you anyway! We end up with a truly hectic tech session, that’s what. Last Saturday, John was busy installing his lump. At the same time, Steve Naczkowski was assembling his 1275 and getting it ready for the test stand, and Bill O’Connor was in to have valve seals installed and a new Aldon dizzy fitted. All this was happening inside, while Tom Judson struggled with a wiper motor repair in the driveway! Quite a Mini day all around.

An update on the turbo lump for George Cox’s Mini in upstate New York. Finally got everything sorted on the inside and on the test stand, where thankfully there were no surprises. George has since claimed his prize and is installing same and has promised to be at MME with it.

I guess at last writing, there wasn’t much rebuilding activity, but what a difference a couple of months makes. Steve N. decided to go through the lump he purchased from a fellow in Mass who is doing a V-Tec conversion. When he first brought it over, I hadn’t looked very closely at it — I mean, one lump looks like another, so we proceeded to take it apart and inventory the needed parts. It had been fitted recently with a new, straight-cut gear box, but when we drained the oil, all sorts of smarfy-looking stuff came out. The drain plug magnet looked like a ’70s afro — a sure indication that maintenance had been lax and that we were in for a full rebuild. Sure enough, the main and rod bearings were completely imbedded with bits of steel and that had scored the crank. A full rebuild has ensued and should be complete by the time you read this. Oh, and while inspecting things, I noticed a serial number had been stamped in the block: DB102. This lump had been rebuilt by yours truly in January 2002!

Bill O’Connor had installed a super-hot 1275 into his gorgeous MkIV Mini last year. He has complained about the engine smoking and decided that valve seals installed on the exhaust valves may be the answer. I’ve noticed that any engine with an uprated camshaft has a tendency to smoke unless all eight valves are fitted with seals, even when the valve guides are up to snuff. I attribute this to the increased valve overlap that causes a slight vacuum on both valves at certain periods of the stroke. With a stock cam, sealing just the intake valves is sufficient, but an aftermarket cam requires seals all around. We proceeded to install same and at the same time, swapped his 998 distributor for a new Aldon Yellow unit with a spark advance designed for his up- rated engine. Bill reports the smoke has cleared up and enjoyed a brisk drive back to the South Shore the same day.

Tom Judson (not alone among Mini owners) has had problems with his wiper motor. It would go about halfway across the windscreen and hang up (just before wiping in front of the driver!). He had purchased a new two-speed unit to replace his single-speed one, with all the accessories to make it fit. After realizing the amount of work involved in fitting the new unit (drilling holes, hooking up a new wiring harness), he decided to try rebuilding his existing motor first. Disassembly found gobs of solid grease, which were removed and replaced with white lithium grease. His wiper now works as well as Mk1 wipers ever worked! Sometimes our Minis just need a little TLC — after all, they’re older than many of their owners, and how many of us don’t need a little tune-up from time to time to set things right again?

Next month should be back to grass-cutting, mower repair, wood hauling, garden and shrub planting and the like, so if you’d like to learn about Gravely tractors or Troy-Bilt tillers, come on over! If not, leave me alone! Of course, if you have a Mini problem, come on down!

April 2008

[Clubman.jpg] Clubman Hits the Catwalk at MINI of Peabody
by Lori Connolly

Clubman makes its entrance. Kayak, anyone?
Photo courtesy MOP

PEABODY, MA — MINI of Peabody rolled out the red carpet for over 300 guests on February 15th with the most anticipated MINI Clubman launch party of the year. For some, this event was the first time they had seen a Clubman and MINI of Peabody made certain that they wouldn’t forget the car with the extra “somethin’ somethin’” in the back.

Those in attendance were treated to many special surprises throughout the night. From the themed cuisine of mini burgers, “club” sandwiches, mini cookies and mini wraps, to “hot chocolate” candy bar desserts, MINI of Peabody took creativity to the next level.

After an hour of hors d’oeuvres and music courtesy of Boston radio’s Mike FM, customers (or shall we say, Club-goers) were asked to file into the shop area for the main event. The lights lowered, the dangling disco ball spun round, and a surprise MINI fashion show began.

Paul Taylor, General Sales Manager at MOP (and MC for the evening) took center stage as six completely “you-ified” MINIs hit the runway. One by one, Paul introduced the MINIs with a 2-3 minute presentation as they slowly made their way down the shop. MINIs were driven by MOP staff members and each car was accessorized with everything from bonnet stripes to roof decals.

Then the moment everyone was waiting for arrived. The lights dimmed again and a series of four MINI Clubmans strutted themselves out onto the runway. The crowd cheered and cameras flashed as each Clubman stopped midway down the runway. Paul delivered an incredibly thorough description of the Clubman’s unique features, including the famous signature Club doors.

Following the show, guests were able to meet the newest member of the MINI family. The four Clubmans were positioned in the service drive-through area for the remainder of the night, giving each guest the chance to get to know more about the new product.

The night concluded at 10:00 p.m. and guests motored off feeling pumped about the Clubman. MINI of Peabody definitely made their Clubman launch a night to remember.

[Lori is Marketing Director for MINI of Peabody.]

April 2008

Update on 'The Italian Job' Weekend in August

As we announced last month, we have booked the weekend of August 8-10 at the Kitzhof Inn in West Dover, VT. The Inn’s proprietors, Simon and Alison Ferris, have planned the whole weekend around us and our love for everything Mini.

The weekend schedule includes a Welcome Reception 4-5 p.m. Friday night, followed by an Italian Evening Meal. The night’s entertainment is the viewing of the original Italian Job. Saturday morning, after enjoying a full English breakfast, we will gather for a group photo and then depart for a Vermont Road Cruise. That night we will enjoy an English Evening Meal and view the updated version of The Italian Job. We will depart Sunday morning after breakfast.

The whole weekend, including the Welcome Reception, two breakfasts, two evening meals, movie viewing, gratuities, and taxes, is $321.20 for two people sharing a room.

The Inn only has 24 rooms and a number of folks have already gotten in their reservations. So you need to call right away and reserve a room. Call (800) 338-8310 or (802) 464-8310 and tell them you want to book a room for the NEMO Italian Job Mini weekend. You do not want to miss this weekend of Mini fun!

April 2008

A First-timer's Motor Rebuild
by John Holden

Why get rid of a perfectly good ’79 Mini 998cc motor with only 20K on it? Well, there’s really not much wrong with a 998 in a 1300 lb. car. The gas mileage is certainly stellar — a big negative on the decision to go bigger. But not being able to cover hills without building momentum the previous mile, or freeway on-ramps in heavy traffic, or that punk kid in the Mustang…

I’ve done my own oil changes and tune-ups but mechanically that was mostly it, so I was, and still am, on the low side of the curve. But I wanted to do this myself so I could have a better understanding and have the satisfaction of doing it myself. So in early February I began tearing down a 1275 lump under the watchful eye of Dave Black. Didn’t draw much blood, either. Got plenty greasy.

Each following weekend and a few mid-week evenings I’d go down to the Mini Barn to tackle each step. Two-step parts washing, wire-wheeling all the small bits, media-blasting the covers, fresh coats of paint, all showed progress. What is obviously most challenging is reconstruction and adding in the improved parts, like a Kent 276 cam, lighter flywheel, and taller 1st gear. I don’t care how much you think you paid attention to everything, a few weeks later your brain is on “Stupid.” The gearbox is nuts and I remembered about half of it.

There is absolutely no way I’d attempt this project without a mentor like Dave. He’s done 20 or more rebuilds, so I felt comfortable knowing that if I had a question he’d be there with an answer. And believe me, I had questions.

Dave’s Mini Barn is a former horse stable that evolved into the perfect destination for any Mini steeds needing service in our club. And thankfully, any and every tool required is there for Mini hobbyists like me to use — cone compressor, valve puller, valve seating tool and polish, sand blaster, magnetic retrieval tool (that we had to use once after I accidentally dropped a bolt in through the fuel pump mount! D’oh!), specialty lubes and sealants, and wood stove (did I mention this was February?).

So in 4-5 weekends and a couple weeknight evenings, I built it. A 1293, 3:1 final drive. Overall, it was incredibly gratifying. On the test stand it fired right up, ran like a champ and I was grinning, but I had no reservations knowing someone had my back all the way. The following weekend we replaced the test stand’s Weber with the SU and dialed in the lovely lumpy idle.

So now I sit and wait until the early spring New England rains wash away most of the Mini-hating road salt so I can take my truly rust-free Mini down to the Barn for the transplant. I feel like a kid before Christmas. Stay tuned for my review.

April 2008

[mini-50.jpg] New Mini-50: An Exclusive Preview!
by Dave Newman

The Mini-50 — bigger, and Spartanburg-made.
Photo by Penn Wright

SPARTANBURG, SC — This reporter was part of a small contingent of hand-picked MINI enthusiasts to be invited to BMW’s plant in upstate South Carolina, where Z4 production has just been moved to Germany to make room for a very special production line.

After entering what appeared to be an aircraft hangar-sized building on the perimeter of this vast, 1150-acre manufacturing facility, we were first treated to a short film on the history of the original Mini, released by BMC in 1959. Then various models of the original “classic” Mini were driven into view in front of the giant video screen, followed by the first generation MINI models, the current MINI models and then the brand new MINI Clubman (in brown, of course).

At this point, to our right, a giant fog machine clouded our vision and we heard an engine start, then two more. After a bit of tire squeal, three cars thrust out of the fog and into view, bathed in whirling spotlights. They appeared to be classic Minis — one red, one white and one blue. Was this yet another remake of the original Italian Job movie?

Then the announcement came: “Invited guests! You are looking at the newest Mini — the very special car for the 50th anniversary of the Mini — built by fellow Americans at this state-of-the-art facility: the Mini-50!”

The fog dissipated, the lights came on and we could compare this new Mini-50 to the classic Minis and MINI models present.

It appeared to be an exact duplicate of the last version of the classic Mini to come off of the Birmingham production line in 2000, but was bigger — in fact, it was the size of the current MINI, which is two feet longer and a foot wider than the classic. And, the models shown had badging on the rear that said “Mini-50” and “2.4-litre Turbo.”

Whew! 2.4 litre engines in a Mini? And a turbo? Let me explain.

This special car was created to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Mini and is to be a 2009 production model, to be released in the summer of 2008.

It looks in almost every way, like a classic Mini-40 from 1999 but is 20 percent larger. The body of the vehicle is made of plastic dent-proof panels like a Saturn used to be, with the hood, roof and trunk made of steel. The engine is plucked from Chrysler and is the same unit used in the PT Cruiser Turbo models, a 2.4 litre turbocharged unit, producing 180hp. They call this the “mild” turbo, and a 225hp unit may also be available in late 2009 as a Mini-50 “S.”

So what is it like to drive a reincarnated Mini-50? First, the suspension is modern BMW MINI, so no more rubber cones and dinky wheels. The only transmission available at the demo was a Getrag 4-speed auto box and the cars all come standard with air conditioning, which was never a factory option on an original Mini. But A/C was well appreciated by the assembled crowd, as the weather down South can get warm and they expect 80 percent or more of the production to be sold in the USA and Canada.

The cars are very quick. With lightweight body panels and 180hp on tap, they feel quicker than a current MCS. A full road test will be available later. Handling is go-kart-like but much more controlled than a classic Mini.

The seating is like a classic Mini, almost upright, with the steering wheel tilted like a bus. But you can’t get over how strange it feels to be driving a “classic” that is 20 percent bigger but looks like the original car in all dimensions.

You are going to want one of these new Mini-50 models! But due to the expected demand, they are only available for pre-order from your local MINI dealers on one day — Tuesday, April 1st.

Missed that date, you say? No worries. As you probably figured out by now, this was just an April Fools joke.

April 2008

Caravan Being Formed to Travel Up to Maine for MME
by Vince Tamburo

I am trying to put together a caravan for Mini Meet East this July in Bethel, ME. Unfortunately I cannot go for the entire time, but my schedule is somewhat flexible. If any of you are in the same situation please contact me and I can try to put something together to meet everyone’s schedule. I can be reached at (781) 659-6870; please leave a message.

April 2008

MINIsOnTop to Benefit Make-a-Wish & Observatory

ESSEX, MA — MINIsOnTop, taking place June 28th, will be raising money through raffles and donations to benefit two worthy causes this year, according to Ian Cull, Event Coordinator. The Mt. Washington Observatory will receive 6.288% (honoring the mountain’s elevation) of the total raised at MINIsOnTop, and the rest will go to support the Make-a-Wish Foundation of New Hampshire (http://www.newhampshire.wish.org/).

MINIsOnTop, an annual event held in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, is the largest gathering of MINI Cooper owners in the Northeast. Its total charitable efforts in the past have raised over $38,000, and this year’s goal is to break the $50,000 mark.

Since the highlight of MINIsOnTop is a sunset run to the summit of Mt. Washington, it was decided that a percentage of the funds raised should go to the Observatory on an ongoing annual basis.

MINIsOnTop also decided to focus its efforts on the individual Make-a-Wish Foundations within each of the New England states on a rotating basis, assuring that a smile can be brought to at least one child each year by completely covering the average wish expense of $5,000 for the child and his or her family.

Those interested in donating items to be raffled or used as door prizes at MINIsOnTop should contact Dave Thibodeau at donations@minisontop.com.

MINIsOnTop is organized by MINIsOnTop, Ltd., a registered 503(c)(7) corporation consisting of very enthusiastic volunteer MINI Cooper owners. For more information, go to www.minisontop.com.

[From a press release.]

March 2008

[March NEMO.jpg] Marsha and Tom Judson at the Planning Meeting. They own a Space Blue MINI but are better known for their ex-Vienna Inn Mini Van.
Photo by Dave Newman

Plans for 2008 Center on MME
by Dave Newman

HARRISVILLE, RI — Faith and Bruce once again offered up their home to host the annual NEMO Planning Meeting on February 10th. About 30 members attended and brought a wide selection of entrées and desserts for lunch. We discussed various event ideas for 2008 (such as the Italian Job Weekend at The Kitzhof Inn — see accompanying article), along with events hosted by other clubs that NEMO members would attend.

The big discussion, however, surrounded Mini Meet East 2008, which will be hosted by NEMO at Sunday River in Bethel, ME, July 4th week. We went over the planned three-day agenda, Dave Black gave a report on the insurance needed for the event and the autocross, and Faith stressed that you should make reservations now as all of the three- and two-room suites were already booked, leaving some double-queen and Murphy-bed rooms left.

Faith had a mock-up of the entry form and some suggestions from the crowd were incorporated. It is now on the MME website for people to start signing up for the event.

Mini Meet East should be a great event and of course will be open to classic Minis and new MINIs. Any NEMO member not on the “core” MME team can participate by being willing to work the event when it happens. If interested, please contact Faith as tasks are being assigned now.

After the formal meeting, we had more dessert and more Mini conversations. It was a good meeting, enjoyed by all who attended.

March 2008

NEMO ‘Italian Job’ Weekend in August

We have booked the weekend of August 8-10 at The Kitzhof Inn in Vermont. The Inn’s proprietors, Simon and Alison Ferris, have planned the whole weekend around us and our love for everything Mini. The weekend will include Italian and British meals, a cruise on back country roads, and viewings of both the original and remake versions of The Italian Job.

The Inn is located in West Dover, VT, near Mt. Snow and not far from Wilmington in the southern part of the state. They only have 24 rooms and we need to know how many folks are interested in attending so we can get a price. So, if you are interested (did I mention they also have a hot tub and swimming pool?), please send Faith (nemo@auroratechedi.com) an e-mail by April 15th (seems like an easy-to-remember date!) so we can get an approximate count to Peter and Alison.

This will be a great Mini Break after hosting Mini Meet in July. Hope you can join us!

March 2008

From the Barn
by Dave Black

Two projects underway this month — George Cox’s 1275 Turbo and John Holden’s 1275 A+. That’s right, John has decided to go ahead and re-power his ’79 Machinist’s Mini.

But first to the turbo…

It really is amazing that you can fit all the plumbing necessary to run a turbo under the hood of a Mini. This is not a Metro-Turbo, factory installation, but a backyard bolt-on addition to an existing 1275. Every time I look at this configuration, I’m impressed with the amount of custom fitment that went into the project. And when trying to tie the turbo to the exhaust flange, at the same time lining up the intake pipe, and don’t forget the oil drain line — phewww! And that was on the test stand with full access to the front and rear of the engine. Can’t imagine doing it in the tight confines of a Mini’s engine bay. Sure glad George is going to take care of that little detail…

John Holden called a couple of weeks ago to say he’d had a dream that I (in the Thurd) was having trouble keeping up with him (in the Green Bean) on the highway! “Yeah, right!” I said. “Must have been a wet dream!” It would certainly be a nightmare for me! You should know that this dream came from John’s trip to Stowe last year. He had an awful time keeping up on the highway and has complained about it bitterly ever since.

Well, the dream is now becoming a reality. John is almost halfway through a rebuild on a 1275 lump (he’s on the sandblaster as I write). We’ve had lengthy discussions about power versus driveability issues. John has explored various camshaft options and, of course, the all-important final drive ratio.

By next month we should have the final stats as well as a couple more projects to report about. Steve from Manchester, CT will be rebuilding his 1275, and Ray Carney will likely have a replacement engine for his Skipper. Till then…

February 2008

[Octoberfast.jpg] Octoberfast at MINI of Peabody
by Dave Newman

PEABODY, MA — MINI of Peabody put on another great outing for its customers and Mini fanatics, both new and classic, on Sunday, October 7th. It was similar to the previous year’s event. The location was the BMW facility on Centennial Drive in Peabody, as the MOP lot is way too small for an event of this size.

MINI USA was pushing the theme “Motor-Tober” for October events. Hundreds of MINIs and half a dozen classic Minis were there with their owners, friends and families. There was an autocross, run by the local BMW club, some braking and handling instruction, a very good gourmet barbeque, and our very own Hrach with his woody Mini wagon and some nice discounts on MINI accessories.

Paul Taylor and his MOP crew outdid themselves and people I spoke to said that this year’s event ran smoother and had a nicer “feel” to it. Lori Connolly, the Advertising and Marketing Director for the Lyon-Waugh Auto Group that owns MOP, got her first taste of a classic Mini, our very own British Open Classic 1275, and a history lesson on the Mini, which was eye-opening. She very much enjoyed it (that’s Lori sprouting out of the sunroof).

The MOP crew is a varied lot, from old British car guys to new ones, but they all share our Mini passion and it shows. Nobody was trying to sell cars. The idea was to have a fun time with Mini people and they succeeded.

February 2008

[Girl Out of Top.jpg] Above: MOP droptop with Motor-Tober logos.
Left: A classic Mini is fun!
Photos by Dave and Barbara Newman
February 2008

Clubman Revealed in Boston
by Dave Newman

Unless you live without the Internet, magazines or television (sorry, Hrach) then you have seen pictures of the new MINI Clubman. We got to see both the Cooper and Cooper S versions at the New England Auto Show in Boston in December and offer our impressions.

First: it’s a very nice little car. Second: it’s only slightly bigger than a regular MINI coupe. Third: the rear doors are so cute that it may make you buy one. Fourth: the right side second door is pitiful and completely ruins the “lines” of the car on that side.

Please, Mr. BMW-MINI, lose that little extra side door and restore the looks of the car. It won’t make much difference as the rear legroom is only about 4” bigger than a regular MINI and it’s easy enough to get into the rear from the driver’s side (that’s the left side over here in the Colonies). The Brits are already upset that on their side of the pond the little door dumps their rear seat passengers right out into traffic.

Would I buy one, sure! But, here’s another idea for MINI to think of: offer the Cooper bonnet and chrome grille on a Cooper S. The front end of the new Cooper S looks horrible with its fake hood scoop and black egg crate grille. I’d much rather be able to order an S with a regular front end. Some like it and some don’t, so offer both.

The Official Reveal happens on February 15th at MINI dealers and no doubt they will be backordered for months. Don’t expect Minivan capacity just because it’s a wagon. From what I saw, you gain the space of about three milk crates in the back. But the way the rear doors open is an engineering marvel, even if the center section blocks your rear view a bit. What’s behind you is not important — motor on, Mini fans!

February 2008

From the Barn
by Dave Black

It is shaping up like a very slow winter for rebuilding. Can it be that we are nearing the end of first rebuilds for NEMO members? Must be time to start all over again!

Actually, there has been some engine activity. Al and Linda DeArroyo (Scotia, NY) brought their 998 lump in for a trade up to an A+ 1275 unit. Al reports that he and Linda decided last fall that the time had come to completely redo their ’79 brown 998, body and engine. Seems in stripping the paint, they discovered that only part of the car was originally brown, but a previous owner had opted for that color (probably to hide rust!). Al and Linda have chosen blue as that seemed to be the predominant color under the brown — a good choice (at least lots better than brown!). We’re looking forward to seeing them early this season.

George Cox from way upstate New York (somewhere near Canada) is rebuilding his 1275 turbo’d lump. He complained of a rough-running condition last summer and couldn’t get to the cause without pulling the lump. Diagnosis was easy enough — with the head removed you could see one of the pistons just wasn’t all there! A full disassembly has ensued — new pistons ordered and all other bits have been rebuilt. The turbo presented a challenge, though, because the manufacturer went out of business 15 years ago. No parts are available and no one was willing to work on it. I figured if it was indeed knackered, then it couldn’t hurt to take it apart. Now here I was expecting all sorts of high class, close tolerance bearings and seals requiring special tools and knowledge. Well, there’s not a bearing in sight, and sealing appears to be done with O-rings. It’s now back together and should work at least as well as when I started!

Next month we’ll discuss the final assembly and testing of our first turbo lump (but only if successful!).

February 2008

[Promenade.jpg] Miniaddicts first run of 2008!
by Tony Elf

Happy New Year from miniaddicts.co.uk!

Early start 14th January. Sleepily turned the alarm off 6.30, fell out of bed, crawled into bathroom. Sound familiar? Not me! I was wide awake with excitement — it was our first outing as a club in 2008!

Eight Miniaddicts met up in the ASDA car park before joining the remaining 192 Minis booked for the run organised by Wirral Minis, which are the nearest club and great friends of ours. Everyone had been allocated a number and I had #9. No number, no run!

9.15 the horn sounded and we all moved off in convoy, every nine Minis led by a marshal from Wirral Minis for a drive of approximately 40 miles to the Rhos on Sea Promenade for a pit stop (actually it’s known affectionally as a p**s stop!). This allowed all the Minis to catch up and crawl along the Llandudno Promenade before ascending the Great Orme, a 679 ft. high granite mountain which erupted many moons ago out of the sea.

At the top, the 200 Minis parked up, huddled tightly together for warmth and protection from the fierce wind and rain. We were only allowed 200 at a time by the Coast Guards, as long as we are marshaled. This gave us a chance to have another pit stop!

When all had returned to their Minis we then carefully negotiated the hairpin bends on the way down before assembling on the West Shore Promenade. The wind was calmer and the rain eased off (it doesn’t always rain here contrary to Paul Saulnier’s belief!). This gave the Minaiddicts a chance to meet our friends from several Mini clubs and enroll new members to our club.

We have no meeting now until the first Wednesday in February so we organised our next run to Bingley Hall Mini Show in Staffordshire on 27th January before making our way home.

[Miniaddicts is our sister club across the pond.]

February 2008

Annual NEMO Planning Meeting, Pot Luck Sunday, February 10

Join us on Sunday, February 10th, for NEMO’s Annual Meeting and Pot Luck Luncheon. Plan to arrive at 12 noon. The eating starts at 1 p.m. and the meeting follows at 2 p.m. We are in major MME2008 planning mode. So bring a dish for the lunch table and join in the fun. We will be holding a Give-Away Freebie Raffle so if you have any Mini related items you would like to donate, bring them along. The Meeting and Luncheon will take place at the home of Faith Lamprey and Bruce Vild, 5 Old Nasonville Road, Harrisville. Call (401) 766-6519 or e-mail editor@britishmarque.com. Directions will go out to everyone on the Google Group e-mail list and will be put on the website.

Directions:

From the Providence area: Take Rt. 146 North. Take the Rt. 5/102 Slatersville exit off 146. Turn right off the exit ramp and take a left (almost immediately) at the stop light (a “T”). You are now on Rt. 146A. Follow the directions from Rt. 146A below.

From the Boston area: Take Rt. 95 South to Rt. 295 South to Rt. 146 North. Take the Rt. 5/102 Slatersville exit off 146. Turn right off the exit ramp and take a left (almost immediately) at the stop light (a “T”). You are now on Rt. 146A. Follow the directions from Rt. 146A below.

From the Worcester area: Take Rt. 146 South to the Rt. 5/102/146A Slatersville exit. Turn right off the exit ramp. You are now on Rt. 146A. Follow the directions from Rt. 146A below.

From Connecticut and southern Rhode Island: Take Rt. 95 North to Rt. 295 North (in Rhode Island) to Rt. 146 North. From 146, take the Rt. 5/102 Slatersville exit. Turn right off the exit ramp and take a left at the stop light. You are now on Rt. 146A. Follow the directions from Rt. 146A below. (See below for an alternate route.)

From Rt. 146A where you’ve all converged: Follow Rt. 146A through Forestdale. You will go through three traffic lights (one in Forestdale, one at the Slatersville Plaza, one at Gator’s Pub). At Slatersville Plaza, intersect with Rt. 102 by going straight. After Gator’s, “The Island” will appear on your left and you will see a sign on your right for Wright’s Farm. Slow down and get ready for a left turn at Inman Road (ignore the road on your left across the street from the sign). Make sure you use your blinkers—this is a busy intersection! Take an immediate left after that (onto Old Nasonville Road), and an immediate right into our driveway. Call Faith and Bruce at (401) 766-6519 if you get lost.

December 2007

From the Barn
by Dave Black

In the Barn this month, as promised, are Kerry (“Frustrating”) Washay, Robyn (“Ah, Robyn!”) Zellar, Greg (“Headache”) Mazza, and Ray (“Skip”) Carney.

Travis Washay called to explain a rough running problem with his dad’s (Kerry’s) Mini. It seems he would replace the spark plugs and the car would run fine for a while, then start to skip. After trying a couple of things himself, in desperation he trailered the car to the Barn to see if I could get a handle on the problem.

This was the most frustrating time I’ve ever spent trying to solve what should have been an easy problem. It was obviously running too rich, as the plugs were sooty black. So, lean out the carb and send him on his way. Well, a three-mile test drive brought the skip back. A compression test showed #3 was down about 20 lbs. This could be either valves, or a head gasket.

Off with its head — out with the valves, and #3 exhaust definitely was leaking. A close inspection of all valves showed problems on two other cylinders as well. All was ground to perfection, the head refitted, and it still had a skip! Argggghhhh!! That was a lot of work for nothing.

So we’ve eliminated valves, head gasket, and carburetor as culprits... it must be spark. Removing each plug wire at idle found little change on #3 again! Out with the plugs and in with a new set and things seemed better, but not quite right. A test drive brought the skip back fully, and uncovered another problem. After about a mile, the engine would die, coast almost to a stop, and start up again, like it was running out of fuel.

We (Peanut and I) limped back the Barn, pulled the plugs first. #1, 2 and 4 were clean, but #3 was soaking wet. It turned out to be a bad plug! Another set solved the problem — but now to the fuel crisis. I checked the float first, having recently found this to be the cause of similar symptoms in Francesco’s Mini. It was O.K. Next was the fuel pump — of course, this car has a mechanical pump which is very difficult to access without removing the manifold (which I had just removed and refitted during the valve job). Never mind, we’ll try getting at it in situ. The top hose came off easily and I was just getting a screwdriver onto the bottom hose when I noticed this hose made a sharp bend where it leaves the steel fuel line. I wonder if that could be that simple... cut off 1/2” of line and reattached the hoses and VROOOOOOM! Another success story! (After two full days of mucking about.)

Robyn Zellar has spent a lot of time at the Barn in the past two months. First was a clutch issue. It would work fine for about three gear changes, then would quit disengaging the clutch. Now Robyn had just had a new master and slave cylinder installed, so the first thing to try was bleeding the system. A lot of air came out and the clutch worked just fine. Robyn came out to pick up her Mini and during the test drive the same problem occurred. Bleed again — there was just too much air coming out of this short line. Reason pointed to the master cylinder as the source. So, we rebuilt her old cylinder and voila — clutch!

Curiosity got the better of me and a close inspection of the brand-new Delphi cylinder showed they hadn’t machined a taper from the finish bore to the outer diameter. The sharp edge had cut both cups when assembled at Delphi! As if we don’t have enough issues with worn out parts — now it’s the new stuff that’s causing grief!

I talked to Robyn a couple of days later to make sure everything was hunky-dory and she complained that her feet were getting hot (while driving). “It’s like the heat is on,” was her comment. I asked if the heater control was on or off (in or out). “Which one is the heater control?” I explained that it looked just like the choke knob. “You mean the one with the flames on it?” was the reply — and another Mini owner discovers her ability to take control of a situation and turn it to advantage!!

On another visit, Robyn reported a “clunking” when accelerating or decelerating. Turned out to be the engine steady (the bolt had broken off in the block). This could get tricky as I had fitted a grade 8 unit on her first visit and it had broken off 1/4” into the block. Drilling was relatively easy except for the bolt’s hardness. The easy-out went in and it’s still there! Yep, I broke it clean off — the worst possible thing to happen. So what now? I fitted both outer and inner brackets with a bolt completely through the dog-bone. Then forced the assembly block-ward till I could start the forward bolt. With it cinched up, it should hold!

Forgot to mention that when pulling into the Barn, Robyn’s muffler fetched up and tore the exhaust clean off! Ripped it right out of the manifold and buggered the bell end so it would never make a tight seal. A used exhaust was procured from upstairs (upladder in the Barn). Robyn had been complaining about the size of her muffler — it seems some dude in Amsterdam had an inferiority complex and fitted a 4” center-exit monstrosity. Well, now she has a pea-shooter!

Greg Mazza’s story begins a couple of years ago (yes, it can take that long to find a solution to a Mini problem!). Every time Greg wanted to drive his Mini, he had to plan ahead and charge the battery to get it to start. It would run fine for a day, but the battery would drain down overnight and require a charge to get going again. Well, the solution was easy — buy a new battery. Of course, it took Greg at least a year to get frustrated enough to justify the $50 expenditure. All seemed fine for a while, then this summer, he started having issues with warm starts. Stop for fuel (ice cream), and the car wouldn’t start. Turned over fine, spark looked O.K., lots of fuel at the carb, so why wouldn’t it fire? (Story continued below)

December 2007

(Continued from above)

It took many sessions of troubleshooting before the cause was discovered. First, we checked spark — it had one; then, lots of diddling with the carb to make sure it wasn’t a simple case of vapor lock. The starter turned over as well as any of them do, so we were pretty sure it wasn’t battery-related, and the governor was charging, so this eliminated the 12-volt system as a cause. But the problem persisted and caused a few embarrassing moments when Greg stalled in heavy traffic on the way to an MME meeting. He pushed his Mini into a parking lot and left it till after the meeting, when it started with no problem at all.

It wasn’t till September ’07 that we started suspecting the charging system once again. Checking voltage at different locations found a drop from 12.2 to 9 at the coil when cranking. Voltage at the battery was 12.2 volts whether static or under charge. (It should be 13.5 volts.) At Stowe we installed a new voltage regulator and got the charge back up to 13.5 — and the problem seems to have disappeared!

Take heart and don’t give up on that nagging little annoyance that is causing you all sorts of grief. The solution may be just one try away!

And that brings us to “Skip” Carney (Ray). Ray is in the midst of one of these Mini-storms. His engine has a skip in it that we’ve yet to discover the cause of. At idle, removing one plug wire at a time, finds a change with #1 and #4, but no change when #2 or #3 are unplugged. Compression and leakdown tests are excellent, carburetor has been changed (no change), 123 dizzy was replaced with a new A+ electronic unit (no change), plugs, plugs wires, dizzy cap, etc., have all been eliminated as the problem. Ray even measured the throw on each valve to see if wear on the camshaft could be causing the skip (they all have equal throws).

We’ve concluded that we won’t find the cause until the engine comes out again, and even then, we may never know! Of course, Ray is only one year into trying to fix the problem. Stay tuned for the discovery — it may take another year or two, but you’ll read about it here first!

All for now…

December 2007

[December-page1.jpg]

No rain at Falmouth show (but many Minis)
by Dave Newman

Dan St. Croix at the show with his top-rated Mini. Photo by Barbara Newman

FALMOUTH, MA, Sept. 30 — Many NEMO members motored to Cape Cod to attend the CCBCC’s “British Legends” show. In stark contrast to years past, the day was sunny and 70°, quite a treat for those used to the rain this show usually attracts.

And, speaking of attraction, the show field was overflowing with cars this year, with about 200 British cars of all types making the organizers work hard to shuffle cars around to fit everyone in! Even the Mini Class had us crammed in door to door. But when you drive a Mini, there is always room to squeeze in another!

Eight classic Minis were in the show, with another three in the outside car park and three new MINIs on the field to boot. There were still many more marques like MG, Triumph, Rover, Jaguar, Rolls, Lotus (including one Elise that I lust after, whew!), Birkin, Land Rover, and more.

This is a great show, and the CCBCC must be commended for running this each year. If you own a Mini, new or old, this is a show you should attend. It is casual, has a location right on the harbor, is friendly and attracts a collection of British cars so clean and well looked after that you’d think it was a 1960s British Leyland dealer’s lot.

Some of the NEMO members attending that I saw were Faith and Bruce, Dan St. Croix, Vince Tamburo, Dave Vanolinda, Bob B., Glen C., Greg M., and of course myself and Barbara. Some are also members of the CCBCC, an organization worth joining if you live in Southeastern Mass.

In the car park outside the event was a pristine beige 1973 Mini Clubman Estate. Why wait for MINI to introduce the “new” Clubman when you can have one now? The “For Sale” sign said $15K OBO, phone (508) 759-6221. This car was nice!

Speaking of nice, Vince had a “For Sale” sign on his superb Mini Cooper for $14K. Vince, don’t sell it!

And in the show was a new Lotus Elise, burgundy in color, the car Barbara should buy me when she hits the Megabucks, right after buying a 1960s Lotus Super 7, but I digress, landing at Fantasy Island. Sorry.

Glen Carliss was up to his usual, displaying the famous Hula Doll under his open bonnet to sway favor with the judges for his Banana Crème Mini.

Some keep a St. Christopher medal hanging around their rear view mirror for luck, but at this show, many had a waterproof picture of our very own Dave Black installed in their engine compartment for luck. I’d say that was a safer bet for long engine life. Sorry, Saint Chris!

There was good food, provided by the local school band parents, and valve cover races, along with raffle prizes. A few vendors also sold bits and bobs.

During the show, most of the NEMO members attending pulled up chairs behind their cars under the trees and had great conversations about their Minis and life in general. It was nice. Others were asking questions and being given opportunities to sit in the cars, look at the engines and learn about the classic Mini.

Faith and Bruce were on the other side of the field, welcoming participants and guests at the British Marque cabana. Faith brought her MINI Cooper and Bruce his like-new MGB. They had spent the weekend involved with all the other activities CCBCC had as this is called the British Legends Weekend, the show the last event.

Soon the afternoon was upon us and the class awards were read out. Mini Class: 1st place, Dan St. Croix; 2nd place, Vince Tamburo; 3rd place, Barbara Newman.

This is an event not to miss next year!

December 2007

Santa Pod Mini show: How we do it in England
by Tony ‘Elf’ Haslam

Last month our club, miniaddicts, had a stand at Santa Pod for the biggest Mini show of the few in the U.K. We decided to camp there the night before and just as we started to erect the tents, guess what? After a few days of sunshine it decided to rain! Just got the tents up in time on dry ground but all around it turned into a quagmire! Nevertheless in true miniaddict style we smiled, and it dried up a little for the show, but very few clubs turned up and we were on the edge of the site, well away from the best part of the show, so we did not set up our stand. How can you show your Minis off in caked on mud?

[See the last issue of the Marque! —Exec. Ed.]

Anyway, seeing as we were there, we strolled or rather trawled as best we could in the mud and had a good look around for bargains. I seemed to pick up the best bargain, a Riley Elf wooden dashboard for £45, almost in immaculate condition for 44 years old or so.

To sum up the show, the site of Santa Pod (an old American army camp in Poddington, hence the name) left a lot to be desired — no roads around the campsite, lousy toilets which seemed miles away (at least 600-700 yards away) — and the only showers were on the other side of the dragstrip from the campsite!

When we saw a few Minis strut their stuff on the track along with a few dragsters and other marques we left around 15 hrs to make our way home. I was towing the caravan (no roughing it up for me!) on the motorways and arrived home at 17.30 hrs. The Minis made their way back on the A roads and got home about 21.30 hrs.

When in the Minis we find it better on the A roads as we can stop and help any that break down, whereas on the motorways we are not allowed to stop and help. Stupid, I know, as often as we can get them going again, and of course this is safer than standing around waiting for the breakdown truck. But there you go, that’s the law and we have to abide by it.)

[Miniaddicts is our sister club across the pond. Their website is www.miniaddicts.co.uk.]

I also got a few bits and pieces for my Minis, namely a pair of rear bumpers for the van, £50 new (that’s all I’ve spent on that so far), some front subframe mounting rubbers and side window rubbers for the Studio 2. Today I fitted them.

The steering feels a lot more positive now so that’s good, however I noticed the steering rack boot had split. I have two new ones and have decided to replace the track rod ends at the same time, silly not to, really, as I will have to have it tracked twice otherwise.

The Mini van is now called Robbie, having been purchased off the Robinsons and no other member using the name. He is being ignored at the moment, as I haven’t the heart to spend any time on him until I have the registration documents. Seems to be a bit of a backlog at the DVLA...

There are two registrations that come out each year, March and August. This started in the new millennium 2000 March was 01 and September was 51. A typical registration would be AB 01 ABC for March of that year and AB 51 ABC would be September. This year it would be AB 07 ABC and AB 57 ABC respectively.

Phil has bought himself a new BMW Mini Cooper diesel and has the registration PH 07 PAH, (PH being his name Phil Haslam and PAH being his initials for his full name, Philip Anthony Haslam). This makes the cars easier to put a date of manufacture on 07 and 57 being 2007. Does that make sense to you?

Before I forget, Dean has said I can have the 1275 engine out of the Open Classic complete with front subframe and suspension and wheels with the disc brakes for the van so that will make it a fast little motor for me with the discs to stop it, not as powerful as Mini Mouse but fast enough for the British roads. Spec is a single point injection with a three way catalytic converter compression 10.5-1 50 BHP @ 5000 revs and a 66 Lbs/FT torque @ 2600 revs 0-60 13,4 secs (wow! LOL) Max speed 87 mph and 36 mpg Electronic ignition of course. It will require some re-wiring to accommodate the electrics for the ECU but hey isn’t this part of the fun! We will also transfer the power assisted brake servo and the dashboard and speedo, as the wheels are 12” replacing the 10” that are on now. Until the next bulletin!

November 2007

[Stowe Barb 2007 123.jpg] Invading Vermont — British style
by Dave Newman


Minis under cloudy skies. Photo by Barbara Newman

STOWE, VT — We packed a small suitcase, two folding chairs, cameras, batteries and a bag of Fritos into our classic Mini in Kingston, MA, and headed north. Five hours and two visits to DDs for coffee later, we had penetrated Vermont and arrived in Stowe.

After checking into the Stowe Motel, we drove to the Events Field and picked up our registration materials at the 17th British Invasion. Out on the field, the Mini-Go- Round, with classic Minis and a calliope, was entertaining all. This creation of Ken Lemoine and other NEMO members was a big hit with the Friday night crowd. Inside the tent were drinks and finger foods and lots and lots of British car fans.

We headed over to the British Marque/NEMO area of the tent to mingle and see where dinner was that night. With over 600 British cars and trucks registered, could this event be a way for Stowe to get its tarmac oiled for free before the winter? It was off to a slightly wacky “sustainable” restaurant for the evening meal with 20 other NEMO members.

Saturday morning had us up early, taking advantage of the hotel free breakfast and then off to the show. The rain that had begun Friday night had turned the grassy field into a mud bowl. The hundreds of cars being lined up on the high ground were like the British Isles themselves. Even the big tent housing vendors had turned into Water World North. Vendors inside the tent were moving to the higher ground. Vendors outside were huddling under their personal canopies.

Outside, between the bouts of rain, car owners were drying off their cars. Then it would rain, and they would dry them again. We cleaned up our Mini three times before patches of sun finally arrived in the afternoon, only to have an errant cloud soak it again.

A group of MINI fans were planting yellow rubber ducks in a small pond of water just outside the MINI of Peabody display cabana. MOP had a large display with two cars, a MINI Sidewalk convertible (I loved it and want one!) and a 2007 MINI Cooper S. They were selling MINI clothing and accessories and had a large show discount on “stuff.” Hrach, our very own club President, was there — he’s one of their salesmen.

There appeared to be about 50 classic Minis, vans, pick-ups and Mokes and about the same number of new MINIs making up about 20% of the cars at the show. When we weren’t trying to keep warm in the big tent, we walked the show field, through the spectacular collection Rovers, MINIs, Minis, Land Rovers, TVRs, Aston Martins, Healeys, Jaguars, Lotus, Morgans, Jensens, Singers, and motorcycles.

In the Car Corral, where cars for sale were kept, there were quite a few Minis, including one from 1959 in pretty decent shape, claimed to be the #10 off the production line. Dave Black and Greg Mazza were all over that car like a cheap suit. It wasn’t all original, but the body was in excellent shape for being 48 years old.

The vendors had lots of parts for all types of British cars, but since the featured marque this year was the Mini, it appeared that more than 50% of the parts, models, books and such were for Mini people.

We spotted many NEMO members there, and I’m sure I missed some, but we saw Faith and Bruce, Dave, Greg, Ron Blanchette, Ian Cull, John and Lisa and the kids, Hrach, Ken, Tom and Marsha Judson and Bud Hall.

Sunday brought out the sun. In the hotel parking lot, Barbara interviewed a Canadian Smart Car-owning couple on their way to their winter home in Florida. They said it held more luggage than you would think, was slow to accelerate but did highway speeds O.K. and was totally reliable.

The Smart was cute but I don’t think I would trade our Mini or MINI for one. Seems to me that a base MINI Cooper for a few thousand more than a Smart adds two more passengers, more room and better handling and acceleration — but confirmation will have to wait for a road test next year when Roger Penske starts selling them in the States.

After another nice hotel breakfast, we were off to the bright sun of the show field for the Competition of Colours, which has the cars lined up and voted on by the participants. Mud puddles were still evident, and the tent was filled with hay to soak up the mess. It worked and Sunday was a pleasant day, with winners of Saturday’s votes announced.

In the afternoon, it was all over. Time to travel the five hours in the Mini back to Massachusetts. The drive was comfortable, at a leisurely 65mph. We have a stock 1275 and averaged over 40mpg for the combined trip. Not bad for an engine designed in the 1950s.

This Invasion was our first and the only thing we questioned was why we hadn’t done it sooner! All those years missed with something “else” to do. This event is worth doing, rain or shine!

November 2007

Holiday Party Dec. 2!

The NEMO Holiday Party will be held this year at JJ McKays in Wayland, MA, on Sunday, December 2nd, at 12 noon. McKays is at 171 Commonwealth Road at the intersection of Routes 30 and 27, just a few miles from Exit 13 of the Mass Pike (bear left onto Route 30 past the tolls). We need a head count so RSVP by emailing (editor@britishmarque.com) or calling Faith at (401) 766-6519 before Thanksgiving. Let her know how many are attending (and ages of any kids).

The cost for the buffet is $23 per person which includes tax and tip. The Club will subsidize $8 for members, so the member cost is only $15. Kids under 12 are half price and under 3 are free.

We will be holding a Yankee Swap so plan to bring a wrapped gift (try to keep the cost below $20). A Yankee Swap means that someone else may “take” your gift when it is their turn to pick. (Warn your kids so they don’t get upset if this happens!) You get to pick a gift for every gift you bring (and please, no more than one per person or the party will never end). See you there!

November 2007

From the Barn
by Dave Black

Okay, so I took last month off from writing this column, but that doesn’t mean we weren’t busy Mini-ing around in the Barn. Making headlines this month are Dave (“Ex-Chevy”) Brown and John (“Smashtheglass”) Holden. Next time we’ll talk about Kerry (“Frustrating”) Washay, Robyn (“Ah, Robyn!”) Zellar, and a few others.

Dave Brown has finally completed a 15-year restoration on a very nice Mini van that he yanked out from behind a barn a long time ago. He finally got tired of messing around with big American sleds and decided it was time to get to work on the Mini. Lots of pieces were missing, but after the body was beautifully painted, Dave refit everything he had to get the car on the road, and is so excited to drive a car that puts the fun back into driving that he hasn’t even changed the oil that was in the car when he bought it! It runs just fine, so why mess with it? Recently he was inspecting some of the running gear and found a torn CV boot, so he wanted to simply fit a new one. After a little coaxing, he agreed that it would probably make sense to pull both axles, clean and relube the CV joints and bearings, and install all new rubber bits. He fitted a speedo drive (his was missing), and discovered that this job is quite simple with the left side axle removed!

John Holden has been chasing oil leaks in his otherwise gorgeous 998 Mini. He finally discovered that the tappet cover gaskets were the culprit. A day in the Barn fixed the problem and he now reports little or no oil drips! Later in the month he decided to replace the rear brake shoes. After a little discussion (and much waffling), he decided to do a complete rear brake job (shoes, slave cylinders, brake hoses). I had explained what a pain it can be to remove the inside nuts on the hoses, but within a minute he had the first out! His car is so clean, the nuts were removable by hand! So this was going to be a snap (I should know better). With all the parts replaced it was time to bleed the system. Should have been easy, but ended up taking hours — and a quart of fluid before all the air was removed and the pedal firmed up!

October 2007

[dscf0034.jpg] Micro/Mini Classic delights again
by Charles Gould


The Peel line, P50 and Trident. Genuinely British, made on the Isle of Man, part of the Lane Motor Museum collection, here displayed at Larz Anderson.
Photo by Bruce Vild


NEWTON, MA — On July 13-15, approximately 125 tiny microcars and minicars descended upon the quiet streets of Newton as New England Mini Owners (NEMO)hosted the 12th Annual Microcar and Minicar Classic Event in conjunction with Charles and Nancy Gould. The residential neighborhood around the Goulds’ home was littered with Minis and microcars, which had been strewn all over the streets, sidewalks, curbs, and lawns for the three-day event. In addition to a vast assortment of Austin Minis, Morris Minis, Mini Coopers, Mokes, and Mini derivatives, there was a huge assortment of extremely unusual microcars and minicars, including Isettas, Messerschmitts, Goggomobils, Heinkels, Fiats, Renaults, and Citroëns.

The festivities started with a Friday night wine, cheese, microbrew and hors d’oeuvres arrival reception presented by volunteers from NEMO including Marsha Judson, who shopped, cooked, prepared, and served all of the hors d’oeuvres and entrées. The food was exceptional and Marsha did an incredible job of organizing and presenting this feast. Marsha was assisted in the kitchen by many other NEMO volunteers and volunteers from the Microcar and Minicar Club who helped cook, prepare, and serve. Tom Judson, Ken Lemoine, and others helped with parking and organizational responsibilities.

More and more people and unusual cars continued to arrive Friday night as everyone had a chance to greet old friends and meet new ones. The string of unusual cars (and people) continued to arrive through Saturday morning as Faith Lamprey, Bruce Vild, and Sabrina Kis choreographed registrations under the tent.

Bruce designed the amazing trademark nametags, using Wendy Costa’s wonderful artwork which is unique to each year’s event and also seen on coffee mugs and T-shirts. (This year it was a space alien theme inspired by 1950s B movies, Area 51, and microcars!) The tags included the registered guest name, city, microcar or minicar owned, as well as emergency contact information in the event of loss or breakdown on the back.

Extremely strong Peet’s coffee and pastries were served during the registration process.

At around noon on Saturday, the entire group of approximately 100 microcars set out for our whimsical parade to the Larz Anderson Auto Museum in Brookline, MA. We slipped through the neighborhoods, posing as an immense charm bracelet, to the cheers and applause of spectators who had come out just to view our parade.

At the Museum, cars were randomly arranged on the lush green lawn of the Carriage House while people mingled and absorbed the unusual array of automobiles. An endless line of spectators queued up for rides in the microcars given by owners who circled the Museum for approximately three hours. This is one of the favorite activities of the entire weekend as it introduces the spectators to a new genre of collectible cars, while allowing them to hear, smell, touch, feel, and ride in all of the unusual vehicles. The spectators were delighted to have this opportunity, and this activity is a huge contrast to typical car shows where viewers, and especially their children, are cautioned not to touch the cars.

During the Museum activities, awards plaques were given in each of the following categories to each of the following individuals:
Austin/Morris/Mini & Derivatives: 1st, Ken Lemoine, 1965 Mini Traveller; 2nd, Rui Maurico, 1964 Mini Cooper S; 3rd, Bruce Vild, 1967 Austin Mini.
Nash Metropolitans: 1st, Steve Williams, 1954 Nash Metropolitan; 2nd, Roger Nevers, 1959 Nash Metropolitan; 3rd, Randi Schenfeld, 1962 Nash Metropolitan.
Minicars: 1st, Allen Sisson, 1935 DKW F5; 2nd, Josh Brewer, 1959 BMW 600; 3rd, James Diettrich, 1959 Renault 4CV.
Microcars: 1st, Jeff Upton, 1957 Berkeley SE32; 2nd, Ralph Hough, 1960 FMR Tiger; 3rd, Lane Motor Museum, 1965 Peel Trident.

After the award ceremony at the museum, we all paraded back to the Goulds’ residence for the huge eclectic barbeque under the tents. There was an amazing amount of food, which this hungry group made disappear very quickly. Later Saturday evening, we took a ten-mile scenic microtour, which ended at JP Licks Ice Cream stand in Newton Centre where a fresh group of curious spectators were introduced to our tiny travel pods. After the ice cream, everyone headed back to the Goulds’ for the late night two-stroke frozen margarita party, which lasted well into the evening.

The festivities resumed on Sunday morning with brunch at the Sheraton Needham Hotel, where most of the guests were staying, followed by a long 45-mile tour to the Waushakum Steamers’ miniature train facilities in Holliston, MA, where we all got to ride on the miniature steam trains.

October 2007

[dscf0036.jpg] [continued from above]

Jeff Upton (right) talks about his ’57 Berkeley. The car won 1st place Microcar by popular vote.
Photo by Bruce Vild.


After the return trip to the Goulds’, many guests set out once again for a 20-mile tour to Matchbox Motors Microcar Museum in Hudson, MA, where the remainder of the Goulds’ collection is stored. We just beat the rain and no sooner got into the storage warehouse before the sky opened up with a torrential downpour. As soon as we had finished seeing the Goulds’ eclectic collection and projects, however, the rain had stopped and we were able to tour back to the Goulds’ in sunny weather.

People lingered until the very last moment, not wanting to leave as they visited, talked, and loaded microcars onto trailers. A small group of organizers, volunteers, and guests accompanied the Goulds’ to their lake house on Monday to reminisce about the weekend activities and decompress from all the planning and organization.

Gould’s Annual Microcar and Minicar Classic Event is really an extremely unusual car event, and one that you should not miss next year. For information or details, or to view pictures of this year and past years’ events, visit the website at www.bubbledrome.com.
 

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