September 2017

[1-Sept_17_Mini_Line.jpg] The Mini line-up at the Faneuil Hall British Car Show.
Photo by David Schwartz

July and August Highlights
by David Schwartz

Faneuil Hall British Car Show,
Boston, Mass., July 22nd

Four classic Minis participated in the Boston Area MG Club’s (BAMG’s) second Faneuil Hall car show of the season. Iain and Nuala Barker drove their ’67 Mini Cooper S, the Jones family (Garreth, Kallie and their sons) brought two Minis, and I drove my ’68 Mini Traveller. Garreth and Kallie were stationed in the UK and imported their Minis when they relocated Stateside.

Other cars parked on the cobblestones at Faneuil Hall included a variety of MGs, a TR3A, an Austin-Healey 100-6, a Land Rover, and even an early Miata. Many owners invited people to sit in their cars — always a big hit.

BAMG welcomes all British cars to their three Faneuil Hall shows. There is no membership requirement. Be sure to check the NEMO calendar next season as spaces fill up early.

British Car Night at Wings & Wheels,
Minute Man Air Field, Stow, Mass., August 10th

You never know what will show up for a local cruise night. The most unusual British vehicles that showed up here were a Sunbeam Rapier and a London Fire Brigade truck. The Sunbeam had right-hand drive, miniature tail fins and was outfitted for racing. The fire truck was imported many years ago and recently changed hands. The new owner invited kids to sit in the cab and ring the bell.

NEMO member Bob Brownwell drove up from Shrewsbury in his pristine ’63 Austin Mini 850. I brought my ’68 Mini Traveller and was joined by its big brother, a Morris Minor Traveller. Other British cars included MG TDs, a two-tone Austin-Healey, a Jaguar XKE, a Lotus, a Triumph GT6, TR3s and MGBs.

In the non-British category, Roger Fuller brought a beautiful ’89 Trabant station wagon. There was a 1931 Model A Ford outfitted with a period Motorola AM radio. The guts of the radio are mounted in the engine compartment on top of the steering column. The speaker is mounted on the steering column in the passenger compartment, with controls under the dash connected to the radio by small speedometer-style cables.

Wings & Wheels is a weekly, family-friendly cruise night with food available from Nancy’s Airfield Café. This was the third and final British car night of the season. All marques are welcome every week, with the final show on Thursday, August 31st.

Miata Day at the Larz Anderson Auto Museum,
Brookline, Mass., July 16th

A record 176 Mazda Miatas filled both fields at Larz Anderson and it was an impressive sight. For people who can’t spend an entire week at Mini Meet East, NEMO should consider holding a one-day show for Minis and MINIs from around New England.

September 2017

[2-Sept_17_Bridge_MINIs.jpg] Part of the line of 1300-plus MINIs!
Photo by Bob Shaffer

MINIs on the Mack
by Bob Shaffer

MACKINAW CITY, Mich., Aug. 5 — “MINI on the Mack” is a parade across the Mackinac Bridge in an attempt to break the English-held world record for largest-ever MINI Cooper parade. I took part.

Arriving at the staging area in St. Ignace was amazing. There were nearly 1300 Minis registered, and it took us nearly 30 minutes to park as they packed us in tightly.

My car, “Surely,” was located between 600 and 700 in the count, and I didn’t leave the site until 55 minutes after the first car. The target speed to start was 22mph, so you left in a cloud of dust as you peeled out of the parking lot.

The whole line was led on the 41-mile route by the St. Ignace Chief of Police. The line of MINIs in front of my car extended more than 25 miles in front and about the same behind. I know, because I saw the first MINIs returning on the opposite side of I-75 when I was 13 miles from the turnaround overpass! For the next 90 minutes we waved and honked horns. A few non-MINI drivers “saluted” us for interfering with their Michigan Upper Peninsula vacation travel, but most waved and asked what we were doing when we were stopped.

One of the highlights on Sunday occurred when the US Customs and Border Patrol Agent asked me why I went to Canada. I explained that I was coming from a MINI Cooper Rally in St. Ignace, and travel through Ontario was the quickest route back to Boston. He asked me if I stopped anywhere in Canada and I said, “Yes, only at the stop signs.” He laughed and waved me on.

There were 1,328 MINIs. Unfortunately, we didn’t break the world record since we needed 1,451.

September 2017

[3-Sept_17_Engine_Apart.jpg] ‘Before’ shot of Iain’s engine rebuild.
Photo by Iain Barker

Cooper S Engine Restoration
by Iain Barker

When I bought ‘KK’ (our 1967 Mini Cooper 1275 ’S’) earlier in the year I was pleasantly surprised how good a condition it was in after 50 years. It looked mostly standard except for later alloy wheels and plastic arches, an M.E.D. 1380cc A+ engine and racing exhaust, K.A.D. quick-shift gearstick and a sports steering wheel.

Since it’s a Mk1, I really wanted to keep the original character of the car, so I decided that my project would be to remove the bolt-on aftermarket parts and do a sympathetic restoration to the original 1960s specification. Or, alternatively, as one of my friends, Kieran, put it: “So you want to undo 50 years of progress, and reinstall the unreliability!”

Fortunately, some of original parts had been retained by the previous owner and were part of the sale, including most of the components that made up the original short engine. That would be my starting point for the restoration.

But first, I needed to know why the engine had been changed. I got no history with the car, but a discussion on theminiforum.co.uk suggested the camshaft certainly wasn’t from a 1275 ‘S’. It had 3/8” lobes and was probably from a 998.

Interestingly, the block was in good condition. It was bored for +20 pistons (1293cc) but with very little wear, so evidently the engine had not run much after last being overhauled. On the other hand, the crankshaft bearings were badly scored and worn, and it looked like the engine might have suffered oil pressure failure.

My best guess is that a Cooper 998 oil pump and camshaft were fitted when the block was re-bored. But why would that cause the engine to fail so catastrophically? Curiouser and curiouser.

After a lot of Googling, I learned that the Mk1 Cooper 1275 ‘S’ block is unique across all Minis ever produced. The design originated from the Cooper Formula Junior engine it uses a peg drive camshaft and 3-bolt oil pump similar to the 998. But the block is deeper due to the larger bore, so its oil pump has a longer driveshaft. Using the wrong oil pump would explain the symptoms, as the shorter pump is known to disengage/shear from the camshaft at high revs, resulting in engine failure.

Now that I had a good idea what was wrong, I set about fixing it properly. I sent the crankshaft out to have the main and rod journals reground, and ordered a correct 510-profile camshaft from Mini Sport UK. With the Mk1 engine being so rare, they were unable to source a peg drive blank, but suggested using the camshaft from a Cooper ‘S’ Mk2. It has the same profile, but uses a spider drive for the oil pump (later used on all 1275cc engines prior to the A+).

The only other major component I needed was a big-valve cylinder head. Fortunately, Mini Mania USA had a rebuilt genuine Cooper 1275 ‘S’-spec AEG163 head available.

All the other engine parts are common to the later 1275 engines, and are readily available as either new-old-stock on eBay or remanufactured from the usual vendors, so the rest of the build was relatively straightforward.

I decided to reuse the +20 pistons since they were in good condition, but I re-ringed them +30 over size, then gapped down with a hand file to the correct tolerance. Basically I made my own equivalent of ‘reclaimer’ rings, which used to be available to repair older engines.

A lick of original MOWOG Green paint to replace the battleship grey that a previous owner had inflicted on the block, sunshine yellow for the fan pulley, and it’s ready to go.

Installation will wait until after the driving season.

September 2017

NEMO Calendar

September-October 8 — Kringle Cars & Coffee 2017, Kringle Candle, Bernardston, Mass., 2nd Sundays, 9 a.m. to 12 noon, inside.kringlecandle.com/events/calendar. Free to exhibit. People’s choice awards.

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

September 3 — Sunday in the Park/Gathering of the Marques, Lime Rock Park (part of Historic Festival), limerockhistorics.com.

September 10 — Connecticut Triumph Register (CTR) British Motorcar Gathering & Picnic, 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., Wickham Park, Manchester, Conn., www.ctriumph.com.

September 15-17 — British Invasion XXVII, Stowe, Vt., www.britishinvasion.com.

September 23 — Weston Antique & Classic Car Show, Town Hall Road, Weston, Mass., 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., www.westoncarshow.com.

September 24 — The “Boston Cup” Concours d’Elegance, Boston, Mass., thebostoncup.com.

September 27-October 1 — MINIs in Foliage, Scotty’s Lakeside Resort, Lake George, N.Y., www.minisinfoliage.com.

October 6-8 — British Legends Weekend, Cape Cod British Car Club (CCBCC), North Falmouth, Mass., www.capecodbritishcarclub.org.

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

August 2017

[1-Aug_17_moke.jpg] Tiana Gould and friend in RHD Mini Moke, alongside Ken Lemoine and his Traveller, during the tour to Mt. Wachusett.
Photo by David Schwartz

Minis and the Microcar Classic
by David Schwartz

NEWTON, Mass., July 7-9 — There was a great NEMO turnout for the Goulds’ 22nd Annual Microcar Classic. The weekend followed a time-tested format: Friday evening welcome party, Saturday driving tour from the Gould residence in Newton to the summit of Mt. Wachusett in Princeton, stop on the return trip at Matchbox Motors in Hudson to view the Goulds’ collection of micro (and not so micro) cars, Saturday night barbecue, and Sunday lawn event at the Larz Anderson Auto Museum in Brookline.

Every year brings at least one new, unusual microcar. This year it was a 1956 Fuldamobil S4 owned by Bob Miller. The car is egg-shaped with two suicide doors, a single wiper blade hanging down from the roof, and rear wheels similar to an Isetta.

Other first-time car attendees included a 1933 MG J2, Mini Domino Pimlico, Austin-Healey Bugeye Sprite, Lotus 7, SAAB Sonett, Honda N600, Vespa 400, Fiat X1/9, VW Rabbit convertible, and a 2010 Lotus Elise.

Many old favorite vehicles were back this year. There were multiple Citroën 2CVs, Volkswagen Beetles, Messerschmitts, Nash Metropolitans, BMW Isettas, Fiats and S-Cargos. Also returning were the VW Camper Van, Nissan Figaro, Nissan Pao, Subaru 360, BMW 700 Cabrio, Renault Truckette, Triumph TR3 and the Fiat Multipla taxi.

Eleven classic Minis and variants (Mokes, Estates and the Domino) participated in the 120-mile round trip driving tour between Newton and Mt. Wachusett. Michael Crawford deserves special recognition for completing the tour in his 1933 MG J2. There was a passenger in the J2 for the entire trip and Mike had to pass some slower cars to avoid losing momentum going up the mountain road.

Luck was with us on Saturday, since the first major downpour of the day occurred during our lunch stop in Sterling. Many of us made a mad dash to the parking lot to close windows and sunroofs, or put up convertible tops. This was not possible for one of the Mokes or the MG J2, since they did not have tops! The weather cleared by the end of lunch, and after drying off the open cars with towels, most people braved damp clothes and wet interiors to continue the tour. It was sunny at the summit of Mt. Wachusett, with views of the Boston skyline and Mt. Monadnock.

Sunday was a beautiful, sunny day for the lawn event at Larz Anderson. The cars paraded from Newton to Brookline and parked by marque or category. There were ten Minis and variants on the lawn, including two Innocenti Minis. Four other Minis participated on Saturday, which may be a record weekend total.

There was a large public turnout and car owners spent over three hours giving rides around the Museum grounds. Kids and adults love the rides and are very appreciative. New NEMO member RJ Rondini gave rides in his Inno the entire time. He could barely walk when it was over. I managed to squeeze eight people into my Mini Traveller: two in front, three in the back, and three kids in the “way-back.”

When awards were handed out for the Mini class, Wendy Birchmire took 1st for her British flag-motif 1977 Austin Mini Cooper. My 1968 Morris Mini Traveller was 2nd, and Faith Lamprey and Bruce Vild were 3rd with their 1967 Austin Mini. In the Minicar class, 1st place was awarded to Elizabeth and Michael Crawford’s 1933 MG J2.

As Charles Gould likes to point out, this event is also about the people. There are regulars who have been coming for five to 20 years, plus volunteers that help with car repairs, food preparation, clean-up, registration and vending. The event is also about the friendships that form and the opportunity for a yearly reunion. Nancy, Tiana and Monique Gould are partners in running the weekend, and the attendees want to thank the entire family for another great year.

August 2017

[2-Aug_17_KK_and_Mini_Line.jpg] Iain Barker’s ‘KK’ fronted the line of Minis at Larz Anderson.
Photo by David Schwartz

British Car Day at LAAM
by David Schwartz

BROOKLINE, Mass., June 25 — Twelve classic Minis and three modern MINIs graced the show field for British Car Day at the Larz Anderson Auto Museum. This was a record number of classics in my four years of attending this event. A bright sunny day with low humidity led to a good turnout for all marques, with overflow vehicles filling about half the lower lawn.

It was great to meet new NEMO member Iain Barker, his charming five-year-old daughter Nuala and “KK,” his 1967 Mini Cooper S. Nuala enjoys riding in the Mini. Her booster seat clips into the front passenger seat (no rear seatbelts), which is a real treat. We look forward to seeing Iain and Nuala at future events. For anyone who has yet to read the July NEMO Newsbeat, I highly recommend Iain’s article, “A Tale of Five Minis.”

A new museum exhibit opened in May, “Super Cars: Origins, Evolutions.” Some of my all-time favorite cars are on display — a 1955 Mercedes Benz 300SL Gullwing, a 1908 Stanley Steamer Model K, and a 1933 Auburn Boat Tail Speedster. The lawn event season runs through October 22nd. If you attend an upcoming event, be sure to allow time to visit the Super Car exhibit.

There are always some treats at British Car Day and this year did not disappoint. A 1947 HRG 1100 Roadster was one of the rarest cars on the field. Elizabeth and Michael Crawford brought their 1933 MG J2. James Bond himself was sitting in an Aston Martin DB5. (Okay, it was a cardboard cutout.) There was a pair of 1970-71 Marcos GTs, one in pristine condition and the other a daily driver.

I exited the Super Car exhibit through the main Museum entrance into the upper parking lot and walked straight into the biggest Rolls-Royce I have ever seen, a 1966 Phantom V Limousine. (Parking on the grass is clearly for lesser cars.) The Phantom V interior had gorgeous polished woodwork and was decorated with proper details — chauffeur’s cap, crystal decanter and glasses, top hat and gloves, mink stole, silver hair brush set, and, of course, a bottle of Grey Poupon.

The award for Best Mini went to Wendy Birchmire’s 1977 Mini Cooper. Her car, decorated inside and out in a Union Jack motif, is a huge hit with the public and will be the car to beat until something cuter comes along.

Best MG was awarded to the Crawfords’ 1933 J2.

August 2017

NEMO Calendar

August-October 8 — Kringle Cars & Coffee 2017, Kringle Candle, Bernardston, Mass., 2nd Sundays, 9 a.m. to 12 noon. Free to exhibit, people’s choice awards, inside.kringlecandle.com/events/calendar.

August 5 — Monadnock Berries MINI Cooper BBQ, Troy, N.H., 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. (food served 12 noon to 1:30 p.m.), monadnockberries.com/events.

August 5 — MINI on the Mack, Mackinac Bridge, Mackinaw City, Mich., www.minionthemack.com.

August 10 — British Car Night at Wings & Wheels, Minute Man Air Field, Stow, Mass., 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., wingsandwheelsma.com.

August 9-13 — MINIs in the Mountains, Steamboat Springs, Colo., minisinthemountains.com.

August 26 — Faneuil Hall British Car Show, 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., hosted by the Boston Area MG Club, Boston Mass., www.bostonareamg.com.

August 31-September 4 — Lime Rock Historic Festival, Lime Rock Park, Lakeville, Conn., limerock historics.com.

September 3 — Sunday in the Park and Gathering of the Marques, limerockhistorics.com.

September 15-17 — British Invasion XXVII, Stowe, Vt., www.britishinvasion.com.

September 24 — Boston Cup Concours d’Elegance, Boston, Mass., thebostoncup.com.

September 27-October 1 — MINIs in Foliage, Scotty’s Lakeside Resort, Lake George, N.Y., www.minisinfoliage.com.

October 6-8 — British Legends Weekend, Cape Cod British Car Club, North Falmouth, Mass., www.cape codbritishcarclub.org.

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

July 2017

[1-Jul_17_The_Lads.jpg] The lads about to create ‘Eric’.
Photo courtesy Iain Barker

A Tale of Five Minis

by Iain Barker

I’m new to the New England Mini scene, but I’m not new to Minis. By way of an introduction, here is my story or at least the more printable parts of it.

Mini #1 — Six of One

Truth be told, I never really wanted a Mini. As a TV-obsessed teenager, I watched The Prisoner over and over on VHS. No, what I really wanted was a Moke. But there was a problem: nearly all Mokes were to be found in warm climates, like Barbados or the south of France, whereas I lived in grey, rainy England — just outside of Cambridge, which is about as far from exotic as it’s possible to be. Mokes we did not have.

But Minis, they were “ten a penny.” It seemed like every commuter, housewife or grandma owned a Mini in the 1970s. With that typical wet climate, this meant that by the mid-1980s there were literally thousands of Minis rusting away, just waiting to be handed down to the next generation as “learner cars.”

My father had tuned up Austin A35s and A40s a generation before. Now it was my turn to learn the trade, or at least break things and have to figure out how to put them back together again. So I ended up with a blue Mini 1000 saloon with the same A Series engine as the A35/A40, and almost a Moke.

As a first car, it was nothing particularly special and had front wings made more of filler than metal. But it was transport. It was cheap, and most importantly, it was easy to learn how to maintain it myself. I kept it going for a couple of years, until one particularly rainy day it slid into a ditch. We pulled it out with a backhoe and cleaned it up O.K., although the rear sub-frame took a bit of a battering and it never was quite as agile around corners.

The net result, of course, now that they knew I could fix Minis, was that all my friends started to buy them. Soon I had a good side trade going at the weekends. An engine swap? You supply the parts the labor will be a crate of beer for my troubles. There was something like 11 or 12 cars all told that I kept on the road, in between all the free beer and partying.

Mini #2 — Eric

Meet ‘Eric’, as in ‘Eric the Mini’. He’s a yellow-orange Mini 1000, a particularly nasty ’70s color. That name might not make much sense to anyone these days, but back in 1989 it was topical: a pun on Eric the Viking, a movie released that year, a Monty Pythonesque satire of Viking life.

Eric started life as so many ’70s and ’80s Minis did, as a regular city runaround, nothing special at all. By the time we got hold of him he was rust-ridden and about ready to visit the great scrapyard in the sky. Back then, if a Mini cost more than a few hundred pounds to fix, you junked it and put the spares onto other Minis to keep them going. It would be sacrilege these days, but they really were everywhere in the UK back then.

But we had other ideas. And so it was that Eric was on his side. Not actually to be scrapped, though, the thought was to cut him in half and make an open top ‘shortie’ with just the two sub-frames and one row of seats. The sills and floor pan didn’t look too bad from above, so we started with the roof and set about it with the angle grinder. Ten minutes later, everything rearwards of the A posts was gone, down to the top of the door line and parcel shelf. Immediately of course, he sagged in the middle, so the door locks were removed and the doors were stick-welded to the A and B posts. That fixed it!

July 2017

[2-Jul_17_Eric_the_Mini.jpg] Eric the Mini.
Photo courtesy Iain Barker

Eric was driven (slowly) like this for about six months. We did get pulled over by the police once and they asked us to cover the exposed window corners. Half a tennis ball did the trick and they were happy to send us on our way. When the last 6 months of his MOT (inspection sticker) expired, Eric was 100% recycled. All his mechanicals were stripped, and the remaining bodywork/rust was taken to the ferrous metal yard. RIP, Eric. You lived a good life.

Mini #3 — Albert

As the ’80s turned into the ’90s, taste in Mini modification changed. A 1000cc runaround wasn’t going to make the grade what I was interested in was a fast Mini. Not just a wreck waiting for its inevitable doom, but an actual car that could make me proud.

The MG Metro Turbo was the speed-freak’s choice on the A Series menu. But it wasn’t a Mini and it wasn’t affordable, at least not by me at the time. So the next best thing was a 1275GT. The problem, though, was that I really had no budget. Plus, I hated the Clubman squared-off look. So I decided I would have to make one from the GT spares that littered the local junkyards, plus a good round-nose donor car.

As fortune would have it, a friend had a Mini 1000 that badly needed rust removal. I bought a cheap MIG welder and got stuck in. But as we started cutting into the rust with an angle grinder, inevitably we went further and further back until there was hardly anything left between the doors. Eventually, after some trial and error — and a bit of cross bracing to stop it folding in half (lesson learned from Eric!) — new inner and outer sills were welded in.

Panels cost almost nothing back then, of course it was just time and effort.

Hmm, now the floor was good, but there was still a problem with the roof. The corners were completely rotted-out thanks to British Leyland’s great idea to fill the headlining voids with ultra water-absorbing urethane sponge. A different approach was needed maybe starting from the top and working down would be easier. So I cut out the rot and started welding in plates, then promptly set fire to the interior of the car. This was not going well and after being chastised by the local fire chief a rethink was again required.

In the end, the easiest option was to cut the top off another donor Mini in the junkyard, and butt-weld it through the A, B and C pillars. All measurements were done by eye but it worked out great. A home garage re-spray (another quick learning curve), a 1275GT engine, 12” Denovo wheels, actual disc brakes (oh, the luxury!), and Albert was done. He was my daily driver for more than six years, and even got a temporary engine swap for an ultra-economy 1000cc HLE when I went through University. We lost touch after that, but I hear he went to at least two more universities and lasted at least another 10 years on the road.

July 2017

[3-Jul_17_Cynthia.jpg] Pretty Cynthia made the London-to-Brighton Mini Run.
Photo courtesy Iain Barker

Mini #4 — Cynthia

This was the last Mini I worked on before heading to University in 1992. It was done as a thank you to my friend Lawrence who helped me out with countless hours on Eric and Albert. Cynthia was named after “Cynthia Payne” (an English brothel keeper and party hostess), and she was literally a “pain in the ass.”

I don’t know what BMC were doing in the early ’70s, but I think they were either on strike or actively sabotaging their product because this Mini was a mess. Everything broke and needed fixing — headlight switches with contacts that were made of what looked like recycled aluminum foil, bodywork that was barely heaver gauge than a Coke can. Those Mk4 cars were not well made.

But Lawrence had a goal in mind for Cynthia. We would make her right and send her on the London-to-Brighton Mini Run, the annual drive between those two cities in southern England.

Two days before the event everything was under control. Cynthia was running well, the paint on the nice new white re-spray was cured, and she was ready to go. Then I got the phone call from Lawrence, 8 p.m. on the evening before the big day. “Er, mate. I don’t know how to tell you this, but the front wheel just fell off. I’m sorry!”

He was right — it had sheared through the studs on the front right wheel. But fortunately he was only going about 20mph at the time. Regardless, the damage was done — plowing down the road on three wheels, the asphalt made a good approximation of a belt sander and ground the lower ball joint away, as well as making a nice flat edge on the A panel and outer sill.

After a particularly stressful all-nighter, I managed to weld up the panels with patches, slap some filler in to smooth the join, prime and paint in just a couple of hours, while Lawrence set about replacing the front hub with one taken from Eric’s donor parts pile.

Around 2 a.m., we set off for London, slept the night in the car, got up at 7 a.m. to pop-rivet the grille back on the front, and took our place in the parade. We even made the Concours d’Elegance at Madeira Drive on the Brighton seafront, and we met John Cooper himself that day, as a bonus!

Mini #5 — KK

I moved from England to America in 2001 and Minis went out of production. Not that you’d have noticed in Boston, since the last legal Minis imported were from 1968. But still I’d see one from time to time on the roads around Cambridge, Mass., and there was an emptiness with life not being quite so “Mini-ful.”

Eventually, I bought a 2009 MINI JCW. A fine car, and still my daily driver, but not really a Mini, is it.

More time passed. I got married and had a daughter. From time to time Lawrence would post links to Facebook for Minis he thought I should import from the UK. But importing newer cars was impossible due to US safety regulations, and older cars that were worth the effort didn’t become available.

July 2017

[4-Jul_17_KK.jpg] ‘KK’ now resides with Iain in Massachusetts.
Photo courtesy Iain Barker

Of course there are plenty of Minis in the States with Honda VTEC engines and newer cars with VIN swaps, mostly in rust-free California. But still, if I was going to do this, I was going to bide my time and do it properly, find something really worth the effort.

Little did I know that years of lurking on eBay were about to pay off. About a month ago, up popped a Mini 1275 Cooper S, a 1967, on eBay. Yeah, I thought the same thing — another fake. The car was advertised on eBay using photos that were at least a year old, with very little verifiable information including an invalid VIN number from a seller who lives out of the country, had a zero eBay rating, and only joined a few days previously.

There are many, many 1275 S fakes built up from later body shells. There are also quite a lot of genuine ’60s Mini Coopers that have been upgraded to Cooper S spec. The seller was out of the country so the car wasn’t available for viewing, and all I had to go by were a few photos. All the alarm bells were ringing. But still, what if it were real?

I took a gamble. The first two bids didn’t hit the reserve, but with my final limit I was in with a chance. The auction closed at 3 a.m., a sleepless night for me, but I won. OMG, what had I done! But after e-mailing a few times with the seller and doing some background searches, it all checked out. Still, I was waiting a nervous week for shipping and paperwork to clear.

And what d’ya know, it’s the real deal! A quick trip to the RMV using a “year of manufacture” license plate (KK), and she’s on the road and ready for her first adventure in Massachusetts. Sure, she has a 1380 fast-road engine instead of the original S engine, but that gives me something to work on for the next few years. I plan on rebuilding the original engine to get the car back to factory spec eventually. (I got the ‘S’ EN40B crank and block as part of the deal. They need a lot of work.)

Well, that’s my story. Weather permitting (KK is a sunny day car only!), my 5-year-old daughter and I plan to be at the Larz Anderson British Car Day on June 25th (still in the future as I write this). Best regards!

July 2017

Calendar of Events

July 9-October 8 — Kringle Cars & Coffee 2017, Kringle Candle, Bernardston, Mass. Second Sundays through October, 9 a.m. to 12 noon, inside.kringlecandle.com/events/calendar.

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.

July 13 — British Car Night at Wings & Wheels, Minute Man Air Field, Stow, Mass., 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., wingsandwheelsma.com.

July 16 — Codman Estate Antique Auto and Classic Car Show, Lincoln, Mass., www.historicnewengland.org/events-programs/Antique%20Auto%20Shows.

July 22 — Show of Dreams, Hudson, N.H., hosted by British Cars of New Hampshire (BCNH), bcnh.org/blog/show-of-dreams.

July 22 — Faneuil Hall British Car Show, Boston, Mass., 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., hosted by the Boston Area MG Club, www.bostonareamg.com.

July 22-23 — Misselwood Concours d’Elegance, Beverly, Mass., www.endicott.edu/Concours.aspx.

August TBD — Monadnock Berries MINI Cooper BBQ, Troy, N.H., monadnockberries.com/events.

August 5 — “MINI on the Mack,” Mackinac Bridge, Mackinaw City, Mich., www.minionthemack.com.

June 2017

[1-Jun_17_Funkhana.jpg] Karabec Moke in action at the Funkhana.
Photo by Lorine Karabec

Coming Soon: Mini Meet East!
by Lorine Karabec

Mini Meet East (MME) 2017 is hosted by the Central Ohio Mini Owners, and will take place in Columbus, Ohio, June 29-July 2.

As my husband Derick and I prepare for this year’s Meet and decide which Mini to take, we take a moment to reflect on previous Meets and one of our favorite events, the Funkhana. For those of you unfamiliar with a Funkhana, it is a timed event for a driver and navigator. There is an obstacle course that usually reflects the geographic region where the Meet is held. The event tests the driver’s skills, with multiple tasks along the way that must be completed by the navigator — and sometimes also the driver!

MME 2016 was held in Oak Ridge, Tenn., which is 25 miles west of Knoxville and was a production site for the Manhattan Project. The organizers used the Manhattan Project as a theme for the Funkhana. The event started with a drive to the bar to mix a Manhattan, virgin or a stiff one. The choice was yours because you had to drink it before moving on to the next task. After that were a ring toss, a pizza delivery and lastly a whitewater rafting trip around your car.

Participants often make multiple runs through the course, switching drivers and navigators. Drivers are often looking for navigators and vice versa so there is ample opportunity for those who want to take the challenge.

The Funkhana became one our favorite events in 2008 when we attended our first MME in Bethel, Maine, which was hosted by NEMO. I remember Faith asking us if we were going to participate in the Funkhana. Derick and I asked, “A funk what?” We did it, placed 2nd in our class, and had a blast. We haven’t missed a Mini Meet East or Funkhana since, and look forward to it every year. It is fun for both the participants and spectators.

I wonder what the Central Ohio Mini Owners have in store for us at the 2017 Funkhana?

June 2017

[3-Jun_17_COTA_by_Luis_Perocarpi.jpg] The #73 MINI JCW Team car heads around a bend on three wheels.
Photo courtesy Luis Perocarpi

MINI JCW Team at Circuit of the Americas
by Dave Newman

Once again, I took off the time from work to watch the International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge. The race this time was held at Circuit of the Americas (COTA) in Austin, Texas, on May 5th.

Two classes run in the Conti — Grand Sport (GS), with bigger, faster cars, and Street Tuner (ST), with smaller, lower-horsepower cars. Before the COTA race, the IMSA season standings showed MINI JCW Team car #73 in 2nd place, the Team’s car #37 in 13th place and the Team’s car #52 in 16th place.

The IMSA live video feed was good and the weather appeared to be perfect for racing. The event began with #73 driver Derek Jones winning the ST class pole position (1st place on the grid) during qualifying. Car #37 was 8th and car #52 12th on the grid.

Texas was not kind to the Team this year. The #37 car, driven by Mike LaMarra and James Vance, was sidelined by engine boost problems and finished 14th. The #73 car was fast in practice and had some very exciting early laps in the race, competing against Mazda Miatas and Porsche Caymans. However, #73 was later slowed by wheel speed sensor problems and finished 10th. The top finisher for the MINI JCW Team was car #52, driven by Nate Norenberg and Tyler Stone, coming in 7th in the ST class.

Race team owner/manager Luis Perocarpi expected better results after #73 took the pole and had not anticipated mechanical problems. Such is life in the racing world.

We wish the team better luck in the July 1st race at Watkins Glen International. The great news for Barbara and me is that we will be at Watkins Glen in person and the week after that at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park. We will see the Team race live at both venues and report back.

June 2017

[2-Jun_17_Holliston.jpg] The Holliston Historical Society’s Father’s Day Breakfast Cruise is always fun!
Photo by David Schwartz

June and July Event Preview
by David Schwartz

NEMO members attend the better-known New England cars shows and related events, many of which welcome both classic and modern Minis. Below are descriptions of a few events I have attended and highly recommend. Some are local cruise-ins and others are large, well publicized shows. This is by no means an exhaustive list. Visit www.nemomini.org for the full events calendar.

June 4 — British by the Sea, Connecticut MG Club, Harkness Memorial Park, Waterford, Conn., 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. This is the show’s 30th anniversary and Morris is the featured marque. There are typically more than 350 vehicles, with a large turnout of Minis/MINIs, plus cars that are rarely seen at smaller shows.

June 8 — British Car Night at Wings & Wheels, Minute Man Air Field, Stow, Mass., 5 to 8 p.m. This is a family-friendly cruise night with food available from Nancy’s Airfield Café. There is usually a plane or two interspersed with the cars, with more on the runway. Food sells out, so plan to arrive early. British cars will be grouped in the featured section, though other marques are welcome. British cars are also featured on July 13th and August 10th.

June 8-11 — British Motorcar Festival, Bristol, R.I. If you can’t make it to the British Invasion in Stowe, Vt., this event is the next best thing. It is presented by the same group as the British Invasion and follows a similar format. If you can only attend for one day, make it Saturday and try to arrive by 9 a.m. Be sure to see the full schedule on their website.

June 18 — 15th Annual Father’s Day Breakfast Cruise, Holliston Historical Society, Holliston, Mass., 8 to 10 a.m. Free to all cars and motorcycles of interest. This show features a little bit of everything, including Brass Era American cars, muscle cars, British cars, hot rods, European cars, etc. Paul Saulnier has been known to bring Mini Mouse, his ’64 Morris Mini Van hot rod with a rear mounted V8 engine. The pancake breakfast is always excellent. The show starts and ends early, so there is plenty of time for other Father’s Day activities.

June 22-24 — 4th Annual Vintage Motorsports Festival, Thompson Speedway, Thompson, Conn. I attended the Saturday race in 2015 (along with several other NEMO members) and had a great time. Be sure to arrive early so you can walk through the pit areas and chat with the owners. You can get very close to the race action and see open roadsters leaning through the turns. Bring earplugs for the muscle car races.

June 25 — British Car Day at Larz Anderson Auto Museum, Brookline, Mass., 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. All British cars are invited to attend regardless of make, model or year. This show fills the upper lawn near the Carriage House and about half the lower lawn. Arrive by 8:30 a.m. for the best chance of parking on the upper lawn with other Minis/MINIs. Last year there were five Minis and at least ten MINIs in attendance. A new museum exhibit recently opened — Supercars: Origins, Evolution.

July 7-9 — Gould’s 22nd Annual Microcar & Minicar Classic, Newton, Mass. An entire weekend chock full of microcar and minicar fun, featuring driving tours, a Friday evening wine/microbrew and hors d’oeuvres reception, a Saturday drive and ascent of Wachusett Mountain, a stop at the Gould’s Matchbox Motors to view the entire collection, an eclectic Memphis Barbecue and frozen margarita party, and a Sunday show at the Larz Anderson Auto Museum with optional rides for the public. This is clearly not some stuffy “park-and-polish” type car show on a hot asphalt parking lot. NEMO is always well represented and we guarantee you will have a great time. See the event website for details, www.bubbledrome.com/index2.html.

July 22 — Faneuil Hall British Car Show, hosted by the Boston Area MG Club (BAMG), Boston, Mass., 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. For the past few years, BAMG has welcomed NEMO’s Minis at their Faneuil Hall car shows. This is a really unique venue and people don’t expect to see a group of classic British cars parked on the cobblestones between Faneuil Hall and Quincy Market. See the BAMG website for details. The show is limited to 15 cars, so be sure to register early.

Other events of interest include:

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

July 22 — “Show of Dreams,” hosted by British Cars of New Hampshire, Hudson, N.H. Details at bcnh.org.

July 22-23 — Misselwood Concours d’Elegance, Beverly, Mass. Details at www.endicott.edu/Concours.aspx.

 

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