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.

May 2017

[1-May_17_Dave_Holding_Trophy.jpg] Mini JCW Racing Team owner Luis Perocarpi (right) was so impressed with Dave’s driving at the Glen, he gave him the trophy. Just kidding...
Photo by Barbara Newman

MINIs at the Glen
by Dave Newman

WATKINS GLEN, N.Y., Apr. 9 — Barbara and I drove to Rochester on Saturday and stayed overnight so we could be up bright and early for the rallye from MINI of Rochester to Torrey Ridge Winery. Our group of over 100 MINIs and one 1964 classic Mini Cooper S met up with hundreds of other MINI owners from all over the Northeast and Canada. We bought wine and cider at Torrey Ridge, and then caravanned to the track at Watkins Glen.

We paid our $25 donation at Watkins Glen and entered the racetrack for three laps on the long course. A pace car kept speeds under 100mph. There were 378 MINIs and over 500 people! Last year they had 208.

The MINI JCW Racing Team brought one of their racecars and the huge trophy the team had won at Daytona in January, having placed 1st in the Street Tuner (ST) class in IMSA’s Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge race (see details in the February British Marque). Barbara and I actually got to hold the trophy and have pictures taken with team owner Luis Perocarpi, and Tonine McGarvie from MINI Headquarters.

Our 2016 MINI Cooper S with JCW modifications (all decked out in team decals, including number 73) was wonderful to drive on the track. It ate up the turns and burned up the straights. The car is a joy to drive, with simply awesome brakes. It’s fast. The extra 20hp from the JCW modifications and the track-use exhaust give it some go!

The organizers, along with MINI of Rochester and Towne MINI of Buffalo, put on an after-party at the famous Seneca Lodge, free for the first 450 people who signed up. The race transporter truck brought the racecar to the party, where it was displayed inside a tent. There was great food and raffle prizes, with MINI giving out hats, antenna balls, shirts and other swag. Everyone had a great time.

Barbara and I stayed overnight at the Seneca Lodge and then had a nice eight-hour drive home the next day. The weather was in the 70s all three days of our trip.

A big thank you goes to the organizers and sponsoring dealers for putting on such a great event. It is a winner! An event well worth going to — and there were even two classic Minis out of the 378 participating cars! Check out the MINIs at the Glen Facebook group.

May 2017

[2-May_17_GWM_Truck.jpg] Betty with Chinese-built rental, the GWM Wingle 5.
Photos by David Schwartz

Classic Cars of Bonaire
by David Schwartz

Bonaire is a small Caribbean island off the coast of Venezuela. It is about 24 miles long by 3 to 5 miles wide, with the tiny island of Klein Bonaire a half mile off the west coast. Bonaire is known as the shore diving capital of the Caribbean with easy access to over 80 snorkel and scuba diving sites, most of which have a coral reef within several feet of shore.

We rented one of the ubiquitous double cab white pickup trucks so we could travel at our own pace. A vehicle with high ground clearance is required in order to drive the dirt roads in Washington Slagbaai National Park on the north end of the island. Our truck was a GWM Wingle 5, built by Great Wall Motors Company, China’s largest producer of sport utility vehicles. The Wingle engine is a 30-year-old Toyota design.

While driving to dinner our first night I spotted a classic Fiat 500 parked in a small town square. The car remained in the same spot for several days, and my wife Betty humored me when I asked to pull over to take pictures.

A few days later we saw two people trying (unsuccessfully) to get the Fiat started and I had to stop again to meet the owner. He told us that new cars are very expensive on Bonaire, so he bought the car in Italy and spent $1,500 having it shipped over in a cargo container. He claimed to have the only classic Cinquecento on Bonaire. I considered making an offer and shipping it home in the overhead luggage bin.

At the end of the week the Fiat was still in the same parking space, with a ’60s vintage Volkswagen bus pickup truck several spaces over.

One morning while driving toward the capital city opposite direction. From a distance it looked like an MG TD or Morgan Plus 4, but as we got closer a large Citroën double chevron was visible on the grill. An on-line search turned up pictures of similar late ’30s Citroën roadsters.

There were some interesting modern vehicles, none of which are legal in the US. Tiny micro-vans were popular with the locals. These were very narrow with tall roofs and could have done duty as clown cars in the circus. Some wore Suzuki badges while others had no identifiable markings.

One of the best snorkel sites in Bonaire is Wayaka, located on the west coast of the National Park. We were told to allow a minimum of a half-day to drive through the Park, which was surprising given the small size. The short driving route is only 15 miles and the long route is 21 miles. I wanted to take the long route, but within the first two miles Betty vetoed that idea. Initially the dirt road was flat and smooth. As soon as we reached the first hill it became clear why high ground clearance vehicles were mandatory. During the rainy season the steep mountain roads had washed out. What remained were huge boulders, deep ditches and scattered smaller stones.

For us the drive was a bone-jarring experience, though I imagine this was an off-roader’s idea of a good time. The amazing snorkeling spot made it all worthwhile. Our trusty little truck acquitted itself wonderfully, never lugging in first gear at 5mph on the steepest hills.

Most days we snorkeled from shore at two or three different sites. One day we made a picnic lunch and took the water taxi to Klein Bonaire. This tiny uninhabited islet is another top snorkeling spot. We walked south along the beach for half a mile, put on our gear and swam about 25 feet off shore to the edge of the reef. Then we did a drift dive where the current slowly brought us back to our starting point. We saw our only sea turtle on this trip.

We also booked a snorkel trip on the Sea Cow, an old Venezuelan fruit vessel. The boat is painted in a white and black cow pattern and has a horn that sounds vaguely like a cow mooing. The Sea Cow visited two sites off the coast of Klein Bonaire and guides identified a wide variety of fish and coral. The owners of the Sea Cow transport passengers to their dock in a 1983 Land Rover, which also sports a white and black cow pattern paint job. This was the only classic British car we saw in Bonaire, though we did see one modern MINI.

Betty and I are hoping NEMO members can help us solve a mystery. One day we were having lunch at a beach shack restaurant at Lac Bay on the southeast coast. We were sitting in the shade watching windsurfers on the bay. A couple walked by on the beach, backlit by the bright sun, and the man said, “Hello, Schwartzes.” This happened very quickly and we had no idea who they were! Since Betty doesn’t go by Schwartz we assume that the man knew me, perhaps through the British car hobby or NEMO. If the mystery man was a NEMO member, please let us know!

We have snorkeled at three other spots in the Caribbean, in Florida, Hawaii and on the Great Barrier Reef off Queensland, Australia. Bonaire is at the top of our list and the car spotting was an unexpected surprise.

May 2017

Calendar of Events

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

May 18-May 21 — A MINI Vacation in Vegas, Silverton Hotel & Casino, Las Vegas, Nev., www.amviv.com.

May 21-October 8 — Kringle Cars & Coffee 2017, Kringle Candle, Bernardston, Mass., second Sunday of the month (except in May, when it is the third Sunday), 9 a.m. to 12 noon. Free to exhibit, people’s choice awards, inside.kringlecandle.com/events/calendar.

June 4 — “British by the Sea,” hosted by the CT MG Club, Harkness Memorial State Park, 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.thompson speedway.com/events/.

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

June 29-July 2 — Mini Meet East, Columbus, Ohio, Holiday Inn Columbus North I-270 Worthington, 7007 N. High St., Worthington, Ohio, http://www.mini meeteast2017.com.

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

April 2017

[1-Apr_17_Izzo_by_Izzo.jpg] Chris Izzo is obviously pleased with his raffle selection at the Annual Meeting.
Photo by Robert Izzo

NEMO Meets and Plans
by David Schwartz

NORTH SMITHFIELD, R.I., Mar. 5 — We had a good turnout for the NEMO Annual Meeting, with 21 adults and two children. The past two years were standing room only at Faith and Bruce’s house, so this year we held the meeting at The Pines restaurant. The Pines seated us in a comfortable private dining room. We ordered the Family Style Chicken dinner (soup, rolls, salad, pasta, chicken, French fries and ice cream), a specialty at many northern Rhode Island restaurants.

It was great to meet Lisa and John Mastrandrea and their daughters. They are regulars at Mini Meet East and are often seen in Funkhana photos with Derick and Lorine Karabec. Several new members were also present as well as all the usual suspects.

Every year we hold a free raffle of Mini- or classic car related-items donated by members. Faith handed out raffle tickets as people arrived. Prizes included die-cast cars, magazines, a coffee mug, a Union Jack umbrella, books, a MINI jacket and a can of Monty Python’s Holy Grail beer.

The meeting followed our usual format, with a social hour followed by lunch. The roast chicken and side dishes were very good, and the quantity of food was far more than we could eat.

Faith called the meeting to order by pulling the first raffle ticket. This got everyone’s attention and the best prizes went quickly. Paul Berton took home the MINI jacket, and Barbara Neiley was seen guarding the Holy Grail beer.

After the raffle we moved on to the actual business meeting. Dave Black provided a financial report. The NEMO bank balance is healthy, with the Holiday Party being our major expense.

April 2017

[2-Apr_17_Dave_Black.jpg] Dave Black gives his report.
Photo by Robert Izzo

Ken Lemoine told a heartwarming story about a Hrach Fund donation. An uninsured MGB owned by a 17-year-old named James Nifong was lost in a fire. James was restoring the MGB with help from Kurt Steele and members of the Boston Area MG Club (BAMG). About a month after the fire, BAMG members found another MGB and worked tirelessly over four weeks to make the replacement car roadworthy in time for Christmas to present to the heartbroken James. The Hrach Fund, intended to help young people get involved in the British car hobby, supplied a new convertible top.

For the complete story, see Ken’s article on page 22 in the January/February British Marque. Be sure to have a box of tissues handy.

Yours truly provided an update on the NEMO Facebook page, which currently has over 506 likes.

I then led a discussion of the 2017 events calendar. Several members recommended additional events: Kringle Cars & Coffee, MINI on the Mack, and MINIs in Foliage. See the NEMO Calendar of Events for more information.

Mini/MINI events are listed on the NEMO website and the Facebook page, which are updated throughout the driving season. I also made a plea for newsletter articles covering events I don’t attend or on any other topics of interest to club members.

There was a proposal for a trip to a drive-in theater in Saco, Maine, for a screening of The Italian Job or Pork Pie. We also discussed looking into a private screening at the Mendon Drive-in as this is closer to home for many NEMO members.

Bruce Vild requested more member car photos for the NEMO website. The event photo galleries are updated regularly, but the car galleries are quite out of date. We also need more member car photos on the Facebook page. You are welcome to post photos to the Member Cars album on the NEMO Facebook page or create new albums.

People started trickling out around 3:30 p.m. and the meeting ended by 4:30 p.m. The consensus was The Pines will be a good venue for next year.

April 2017

Calendar of Events

April 9-October 8 — Kringle Cars & Coffee 2017, Kringle Candle, Bernardston, Mass., second Sunday of the month (except in May, when it is the third Sunday), 9 a.m. to 12 noon. Free to exhibit, people’s choice awards, inside.kringlecandle.com/events/calendar.

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

May 18-May 21 — A MINI Vacation in Vegas, Silverton Hotel & Casino, Las Vegas, Nev., www.amviv.com.

June 4 — “British by the Sea,” hosted by the CT MG Club, Harkness Memorial State Park, 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.thompson speedway.com/events/.

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

June 29-July 2 — Mini Meet East, Columbus, Ohio, Holiday Inn Columbus North I-270 Worthington, 7007 N. High St., Worthington, Ohio, http://www.mini meeteast2017.com.

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


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