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Anyone here have or want a new Mini Cooper??

by Steven Haninger / April 8, 2006 10:20 AM PDT

Here's one of the originals...bet it won't do this.


Click on prompt to play the video. Happy

Windows Media format

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That's wild ...
by Bill Osler / April 8, 2006 12:09 PM PDT

I don't think I want to try that in my car ... or anybody else's car.

I know some people who do that deliberately on their mountain bikes when they want to make a tight turn (they whip the rear of the bike around the turn once the rear wheel is up) but the only time I've done it on a bike was by accident and the results were not pretty.

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Cooool! Loved those donuts!
by Kiddpeat / April 8, 2006 12:14 PM PDT

Do I get my new one now?


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I did some of this kind of racing back
by Steven Haninger / April 8, 2006 9:51 PM PDT

in the late '60s and into the early '80s. This competition was known as "gymkhana" or "auto crossing" and came in many flavors. Some courses required backing into "garages" during the run. These were solo events...one car at a time and was a timed race against your own class. Cars varied from "run what ya' brung" to highly prepped and trailored racers. It was a lot of fun at first but eventually became too competative and more an ego trip than just plain enjoyable. These were not speed events where muscle was that much of an advantage. In fact, too much power became a liability at some point. The donuts this Mini is doing looks like a result of some creative braking modifications. Some cars came with or could be set up with individually controllable hand brakes. This driver appears to be able to lock his choice of front wheels and pivot rather than drift. He (or she) is obviously very good. If you were sitting as a passenger, you'd see how busy the driver is during such competition. The SCCA and other clubs still do this around the country and have national competitions. Most are set up in large parking lots or abandoned airfields. One thing I got out of doing this was to gain a lot of confidence on the highway in emergency situations. I believe I have been able to avoid several accidents over the years. I can tell who are the poorly skilled drivers by how they take the turns.

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Some Comments Re: Gymkhanas
by dcmorris / April 10, 2006 6:24 AM PDT

I remember watching a gymkhana way back in the 50's. If I remember the competing vehicles were right off the street and were not modified. The course was laid out on a asphalt surfaced parking lot. It had a small hillside on one side of the lot making a near perfect location for viewing. It was fun to watch and the skill was unique as it took a delicate blend of speed, braking and maneuvering. At that time the small MG's, Triumphs and other small Brit cars dominated.
The idea never caught on and I never got to see another much to my regret. It was a competition open to anyone who had any one of a number of cars that performed well in that environment. I imagine it would take its toll on the cars eventually.
Thanks, Steve, for reminding me of the fun involved in this sport.


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That's how I first remember this too
by Steven Haninger / April 10, 2006 7:21 AM PDT

These were very informal and open to anyone who wanted to compete just for fun. I remember most being held on Sundays. Back in those days, stores were closed and the parking lots empty. A course was laid out using pylons whose position was marked. If you knocked a pylon down or out of it's square, time was add to your run. Some included backing skills as well. There were no American sports cars so, you're right, the most competative vehicles were the small Europeon models. Later in the '60s, some "muscle" cars gave it a try but most just made noise and wiped out the pylons. It was as much poor driving skills by these macho drivers as it was the cars themselves. Eventually some of the Corvettes, Mustangs and such became popular at these events and the drivers learned to control their engines. Happy One of the requirements for entering the competition was to work the course. A certain number of people were needed to shag downed pylons and signal the timer when a penalty was due. Mostly we just had fun. Later, for me, it became less enjoyable as more folks would cheat. There were classed for "street stock", "prepared" and "modified" vehicles. "Stock" meant just that. No modifications to the car. "Prepared" meant minor changes and "modified" included cars that were not street legal. It became easy to tell when a car running in stock classes wasn't exactly as claimed and it was difficult to challenge them. Sad Anyway, I had a lot of fun and dragged home a few cheap trophies as well. Happy

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We were seriously considering one ...
by Evie / April 8, 2006 9:26 PM PDT

... for the hubby a while back. Obviously we went another route (full-sized truck). Our reasons were mostly because it was front wheel drive but had some cahones under the hood. "Sports cars" were mostly RWD which is useless here in the winter. We were pleasantly surprised at how roomy it is (for two, passengers in the back seat would be cramped, but luggage/groceries/etc. for passengers had a lot of room.) Now we kinda laugh every time we drive up next to one at a stoplight. It could pretty much fit in the truck bed! I'm hoping Honda comes out with a sporty 2-door Accord that I find appealing when it comes time to replace my car.

Evie Happy

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I think the new Mini is more faithful to the look
by Steven Haninger / April 8, 2006 9:59 PM PDT

of the old one as compared to the Beetle. I see a lot of them around. I believe they are now made BMW but the originals were Austin and/or Cooper. I've forgotten the relationship but these came in a several configurations...one of which was the Cooper "S". These were highly maneuverable and real "sleepers" at the stoplights. I had a neighbor that had one years ago. It was sort of a novelty and humorous to see this big man get into this tiny car. You'd be right about winter driving in the US. I believe the originals had much smaller tires than the new ones though. The larger diameter tires should improve their ability to drive in snow. Happy

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The Cooper is Front WD ...
by Evie / April 8, 2006 10:20 PM PDT

... so that's why we considered it. My Accord is FWD and handles quite well in the snow. His truck is 4WD and has 20'' tires, so it handles quite well in and OVER the snow Wink Most of the cars with any pep and style were either rear wheel drive (he has a friend with an Infinity G35 who had quite the adventurous first winter with that car!) or out of our price range. Mazda came out with a sport version of the ''6'' this year (Speed 6?), but it's still 4 door. I don't know why they don't bring back some version of the MX6 which was really a souped up 2 door version of the 626. That's really what the hubby would like in a car. He's thrilled with the truck though, so the change of thought/heart on the vehicles was a ''good thing'' as Martha would say.

I saw a Scion TC in a parking lot the other day. Mark (@ Nite) had suggested looking into that when we were considering the now-extinct Celica (also FWD). That's a pretty nice looking car and sporty in a 2 door. Something I'll probably look at if Honda doesn't bend to my whims Grin

Evie Happy

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The first car I got that happened to have FWD
by Dragon / April 10, 2006 4:51 AM PDT

Was what sold me on it. I'll never get a car that doesn't have it.

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by Cindi Haynes / April 10, 2006 5:35 AM PDT

I do remember one scary moment though, when I was driving on a snowy winter day, a co-worker's car because she had recently moved to MI and had never driven in snow before. It was a sporty VW back in the 1970s when they were first introducing FWDs. I didn't know it was FWD, when we hit an icy spot in the road!

Talk about a pucker in the seat! The whole way you handle it was opposite what I expected and was used to.


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It does take a bit to get used to ...
by Evie / April 10, 2006 8:13 AM PDT
In reply to: Agreed!

... my 323 was the first FWD car that I got after my Camaro. The Camaro wasn't the best in the snow, but I was used to how it handled and adjusted accordingly. Took a while to acclimate to front wheels pulling. But now I would never drive a RWD vehicle in bad weather, although the hubby's truck handles pretty well in RWD mode even when it's a little slick. We both tend to put it into 4WD at the first sign of bad conditions. There are a LOT of sporty $40K and over coupes on the roads up here that are RWD. Putting aside for a moment that this is more than I would pay for a vehicle, and you have the disadvantage that they really aren't reliably useful for several months out of the year. No thanks!

Evie Happy

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While RWD remains the best performance layout,...
by Paul C / April 14, 2006 8:56 PM PDT

...FWD does have real advantages in bad weather - and makes for more interior room in most cases.

I'm attracted to full time AWD setups, as they offer most of the benefits of both FWD and RWD with only a small weight/performance penalty (unless you have the $ to pony up for a more powerful AWD car).

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'original' mini was Austin or Morris
by jonah jones / April 11, 2006 11:52 PM PDT
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I believe you are correct
by Steven Haninger / April 12, 2006 4:19 AM PDT

There was also a Morris Minor. It, however, was not small at all. I believe Morris was also the "M" in MG for Morris Garage(s) as was discussed here a while back. The first sports car I ever drove was an MG-B which my father bought (when going through male menapause, I suppose...:)) I took my driver's exam in this car. To my own surprize I passed on my first attempt which was rare for males back then. This was quite a fun car. He traded that for a 4.2 liter XKE a while later. That car was really exciting. Red line was 6K and was geared at 50, 80, 110 and 140. I pegged it in 4th only once....scared the crap out of me. Wink

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Right you are!
by Paul C / April 14, 2006 7:18 PM PDT
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Looking at a Honda myself...
by J. Vega / April 9, 2006 4:20 AM PDT

Evie, I'm looking at a Honda vehicle myself, specifically a Honda "Element" minivan. It runs about $20,000 for the vehicle, but modifying it to let me get in and out of it with a wheelchair bumps the price up to just over $40,000. Quite a piece of change, but when I finally sell the farm I just may go for it.
I looked at a lot of vans and conversions, but that particular Honda vehicle really caught my eye.

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Hondas are great cars
by Evie / April 9, 2006 5:35 AM PDT

I was a Mazda-phile for a long time but my Accord has convinced me on them. I might still buy a Mazda if they return to their former "self" of great vehicles at a considerably lower price.

Sorry the modifications will run that much, but if you are going to invest in such, I can't think of a better vehicle to do so on. Hondas really retain their value. Good luck if you can do it!

Evie Happy

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The confusing part...
by J. Vega / April 9, 2006 8:32 AM PDT
In reply to: Hondas are great cars

I'll probabaly end up with one, Evie (and kiddpeat- refering to your below post). But the confusing part is the driver's license. Mine expired a long time ago. To get a new one would require a driving test, but how do I practice without a license, it would require an enabled vehicle. And the second part of that problem is would I dare order a enabled vehicle with which to practice without a guarantee that they would allow me to get the license. There's got to be a way to deal with such a situation. I dare say that others have had to deal with this situation in the past, it's a matter of finding someone who has been thru it who could clue me in. The best bet for me might be to talk to the dealer who modifies such vehicles, they should know the answer.

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I wonder if one could be rented, or perhaps a driving school
by Kiddpeat / April 9, 2006 8:37 AM PDT
In reply to: The confusing part...

might have one. I'm amazed at what gets rented today.

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That's a thought...
by J. Vega / April 9, 2006 8:43 AM PDT

That's a thought, and it just hit me who might know who would, the people who sold me my wheelchair.

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Are you in Georgia?
by JP Bill / April 9, 2006 12:54 PM PDT
In reply to: That's a thought...
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That ought to do it...
by J. Vega / April 9, 2006 2:22 PM PDT
In reply to: Are you in Georgia?

That ought to do it, thanks! Hopefully, they'll let me do a driver's test in a rented vehicle. If they object, I can always pull an ADA "reasonable accommodation".

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I think you can get a permit
by Dragon / April 9, 2006 9:11 AM PDT
In reply to: The confusing part...

But you would have to be accompanied by a licensed driver. As for having something to drive, it could be the car that that licensed driver owns.

I've taught a couple of people to drive, from scratch. I'm sure I've lost a number of years off of my life, because of it. Happy Anyway, that's the way we did it. And there is usually someplace to practice parallel parking and so forth, if you are rusty on that. I use to live near the Texas Department of Safety (highway trooper office where we get our licenses) and they had poles set up. Also, there was another place in the college football stadium parking lot.

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(NT) (NT) Hope you get it J.
by Kiddpeat / April 9, 2006 5:37 AM PDT
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We considered the Element.....
by Josh K / April 10, 2006 1:10 AM PDT

...as something to trade in our 2002 CR-V on but decided it wasn't the right choice for our needs. We're hoping to get something with a 3rd row seat and are considering the new Toyota RAV-4.

The good thing about the Element (for J) is that the doors don't have a pillar between them, so the doorway opens really wide. That should make it much easier to get in and out with a wheelchair.

I hope you can work it out, J.

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by Dragon / April 9, 2006 9:03 AM PDT

I'm not sure I'd want mine to stop that way. Happy

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(NT) (NT)They definitely disconnected the rear brakes on that'n
by Cindi Haynes / April 9, 2006 10:55 AM PDT
In reply to: Brakes?
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Noticed that sucker....
by Angeline Booher / April 10, 2006 5:53 AM PDT

... didn't seem to roll on those tight turns.

I once saw an old Citroen. Those were cheap, as reliable as the Model A Fords, easy to repair, and handled the European roads, hills and mountains with ease.

It was remarkably roomy inside for it's small size.

Yep, that Mini-Cooper is worth a look! I think it's now owned by BMW.

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Don't have one but want one
by wwerts / April 11, 2006 10:21 PM PDT

About a year ago a friend let me drive his, and without a doubt, it was the first car I'd driven that was actually FUN to drive.

Like a rocket-powered skateboard.

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Rocket powered skateboard ...
by Evie / April 11, 2006 10:53 PM PDT

... now THAT is a great description! We took them out for test drives twice. The hubby is not shy pushing a car on a test drive (we usually pick times when there isn't a lot of traffic, and dealerships near good roads for such). One of the salesmen actually encouraged both of us although his complexion did look a little pale in the rear view mirror. The other one seemed to just be holding on for dear life! It would be neat to rent one next time we're on vacation and have reason to rent a car, but not sure (rather doubt) that anyone does this.

Evie Happy

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