May 2021

[1-Jun_21_Hoist.jpg] Iain’s new engine on the hoist.
Photo by Iain Barker

Engine Swap, Part 3: The Starting Line
by Iain Barker

“This is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.” —Winston Churchill

With the Arlington Classic Car Club (ACCC) Mother’s Day cruise scheduled for May 9th, I set a goal for the previous weekend to get my Mini back on the road and ready to ‘run in’.

Installation of the engine and gearbox is most easily accomplished with the radiator and exhaust manifold pre-installed to the engine. On an Mk1 car, it’s almost impossible to fit them with the engine in position due to their proximity to the front subframe.

Lining up the engine mountings is always a ‘fun’ task on a Mini, because they are buried below the clutch housing on one side and the radiator on the other. However, there is a custom tool available that makes the job much easier by capturing the bolt head under a spring clip, allowing the bolt to be inserted blind when working underneath the car. A ‘shade tree mechanic’ version of this tool can be made up by bending the two center tines of a dinner fork.

After several seemingly endless weekends tinkering in the garage, I’m pleased to say that I successfully installed the rebuilt power unit in ‘Mini KK’. Initial startup shouldn’t present a problem, with the oil galleries pre-lubed. I squirted high-zinc 50-weight oil backwards into the oil pump, and forwards into the filter outlet.

I set the ignition timing very roughly by visually lining up the distributor rotor with points opening at #1 cylinder, and then cranked the key with the spark plugs out to build up oil pressure. Once a healthy 65 lbs. was registered on the gauge, and with no oil leaking out from anywhere obvious, it was time to go for startup.

Three, 2, 1… bang, bang! Two bursts of flame shot up out of the carburetors, then nothing.

With the law of averages, one would think if there are two possible outcomes for an event they should occur at roughly even frequency. I have rebuilt four engines in the last few years, and each time despite carefully assuring myself that #1 is on the compression stroke when setting the distributor timing, I’ve ended up with it being 180° out of phase. The pyrotechnic display was, unfortunately, not a new experience for me.

The remedy, however, was simple. Swap plug wires 2 with 3 and 1 with 4, which changes the firing order from 1-3-4-2 to 4-2-1-3.

Second turn of the key and… we have ignition. The engine burst into life!

I let it idle for a minute or so to check the oil pressure and look for leaks. For first startup I generally do not put coolant in the radiator, preferring to let it run dry to provide time for the shellac on the composite head gasket to seal.

I shut the engine off and let it cool. Happy that everything was behaving itself, I filled the system with distilled water plus a little water-wetter. I do not use coolant until the head gasket is completely sealed after a few miles of normal running in.

I re-positioned the distributor drive and spark plug leads to the correct timing, then ran the engine for 10 minutes at 2000rpm to get the engine fully up to temperature and let the flat tappet camshaft bed in. No leaks and nothing unexpected.

Before a test drive I needed to bleed the brake system, as I had replaced all the corroded lines while the engine was out of the car. The vacuum-assisted brake servo is still away being rebuilt. After some judicious bleeding of the system, there was sufficient unassisted pressure to drive safely.

Ready to go, I jumped in the driver’s seat, pushed the clutch down, and… oh, no. The gearstick wouldn’t move. The transmission was stuck in neutral, and regardless how much I heaved on the remote gearstick, the selectors wouldn’t budge. With a horrible, sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach, I called it a day.

May 2021

A week later, and one day before the ACCC cruise, my rage had subsided and it was time to try and resolve the problem. I put a shout-out on the Mk1 Mini Forum asking for ideas. One suggestion came from a classic Mini race engineer in Canada, Dermott Young, who suggested that the problem may be with the reverse gear selector shaft.

To cut a long story short, it’s possible to assemble the selector mechanism with a ‘detent pin’ in the wrong orientation. The net result is that the shaft locks up and the gearchange lever is unable to move left or right.

Fortunately, the detent can easily be freed up by removing a large bolt from behind the oil filter, disconnecting the remote gear linkage, and moving the levers into their correct location with a pair of vise grips. Certainly, much easier than pulling the whole power unit out again and taking the entire gearbox apart.

After spending an hour or so reassembling the linkage correctly, I drove the Mini gingerly out of the garage under its own power… and then the engine died. A definite “failure to proceed,” as Rolls-Royce would say. Hmm.

I restarted it, and went for a drive around the block, about half a mile in total. The engine stalled out two more times, and then started to run on just two cylinders. Was it ignition, fuel, or had something gone horribly wrong? Maybe it was a blown head gasket between two cylinders.

By pulling live spark plug leads off while the engine was idling, it was clear the #1 and #2 cylinders had decided that involvement in vehicular locomotion was not something they felt to be any of their business.

This was actually good news. The chances of two adjacent cylinders both failing completely due to something mechanical was unlikely even a Mini with a blown head gasket will still run with some partial compression, and a dropped valve will only affect one cylinder. The mild electrocution running up my arm told me that there was nothing wrong with either spark plug lead, and the plugs were brand new. Therefore, it must be carburation. The Cooper S has dual carbs, with one carb feeding cylinders 1 and 2, and the other feeding 3 and 4. My diagnosis made perfect sense.

With just three hours to go before the cruise, I cleaned out the carburetor float from nearly a year’s buildup of evaporated E90 fuel and drove the car another half mile round the block. Success! No more stalling. Although the gears were very stiff, they seemed to be working well.

Aside from a small fluid leak from the front driver’s side wheel well (it didn’t taste like brake fluid, so I decided it probably wasn’t important), we were ready to be off. At 2:30 p.m., Mini KK, my daughter Nuala and I drove the few miles to Arlington — and made the start line for the ACCC Mother’s Day parade.

May 2021

[2-Jun_21_Train.jpg] Next station, Waushakum. Waushakum!
Photo courtesy Waushakum Live Steamers


Waushakum Live Steamers June 27!
by David Schwartz


Save the date and join us for a group drive, a most unusual steam train ride, and lunch at an outdoor brewpub. Our visit to the Waushakum Live Steamers in Holliston, Mass., will be a combined event with the Boston Area MG Club.

NEMO previously visited the Waushakum Live Steamers’ facility in July 2007 as part of Charles and Nancy Gould’s Microcar Classic weekend.

“Live steam” locomotives are scale models that operate the same way as full-size steam locomotives: a fire fueled by coal is used to boil water and make steam, which is then used to power the engine.

The locomotives are capable of hauling cars carrying several people with the engineer riding on the coal tender. The club maintains several gauges of outdoor track that wind through the woods. See the Steamers’ website, https://www.waushakumlivesteamers.org/, for photos and additional information.

Minis and MGs will meet at a convenient exit off Route 495 (either the Milford Rt. 109 Exit 48 or Upton/Hopkinton Exit 54) between 9 and 9:30 a.m. on Sunday, June 27th, with departure to the Steamers’ facility at 9:45 a.m. After the train rides, we will motor up to Framingham and go to either Jack’s Abby or Exhibit A for cold brews, food and good conversation.

Both brewpubs have outdoor seating. The event details are being finalized and will be supplied via e-mail.

And folks think old car nuts have an unusual hobby. Be sure to wear grubby clothes, as we will get covered in soot and ash.

Waushakum Live Steamers is located at 25 Arthur St. in Holliston. Hope to see you there.

May 2021

[3-Jun_21_Meeting.jpg] David Schwartz and Ken Lemoine participate in the conversation on Zoom.
Photos by David Schwartz

Virtual NEMO Annual Meeting
by David Schwartz


The Annual meeting, held April 25th on Zoom, was attended by 14 people, including several new members.

Welcome to new member Wendy McGoldrick who attended the fall Mass Modifiers Kimball’s Ice Cream Drive in her husband’s GTO. There were four classic Minis on the Drive. Wendy was inspired to join NEMO and would like to buy a classic Mini.

Dani Baliani joined the meeting right at the end. He bought a 1989 Mini Mayfair from Hrach 23 years ago. The car needs new floors and is not safe to drive unless you are Fred Flintstone. Ken Lemoine provided Dani with a body shop recommendation.

Several members performed winter repairs, or had others do so. Bob Brownell is now an expert at replacing Mini front rubber cones as he installed another set to replace the defective first set. Wendy Birchmire spent $500 having mouse damage repaired to the wiring in her MINI convertible. A new warning light came on this week, so there may be more damage to deal with. Dave Black performed an engine rebuild on the Newman’s Mini Moke.

Dave Black gave a Treasurer’s report. The main expense was member subscriptions to British Marque. Ken Lemoine made a $250 donation from the Hrach fund to support the Smith children after the untimely death of their parents, Sam and Rachael. Sam was the proprietor of Brit Bits in New Hampshire and was known by many in the New England British car community.

The main order of business was an events discussion: cancelled, postponed, rescheduled. Several people are planning on attending the British Invasion in Stowe. NEMO was invited to participate in the Cape Cod British Car Club’s “Rallye Cape Cod,” a new event scheduled for July 24th. See the event calendar below.

We tried to gauge interest in a group drive or outing in June. About half the attendees were interested. Ken and I will explore group drive options in Metro West and beyond. Dave Black invited Wendy McGoldrick to join us in the GTO, which got a good laugh.




April 2021

[1-May_21_Water_Pump.jpg] A new aftermarket water pump replaced the NOS one.
Photo by Iain Barker

Engine Swap, Part 2: Exhausting the Alternatives
by Iain Barker


Removing the engine from my 1967 Mk1 Morris Mini Cooper S cleared the way for the long and ever-increasing to-do list, which I hoped to attempt on some milder winter evenings and weekends. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen. The newly built engine has been sitting next to the old one in my unheated rental garage since November, and there are already a few small areas of surface rust to be touched up. But by far the worst part is the bare alloy of the NOS water pump, which has completely whitened from oxidation of the aluminium.

I was reconsidering my choice to use the NOS pump anyway, as I don’t know the condition of the internal rubber seal after it sat on the shelf for so many years. The first job of spring cleaning was to fit a modern Mini Spares Evo pump, and give it a coat of satin black paint to stave off future corrosion.

The next job was the exhaust manifold. I heard it “blowing” when the old engine ran, and more importantly, the amount of exhaust entering the cabin meant that driving with the windows closed was not a viable proposition. Something was definitely amiss.

My Mini was still running an original 1960s-vintage manifold that was well past its best, and definitely hadn’t benefited from lots of short runs over the last few years. There was no chance for the collected water vapor to boil off, hence it rusted through from the inside out. After removing the front half of the exhaust system from the car, a stress crack near the original 1960s gas weld was quite evident, along with several pinholes and a larger 1/2” gash in the down-pipe. ‘Roached’ would be an appropriate description.

Unlike the cast iron manifold used on all other classic Minis, the Cooper models were fitted with unique ‘extractor’ headers formed from roller welding of two pressed steel halves and then gas welding on a tubular mild steel down-pipe. Originality is king, and I really didn’t want to replace the original style with something that didn’t look to be factory authentic. Original pressed steel headers for the S are of course long since extinct as new parts.

April 2021

[3-May_21_Rubery_Owen_Welding.jpg] Inspiration for Iain came from this period photo from Rubery Owen of ‘final assembly of the exhaust manifold for the Mini Cooper S type, 1965’.
Photo courtesy Fiona Pegley, Rubery Owen Holdings Ltd.

However, there was an alternative. The ADO16 series of BMC cars used the same A Series engine as the Mini, and the MG 1100/MG 1300 used a very similar pressed steel manifold to that of the Mk1 Cooper S. The main difference is that the MG headers do not have a downpipe welded on. The larger ADO16 engine bay allows a traditional slip joint to be used.

The Mini downpipe has a rather complex curve due to having to follow the route designed for the original 850cc engine’s ‘pea shooter’ exhaust. The Cooper downpipe is formed from tubing of twice the diameter and must clear the larger differential output flanges used on the S — definitely not something that would be easy for me to reproduce myself.

My solution was to buy a cheap tubular steel manifold, saw the down-pipe off and weld it to a more readily available MG 1100 pressed steel header purchased off eBay U.K. My inspiration for this act of barbarity was a photo I found of the Rubery Owen production line back in the mid-1960s showing that was exactly how Cooper S manifolds were originally fabricated! Rubery Owen has been producing steel components for the British motor industry since the 1920s, including the innovative Mini subframe.

A previous owner of my Mini had fitted a 10-row oil cooler similar to the MG Midget type. It was leaking from a stone puncture, so in 2018 I changed it for a new MOCAL 13-row cooler. I was never happy with how it fit behind the grille as it was very close to fouling on the edge of the distributor cap when the engine rocked back and forth.

The bottom lip of the Cooper S front panel is supposed to be folded flat, with two L-shaped brackets to support the taller 13-row cooler lower down in the aperture behind the grille. A previous owner fitted a standard Mini replacement front panel without that flat, and instead of using the proper brackets, just MIG-welded two flat plates to the edge of the lower lip. With this modification, the oil cooler mounting is too high up and too far back for the correct 13-row cooler to be used. That must be why they fitted the shorter 10-row oil cooler. One bodge on top of another.

April 2021

[2-May_21_Manifold.jpg] Iain’s replacement manifold (left) with the ‘roached’ original.
Photo by Iain Barker

So, my next job was to install the new 13-row oil cooler kit — but this time, do it properly. First, I had to get the grinder out and slice off the incorrect plates, then carefully dolly the lip back so that it is flat enough for the length of the cooler, and finally add a lick of body-coloured paint to tidy it up. With a bit of adjustment to the new brackets, a full-size oil cooler fits snugly into the re-profiled front panel lip. Fortunately, my less than professional attempts at panel beating are not visible.

Next there is the matter of engine and gearbox compatibility. Most MOWOG engines have a casting code, and the B8J5 code on the old engine block indicates it was manufactured by the second shift on 8th October 1965 —whereas my car was built on 7th April 1967, so clearly the engine was not original to the car. The ‘new’ S engine I built for my car has casting code A1B7 for the first shift, 1st February 1967. That’s a lot closer to the build date of my car, so I am calling it period-correct.

The gearboxes on these two engines are very different and are not directly interchangeable due to production modifications to the driveshaft couplings. The old gearbox is a 4-synchro unit from the mid-1970s, and has Quinton Hazell driveshaft yokes, whereas the ‘new’ gearbox I built is a 3-synchro unit using all correct 1967 specification parts, including Hardy Spicer output flanges on the driveshafts.

Hardy Spicer universal joints were originally introduced for production homologation of the 1966 Monte Carlo rally cars, and are somewhat of a ‘signature’ for the Cooper S. They are far stronger than the standard part, but also cost a lot more to manufacture. Curiously, the only other Mini that ever used them was the Automatic.

Swapping over the driveshaft couplings is straight- forward, as both use the same number of driveshaft splines. The original rubber gaiters were still supple and given the poor quality of modern synthetic rubber the gaiters will stay in place. I performed a liberal re-greasing, and another job was checked off the list.

The final task this month was to fabricate a new brake line to go around the front subframe, as the old line was corroded, and the end sheared off when I undid the union. I will also replace the flex-hoses with original black reinforced rubber type since I’ll have to bleed the front brake circuit again anyway.

That’s it for now. Next month, the engine should finally be in the car and fingers crossed, dare I say, actually running.




March 2021

[1-Apr_21_Engine_Removal.jpg] Bonnet removed, ancillaries stripped off, engine removal begins — with only natural light available.
Photos by Iain Barker

Engine Swap, Part 1: Racing the Sun
by Iain Barker

November, 2020

With the dearth of summer car shows and cruises due to the COVID-19 lockdown, it looked like the season was at an end by late September, just as public event restrictions in Massachusetts were starting to lift.

We had optimistically booked our 1967 Mk1 Morris Mini Cooper S 1275 into one final “calling all cars” local car show. An early and unpredicted 4” Halloween snowfall together with salting of the roads put a swift end to those plans. With no other events on the schedule, it was time to plan removal of the old engine and gearbox to make way for the many odd jobs needed prior to installing the freshly rebuilt unit in the spring.

With the cold temperatures of late October, this looked like little more than wishful thinking. But then we had an Indian summer, four straight days forecast for high 60s to low 70s. Perfect for working in the unheated lockup garage that I rent.

However, with Daylight Savings Time no longer in effect, and no electricity for lighting the garage, time would be of the essence. So it was that I set myself a challenge on a Saturday morning: How quickly could I remove a Mini engine? I was already running late due to some pre-arranged chores and didn’t start working until 11 a.m. My chances of getting the job done before the 4.30 p.m. sunset were low. But nothing ventured, nothing gained!

I spent the first hour stripping off ancillaries such as the starter motor, twin carburetors, manifolds, the dynamo/generator, the oil cooler and the distributor. After a lunch break, Hour Two was spent disconnecting the drivetrain at the differential, draining and disconnecting the cooling system, and after a short protest (easily remedied with a medium-size hammer), releasing the engine mounts.

March 2021

[2-Apr_21_Disassembled.jpg] Disassembling the brake servo showed a leakage problem.
Photo by Iain Barker

This being a Cooper S, the last thing to remove was the vacuum brake servo/booster which bolts to the inner wing and blocks egress of the clutch housing. With that done and at least some of the brake fluid still inside the system rather than on the garage floor, it was time to winch the engine up on the picker and out of the car.

One lesson hard learned is that the speedometer cable on a Mini cannot be changed with the engine in situ unless you have either double-jointed wrists or a friendly trained octopus on hand. So, it’s always the last thing to be disconnected when the engine is hanging from the hoist, and the first to be connected when reinstalling the engine.

Engine out, actual working time 2 hours 32 minutes — a new personal best, and well over an hour left before sunset!

March 2021

The weather here in Massachusetts is still too cold to work on the Mini in an unheated garage. Spring is hopefully just around the corner, so I figured I should get started on the long to-do list.

The first job is to rebuild the brake servo. Generally, it works okay, but makes a strange whooping noise when the engine gets warm. Also, the brakes have a tendency to bind due to the servo air filter being bunged up.

To clean the air filter, I took the vacuum control valve cover off the brake servo and found that it was full of brake fluid. Evidently the seals on the pistons are past their best, so it’s probable the bores aren’t in great condition either.

March 2021

[3-Apr_21_Brake_Booster_Etc.jpg] Servo (to be sent off to be rebuilt) and brake line adaptor.
Photo by Iain Barker

I decided that rather than trying to fix it myself, it would be better to send the whole servo off to be rebuilt properly by an Mk1 Mini specialist in the U.K., the same company from which I purchased the crankshaft and flywheel assembly last year.

In the meantime, I made up a brake line adaptor to bypass the servo temporarily, so the brakes will at least be usable (with a little more pedal effort) for the 2021 driving season.

Next job, dealing with a leaky exhaust manifold and down-pipe.

[To be continued.]


March 2021

Virtual Annual Meeting Apr. 25!

We usually hold the NEMO Annual Meeting in March. It is a good time for socializing, event planning and club business. Once again, COVID has thrown a spanner in the works, so instead we will hold a Zoom meeting on Sunday, April 25th, at 7:30 p.m., and hope that “normal” events can resume by late summer or early fall.

Many spring and early summer car events have been postponed or cancelled. Last year numerous NEMO members participated in socially distanced drives organized by other groups. I would like to schedule a NEMO group drive and picnic for May or early June. We can discuss the details during the Zoom meeting.

A Zoom invitation was sent out in late March. Watch for a reminder this month. —David Schwartz




February 2021

[1-Mar_21_Lionel_Gang_Car.jpg] Model railroad gang car by Lionel. These were replaced eventually by cars with flanged wheels — even Minis.
Photo by David Schwartz

They’ve Been Workin’ on the Railroad
by David Schwartz


My introduction to railroad track maintenance vehicles was the Lionel #50 Section Gang Car. This small motorized unit was manufactured from 1954 through 1964. My father bought the gang car to supplement the Lionel train set he gave me in 1959. I was only two years, old so the trains were really for him. My father used to play Gomez Addams: the locomotive chased the gang car and vice versa. Lionel also produced the #68 Executive Inspection Car (modelled after a 1958 DeSoto station wagon), a handcar, and several other maintenance vehicles.

Handcars were used for railroad maintenance starting in the 1860s. Two operators manually pumped up and down on handles for propulsion. They fell out of use around 1920, replaced by motorized track cars. Basic track inspection vehicles (known as speeders) are completely open and powered by small engines. The earliest speeder was built in the 1890s.

By 1915, the Ford Model T had been converted to an inspection vehicle. Luxurious executive track cars followed, built by Buick, Cadillac, Packard and other companies. Modern car or truck-based maintenance vehicles have retractable flanged wheels, the idea being you drive the vehicle to a railroad crossing, lower the flanged wheels onto the tracks and away you go.

There is a community of hobbyists that collects, restores and operates inspection vehicles, with clubs arranging for track time. My friend George Contrada owns several track maintenance vehicles and once took me for a ride on his speeder at the Connecticut Trolley Museum. George’s speeder has a 5hp two-cycle engine, is completely open and lacks a reverse gear. Retractable handles are extended to pivot it around or lever it onto the tracks (shades of the Peel P50!).

George recently sent me a link to the Railroad Motorcar/Speeder Operators Facebook page that featured a photo of a classic Mini with flanged wheels. The Mini did not have regular wheels or tires and was sitting on the tracks. The Canadian National Railway (CN) once owned ten classic Minis adapted for riding the rails.

February 2021

[2-Mar_21_Mini_Rail_Car.jpg] CN Mini inspection car dedicated to rail use with special flanged wheels.
Photo courtesy Railroad Motorcar/Speeder Operators

While searching the web for Mini track car information I came across several websites documenting Australian Railway Mokes. Mokes too were used as track inspection and maintenance vehicles. Of course, there were Moke variations due to track gauge differences across the country. The rail Mokes featured retractable flanged wheels that were lowered onto the track.

Several other Australian railroads also owned rail Mokes. The Tasmanian Government Railways (TasRail) purchased 16 to 26 Mokes between the late 1960s and late 1970s. TasRail Mokes had special rail wheels with tires that ran on the track and were backed by steel flanges. To accommodate the rail wheels, the Moke front end was modified by moving the shock-absorber mounting points inboard by about 2”, and the rear subframe was narrowed by 3 1/4”.

The rail wheels could not be used on roads. All four wheels had to be changed out for rail use, then changed back for road use. A jack channel was added in the middle of the Moke to raise the entire side at once. An experienced operator could change out all four wheels in eight minutes. Radial tires were used for their improved durability on the steel rails.

Some TasRail Mokes were fitted with steel canopies. Their bodies were painted yellow. Before driving on the tracks, the steering wheel was locked in the forward position.

February 2021

[3-Mar_21_Moke_with_Flanged_Wheels.jpg] Moke in Australia fitted with retractable rail wheels.
Photo courtesy The B.M.C. Experience

The last reported sighting of a rail Moke was at the 2009 MiniFest in Tasmania. Several of the CN Minis are in private hands and have been restored. Since NEMO is now the authority on Mini variants, we should be prepared to help with class assignment if a Mini track car or rail Moke registers for Stowe’s British Invasion!

[References: Railroad Motorcar/Speeder Operators Facebook page, Moke Werx, “Railway Mokes” from The B.M.C. Experience, and The Section Car Pages: Mini Mokes.]

February 2021

Virtual Annual Meeting Apr. 25!

We usually hold the NEMO Annual Meeting in March. It is a good time for socializing, event planning and club business. Once again, COVID has thrown a spanner in the works, so instead we will hold a Zoom meeting on Sunday, April 25th, at 7:30 p.m. And we hope that “normal” events can resume by late summer or early fall.

Many New England spring and early summer car events have been postponed or cancelled. Last year numerous NEMO members participated in socially distanced drives organized by other groups. I would like to schedule a NEMO group drive and picnic for May or early June. We can discuss the details during the Zoom meeting. I will send out a Zoom invitation in late March and a reminder in April. —David Schwartz

February 2021

MME2021 Website Now Live

The website for Mini Meet East 2021 in Dayton, Ohio, is minimeeteast.com (or https://minimeeteast.regfox.com/2021) and you can fully register on the site.

This year’s event will mark the Ohio Mini Owners’ 50th anniversary, and is shaping up as follows.

Friday, July 2 — Registration will be open in the afternoon for pre-registered participants to pick up their materials if they want. Drive ’n Dine at 7 p.m., for small groups (10-20) at local restaurants.

Saturday, July 3 — Registration opens in the morning, Group Tour to the Packard Museum, then to the British Transportation Museum, lunch (included), “Mixed-up Car Show” and outdoor tech sessions. Drive ’n Dine at dinnertime, for small groups (10-20) at local restaurants, and Young’s Jersey Dairy Ice Cream Run.

Sunday, July 4 — Kids’ activities (USAF), Concours, swap meet, Funkhana, RC races, rocker cover races, tech sessions (hotel parking lot). Box lunch from Jason’s Deli (included).

Monday, July 5 — Panoramic photo, tour/rally, then parking lot party at the hotel in the afternoon. Dinner at 6 p.m. (banquet, included) and Hot Wheels competition.

Please note this year’s event includes three meals as part of your registration. Looking forward to seeing you all in early July in Dayton. —MME2021 Committee

February 2021

MMW2021 Cancelled

The joint Victoria and Vancouver Mini Meet West 2021 team has been monitoring the prospects for the Canada/USA border opening to non-essential travel, as well as the restrictions on public gatherings and event sizes, and the vaccination roll-outs.

Consequently, the Victoria and Vancouver Mini Meet 2021 team has made the hard decision to cancel MMW2021 in Victoria, B.C. We do not feel that we will be in a position to hold the event, given the increases we are seeing in cases and variants, border closures, and the slow process of vaccinations.

We do not make this decision lightly, but we realize that protecting the health of our Mini friends and their families, as well as our sponsors and partners, is a higher priority than holding the Meet.

In B.C., we will not see the majority of the province vaccinated until late in the year. There is no target date from the Health Authorities on when we may increase numbers for events. Currently we are not allowed any large events, especially one that would have 250 people and the general public attending.

What happens next?

The MMW2021 team will be closing the registration page and issuing refunds to the attendees. The fees paid will be returned as paid in Canadian currency through PayPal (minus the PayPal fees, which PayPal keeps) in the next few weeks. Please note that with currency fluctuations between the Canadian and U.S. dollars, the USD refund amount may vary slightly from when you registered. It will take some time to process all refunds, so please be patient.

The block booking for the host hotel is cancelled and all reservations within the block will be cancelled at the same time. Attendees do not need to call in. However, if you had made extended reservations or other reservations for accommodations or ferry reservations, you will have to cancel these yourself.

The Vancouver Mini Club and the Victoria Minis Car Club hope to host a Mini Meet West in the future so you can come and enjoy what B.C. has to offer. Thank you to everyone for your support and for your understanding.

Any questions, please e-mail Mike Smith at MMW2021.vic@gmail.com.

Thank you to our sponsors, Seven Mini Parts and Cedar Valley Alignment, for their support of MMW2021. Please continue to support our sponsors as they help keep your car running or complete your rebuild for next year’s MMW! —MMW2021 Organizing Committee

February 2021

MINI Won’t Take the States

Announced February 15th: Due to COVID-19 individual state restrictions that remain unknown and vaccine status nationwide, the 2021 “MINI Takes the States” has been postponed until 2022.

No new 2022 date is available. MINI says the route may be changed to be more “geographically inclusive” also. —Dave Newman




January 2021

[1-JanFeb_21_LtoB.jpg] Show and tell via Zoom: Iain’s rally plate from the 1992 London-to-Brighton Mini Run.
Photo by Iain Barker

Virtual Holiday Get-together
by David Schwartz

On December 6th a small but enthusiastic group of NEMO members gathered on Zoom for a virtual Holiday Party. Clearly all of us have spent too much time on Zoom, as technical glitches were few. We sent out a list of Party activities ahead of time, and there was plenty of unstructured time to catch up with each other.

Attendees voted on the most festive outfit. Bill Gaudreau won with a Yoda theme. Nuala Barker dressed as an elf (not the Riley variety) and was the runner-up.

Several members reported on socially-distanced drives and car projects. Ken Lemoine has been making steady progress on his 1924 Model One Bay State sedan, a rare automobile built in Framingham, Mass.

Faith Lamprey and Bruce Vild created a NEMO trivia quiz, which Iain Barker won. I put together a slide show with photos from the past year. Many of the photos previously appeared in the newsletter, though it was fun to see them full screen-size and in color.

As a special treat I included go-kart racing photos from Mini Meet East 1998. (Bruce forgot he gave me copies a few years back.) This took place at the Seekonk Speedway’s “slick” track, which was oiled so the karts would slide, spin and, if you were good at it, drift. The object soon became bumping Faith’s kart as opposed to winning a race, as the slideshow photo album at https://photos.app.goo.gl/rKhByGy2LuywoPHc8 will reveal. Feel free to add comments.

We invited everyone to share Mini memorabilia. Iain displayed a rally plate from the 1992 London-to-Brighton Mini Run, the event for which he hastily rebuilt an Mk3 Austin Mini 998. Details are in the June 2017 newsletter, which you can view at http://www.nemomini.org/nemo/nemoweb_archives.cfm.

I shared a Morris Mini Traveller “Wizardry at Work Again!”’ advertising brochure from the early 1960s.

Since we can’t hold an in-person Annual Meeting, we hope to hold another Zoom get-together in April. We should have a better handle on the event season by then.


January 2021

[2-JanFeb_21_Wizardry.jpg] Show and tell, part two: David’s brochure.
Photo by David Schwartz

Tentative 2021 NEMO Calendar

June 11-12 — BMCNE’s British Motorcars in Bristol, Colt State Park, Bristol, R.I., www.bmcne.org.

June 18-19 — MINIs on Top, Mt. Washington, N.H., https://www.minisontop.org/.

June 18-20 — Mini Meet North, Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, Bowmanville, Ont., Canada, minimeetnorth@gmail.com.

July 3-5 — Mini Meet East, Dayton, Ohio, https://minimeeteast.regfox.com/2021.

July 17-25 — MINI Takes the States, https://www.minitakesthestates.com/.

August 29 — CT MG’s British by the Sea, Harkness Memorial State Park, Waterford, Conn., www.ctmgclub.com/BBtS.html. Rescheduled from June 6th.

September 2-6 — Lime Rock Historic Festival 39, Lime Rock Park, Lakeville, Conn.

September 5 — Sunday in the Park Concours & Gathering of the Marques (part of the Lime Rock Historic Festival), http://limerock.com/labor-day-historics.

September 10-12 — British Invasion, Stowe, Vt., http://www.britishinvasion.com/.

September 17-19 — New England British Reliability Run, https://www.nebritishreliability.org/.

See the NEMO website, http://www.nemomini.org/nemo/nemoweb_events.cfm, for the latest information.




November 2020

[1-Dec_20_Hrach_Autocross.jpg] Hrach at a local autocross circuit.
Photo by Bruce Vild

Remembering ‘Mr. Mini’
by Faith Lamprey & Bruce Vild

On October 31st, Cesar Chekijian posted the following message on the NEMO Facebook page, which NEMO’s Iain Barker copied to our Google group:

“It is ten years ago today when my brother, Hrach Chekijian, passed away. The BBC in a documentary called him ‘Mini Enthusiast Extraordinaire.’ Between 1970 and 2010, he owned over 50 Minis, drove coast-to-coast with a Moke, was involved in re-introducing the MINI with BMW, and in his last decade, sold several hundred new ones at Peabody MINI in Massachusetts.

“Over 700 people came to his wake, funeral and memorial, with a long procession of Minis from all over New England, New York and as far away as Ohio and Virginia. No doubt he has replicated it all in Mini Heaven by now!

“Anyone remember Hrach Chekijian?”

Remember Hrach? Who can forget him? For some of us he was our first contact with the world of Minis, and for others already involved with Minis the man to see for parts, advice, and Mini-oriented fun.

There’s a rumor that when the film that became the Mark Wahlberg/Charlize Theron version of The Italian Job was first being considered, the cars pulling the heist would be VW’s New Beetles. Hrach, the story goes, would simply not have that, and he lobbied and pulled whatever strings he had to make sure those cars would be MINIs — and Paramount Pictures had no choice but to go along.

November 2020

[2-Dec_20_Hrach_Bed.jpg] Hrach clowning around amidst his Mini memorabilia. Yes, that’s a bed.
Photo by Faith Lamprey

Whether that’s just a tall tale we suppose we’ll never know, but it certainly goes along with Hrach’s larger-than-life persona and reputation worldwide as “Mr. Mini.” It is true that he counted rally legend Paddy Hopkirk among his friends, and that at a Mini Meet in Charlestown, S.C., he had to work his way through a crowd, all delighted to see him and to shake hands, to get to where the Meet’s welcome reception was taking place. He made it, but it took a while.

It was Hrach who gave NEMO, at the time just a fledgling group, the courage to host our first Mini Meet. This was in the Boston area in 1998, and it included a police-escorted parade of Minis down Commonwealth Avenue that took everyone in the city by surprise. Ask anyone who was privileged enough to participate what a wild ride that was and how amazing it was that Hrach pulled it off.

Privileged? We all were privileged to have had Hrach as our “Big Guy,” the President of our club, from its very beginning. At MINI of Peabody, he was the man who sold us our first MINI — and was nationally recognized as one of the top, if not the top, MINI salesmen around. The parties at his home in Watertown, Mass., were legend, the Mini-styled jewelry he crafted was exquisite, and if he took you for a ride in one of his cars it was… well, exhilarating.

Hrach, Mr. Mini. Remember him? Of course we do.

[Contrib. Ed. note: You can find the documentary and other videos by searching youtube.com for “Hrach Chekijian — BBC Profile.” —DS]


November 2020

[3-Dec_20_High_Mount_Brake_Light.jpg] Installed, a truly high-mount brake light. All three brake lights here are in the ‘dim’ mode.
Photo by George Sykes

Installing a High-mount Brake Light in a Classic Mini
by George Sykes

Classic Mini brake lamps are only 22” off the ground, which is pretty low. Replacing the standard bulbs with bright LEDs improves safety, though a driver in a large SUV or pickup may still not see you brake. A high-mount third brake light is the way to go.

However, most third-brake-light solutions in Minis mount the light on the rear parcel shelf. This is still only 36” up, which is lower than a modern sedan’s brake lights (40” on my Ford Focus), and several feet lower than a full-size SUV or pickup.

After some Internet searching, I found the Morimoto “5Stop Brake Light,” a universal third brake light. They’re designed with five 5W LEDs with a rated lumen (lm) output at 12V of 400lm in dim mode (running light) and 800lm in bright mode (brake light), with a 4-amp draw. The LEDs are enclosed in a machined aluminum waterproof casing. I bought mine from The Retrofit Source for $40. I decided to mount the light near the top of the rear window, at 45” for maximum visibility.

I removed the rear window and edge of the headliner to aid in fishing wires along the roof. The Mini roof has a cavity between the inner “skin” and the outer roof, which is where I planned to attach a custom bracket for the light. I made a cardboard template for the mounting bracket to get the size, dimensions, and angle correct before cutting any metal.

The Morimoto light comes with a bracket, but because of the angle of the roof and window I couldn’t make it work. The light has two threaded 5mm x .8 holes in the back, perfect for mounting to flat sheet metal. For the bracket I used 1/16” 304 stainless sheet that I bent on a sheet metal brake. However, a vise and rubber mallet can be effective in shaping a piece this small, especially if you use mild steel.

After cutting the cardboard template and adjusting the shape and angle, I transferred the shape to the sheet metal. I used a 4 1/2” grinder with a cutoff wheel to cut the stainless, and finished the edges and final shape on a belt sander. For a bit of style, I drilled “racer” holes in the bracket. I thought about bead blasting the stainless and painting it satin black, but ultimately decided to polish it.

Once I was satisfied with the fit and location, I carefully cut holes in the edge of the headliner to expose the area where I planned to install two 5mm x .8 Rivnuts (rivet nuts.) The roof cavity lends itself to using Rivnuts. It is deep enough to drill into without getting near the outer roof skin. Rivnuts are blind installed and provide a machine thread hole in sheet metal. Installation requires a Rivnut tool with the correct mandrel. There are numerous videos and graphics on-line if you are curious. McMaster-Carr sells the tool and nuts.

November 2020

[4-Dec_20_Inside_View.jpg] Inside view of bracket and wiring.
Photo by George Sykes

A pet peeve of mine is people always saying, “Ah, English cars have Lucas electrics, the Prince of Darkness, blah blah blah.” My experience is the electrics aren’t the problem, it’s the mechanic(s) who previously worked on the car! The first question to ask when you have an electrical problem in an old car is, “Did you check the ground?” But I digress.

The wiring is pretty simple in a Mini and there are multiple sources for wiring diagrams. The Haynes manual has them, and the Mini Forum has excellent redrawn wiring diagrams. I’ve used both. The most difficult thing is knowing the correct year of the car. The color of the wires is laid out in the BS-AU7 standard (Google it or see the Mini Forum.) The brake lights use a green wire with a purple stripe and grounds are always black. For the sake of the next owner of my car, I used the correct color wire to connect the high-mount light.

You can spend most of a night reading about the “best” way to connect wires. Crimp, solder, a combination of both, or the evil Scotch Lock (don’t use them!). My preferred method for splices is solder and adhesive-lined heat shrink.

The Morimoto light has three wires coming from it, black (ground), red (dim), and yellow (bright). I decided to extend the Morimoto wires by 4 feet so they would reach the Mini’s right-side brake light. I used nine-strand green/purple wire (rated for 5.75 amps) purchased from British Wiring in Pennsylvania. I spliced green/purple wire to the red and yellow wires to provide the ability to change the brightness. Obviously, black was used for the ground.

I pulled the wires through a PVC sleeve (also from British Wiring) to protect them in the roof cavity and rear pillar. At the Mini’s rear brake light, I spliced a female connector to the green/purple wire to allow switching between the two brightness levels. I soldered an eye to the black wire, insulated it with heat shrink, and attached it to a clean ground on the light casing. I connected male connectors to the other wires (green/purple) and labeled them with regard to their brightness.

In hindsight, I could have saved some time and just done the low setting, which is really bright. The high setting is super bright and not necessary for this application.

November 2020

[5-Dec_20_Nearly_Finished_Bracket.jpg] Nearly finished bracket with LEDs.
Photo by George Sykes

When you’re working by yourself it is difficult to check your brake lights. My method was to jam a block of wood between the driver’s seat and brake pedal. Once I was satisfied that everything worked correctly, it was time to reinstall the rear window.

I don’t profess to be an expert on Mini window installation, but I’ve put in a few and have a preferred method. First off, the rubber seals sold by most of the Mini suppliers are stiff and don’t last. I happened upon a supplier of Japanese Mini parts called Classic Minis Japan. The gentleman who owns it is David Ainley. He sells an excellent window seal and locking strip, plus a bunch of other cool bits that are made in Japan. (You can find him on Facebook or classicminisjapan.com.) The seal is very pliable and easy to work with, and the locking strip is much brighter.

The only tools I use are a soft rubber mallet, a plastic bicycle tire lever made by Pedro’s Bike Tools (this brand only, the tip is flat and smooth), a Lisle 48600 offset locking strip tool (much better than the type most Mini suppliers sell), and a tube of “water soluble personal lubricant” such as K-Y. Some say to use soapy water — but dishwashing soaps can contain salt, which you don’t want trapped anywhere near the steel window opening. Others say to use a string. This Japanese window gasket doesn’t require the string method and running the risk of cutting the seal.

If you’re using a seal from the U.K., soak it in warm water to make it pliable. If you’re using the Japanese seal, warming is unnecessary unless it’s really cold in your garage. Place the seal into the opening and gently tap it home with the rubber mallet.

Use a little of the lube in the window slot. Place the window in the opening and use the Pedro’s tire lever to work the edge of the seal gently over the window. Patience is important. Work a little at a time, with the goal of getting the window in without breaking the glass.

Once the seal covers the entire window edge, manipulate the window and seal to make sure it’s fully seated and centered. Determine which opening in the Lisle tool is closest to the shape of the locking strip. Lube the groove for the locking strip, start at the top in the middle, and gently push the locking strip into the groove with the tool. About halfway around you’ll get the hang of the tool and things will go smoothly.

Trim the locking strip a little long as they always seem to shrink. Remove the tool, and push the last bit in. I generally wait a few days to install the half-round stainless seam cover over the locking strip. Cleaning fingerprints from the window will probably take as long as the installation!

[Contrib. Ed. note: George owns a 1992 Mini 1275 carbureted saloon, the last version before single point fuel injection. —DS]

[Exec. Ed. note: Mention of any product in this article reflects the opinion of the writer and should not be construed as an endorsement of that product by this publication. (Standard disclaimer language.) —BV]




October 2020

[1-Nov_20_Classic_Minis_Betty.jpg] Pretty Minis all in a row. Left to right: Schwartz/Lehrman, Brownell, Barker, Darisse.
Photo by Betty Lehrman

Multi-marque
Fall Cruise

by Betty Lehrman

NATICK, Mass., Oct. 11 — The sky was a robin’s egg blue, the wind gentle and cool as we drove up to the Cole Recreation Center in Natick on Sunday morning. The parking lot was full. At first it was hard to tell which cars were there for the soccer practice and which for the drive, but as we looked closer we counted at least 40 classic cars and trucks of all vintages.

And of course, Minis. There were four classics and two modern MINIs in attendance, all owned by NEMO members. (Thanks to Paul Salnier for putting out the word on the Google group.)

We pulled our ’68 Mini Traveller in across from Bob Brownell’s green ’63 Austin Mini. Iain and Nuala Barker drove their green ’67 Mini Cooper S. Joe and Brenda Darrise brought a sweet red ’77 Mini 1000 with a British flag roof.

Wendy Birchmere drove her latest toy, a converted 2008 Red Bull MINI with built-in cooler compartments (the better to take your lunch leftovers in). Red Bull had converted 500 MINIs into rolling ads, removing the back seat, rear roof and trunk, and adding a giant can of Red Bull Energy Drink. Wendy’s car no longer has the giant can and looks a bit like a stubby pickup truck.

Completing the picture was Susan Read, who drove a Tardis blue MINI decorated with Doctor Who decals and little plastic ducks.

The drive was organized by a loose collection of folks in the suburbs west of Boston, and publicized through e-mails and website postings. Clearly, folks wanted to get out and drive on this beautiful fall day.

We especially admired the creamy white ’63 Studebaker Hawk, a red ’53 Ford F-100 pickup truck, and a souped-up red VW Karmann Ghia complete with red door handles and a red steering wheel. There were several hot rods and classic American cars from the ’30s through the ’60s, as well as muscle cars and pickup trucks.

October 2020

[2-Nov_20_Wendys_Red_Bull_Pickup.jpg] Wendy Birchmere’s latest acquisition, a mildly customized, ex-Red Bull MINI promo vehicle (no giant can in the back).
Photo by David Schwartz

After the requisite drivers’ meeting led by Marlene Custodio, we drove east to Natick Center and then north on Rt. 27 through Natick, Wayland and Sudbury. From there we turned west onto Rt. 117, passing farms, fields, and quaint little town centers, trying not to disturb the apples at Bolton Orchard. (Their sign says, “Shh, the apples are sleeping.”) We rode into Lancaster, turned right onto Rt. 70, and headed for Kimball Farm.

Our Mini Traveller navigated the twists and turns well, and only smelled of burning oil on the uphills. As usual, we enjoyed the smiles and waves of pedestrians, bicyclists and shoppers as we drove past. It’s always fun to see young children do a double take as they spy a classic Mini — a car that seems to be made just for them.

There was plenty of parking at Kimball’s and lots of appreciative looks for all of the cars as we parked in the lot. The grill did a brisk seafood business with car owners, as did the ice cream windows. The many outdoor tables made it easy for everyone to stay comfortably apart while enjoying the scene. It was nice to support a local, seasonal business.

On the way home we stopped at Derby Ridge Farm in Stow to pick raspberries and buy local produce. Parked next to an SUV, our Mini looked impossibly small.

Then we drove to the Sudbury Valley Trustees Memorial Forest in Sudbury. We took a long walk through the woods, crossing streams and enjoying the red and gold leaves. As we emerged from the trees, a young girl and her father were on the path in front of us. The girl caught sight of our little car and was delighted.

All in all, it was a lovely day, despite the smell of burning oil!


October 2020

[3-Nov_20_Otto.jpg] Otto takes it easy on the Framingham Common.
Photo by David Schwartz

Auto (Otto) Parts Scarecrow
by Ken Lemoine

FRAMINGHAM, Mass. — In conjunction with the Framingham Cultural District, there is an exhibition of scarecrows on the Framingham Common through November 1st. I was asked to create one for the Framingham History Center.

“Otto” has MG intake eyes, trim mustache, U-bolt legs and bumper over-rider knees, Fiamm horn ears, Autolite spark plug earrings, Model T horn mouth, brake hardware necklace, and power antenna arms.


October 2020

A Virtual Holiday Get-together!
by David Schwartz


NEMO traditionally holds a holiday party the first weekend in December. Obviously, we won’t be able to have an in-person party this year — and we are long overdue for another on-line gathering, so I will e-mail a Zoom invitation for Sunday, December 6th, at 7:30 p.m.

If you have any ideas for on-line “party” activities, please send me an e-mail at dschwartz1957@gmail.com. Ideas we have received so far are for a Festive Outfit Contest, Weird Auto Parts Scavenger Hunt, Virtual Yankee Swap, and a Trivia Quiz (with NEMO and Mini questions).



September 2020

[1-Oct_20_Grampy_Geoff.jpg] The eldest Geoff takes a turn on the go-kart.
Photos by Liz Neiley & Geoff Neiley III

The Neiley Family Go-kart
by Barbara Neiley & Geoff Neilly III

Go, Grammy and Grampy!

Geoff (a/k/a Grampy) and I bought a go-kart back in the early 1960s before our children were born. Together with a friend from Winchester, Mass., who raced cars with SCCA for many years, we raced go-karts with a club that met at Hanscom Field in Bedford. The club laid out a temporary course on Sundays with cone markers on the pavement in front of an airplane hangar. The kart had a McCulloch MC20 engine and was capable of going 60mph. (Quite a thrill while traveling only 3” above the ground!)

Geoff raced in the “larger adult men’s” class (Geoff calls it the fat man’s class). However, the organizers took pity on me and allowed me to race with the “juniors.” Their karts were less powerful than ours so I had an advantage on the straight sides of the oval course. The ends of the oval had S-turns that required me to slow down in order to avoid spinning out. It worked as quite an equalizer!

The kart had no clutch and no starter, so starting the engine required lifting the rear wheels and running forward to drop the wheels while the kart was moving forward — not an easy task.

In the mid-1960s, our interests turned to our antique house, gardening, horseback riding, and eventually, children. The go-kart was stored away in the garage and didn’t see the light of day for at least 50 years. Finally, this summer, our son Geoff took it home for restoration. The “engineer in charge” writes about the restoration below.

The kart used to be quite a thrill to race. With our son’s modifications it will only go 25-30mph as all four of his children (ages 6, 9, 11 and 14) are allowed to drive it — even 6-year-old Brielle, who is very cautious and drives at approximately “idling” speed.

The MC20 engine has been replaced with a snowblower engine (with muffler) to make it suitable for the kids (and grandparents) to drive in a neighborhood. It doesn’t go 60mph anymore, but it’s still exciting going 30 mph only 3” above the ground.

Our son Geoff lives in Dunstable, Mass. (just south of Nashua, N.H.). He planned and supervised the restoration, and his two older kids, Geoffrey (age 11) and Allison (age 14), did a great deal of the work. Fortunately, he lives on a quiet dead-end street with very patient and sympathetic neighbors who do not object to the kart on the few occasions when it is driven. Our daughter, Liz, lives in Chelmsford and is an enthusiastic “Auntie Liz”!

September 2020

[2-Oct_20_Grammy_Barbara.jpg] Now Grammy Barbara is ready for a go!

The new yellow-and-black paint job just happens to match the 2002 MINI Cooper S that Grampy Geoff now drives, and the 1967 Mini Cooper S, for which Dave Black rebuilt the engine and completed the restoration work (left unfinished by a local body shop).

We joked last weekend about having a big MINI (2002), a little Mini (1967), and a Mini-mini (kart, early 1960s)! —BN

The restoration

When my sister Liz and I were kids, we enjoyed trips to the family friend’s house where Dad had a couple cars stored — and the go-kart. It was fun climbing in the old cars, but the highlight was always sitting in the go-kart.

For some reason, this one was the closest to being something we could actually use. Cries of, “Can we take the go-kart home, please?” were always met with, “No, it goes too fast... it needs work... it is not a toy.” Truth was, we had so many other hobbies and activities, there just wasn’t room for one more.

The years went by and the kart moved to a new barn that our parents built after Liz and I moved away. More time flowed through the hourglass. Visits to Grammy’s house with my kids emulated our childhood visits, climbing in the old cars and ogling the go-kart. When they were old enough to realize they might be able drive such a toy, their cries rekindled our own. “Please, Dad, can we take the go-kart home and fix it up? Pleeeease?”

How could I deny my kids the same dreams of the go-kart as I’d had? And as a side benefit... I’d finally get to drive it!

So, during one visit to Grammy’s house, when my patient wife, Jen, was not present, we put the go-kart in the back of the minivan and the adventure began.

The first challenge was the engine. I knew the two-cycle MC20 was a beast, and it needed a jump start. I didn’t want the kart bombing down the road at 60mph in the neighborhood, and I was surely not push-starting it for everyone, especially with no one big enough to push start it for me!

So I started looking for a more reasonable engine. A few searches on Facebook Marketplace and I found an old 8hp Tecumseh M80 four-cycle snowblower engine for sale for $25. It was only 20 minutes away. What a cheap adventure this would be!

The clean-up and disassembly began right away. Allison (14) and Geoffrey IV (11) were ready for the challenge. With wrenches in hand, we removed the MC20, the fuel tank, chain and sprocket. Everything was going according to plan.

We needed a clutch and a carburetor for the snowblower engine. The exhaust was junk, too, and I thought it would be cool to replace it with a pipe-style muffler. The M80 has a large shaft, so the clutch required a larger chain and larger sprocket. After some research and handy on-line calculators, I determined the drive sprocket size so we would not exceed 22mph. Perfect.

September 2020

[3-Oct_20_Grand_Children.jpg] A go-kart all the kids (regardless of age) can enjoy!

Soon, though, Murphy’s Law caught up with us. The M80 is quite a bit larger than the MC20 and we would need a new motor mount. To replace the motor mount, we needed to remove the rear axle. All the bearings and collets were seized on the aluminum shaft. Back on-line to get a new shaft and bearings.

With the old shaft Sawzalled out, we were free to restore the frame. The kids had narrowed the colors down to black-and-green or black-and-yellow. The deciding factor was that yellow would be a tribute to Grampy’s Minis. Allison and Geoffrey went into the restoration with abandon — steel wool, sandpaper, painter’s tape, dropcloths and spray paint. Once the motor cowlings were removed and wheels disassembled, painting and polishing took center stage.

Delivery trucks cycled through the driveway. The parts continued to arrive and the project marched on (and the budget continued to melt down).

One factor continually amazed me throughout the restoration. Most of the old parts and features had not changed in 60 years! The same three-point bearing housings still fit the frame the sprocket hole pattern matched the old sprocket mount the shaft location on the motor mount lined up with the frame dimensions the shaft ends fit the wheels. It was a testament to the efficient design established two or three generations earlier.

The biggest challenge we had was the throttle cable. The new motor’s carburetor was in a different location than on the MC20, so we went to work with a replacement lawn mower throttle cable from Home Depot, my new angle-grinder, some steel bar and a 3D printer! (For the record, we already had the 3D printer. I did not buy it for this project.)

Finally, as we were installing the chain, the kart up on saw horses, my intermittently-observant son said, “It looks like the chain is going to hit the ground.”

Ugh. He was right. My calculations neglected to compare the drive sprocket radius with the wheel radius. Placing the almost complete kart on the ground for the first time, we had a fulcrum teetering on the sprocket. Back to the Internet, then a wait for the delivery truck. Much to my chagrin, the new sprocket gave a new top speed of 32mph.

We were ready for the moment of truth: Would the engine start? Full choke, one pump, two on the primer bulb. A hearty pull of the pull-start and... she turned over. It looked promising. A couple more pulls and she roared to life, flames escaping from the new exhaust. Brilliant! We were ecstatic!

The pride and joy shining from my kids’ faces as they took their first turns in the go-kart were memories to last us all a lifetime. A project, an adventure, the work, the waiting — the cost! — all resulted in this achievement. Not only did they have a go-kart, but they truly felt pride in restoring a relic that once carried Grammy and Grampy, one that Dad and Auntie Liz had only dreamed about. They made it real for all three generations.

The expression on their faces was priceless as Grampy and then Grammy were gingerly lowered into the driver’s seat by their adult children. The wind and the joy in their grandparents’ faces as they sped past the family down Swallow Lane was magical.

What a joy. What an adventure. What an experience. What a life. —GN


September 2020

[4-Oct_20_Grand_Daughter_Brielle.jpg] Did Danica Patrick start out like this? (Granddaughter Brielle.)

Editor’s Note
by David Schwartz

I was inspired to run this article after watching driving videos posted on Barbara Neiley’s Facebook page. Daughter Liz shot the video and commented, “My brother Geoff fixed up the old racing go-kart that Grammy Barbara used to race before we were born. So, what’s the best thing about it? Watching Grammy race it up and down the street 50 years later. Being 83 doesn’t stop her!

“Not to be outdone by Grammy, here comes Grampy! Being 85 doesn’t stop him, either. He has the smile of a little kid!”

Watching the videos put a huge smile on my face as well. Four generations of Neiley men are named Geoffrey, with NEMO’s Geoff (Grampy) being “Junior.” Grammy and Grampy are long-time NEMO members.




August 2020

[1-Sept_20_Nuala_Final_Assembly.jpg] Nuala Barker helps dad Iain put everything together.
Photos by Iain Barker

Social Distancing, Workshop Style, Continues

by Iain Barker

Part 5 — Clutch and flywheel

Well, we’re still under the COVID lockdown, but at least it means I have enough spare time to finish up this project.

The last major pieces required to complete the Cooper S engine build were a flywheel and clutch assembly. The gearbox casing I bought nearly two years ago came as a bare casting, so all the mechanical clutch linkage parts were missing. Finding the correct parts and rebuilding that assembly is the topic this month. It was also a good opportunity for more hands-on home schooling for my 7-year-old daughter, Nuala.

As with the previous installments, my focus was to use genuine original 1960s parts wherever possible. That’s partly because I want the finished engine to be as authentic as possible, but also because modern reproduction parts vary wildly in quality whereas “New Old Stock” (NOS) parts were, by definition, made in-period to the correct specification.

A good example of this problem is the clutch release bearing. The original design for the Mini clutch uses a thrust bearing designed to take load at right angles to its rotation — i.e., it’s designed to push against the face of the clutch spring.

The modern replacement clutch release bearings are a repurposed heavy-duty version of a regular bearing, and are a common failure point on A Series engines as they are not intended to provide lateral thrust. I had exactly this failure on a Mini in the 1990s, where the center portion of the bearing separated from the outer race and pushed into the flywheel. Not wanting to repeat that debacle, (driving a car home with no clutch is not a fun experience), I preferred to use a genuine thrust bearing.

But 50-plus-year-old original BMC bearings are impossibly hard to source! However, after a month or so of trawling the web I managed to locate a 1970s British Leyland version of the bearing from the British Car Company in Houston, Tex., still complete in its original waxed sheet packaging.

I’ve also been wary of the low-quality rubber used in some modern reproduction Mini parts, such as engine mounts — either too hard, resulting in harsh vibration, or too soft, resulting in short service life. I decided to try the Japanese Domestic Market (JDM) route, as unlike many of the generic parts that tend to degrade within a year or less, rubber parts from Japan have a good reputation for longevity. David Ainley at Classic Minis Japan, Tokyo, is an exporter for JDM parts and was able to provide a pair of heavy-duty engine mounts. In spite of the fact that Tokyo is half a planet away from Boston, the parts arrived within two days.

The next major components to locate were a suitable flywheel and clutch assembly. Two clutch designs were used on Minis: “Verto” for the later A+ engines, and the retronym “pre-Verto” for the original A Series type. Both were manufactured by Automotive Products (AP) in the U.K., but the pre-Verto clutch spring diaphragms have been out of manufacture for the last few years due to AP scrapping the obsolete tooling in 2018. For a while it was impossible to get new clutch springs for older Minis. Fortunately, pattern tooling from the U.S. manufacturer Borg & Beck is now being used to supply new stock.

August 2020

[2-Sept_20_Clutch_Parts.jpg] Clutch parts courtesy Borg & Beck.

As with many engine components, the flywheel specification used on the Cooper S is improved compared to mainstream production cars. Standard Mini engines use a one-part solid cast iron flywheel, but the Cooper uses a cast flywheel mass with a separate high-grade SG steel used for the hub. This helps avoid the problems experienced during racing and rallying whereby flywheels “weld” themselves onto the crankshaft at high rpms.

Of course, such exotica are no longer available new — there are solid billet “race-spec” flywheels available from the Mini tuning companies to address the same problem, but at several hundred dollars they are well outside my budget. Besides, I’m trying to build to the original 1960s specification.

After much searching, I found a suitable S flywheel assembly on eBay U.K., but unfortunately it was listed for in-person pickup only. Weeks passed until I managed to find another — ironically from the same vendor (Min-e-bitz U.K.) where I had purchased the crankshaft. Why didn’t I think of that in the first place? Duh!

After a week or so, the flywheel arrived and fit perfectly on the S crank tail. In fact, it could even have been taken off the same engine as the crank, given the low numbers of such engines which are parted out for spares!

The flywheel had some heavy surface corrosion and looked more like someone used it as a boat anchor. Fortunately, it was not cracked, and importantly, the clutch friction surfaces were unaffected by the rust. I cleaned off the worst of the crusty metal flakes using a wire brush and chisel, then soaked the bare metal in a solution of CLR to remove most of the remaining surface rust.

Before fitting the flywheel to the crank, a new primary oil seal must be fitted to the transfer gear housing. This is another common failure point on Mini engines. Oil leaking onto the clutch is usually caused by cuts in the seal due to the splines of the primary transfer gear over which the seal has to slide during installation. On previous engine builds I have pressed the oil seal into the housing before installing it on the engine, and then used painter’s tape to cover the splines. But there is a bespoke service tool for this job, and it has the advantage that it can insert the seal with the transfer gear housing already fitted onto the engine.

August 2020

[3-Sept_20_Nuala_Completed.jpg] Nuala with completed clutch linkage assembly.

So, always up for something new, I decided to purchase the proper tool for this build. Happily, I can report that it makes what was previously a very tedious and nerve-wracking process into a trivial task. Just slide the thin protective metal sheath over the primary gear splines, then use the second larger-circumference part of the tool to drive the oil seal over the sheath and into the housing. Rather than having to dolly around the edge of the seal to seat it, the tool makes use of the crankshaft bolt to push the seal home, and ensures it is dead parallel to the crank. Then simply remove both parts of the tool — job done.

I wish I had bought this tool many years ago. It could have saved countless hours on the dozen or more Mini engines that I’ve rebuilt.

The clutch release arm on a Mini works at a ratio of over 5:1, so any minor wear on the linkage quickly adds up and results in a “low” clutch pedal. To avoid this, I found a good used original clutch arm on eBay U.K., plus the previously mentioned NOS release bearing. The final assembly of the linkage was to be done using all new premium parts — clutch slave cylinder push rod, EN24T hardened steel flywheel keyway and plunger, clevis pins, and throw-out adjuster double nut — all from Mini Spares U.K.

I mentioned home-schooling for Nuala. Finding new and interesting ways to keep her engaged during the school closure has been a challenge — but since these clutch parts are all shiny new and clean, what better project could there be for a bored kid to take on?

So it was that we cleared a space on the rug and I presented her with a pile of Mini Spares bags, and a printed page from the workshop manual showing the whole assembly. Good luck! Well, it turns out that she is a natural. With just a little guidance she was able to completely assemble the clutch arm and its linkage, with the only help from me being cutting and bending the split pin ends.

With the new Borg & Beck clutch plate and spring fitted to the flywheel, main flywheel bolt torqued and its lock-tab set, Nuala bolted on the clutch cover “wok” (common U.K. nickname) assembly and the new engine mounts. The rebuilt engine and gearbox are now complete, ready for installation into the car.


August 2020

[4-Sept_20_Lawn_Cars_Screen-Iain.jpg] Classic cars take their places at Larz Anderson’s improvised drive-in.
Photo by Iain Barker

‘Wheels & Reels’ at LAAM

by Wendy Birchmire

BROOKLINE, Mass. — The Larz Anderson Auto Museum (LAAM) cancelled all lawn and Cars & Coffee events for the 2020 season, so they came up with another use for the Great Lawn. I received an e-mail that LAAM would hold a “Wheels & Reels” night on July 11th at 8:30 p.m. They were selling 50 tickets to owners of classic cars from the 1970s or older.

They asked if I would prefer to see Grease, Le Mans 1971, Fast and Furious, or The Italian Job. The obvious answer from a Mini owner was The Italian Job, with its thrilling car chase scenes. Others clearly agreed since that movie was selected.

The next e-mail asked whether I would prefer the original 1969 version or the 2003 remake, and why. The original, of course! The original received 57% of the votes and the remake 43%.

I sent in the $25 fee, which allowed me to bring up to four guests. Quite a bargain given the going rate of movies.

I arrived at the Museum and was greeted by a staff member who verified that I brought the registered car. I was shown to a parking space and told that masks had to be worn everywhere on the grounds. Classic Minis were placed in spaces close to the screen. Restrooms were open for one person or family at a time, and plenty of hand sanitizer dispensers were available. The LAAM staff got it right when they planned this event!

After parking my 1973 Union Jack Mini 1000 I looked around for familiar faces. There was Iain Barker and his daughter Nuala, along with their Mk1 Cooper S. How nice to be able to chat with them.

There were two other Minis present, a Mk3 Mini 1000 and another Mk1 Cooper S. I quickly went over to check out the other cars. Everyone milled around, admired the cars, and chatted with friends and newly-made friends for almost an hour.

I couldn’t figure out where they were going to show the movie since there was no screen. Then a generator started and inflated a 40-ft. screen. I’ve seen lawn ornaments inflated like this, but never a huge screen. Luckily, the screen was anchored to the ground because the wind was blowing. This kept the temperature in the 70s and made for a perfect night to view an outdoor movie.

Many people chose to watch from inside their cars and the people next to me even donned a blanket. I didn’t feel it was cold, so my friend and I set up lawn chairs and sat outside. Since my Mini lacks a radio, we brought a boom box to hear the movie soundtrack. Although the sky looked threatening for the entire event, no rain fell.

At the appointed hour we were told to turn our radios to 89.5 to receive audio for the movie. After announcements and a thank you to the event’s sponsors, it was on to the movie.

The Italian Job has been called “the quintessential British caper film of the 1960s, featuring Michael Caine, and an infamous chase scene.” It was quite a scene, too, with Minis jumping off ramps, driving down stairs, screeching through narrow streets, etc. I was sorry when the movie ended.

It was enjoyable to be so nicely entertained outside. I hope they hold another Wheels & Reels night.


August 2020

Erikson’s Ice Cream Run

by David Schwartz

MAYNARD, Mass. — The Boston Area MG Club held a drive in late spring that started and ended at Erikson’s Ice Cream in Maynard.

Gerry Lodge led the group on a 70-minute back-roads tour through Acton, Carlisle, Concord, Sudbury and Maynard. There were at least 15 participants, including NEMO members Ken Lemoine and John Gallagher. Ken drove his Jaguar XK150 and John drove his MINI.

There was rain in the forecast, and the wipers in my Mini are sticking, so I borrowed Betty’s Miata (yes, a number of people called me out on that). People wore masks, and Erikson’s employees directed traffic in the take- out line and at the windows.

It was a fun drive, and the black raspberry ice cream was terrific.




July 2020

[1-Aug_20_Rebuilt_Head.jpg] Project finished, cylinder head rebuilt.
Photo by Iain Barker

More Social Distancing, Workshop Style
by Iain Barker

Part 4 — Rebuilding a Cooper S cylinder head

With the “short engine” completed, and the COVID lockdown well into its second month, I figured I would turn this project it into a full engine build.

Original cylinder heads used for the Mk1 Mini Cooper S were rather notorious. They were engineered in low quantities for the knife-edge of “works” race/rally performance as opposed to reliability. Even in period, the manufacturing quality was quite variable.

The main problem with the original design was the excessively over-sized exhaust valves, which at 31mm were so large that they did not fit into the combustion chamber without the valve seat physically overlapping into the area of the (also oversized) 35mm inlet valve. The area between the two was machined so thin during manufacture that it easily overheated and burned through the iron casting, cracking from one side to the other and rendering the head unusable.

In 1969, Daniel Richmond of Downton Engineering redesigned the whole head assembly to improve reliability, increasing the head thickness to aid cooling and reducing the exhaust valve size slightly to 29mm. It may not seem like much, but that extra 2mm radically improved reliability — with the result that starting very soon afterwards BMC Service would retro-fit the new head design onto Mk1 and Mk2 Cooper S cars when the original head failed. The new-spec Cooper S heads were stamped with “S” behind the thermostat housing and part number 12G1805, versus the early AEG613 and the generic 12G940 used on later 1275cc engines.

The passage of more than 50 years has made availability a challenge. Finding a good condition Cooper S head is especially difficult in the USA, where there were historically many fewer cars sold. Shipping is also a problem, as the head assembly weighs around 25 lbs. so it’s not the easiest thing to mail across from Europe. But I had a cunning plan…

Used S heads are occasionally available on eBay U.K., and we had already booked an Easter vacation to visit my family there. I would simply have the head delivered to Mum’s house and carry it back as hand luggage on my return flight.

You can see where this is going. Unfortunately the whole COVID-19 thing happened a few weeks before Easter, and it was obvious that our trip would be cancelled. Not wanting to burden Mum with breaking isolation, I engaged a local courier to do a “contactless” pickup-and-then-forward via DHL to me here in the U.S. All told, it was still cheaper than buying a modern performance head from one of the U.S. vendors, but not by very much. C’est la vie — at least I had the head and could start working out if it was going to be usable for this project.

I knew from the eBay advertisement that it had been extensively worked, polished and ported, then left unused for about 20 years. An ideal match for the cylinder block that I used for this build, which was also machined and left unused for a similar period!

With the head safely delivered, I set about stripping it down. The double valve springs, collets, caps and valves were soaked for a week in carburetor cleaner, and the head was given the same treatment as the cylinder block — a few hours soak in CLR (Calcium Limescale Rust remover), followed by internal and external wire brushing.

July 2020

[2-Aug_20_Lapping_in_the_Valves.jpg] Lapping in the valves.
Photo by Iain Barker

Amazingly, the head looked as good as new after cleaning, requiring just a light polish using 2500 grit wet and dry paper by hand on a sanding block to re-dress the flat cylinder face. I filled the water galleries with boiling water and let it stand for 20 minutes or so — no seepage into the valve chambers, so at least porosity would not be a problem. I also re-lapped the valves into their seats in the traditional way that Dad taught me years ago — coarse carborundum paste for the first hand lapping, followed by fine for the final pass, until no chafing could be heard when rotating the valve against its seat while being pushed firmly into its guide.

This head does not have hardened inserts fitted, so for unleaded use I’ll need to use a fuel additive — but considering the low mileage my Mini does each year, seat recession is not going to be much of a problem.

The springs all looked good after their cleansing soak, so reassembling the valve assembly was straightforward.

The “extensive work” listed in the eBay description was certainly evident. The inlet ports were massive, and the head thickness measured 40 thou below standard, so they had been skimmed, then the combustion chambers opened back up using a die grinder. Before I could use this head, I needed to know whether the combustion chamber volume was standard, or if someone had modified it for high compression during the skimming. This is usually done by fixing a flat piece of Perspex to the face, fitting a spark plug, and then measuring the volume of fluid needed to fill the chamber.

I didn’t have any Perspex handy, and with the isolation lockdown, going to a hardware store wasn’t an option. After some searching around the house for a substitute, I settled on the clear 6” square plastic of a CD jewel case. With a few holes bored through for bolts to be fixed and using axle grease as a sealant against the block face, I slowly filled the void. In total it took a little under 22cc of fluid I used WD40 to avoid promoting further rust. The standard combustion chamber volume of a Mini head is 21.4cc, so allowing for some seepage and my not-so-scientific method, the result is nominal.

To complement this original head, I purchased a set of used rocker gear — again, the Cooper S specification is different from the regular Mini engines and uses stronger forged rocker arms, rather than the pressed steel of a standard A Series engine or the sintered steel of the later A+ type.

July 2020

[3-Aug_20_Tapping_for_New_Bypass_Valve.jpg] Tapping for a new bypass valve.
Photo by Iain Barker

One other job was to renew the bypass hose spigot. The rubber bypass hose is an Achilles heel for the Mini engine — difficult to replace once the engine is installed, and prone to leaking due to passing hot coolant from the head to the water pump, bypassing the thermostat.

In the case of this head, the original mild steel bypass hose spigot was intact but had clearly seen better days. Rather than risk failure down the road, I decided to replace it now. But of course it was rusted solid into the head, and all my efforts using vise grips, impact driver, etc., only succeeded in creating an increasingly shorter length of tube. Frustrated, I drilled out the hole and re-tapped it to fit a new spigot. This being a 1950s-designed engine, the required thread is an obscure Whitworth 5/8-16, but fortunately a UNS tap of the same thread pitch was available from Amazon.

With a fresh coat of etch primer, and MOWOG mid-bronze green paint to match the block, all that remained was to fit the new stainless steel studs for the heater take-off, thermostat housing, and manifolds, then fit the head onto the block — usually quite straightforward on a Mini. I chose a Payen BK450 composite head gasket. I had lightly sanded both faces to clean them up its additional compliance should seal any micro-scratches. The harder surface of a copper-faced gasket is more suited for use with freshly machined surfaces.

Well, I say usually quite straightforward. In this case, I encountered a problem with the set of used MG Midget standard pushrods I purchased off eBay (same spec as Cooper S, of course). The rod would not fit through the #4-cylinder inlet valve hole in the head. Fortunately, I had not yet torqued the head down, so I lifted it back off to investigate the problem. It seems that during the porting work, whoever did the grinding had broken through into the pushrod hole and a sleeve had been fitted to remedy the problem. All I had to do was drill the central hole of the sleeve a little larger, so that the pushrod could pass through cleanly. Another sign that the head had most likely not been used since the machining work was carried out.

With the head torqued to 45 lb.-ft. the top end assembly was complete. Next time, clutch and flywheel...

July 2020

[4-Aug_20_Brit_Lineup.jpg] British cars mustering for the parade, Mini KK in the back row.
Photo by Iain Barker

Mini Drives in the Pandemic
by Iain Barker & David Schwartz

Social-distancing car parade, May 10th

Nuala and I joined the Arlington Classic Car Club (ACCC) for our first run of the year. Our car, “Mini KK,” had zero preparation after the winter. All I had a chance to do was pump up the tires, top off the oil and water, and fill up with fresh gas. The ignition was rough and the points gap didn’t look correct, but I didn’t have a spare set on hand. I did have spare distributor and spark plug leads in the trunk, so I quickly fitted those and off we went with fingers and toes crossed.

In compliance with the ACCC’s “ad hoc, no rules, no structure” anti-charter, the event was organized without much in the way of prior coordination. We assembled on parade day in a church parking lot. I counted 35 cars in total, nearly all pre-’80s classics with a few modern muscle cars and other interesting vehicles.

Mini KK had a bad misfire, really struggling to get up the Route 2 hill to Arlington Heights, and I couldn’t get her to go over 30mph. Once we arrived at the parking lot, I opened the bonnet and pulled the spark plug leads one at a time with the engine running. Cylinders 2 and 3 were not doing anything so I swapped the plug leads over and she was back to life. Well, at least cylinder 2 was working. Number 3 has low compression, which is why I spent the winter building a replacement engine!

The projected driving route was around 30 miles in two hours, but it took over three hours as there was a fantastic spectator turnout. Every street in Arlington seemed to have at least one family having a picnic on their front lawn, with social distancing being respected between each property. We sounded our horns as we waved to everyone.

July 2020

[5-Aug_20_Bulldog.jpg] Beatriz the Bulldog — how does she reach the pedals?
Photo by Alex Jones

It was a nice showing of community spirit and a welcome morale boost in these strange times.

At one point I tapped out Morse code on the car horn for “ACCC” (dit-dah, dah-dit-dah-dit, dah-dit-dah-dit, dah-dit-dah-dit) and “MINI” (dah-dah, dit-dit, dah-dit, dit-dit), and thought I heard someone beep “MM” in response (dah-dah, dah-dah). Anyway, it was all good fun and a great afternoon out in the sunshine. —IB

Chasing Mini Classics Run redux, May 24th

MINIs of Boston held a repeat of their May 16th Lexington-to-Sudbury drive, again organized by Josh Amato, this time including both Minis and MINIs. There were five classic Minis scattered among 15 modern cars. We used two-way radios to communicate, which came in handy when part of the group didn’t make it through a few traffic lights.

The weather was perfect, so I drove my ’68 Mini Traveller. NEMO members Wendy and Tom Birchmire attended in Wendy’s MINI convertible.

Mauricio Zambrano Vergara’s 1992 British Open Classic carried two bulldogs, usually in the back seat. Beatriz the Bulldog enjoys taking an occasional turn at the wheel. How does she reach the pedals?

The drive ended at the Wayside Inn Grist Mill, where attendees enjoyed the mill and beautiful grounds. —DS




June 2020

[1-Jul_20_Punch_Card.jpg] Truly NOS! This came complete with period wrapping and a genuine BMC computer punch card from the ’60s.
Photo by Iain Barker

More Social Distancing, Workshop Style
by Iain Barker

Part 3 — External assembly

With the hard work of the engine internals completed, it’s time to turn my attention to the exterior of the block.

Usually this is just a case of cleaning up the old parts and bolting them back on. Since I am building this engine from scratch, I need to source all the correct parts first. In years gone by, this would entail schlepping around swap meets, and making many phone calls to used parts dealers to find just the correct piece of obscure metalwork. These days, it’s much easier — the main vendors have on-line indexes, and the eBay global shipping program takes care of the rest.

The Mini engine owes much to its predecessor, the Austin A30. Launched in 1951, the A Series engine has been steadily improved from a tiny 803cc (26bhp) up to a massive 1460cc (180bhp) on some turbocharged race engines. But despite this wide range of performance, the basic design is essentially identical, with a cast iron block and head, hardened steel crank, rods and camshaft, and alloy pistons.

Although exotic materials were used for the race-bred Cooper S engine, the external ancillary components are surprisingly mundane. Pressed steel ‘tin-ware’ is used for the front and side engine covers and relatively inexpensive castings such as the oil filter head, water pump, etc.

As with most things on the Mini, the design of these castings was improved (or, ahem, “cost-reduced”) over the years since the original Mk1. The oil filter is a good example. Later cars use a simple spin-on oil filter head with disposable cartridge filters, just like a modern car. But the original Mk1 uses a design that originated from the MG TA engine way back in 1936 and has a disposable paper filter within a reusable canister. This is much messier to change, but just as effective, and visually very different.

I chose to use original parts where possible. New parts are no longer available for the oil filter housing and canister, but similar 1960s era cars used almost identical components to the Mini, so it was relatively easy to find an equivalent part — in this case, a good used item taken from an MG Midget.

Used parts always need a close inspection for wear or abuse, and this one was no exception. The canister was dented, the filter head was clogged with 50 years of gunk, and it was missing the internal pressure plate. Fortunately, the pressure plate is the one part that is easily purchased new, since unknowing owners have a tendency to accidentally throw it in the garbage when changing the inner paper filter!

This filter housing needed a good clean before being fit for use, so it went for a weekend “spa break” in a bucket of carb cleaner, followed by some judicious wire brushing. It came up pretty well, and after hammering some dents out of the canister, and applying some etch primer and satin black paint, it was more than fit for the job.

Then I realized I didn’t have a gasket for the filter head to the block. Not wanting to wait another two weeks for USPS delivery from the West Coast, I cut one out of thick construction paper using an X-acto knife. I always use Permatex Aviation gasket sealant on all metal joints, so the gasket is really just there to carry the sealant.

I do have an original 1960s cast iron water pump, but after 50-plus years it needs new rubber water seals — not something I can do myself in the basement, as a fly-press is required. But I was able to locate a NOS alloy pump with the BL “plughole” logo cast into it, a sure sign that it’s a ’70s original part.

(British Leyland had commissioned an experimental alloy cylinder block to see if they could reduce the weight and improve performance of the engine. Although the engine worked well, it was not put into production due to projected development costs. The aluminum alloy water pump from the new design was re-worked to fit with the existing cast iron engine block, and A Series water pumps have been cast in aluminum ever since.)

Tin-ware on the Mini includes the front timing chain cover and two valve follower/tappet chest side covers — one of which contains an oil vapor condensing breather. Again, the 1960s version of these is different from the later Mini models but was used on similar cars of the era, including the Morris Minor and the MG Midget. I obtained and refurbished the correct “convex” type covers with MOWOG stamping. The cover with the breather was actually an original part that was supplied in its 1960s-style BMC waxed protective wrapping and with a dealer stock-control punch card!

June 2020

[2-Jul_20_Transmission.jpg] Transmission and block mated.
Photo by Iain Barker

The timing chain cover oil seal is notorious for leaking on a Mini. The usual cause is that the oil seal is not centered on the crankshaft fan belt pulley, resulting in deformation of the seal and consequential weeping of oil. The easiest way to avoid the problem is to fit the new seal to the timing chain cover first, then fit the pulley into the seal before attaching the whole cover-plus-pulley assembly to the front plate. This guarantees that the crankshaft pulley will be centered in the seal. Some prefer to use RTV paste on the timing cover, but I like to use the same Permatex sealant as for the rest of the paper gaskets.

Unique to the Cooper S engines is a two-part Metalastic damper, and a star-shaped locking tab. This is designed to cut down on crankshaft vibration at the high revs at which the S engines were designed to run. The special locking tab is used in place of the soft fold-over tabs on regular Mini engines, which can work loose over time.

Fitting new core/freeze plugs was straightforward. The Mini uses the pre-formed cup style, so they don’t need peening after installation — just a lick of gasket sealant and then drive them home with a suitably-sized parallel dolly or a socket wrench and hammer.

An original Cooper S large cast iron fan belt pulley was trivial to clean up. The larger size reduces the water pump speed at high revs and avoids caviation (formation of small vapor-filled cavities). I painted the pulley bright yellow, which is the original factory color for the pulley and fan of a 1967 Mini.

(Note: Austin cars used yellow pulleys and fans, early Morris cars used MG Maroon, but both changed to yellow after the first rationalization around 1962.)

The last parts to fit are the distributor housing, oil pressure gauge takeoff and bypass valve. The current engine in my car uses an adjustable bypass valve, with a ball bearing and stronger spring. I’m trying the plunger type this time around as it’s supposed to regulate the pressure better.

For the distributor housing, I initially couldn’t find the proper A Series type for a Mini. I tried the B Series from an MGB as it looked to be the same size, but unfortunately the nose tube was too long. I considered cutting it down with a grinder but managed to locate a used one on eBay, thus avoiding a bodge.

With the external assembly completed, the engine can finally be mated onto the gearbox (which I also built up from scratch last year). Working at waist height on a table, and doing this singlehandedly was a challenge, because the rubber half-moon/crescent seal for the front main cap needs to be held in position for the duration. The factory lowered the gearbox onto the inverted engine, rather than lowering the upright engine onto the gearbox. So, I did the same this time around. It’s certainly much easier than trying to manhandle the heavier engine block into position over the gearbox.

Incidentally, the crescent seal is the only place on a Mini where I use RTV. Just a thin bead on both sides of the rubber seal to hold it in position, then let it cure for 15 minutes before joining the gearbox to the engine. This seal is now available in a composite rigid neoprene/metal version that was developed as a warranty replacement. It is much higher quality and stays in place better than the original simple rubber type.

With all the studs and bolts replaced and torqued up correctly, the major assembly is done. Next month, rebuilding an original Cooper S cylinder head!

June 2020

[3-Jul_20_Classics.jpg] Left to right: The Alex, Iain and Josh Minis on the Sudbury Run.
Photo courtesy NEMO

On the Road with Minis by Iain Barker & David Schwartz

Mini Classics of Boston Sudbury Run, May 16th

The MINIs of Boston (MOB) Facebook group has a related group, “Mini Classics of Boston.” Josh Amato, one of the MOB organizers, invited classic Minis on a back roads drive from Lexington to Sudbury.

We met at the Paul Revere capture site on Rt. 2A near Hanscom airfield. There were three classic Minis (driven by me, Alex Daly and Michael Gonsalves, and Josh), plus another Mini owner (Mauricio) who came in a Jag F-type because his Mini had died the day before.

We drove in a convoy, stopped at a pop-up pizza van near Lincoln to pick up lunch, then continued on to the Wayside Inn Grist Mill in Sudbury. There is a nice open meadow next to the river where everyone sat in appropriately socially distanced groups to eat. —IB

Wedding postponed, but...

May 16th was also to have been Alex and Michael’s wedding day at the Larz Anderson Automobile Museum and Park, but with the pandemic it had to be postponed. It was disappointing they couldn’t host the event, but they made up for it with a classic Mini rally, a game of golf, and a surprise fancy dinner for Michael (special thanks to family and friends for stealthily making this happen). The quotes below are shared with permission from Alex’s Facebook page.

Alex: “Today is the day I was supposed to marry my best friend, my partner in crime, and sometimes my adult supervision... I can’t wait for the day when we can actually get married, but until then we have a fun day of adventure planned!”

Michael: “Well, Alex got me good. Coming home from an afternoon of golf to this table set-up, warm dinner in the oven, and dessert in the fridge was a complete surprise. In the face of a postponed wedding, I can’t think of a better way to conclude what ended up being a phenomenal day!”

We wish Alex and Michael many happy years together. —DS




May 2020

[1-Jun_20_Wendy_Minis.jpg] Wendy Birchmire’s collection of miniature Minis and MINIs was revealed during the meeting!
Photo by Wendy Birchmire

NEMO Members Zoom into Meeting

by David Schwartz

At least 10 members participated in an on-line NEMO meeting hosted on Zoom on Saturday, May 2nd.

The technical aspects were mostly glitch-free. One person had audio problems and there were occasional video freezes, but it worked well overall. Zoom has become a de facto platform for simple video conferencing, despite some security concerns. You can download Zoom to your computer, phone or tablet.

Most people connected from home offices, family rooms, or in the case of Faith and Bruce, the super-secret British Marque headquarters. Bill Fralick broadcast from his garage and treated us to a view of his Cooper S restoration project. Amazingly, it is the very car that was the first Mini Dave Black ever rode in and the car that inspired him to become a lifelong Mini enthusiast!

Some experienced Zoom users had fun with custom screen backgrounds. Wendy Birchmire was one of them. She also posted a photo of her collection of 92 red Minis and MINIs, in a variety of scales.

Ken Lemoine gave us a tour of his diecast vehicle collection, as well as Mini and MG stained glass windows he created. The Mini windows were done some time ago and are sized to fit in the rear doors of Ken’s Mini Traveller. The MG logo was recently completed and is a birthday present for Ken’s son Brett. His latest project is a window hanging of the Jaguar logo.

May 2020

[3-Jun_20_Nemo_Logo.jpg] Ken Lemoine’s stained glass projects include a representation of the NEMO logo, a classic Mini superimposed over an outline of the New England states.
Photo by Ken Lemoine

Iain Barker displayed his green Lego Mini Cooper, and yours truly showed off a 3-foot-tall Lego model of the Apollo Saturn V moon rocket. This was a quarantine project assembled by me and my daughter Laura.

Please post photos of your 1:1 scale cars and diecast vehicles on the NEMO Facebook page (www.facebook.com/NewEnglandMiniOwners). I will pin a photo link to the top of the page. Click “Comment” and the camera icon.

If you don’t want to post to Facebook, you can share them with the NEMO Google Group. Send an e-mail to business@britishmarque.com and ask to join the group. You can also e-mail dschwartz1957@gmail.com and I will post on your behalf.

It was great to catch up with people we hadn’t seen since the 2019 car show season, or the Holiday Party in December. Given that more events are being cancelled, we will definitely hold another on-line meeting. Next time I promise more advance notice.

Looking forward to “seeing” you soon!

May 2020

[4-Jun_20_Timing_Protractor.jpg] Getting it done — with a timing protractor and an improvised locking tool.
Photo by Iain Barker

More Social Distancing, Workshop Style

by Iain Barker

Part 2 — Engine timing

This little project to build a 1960s Mk1 Cooper S engine started on 12th March. It’s mid-April as I write this, and we’ve just entered the second month of ‘social distancing’ (a.k.a. workshop lockdown!).

At the end of the previous installment, the pistons and rods, crankshaft, camshaft, oil pump and bearings had all been installed. Next up, the front of the engine – front plate, cam retainer and a shiny new AE ‘performance’ timing chain set, to tie it all together.

The engine front plate design has changed several times since the 1960s. On the mainstream ‘small bore’ Mini engines of 1098cc and below, a single row (simplex) timing chain was deemed sufficient for the Cooper S (970cc, 1071cc and 1275cc engines), however, an improved double-row (duplex) chain drive was introduced to cope with the higher demands of a racecar engine. For later 1980s cars the configuration was modified again with the A+ engine to incorporate revised engine breathing.

Original A Series front plates are getting harder to find, and a quick on-line check showed there were none available from the usual U.S. vendors. eBay to the rescue! I managed to locate a good used front plate in the U.K. It’s a 998 version, which means countersinking the two main bearing screw holes to fit the flush-mounted hex ‘Allen key’-style screws, so that they don’t interfere with the wider duplex chain. But it’s the correct style for A Series rather than A+, with an added bonus that the seller had already painted it with engine enamel, saving me the job.

The triangular cam retainer is fitted next. This holds the camshaft in position and needs to be aligned in no less than three different directions! While apparently symmetrical, it is important to get the cam retainer right way around — one side is coated with white-metal bearing material to provide the thrust surface for the cam, whereas the other side is just plain steel. The first alignment is with the camshaft sprocket fitted and the nut torqued. The end-float (in and out movement) needs to be very tightly controlled, the factory tolerance is 3 to 7 thousandths of an inch (‘thou’).

It may seem like a poor design to allow the camshaft to wander in and out of the block. But in fact, the lobes of the camshaft are machined at a slight angle, and a matching contour ground onto the base of the camshaft followers ensures that when rotating, the cam is always thrust toward the front of the engine against that white-metal bearing surface, and away from the oil pump. The tolerance is actually to allow sufficient slack so that the oil pump is free to rotate, since it is driven directly from the rear end of the camshaft.

The second alignment is to ensure the camshaft sprocket and the crankshaft sprocket are parallel to each other, with no offset that would cause the chain to drive against the sprocket teeth at an angle. The crankshaft sprocket is deliberately machined under-sized, and steel shims are fitted behind the sprocket in increments of 5 thou. The alignment is measured using nothing more than a straight-edge engineers’ ruler and feeler gauges. In all, I used three shims to bring the sprockets into alignment, for a 0.015” total offset.

The only snag during assembly was that I didn’t have the correct tool to lock the camshaft pulley when torqueing down the nut. Rather than break cover to visit Harbor Freight during the Covid-19 lockdown, I made my own crude approximation of a camshaft locking tool from a bit of old steel bed frame. Whatever works to get the job done!

May 2020

[5-Jun_20_Woodruff_Keys.jpg] Woodruff keys, used to fix the offset between the crank and camshaft and thus adjust timing.
Photo by Iain Barker

With the timing gear fitted, next was the tricky third dimension — the dreaded camshaft timing. When the timing gear is manufactured, a ‘dot’ is stamped in each sprocket so that the teeth can be correctly aligned ‘dot to dot’. However, with 40 teeth on the camshaft sprocket, and 360/40 = 9° per tooth, and two rotations of the crankshaft for one rotation of the camshaft, each tooth on the camshaft is equivalent to 18° of crank rotation. The timing specification for each camshaft is given by the manufacturer based on the point of maximum opening of the inlet valve, in this case that figure is 107° after top-dead-center (ATDC).

Phew. What does all that mean? Way too much math and engineering.

To make it simple: the four cycles of the Mini engine are suck, squeeze, bang, and blow. The ’suck’ is the inlet stroke, where the pistons draw the fuel and air mixture into the cylinders via the valves in the head. The ‘blow’ is the exhaust of the burned gas through the head and out to the tailpipe. These inlet and exhaust valve openings need to be precisely timed so that they occur when the piston is at the correct point of its rotation via the crankshaft, i.e., when the piston is moving down the bore to suck in the inlet charge, or as it’s moving up the bore to blow the exhaust gas out. So 107º ATDC simply means that the inlet valve reaches its point of maximum opening after the crank has rotated 107° from when the piston was previously at the top of the bore.

O.K., engineering lesson over (for now) — back to the build.

The offset between the crank and camshaft is fixed by Woodruff keys. These are little tongues of steel that slot into a groove machined into the front of the crank and camshaft. To adjust the relative position of the two sprockets, offset keys are available in steps from 1° to 9° of crank rotation. So, fitting the key pointing to the left delays the camshaft and causes the timing to be retarded. Fitting it pointing to the right advances the timing, causing the valves to move earlier relative to the movement of the piston.

Basically, all that needs be done is to measure the point at which the inlet valve reaches its maximum opening and look to see where the crankshaft is pointed. Simple! Well, maybe for a modern electronically-managed engine with hydraulic or pneumatic valves. The engine management system on a Honda VTEC does this hundreds of times per second. But there are no such luxuries on the 1950s-design Mini engine. The camshaft is opening the valves mechanically, by pushing the followers using lobes that have a curved top. So, the point at which they reach their ‘peak’ is really more of a ‘flat’. To get an accurate reading, we have to measure the valve lift at the same point on the slope for the leading and the trailing edge of the curved lobe, and then average it.

May 2020

[7-Jun_20_Nuala_Does_Math.jpg] Nuala does the math.
Photo by Iain Barker

Arrgh, more math. But I have a secret weapon! My daughter Nuala is 7 years old, and on ‘home school’ due to the Covid lockdown. This seems like an ideal time for an applied math lesson!

I have to say, she did a pretty good job. She read off the Dial Test Indicator (DTI) and timing degrees at the front of the engine, while I rotated the crank from the flywheel slot at the rear, and together we measured the lift using a DTI at 5 thou before peak on the leading and trailing edge of the inlet lobe. The values were 88° and 116° one adds these together, then divides by 2 for a median value. Ours was 102° after TDC for inlet valve peak. The target is 107°, so it needed a 5° offset Woodruff key to retard the cam pulley.

A week later the offset Woodruff key arrived in the mail. After I assembled and checked the timing again, it came in at 106º before top dead center (BTDC). There is always some slack in the chain after a few hours of running, so this should settle down to the target of 107º without further attention — it’s definitely close enough, the factory tolerance is within 2° — and much better than the ‘dot to dot’ initial setting.

That’s it for this month. Next time, we’ll take a look at the external engine assembly. Everyone, stay home and stay safe!




April 2020

[1-May_20_Block_Before.jpg] The block before cleaning.
Photos by Iain Barker

Social Distancing, Workshop-style

by Iain Barker

The engine in my 1967 Mini Cooper S is worn out. I threw it together quickly a couple of years ago with what I thought were ‘good enough’ tolerances. The cylinders were overbored by 20 thousandths of an inch (+20 thou) and measured wear at around 3 thou, so I just de-glazed them with a honing stone and re-ringed the original pistons. In retrospect, that was a mistake. I really should have had the block rebored while it was stripped down. Sure, the engine ran and the initial compression was good. However, cylinder bore ovaling soon caused excessive oil consumption, producing an embarrassing amount of blue smoke while driving.

I didn’t want to lose a driving season while I stripped and rebuilt the original engine over the summer, and my rented storage lock-up has no electricity nor any heat, so working over the winter is not viable, either. I decided the best option was to try and build up a spare S block in my basement slow-time, so that when completed it would be ready to drop into the car along with my recently rebuilt gearbox. This would minimize the time my car would be out of commission.

Due to the COVID-19 mandatory lockdown in Massachusetts, I now have rather more time on my hands than expected. So, I guess there’s nothing for it but to start a new build.

My goal is to build up a complete 1966/67 specification short engine (everything below the head gasket) for an Mk1 Mini Cooper 1275 S, using all new old stock (NOS) or original manufacturer/reproduction parts. Not an easy task, considering that engine specification had a unique cylinder block and was only in production from 1964 to 1967. So spare parts are not available off the shelf.

Part 1 — Internal engineering

An early break enabled me to source a thin-flange S block in good condition from Seven Enterprises (7ent), the exact same AEG312 type as the original in my car. Apparently, it came from Doug Peterson, Mike Kearney’s racing partner from the Fortech Mini days. It was machined +0.030” oversize, and then put aside as a spare for the racecar. Fortunately, it was stored indoors for 30 years and retains the original main caps. It appears that it was also lightly skimmed to increase compression.

The block had just a little surface rust, but needed a good clean-up and camshaft bearings fitted before it could be used. A good scrubbing with a brass wire brush was followed by soaking in a gallon of CLR (Calcium/Limescale/Rust) dissolving solution. I also removed the rusted freeze/core plugs and all the brass screw plugs on the oil/water ways for access.

Then I used a gun/rifle barrel cleaning kit to pull helical wire brushes through all the drillings to clean out the rust and muck. It was pretty filthy, but there was no significant rust penetration. The water jacket only had some loose rust flakes behind the core plugs, which were easily dislodged and flushed out.

April 2020

[2-May_20_Camshaft.jpg] The new camshaft.

With the block now in usable condition, it was time to hunt for the rest of the Cooper S-specific parts. Since we aren’t actually living in 1967, ordering from BMC isn’t an option. So, I hit up the main USA and UK Mini parts vendors, plus eBay and the Mk1 Mini Forum for the harder to locate items.

My shopping list:

Crankshaft — A good EN40B S crank, courtesy of Nick at min-e-bitz UK.

Connecting rods — A used set of original S-type AEG521 con-rods off eBay.

Camshaft and followers — Sourced from Mini Spares UK.

New bearings (cam/main/big end/thrusts) — Sourced from 7ent and Mini Mania.

Front plate — Sourced from eBay UK (surprisingly hard to find Stateside).

Tinware — Sourced from eBay NOS and 7ent used parts.

Duplex timing gear — From Mini Spares UK.

I already had a set of +30 “County Brand” pistons (an AE Hepolite clone) on the shelf, in preparation for a rebore for my original engine. Gudgeon/wrist pins attach pistons and con-rods using an interference fit, also known as a press fit. The tricky part would be fitting the new pistons to the used con-rods without having access to a hydraulic press.

A technique I’ve used before is to put the new pins in the freezer overnight in a sealed bag with some uncooked white rice. The cold makes the pins thermally contract and the rice absorbs any water vapor from inside the bag. Then, I use progressively shorter bolts to wind the pins through the piston from one side, into an over-sized impact wrench socket used as a die on the other side.

For the camshaft, I really wanted to stick with the same AEG510 profile that I used in the previous engine. But Mini Sport has stopped selling their ST510/CA1 reground camshafts, so instead I went for the Mini Spares “Evolution 1” camshaft, which has a reputation as being drivable with good torque.

With the block cosmetically clean, it was time to refurbish its internals. I’ve never installed cam bearings before. It is always good to learn a new skill and the tools are available cheap on Amazon.

I bought a set of NOS bearings from eBay and tried installing them. After fitting the cam bearings, I found out the hard way that the original BMC parts require reaming to the finished bearing clearance size after installation. Lesson learned, I drifted them out again and fitted a set of modern repro bearings that I had also purchased for my previous engine build.

The crank was already ground 10/10 and just needed the journals to be lightly polished with 2000-grit emery paper to clean up some small rust marks from years of storage, plus new -10 bearing shells. Likewise, the bores needed minor surface rust removed with a light hone in an electric drill. Then the new pistons and rings could be installed — which, without the use of a ring compressor, takes more time (and fingernails) than one might expect.

The last job for fitting the camshaft was to plug two of the three-hole oil pump threads with 1/4” grub screws and blue Loctite. Then, drill and tap a second mounting hole to fit the more modern ‘A+’ two-bolt oil pump.

April 2020

[3-May_20_Pistons_Camshaft_Installed.jpg] All coming together with pistons and camshaft installed.

I dropped the crankshaft into place, taking care that the thrust bearings were within tolerance. There’s an easy way to do this without specialist measuring tools. Put the main shells in the block, and put two +3 thou thrust bearings in place on the center main. Then, try to fit the crank. If it won’t slide in, or feels like it’s tight or binding, change to standard thrust bearings.

(Which is what I did this time.)

I installed the distributor drive and was done with the internal assembly. Time for a lick of MOWOG green paint while waiting for the second batch of parts to arrive from Mini Spares in the UK.

[To be continued…]


April 2020

[4-May_20_Coffee_Table.jpg] Cars & Coffee table!
Photos by David Schwartz

Getting Creative with Virtual Car Events

by David Schwartz


With the cancellation of many 2020 car events, clubs and museums have been holding virtual events on-line. Facebook is a common platform, so it may be time for those of you who have resisted social networking to create an account. According to one poll, Facebook reaches 70% of all U.S. adults.

In late March, Connecticut-based Nutmeg MINIacs held a Facebook on-line car show with separate categories for modern MINIs and classic Minis. Members of the group posted car photos, and the judging was based on the number of “likes” each car received. I posted a photo of my ’68 Mini Traveller wearing a clown car costume (red nose on the grille and googly eyes on the windshield) and tied for 1st place.

Larz Anderson, Brookline, Mass.

On April 18th, the Larz Anderson Auto Museum (LAAM) held a Virtual Cars & Coffee on their Facebook page. Participants posted a photo and description of their cars to the event page. They were encouraged to include all relevant details, including why the car was important to them. There was a “People’s Choice” category where winners were chosen by the most photo likes. A winner was also chosen by the staff for a “Museum’s Choice” award.

In-person Cars & Coffee had been scheduled monthly, May through October, so I expect there will be more virtual events. Simply like the museum’s Facebook page, www.facebook.com/larzandersonautomuseum, to receive notifications of future events.

Lane Motor Museum, Nashville, Tenn.

The Lane Motor Museum in Nashville has an active Facebook presence. They have been posting photos of many unique cars in their collection, including driving videos. They held a Facebook March Motor Madness event, with a format similar to a sporting event bracket. The public voted for their favorite car in each round. The Dymaxion placed 1st, with the Zundapp Janus in 2nd.

Enjoy a virtual visit on the Lane’s website (www.lanemotormuseum.org) and daily fun on their Facebook page (www.facebook.com/lanemotormuseum).

April 2020

[5-May_20_Clown_Car.jpg] David’s ‘Clown Car’ Mini Traveller was a virtual winner, and yours can be, too!

And more...

Numerous car club Facebook pages have requested members to post photos of their cars parked in the driveway or garage. Some people have held miniature car shows using their collection of diecast vehicles. Getting creative is a great way to maintain our sanity in quarantine.

I will create new photo albums on the NEMO Facebook page (www.facebook.com/
NewEnglandMiniOwners
) for modern and classic 1:1 scale cars, and for diecast vehicle cars shows. I know members have large collections of miniature Minis.

How about holding a virtual Mini Meet East with photos of our full-sized and toy cars? Here are a few other ideas to get you started: share videos of past real events arrange a diecast Cars & Coffee scene share slot car racing videos post a photo of you in costume from the year your car was built create a miniature drive-in movie scene hold a Concours de Matchbox stage a miniature funkhana.

If you don’t want to post photos or videos to Facebook, you can share them with the NEMO Google Group. Send an e-mail to business@britishmarque.com and ask to join the group. You can also e-mail me at dschwartz1957@gmail.com and I will post on your behalf.




March 2020

[1-Apr_20_Bagged_Comfort_Animals.jpg] Quite a haul at the MINI dealership!
Photo by Wendy Birchmire

MINI ‘Comfort Animal’ Drive

by Wendy Birchmire

WARWICK, R.I., Dec. 8 — The 17th annual “MINIs Making a Difference” toy rally solicited donations of new stuffed animals for use as “comfort animals” by area police departments.

Comfort animals are stuffed animals given to children during a stressful situation in which they encounter law enforcement. Comfort animals, packaged in clear bags, are stored in a police car until needed.

As MINI owners arrived at MINI of Warwick, they were handed clear plastic bags in which to place their donations. Each bag had a tag that read, “Donation compliments of MINIs Making a Difference.” The event collected 1,055 stuffed animals.

Police officers from departments in Cranston, Coventry, East Providence, Johnston, Middletown, Narragansett, North Providence, Pawtucket, Providence, Warwick and Westerly arrived to collect them. Fortunately most had SUVs (Warwick also had a motorcycle) because the animals filled each vehicle.

This was a great way to start the holiday season. MINI of Warwick was generous in opening their showroom early on a Sunday, providing helpers, and furnishing donuts and coffee.


March 2020

[2-Apr_20_LED_Bulb.jpg] Heart of the matter: an LED bulb.
Photo courtesy www.ledlight.com

Banishing the Prince of Darkness

by Iain Barker

I don’t know whether it is due to the effects of climate change, but last year it seemed like we were treated to a much longer than usual driving season in New England. Whereas I’d normally be putting my 1967 Mini Cooper S into winter storage around mid-October, I was still out and about driving it well into November.

Driving at dusk brings with it the requirement for good lighting, something for which the Lucas “Prince of Darkness” headlights on a Mini are not exactly held in high regard. In modern-day dense traffic, and with our cars being so small in comparison to the other road users, we really do need all the help we can get for increased visibility. Dim, flickering yellow lights are not very conducive to road safety.

In an attempt to address this problem, sometime in the mid-1990s the previous owner of my car fitted a row of four 55-watt halogen driving lamps to the front grille. However, they were wired into the headlight main beam circuit, and whenever they were turned on, the battery would immediately run flat.

Back in the 1960s, the original Mk1 Mini driver was expected to use only the pilot/side running lights for low-speed city driving. Use of the main headlights was reserved for highway driving where the engine is revving faster, and the crude positive-earth dynamo generator can keep ahead of the additional power drawn by two 45/60 watt headlights.

[Contrib. Ed. note: Early Minis used the positive battery terminal as ground, which in British parlance is referred to as “positive earth.” —DS]

Adding the 1990s-era high-powered halogen driving lamps did not help this situation at all, considering (2x60w + 4x55w)/12v = around 28 amps. The generator is rated at 22 amps and also has to power the ignition circuit, wipers and rear lights. It never had a hope of keeping the battery charged when the lights were on.

Fast forward to 2020, and there is a far superior lighting option: LED. Conventional incandescent vacuum or halogen bulbs only emit around 15% of their electrical power as visible light, the rest being infra-red (i.e., waste heat). Modern LEDs are more than 90% efficient. For the same 1200 lumens light output, a 55w bulb uses 4.6 amps, but an LED only draws 0.8 amps.

The problem, however, is that most LEDs are polarity sensitive (the “D” in LED is for “diode,” a semiconductor that only passes current in one direction) and designed for modern negative-ground 12v cars. Fortunately, a few vendors now sell LEDs with an internal rectifier circuit, allowing use on classic positive-earth cars — such as my Mini.

March 2020

[3-Apr_20_Lights.jpg] Let there be lights — fog and driving. (Thanks to eBay.)
Photo by Iain Barker

I placed a $65 order with www.ledlight.com, and a week later received four “non-polarized” LED bulbs, with a total current draw 3.2 amps. Well within the capabilities of my Mini’s rather feeble original electrical system!

While fitting the LEDs I also decided to replace the 1990s-styled “KC Daylighter” lamp units. Two of the housings were quite rusty, plus a 1960s Mini would have originally used Lucas lamps, as did the “works” Monte Carlo rally cars.

Reproduction Lucas lamps are still made, but the quality of the chrome housings manufactured in China is quite poor. Thanks to the wonder of eBay, I was able to get hold of four original 1950s/60s Lucas “576” lamp housings — two fog lights from an XJ120, and two driving lights from a Rolls-Royce.

Side note: The nuts needed for the threaded mounts are a very peculiar size. They are an obsolete thread, apparently only ever used on prewar British-built bicycles. I think the thread originally comes from the kerosene (paraffin) lamp used as a front bicycle headlamp, which in turn derived from horse-drawn carriages. Lucas continued using the same fitment into the 20th century for their electric lights.

After some minor repairs to the housings, sourcing of the missing mounting nuts and washers, and converting the long-stem XJ housings to the short plinth style needed for my Mini, I was ready to put all the pieces of this puzzle together. But first I had to make some small modifications to fit the LEDs, as they are single pole connections and the Rolls-Royce lights were designed for dual filament dim/dip bulbs. Again, spare parts are widely available in the U.K., so after another short wait for international shipping, I was finally ready to wire them up.

I laid out 2” nails on a wooden stud as a pegboard form, and used cloth tape to wrap a homemade wiring loom in the same style as would have been done in the ’60s — even using a genuine Lucas TLC3 “Trailer Light Connector” from a Series 2 Land Rover, just as the Abingdon Works team used back in the day.

In addition to being modern and functional, the completed lamp bar looks quite period-original. It is ready to fit back on the Mini in time for the new driving season.


March 2020

Important Event Updates

NEMO Annual Meeting

As you all know, the NEMO Annual Meeting scheduled for March 29th was cancelled due to the coronavirus. We will try to hold an on-line meeting, video conference or phone conference in the near future and use an on-line survey for any items requiring member input.

Mini Meet East

Unfortunate but not surprising news from the organizers of the 2020 Mini Meet East, scheduled for July 6-10:

“The MME 2020 Organizing Committee has decided to cancel the event in Owensboro, Ky. The potential impacts of COVID-19 is the determining factor for the Committee’s decision.

“The Committee is very concerned for the safety and welfare of all the Mini community, our sponsors, advertisers and attendees. We want to thank you for all your support for MME 2020 and hope that this health crisis recedes in the near future and we can resume our normal lives and activities.”

Other events

Early season events have been cancelled at the Larz Anderson Auto Museum in Brookline, Mass., and the Museum itself is closed until the end of April.

Updates will be sent from newenglandminiowners@gmail.com and posted on the NEMO Google Group. To join, send an e-mail to business@britishmarque.com and ask to join the Google Group.

Be sure to check the NEMO Facebook page, www.facebook.com/NewEnglandMiniOwners, and website, www.nemomini.org (under “Events”), for the latest information. —David Schwartz & Dave Newman




February 2020

[1-Mar_20_Place_des_Vosges.jpg] Ancients among the moderns at the Place des Vosges included this lovely Mini.
Photo by Peter Walker

Traversée de Paris

by Peter Walker

PARIS, France — Vincennes en Anciennes is a classic car club open to all marques, and according to their website, it is the largest such club in France. The club is best known for organizing the Traversée de Paris (Crossing of Paris) that occurs twice annually, on the second Sunday of January and the first Sunday of August.

The Traversée unites some 700 classic cars, all at least 30 years old, which spend the morning crossing through Paris and driving around or past its more famous monuments. The cars are mostly French, German, British or Italian, though numerous American muscle cars (mostly Mustangs and Corvettes) also participate.

For the Winter 2020 Traversée, classic British cars, especially sports cars, comprised a significant portion of the participants. There was a fair number of MGAs and Austin-Healeys, plus at least two Rolls-Royce sedans, MGBs, Triumph GT6s and TRs, several Jaguar E-types, assorted Jaguar sedans, and an early rear-wheel-drive Ford Escort.

Classic Minis were once a dime a dozen in the streets of Paris (they were the best city cars available in their day), and a few participated in this Traversée, the most attractive one being an Italian Innocenti Mini Cooper.

In spite of the cold, gray day, many of the convertibles traveled top-down. Of course, drivers and passengers were well-wrapped in coats, gloves, wool hats and scarves. Those in British sports cars that traveled top up (and, in some cases, with side curtains in place, too) were also wrapped in winter clothes.

For both participants and spectators, the Traversée is a wonderful opportunity to see rolling automotive history. The Traversée is not a parade — classic cars negotiate Paris streets and present-day traffic (thankfully a bit lighter on a Sunday morning), much as many of them did three or more decades ago.

The sight of a classic Mini or an early 1970s Alfa Romeo GT winding its way around a timeless setting like the 17th-century Place des Vosges transports one back in time to those earlier decades, to a time when most cars were mechanically simpler and did not look like all the other cars — when the sight of a Mini Cooper or a Jaguar sedan parked at the curb or taking off from a traffic light was not rare, but still exciting.

[Contrib. Ed. note: Peter Walker is on sabbatical in Paris. An album with 169 photos of the Traversée is available at www.vincennesenanciennes.com/2020/01/ 14/20e-tdp-paris/ —DS]


February 2020

[2-Mar_20_Mainshaft_and_Layshaft.jpg] New mainshaft and layshaft.
Photo by Iain Barker

Creating a Gearbox from Scratch, Part 3

by Iain Barker

September 2019 — With the summer and car show season mostly done, I could finally focus my attention on the gearbox build.

After several more orders to Mini Spares and Guessworks, all the parts needed for the final assembly were now to hand. I always assumed that classic Mini engineering was somewhat on the crude side, and indeed one of the strengths of the A Series engine is that it will continue to run and run, even when what should be less than a thousandth of an inch clearance exceeds that by a factor of ten. But as I was about to learn, there are more moving parts in a gearbox than in an engine, and some surprisingly close tolerances to be met with the final assembly.

I had stripped all the generic parts from the newest of the three donor gearboxes, including the forward and reverse gear selector and gate mechanisms, tidied them up after a week’s soak in carburetor cleaner, and installed them in the empty 333 gearbox casing using new mounting studs and bolts.

Starting with the layshaft, I assembled everything per the original BMC parts diagram, with new bearings, of course. It was at this point I realized the BMC diagrams from 1967 were perhaps less than accurate, or maybe the parts had changed in design slightly in the intervening 50 years. Either way, the layshaft bearings were not going to stay in position per the diagram, which seemed to rely on little more than the power of optimism rather than any actual mechanical means.

Investigating further, I found that the MG-style laygear had indeed been redesigned slightly in the mid-’70s and now required two inner circlips to retain the bearing, rather than the machined shoulder of the original design. Of course, I did not have these parts, so a week’s delay was incurred waiting for Mini specialist 7ent to deliver.

In the meantime, I set the end float tolerance on the laygear to make sure it was within spec. I needed a slightly wider thrust washer than standard, and of all the places one might expect to obtain this part on short notice, I’d wager amazon.com would surely be the least likely. Nevertheless, Amazon Prime delivered me a genuine BMC thrust washer for a 1967 gearbox the very next day! An hour or so of some fine surface grinding on a whetstone, and the thrust washer was down to size and the laygear end float was within tolerance.

The main gear was already assembled and fitted easily into the casing along with the only non-original part for this build. Although I was keeping to the original parts list for the gearbox, oil pump and filter technology has improved over the years, so I decided to install a competition center oil pickup in place of the original crude mesh cage.

The next point for tolerance is with the main shaft retaining clamp. This time I’d done my homework and ordered up a selection of different width shims. I was easily able to set the correct pre-load on the main bearing. All bearings were brand new name-brand parts where available, except the input shaft where I fitted a good used bearing from one of the donor gearboxes after re-packing it with grease.

February 2020

[3-Mar_20_Rebuilt_Diff.jpg] Rebuilt diff on the bench.
Photo by Iain Barker

With the gearbox assembly completed, it was time to work on the differential. This is the part I had been least looking forward to. For whatever reason, I can easily picture mechanical assemblies in my head, so do not have too much difficulty putting things back together after taking them apart — or in this case, just following diagrams in the workshop manual. However, a differential spins in three dimensions, and I just couldn’t picture how it operates. Oh, sure, I know the theory of how planet wheels interlock with the output shafts and transfer the motion from the driven crown wheel on the diff, but my brain just doesn’t want to deal with the idea of two things spinning in opposite directions, inside a diff cage which itself is spinning around a different axis.

(I have exactly the same problem trying to visualize how an old rotary aircraft engine works, using the same principle of things rotating one way while moving in the opposite direction. Maybe that’s why I could never learn to do somersaults on a trampoline, or dive into a swimming pool when I was a kid. But I digress…)

Anyway, it turns out that putting together a diff on the bench is actually quite trivial. Just don’t try to imagine how it works and assemble one piece of the jigsaw puzzle at a time.

The first job was to remove the crown wheel with the cracked tooth and replace with a new one. Next, disassemble the diff cage, replace the planet wheel, diff pin, and thrust washers, and lock into place with a new roll pin. Actually, quite easy, so long as it’s sitting there inanimate on the bench, not spinning in your head and inducing a migraine.

With the diff assembled, including the rare Hardy Spicer output shafts, I inserted it into the gearbox casing and torqued down the diff cover. Then it must be shimmed to the correct pre-load again I had thought ahead and bought a selection of different size shims. The final operation was to install the diff output covers and seal up it all up with a new gasket.

Nothing is ever straightforward, however. I had ordered the Hardy Spicer output covers based on their part number. The parts that arrived had that number cast into them, but they were too long on one side to fit the diff casing. A little research showed that the same part was used on the later Automatic Minis with the rod change gearbox, and an ‘ear’ had been added to the casting to secure the detent spring for the rod gear selection plunger.

A remote gearbox of the type fitted to my Mk1 S does not have that plunger, but it does have a gear selector linkage that must occupy that exact same space in the assembly. So, out with a hand coping saw. Half an hour later the ears were cut off the covers (I did both, even though only one side fouled the casing), and they were back to looking and fitting like 1960s-original parts.

The final task was to refurbish the Hardy Spicer joints with a new crucifix and bearings. This was relatively straightforward and only required cleaning some burrs off the heavily used castings.

With the gearbox screwed down to the bench, I torqued up the main nut on the input and output shafts, and it was job done. More than three years after starting with the idea, I was now the proud owner of a brand-new 22G333 gearbox of correct specification for my Cooper S 1275.

Installation in the car will wait until spring, as with the engine out I think it’s time to rebore and change the pistons.

Postscript — Of the three gearboxes generously donated to the cause, the two from early Minis turned out to be quite rare: 1959 (22A104) and 1960 (22A145). One was a more common model, 1962 (22A363). The oldest was donated to a Mini owner in California who is restoring a ’59 car. I stripped the newest to reuse the gear selector mechanism in my build, and mailed a package containing 32 lbs. of its gears to a U.S. serviceman in Afghanistan who is rebuilding an early gearbox.

The 1960 gearbox is still available if anyone else needs parts!

(Dedicated in memory of John Barker, my loving father and a lifelong petrol-head.)


February 2020

Annual Meeting Mar. 29

CANCELLED due to coronavirus concerns that have closed the meeting venue, the Plymouth Airport.

We are currently exploring alternatives to face-to-face meetings, such as conducting business on-line.

Watch the NEMO Google Group list and this space for updates.




January 2020

[1-JanFeb_Holiday_Outfits.jpg] In their holiday best are (left to right) Jean Icaza, John Gallagher, Barbara Newman, Wendy Birchmire, Nuala Barker, Iain Barker, and John Haig.
Photo by David Schwartz

NEMO’s Holiday Party

by David Schwartz

FRAMINGHAM, Mass. — The NEMO Holiday Party on Sunday, December 7th, was held again at La Cantina Italiana in Framingham, Mass.

The party was well attended, with 28 adults plus our youngest member, Nuala Barker. Welcome to new member Bill McFeely, who officially joined up at the Party.

Last year, attendees wore such a great variety of holiday-themed outfits that Faith Lamprey organized an impromptu competition. This year we made the competition an official event and handed out ballots during lunch.

When the ballots were tallied, 1st place was a tie at five votes each, and 2nd place was a tie with four votes each! Prizes were awarded to Nuala Barker with her sparkly dress and fluffy coat, and Wendy Birchmire with her red holiday decoration shirt. John Gallagher deserves honorable mention for his sweater featuring Santa and reindeer landing on an outhouse.

As usual, the Yankee Swap table overflowed with packages and bags of all sizes. There was no single hot gift this year, but there were a lot of great items that changed hands many times. Several attendees had to make multiple trips back to the table after their gifts were stolen, stolen, and stolen again.

One of my personal favorites was the Lucas electrical-themed gift. (In the interest of full disclosure, I had a lot of fun putting it together.) Several years ago, Wendy generously gave me a broken Mini wiper motor in a box labelled “Lucas-TVS Auto Electrical Equipment/Genuine Service Part.” Inspiration struck this year when I happened upon a “Lucas Quality Inspector” baseball cap. The box and hat feature the Lucas “lion and torch” logo. I included cans of “Replacement Wiring Harness Smoke” and “Blinker Fluid,” which were actually Jack’s Abby Smoke & Dagger Beer with faux Lucas service part labels affixed.

Seven-year-old Nuala headed straight for the brightly-wrapped Lucas box, despite my warning that it was really an adult gift. Not to worry, since she and her dad, Iain Barker, were sharing.

One of the popular gifts was a large pillow decorated with photos of NEMO member cars, designed by Wendy. The pillow changed hands a few times until Nuala stole it. As the swap proceeded, a few people ventured over to look at the pillow, passionately guarded by Nuala. No one was serious about stealing it, though, and Nuala happily took it home.

Thom Pickett was a crucial participant this year, and we would still be opening packages were it not for his pocket knife. Other gifts included a framed classic Mini print, a Mini history book, vintage Mini advertisements, a china plate with a rally Mini image, a box of 12 diecast Minis, a black classic Mini-shaped clock, LED trouble lights, a hooded MINI rain poncho, a rally Mini sweatshirt, a MINI logo soccer ball, jumper cables, beer, wine, and Scotch.

Be sure to check the Facebook page and NEMO website for photo albums of the guests and Yankee Swap, to be posted shortly.

January 2020

[2-JanFeb_Gearboxes.jpg] Dave Black offered three gearboxes for the project.
Photo by Iain Barker

Creating a Gearbox from Scratch, Part 2

by Iain Barker

In the previous installment, I described solving the mystery of which Cooper S gearbox and specification to build and acquiring a casing to build it into. Now the more difficult task: to find a gear set to go inside the casing. Once again, nobody was selling the ‘hen’s teeth’ gearbox parts I needed.

November 2018 — Having an empty 333 gearbox casing is one thing. Finding the parts to go into it is quite something else. Some gearbox parts are relatively consistent across multiple generations and can be interchanged, but there are thousands of individual differences between, or even within, particular model years. The BMC parts books are inconsistent at best, and in some places entirely wrong. So, it’s a bit of a minefield trying to track down specific parts for any particular vintage of car.

Then I caught a break. A Mini owner in Portugal had been looking for a genuine Cooper S wheel for some time. I had a spare, but with shipping from the USA it was too expensive. However, I found out he had recently built a 333 gearbox and had some parts left over. So, after some bartering, a deal was struck — I would deliver the wheel to Portugal in exchange for a mix of used and new S gears.

Next, over to eBay, where I managed to pick up a pair of rather tatty looking Hardy Spicer couplings from a Mini Automatic. Curiously, BMC/BL used the same couplings for the highest and lowest performance versions of the Mini, and nothing else! Available for UK delivery only, I had them sent to my parents’ house. This was just a few weeks before we were due to fly to the UK to spend the holidays with family so I would pick them up then.

I also put a call out on the NEMO mailing list asking if anyone had an old gearbox they didn’t need, so I would have a base set of parts to work from when assembling my new unit. Club Treasurer Dave Black replied, saying that he had accumulated several of the early cone-type gearboxes over the years, and I was welcome to take those — the catch being that he had three and they were a job lot.

I gladly accepted Dave’s offer, and in the murk of a December evening in a restaurant car-park during the NEMO Holiday Party, the silhouettes of two shady figures could be seen transferring their bounty from the trunk of one car to another.

Unfortunately, UK events transpired a little differently. My father lost his battle with cancer the day of the NEMO Party, so I flew to the UK that same evening to help make my father’s final arrangements. I packed the Cooper S wheel in my checked luggage and scheduled a courier to pick up the wheel from my parents’ house the next day. But the airline lost my checked bag in transit. Aaagh!

Eventually the airline tracked down my bag in Oslo, Norway, and arranged for it to be delivered to my parents’ house. It arrived one day before I was due to fly back to the USA. I rescheduled pickup for the wheel, and everything fell into place thereafter. Except — the courier lost the package containing the wheel for three days while en route to Portugal, but it made it in the end.

January 2020

[3-JanFeb_Parts.jpg] Parts from Portugal. Now to complete the gear set...
Photo by Iain Barker

February 2019 — My Portuguese contact came through and sent the spare gears via mail to me in the USA. I’ve never understood why, but it’s much less expensive to mail from another country to the USA, than it is to mail from the USA to overseas.

Opening the package, I wondered what I would find. There was a 3rd/4th synchro hub, a new old stock (NOS) 2nd gear, a worn but usable 1st motion shaft (4th gear), and a worn but passable laygear. Very nearly half a gear set. Great result!

Now the hard part: completing a full gear set. I’d come to learn that the late ’60s MG Midget used the same ratio gear set as the Cooper S, and as a result some of the other parts I needed could be found from MG parts vendors. Over the next few months, I bought a new 1st/2nd synchro hub from the UK, an NOS 3rd gear from France, and a new laygear from Italy. The rest of the standard Mini gearbox parts including shafts, new bearings and shims came from the stocks of Guessworks and Mini Spares.

March 2019 — Now it was time to trial-fit the parts. I assembled the main gear shaft and the gear set without too much difficulty. It’s fiddly, and the detent springs and synchro ball bearings had a tendency to shoot off at random angles. But I had bought extras, anticipating my clumsiness. The Haynes manual, on-line photos and even YouTube videos made it quite straightforward — that is, until I got to the 3rd/4th synchro hub.

Try as I might, I just could not get it to fit on the main shaft. Then I took a close look and noticed that the shape and layout of the splines was different for this gear. Evidently it was for a different gear set, even though it looked like it had the correct number of teeth for the Cooper S.

After some discussions on the Mk1 forum, I learned that between the Cooper S 1071 in 1964 and the Cooper S 1275 in 1965, BMC redesigned the gear set and changed from 10 to 11 splines on the main shaft. I have no idea why they did this. Fortunately it is one of the more common parts and I was able to source a brand new 3rd/4th synchro hub from Seattle, which fit perfectly.

With all the main shaft parts now assembled, I dry-mounted it into the gearbox and — horror of horror — it didn’t fit! Everything looked O.K., but the gears would just not mesh with the laygear. How could this be? I counted and re-counted the teeth on all the gears, and everything was ‘by the book’. Yet it seemed the 3rd gear just would not mesh with the laygear.

Assuming that the brand-new MG laygear was the problem, I changed it out for the well-used one supplied by my Portuguese friend. That too did not mesh. So, it had to be the 3rd gear I bought from France that was wrong. Frustrated, I put the whole thing to one side and decided the best option was to ignore the gearbox and sulk for a week.

A week later, feeling less stressed, I put out a call for help on the Mk1 Mini forum. Several people replied that it was most likely an ‘A-type’ 3rd gear, and I needed a ‘B-type’ — another change that BMC had made between the earlier and later S gearboxes, the angle of the helical gear cut being different between the two versions for an identical tooth count. Why? Apparently, the B-type was designed to mesh more quietly and efficiently. Such is progress…

Luckily, I was able to source a good used ‘B’ 3rd gear from a helpful forum member in Canada. This gearbox was now truly an international affair! Even better, the engine specialist in France who sold me the ‘A’ gear also had a new ‘B’ gear and agreed to sell it to me as a replacement. I used the new one and kept the other as a spare. As the old saying goes: “It’s better to be looking at it, than looking for it.”

It turns out the earlier ‘A’ gear I bought from France was even rarer than the ‘B’. I was easily able to re-sell it to an earlier S 1071 owner in the UK. The gear travelled the Atlantic twice in as many weeks and ended up where it truly belonged all along. (At least one other person has contacted me since, asking if it’s still available — I am evidently not alone on this quest.)

[To be continued…]

January 2020

Annual Meeting Mar. 29!

Save the date! Our Annual Meeting will be held on Sunday, March 29th, from noon to 4 p.m., at Plymouth Airport, 246 South Meadow Rd., Gate 2, Plymouth, Mass.

We will have the Green Hangar Conference Room to ourselves, with space for 50 people. After entering Gate 2 (there is no gate to get to the building), park to the right near the large, metal, green building. The entry door is on the right side.

This year we return to the potluck format. Attendees should bring either a main dish, a side dish or a dessert, and your preferred beverage. We need more mains and sides than desserts (which should be limited). As far as beverages, bring double what you like and we should be O.K.

The Green Hangar Conference Room has a warming kitchen, tables and chairs, and is handicapped accessible. We need to set up and take down the chairs and tables and clean up after ourselves.

We will be holding the usual give-away freebie raffle. 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 late February with a reminder in March.

Hoping the weather is sunny and warm for the Classics! Questions? Contact Dave Newman at wb1evp@gmail.com.




December 2019

[4-Dec_19_Newman_Moke.jpg] Dave Newman and his new-to-him Moke, imported all the way from Asbury Park, N.J.
Photo by Bruce Vild

British Legends Weekend!

PLYMOUTH, Mass., Oct. 13 — A handful of Minis made it to the British Legends Weekend show on Sunday, the nicest day of the weekend. The show, hosted by the Cape Cod British Car Club, attracted the Barkers, Bertons, Icazas and Newmans, while Faith Lamprey and Bruce Vild brought not a Mini, but an MGB.

December 2019

NEMO Holiday Party Dec. 7!

The NEMO Holiday Party will be held at La Cantina Italiana in Framingham, Mass., on Saturday, December 7th, from 12 noon to 4 p.m.

La Cantina is a family-style Italian restaurant and has been in business since 1946. The member cost for the buffet lunch will be $20 for adults and $10 for children, with the club making up the difference. If your membership has lapsed you can renew at the Party for the six-month rate of $10.

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 his or her 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. For those attending your first NEMO Yankee Swap, many gifts are Mini-, MINI- or British-themed.

We need a head count by November 25th. A reminder Evite will be sent to the NEMO e-mail list. RSVP to the Evite or contact me directly, 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.

The Holiday Party is one of our most popular events every year. Hope to see you there!—David Schwartz




November 2019

[1-Dec_19_Empty_gearbox_casing.jpg] Empty gearbox casing: the starting point.
Photo by Iain Barker

Creating a Gearbox from Scratch
by Iain Barker


One of my goals with buying a 1967 Mk1 Mini Cooper S was to experience what it would have been like to drive the fabled Cooper S exactly as it was in the 1960s. Originally a Mk1 Cooper S would have been equipped with a close-ratio gearbox and a higher ratio differential (3.44), suiting the race pedigree of its sports-tuned engine. Unfortunately, my car was fitted with a gearbox from an Elf/Hornet with standard ratio gears and a lower ratio final drive (3.65:1). Although this was perfectly adequate for normal use, there is quite a difference in concept between the sedate “designed for refinement” Riley Elf and Wolseley Hornet, versus the “racing pedigree” Cooper S.

There have been many generations and revisions of the gearbox used in the classic Mini. The very first type, from 1959 to 1962, used three bronze cones for the synchromesh, taken from the in-line Austin A35 gearbox design. With a central “magic wand” gear change they were not very reliable, and tended to wear out quite quickly. Next came several generations of the 3-synchro gearbox, using the Porsche design of separate baulk rings for the synchronizer hubs. Then the “magic wand” was replaced by a more accurate “remote” gearbox for use on the sportier Cooper and Cooper S cars. Next a change to 4-synchro remote, then 4-synchro with a rod instead of remote change, and finally a limited edition 5-speed used on the mid-’90s Cooper S 5 cars.

The original Mk1 Mini gearbox had synchromesh on 2/3/4th gear but an un-synchronized “crash on 1st,” the attitude per Alec Issigonis that first gear is only to be used when pulling away from stationary. Unfortunately, he had not foreseen the advent of stop-and-go traffic, where first gear would be used more and more while on the move. This inevitably led to the all-too-familiar repeated grinding to try and find first gear with the car still in motion.

November 2019

[2-Dec_19_Detail_333.jpg] Detail of gearbox casing with the all-important stamp: 333.
Photo by Iain Barker

Swapping out the original Mk1 worn gearbox for a fully synchro version donated by a non-S Mk2 or later Mini was a common solution in the ’70s, and most likely the reason my car had the wrong type fitted. Unfortunately, the differential on each Mini is machined to match its gearbox casing, so swapping the gearbox also results in the final drive ratio changing to that of the donor car. This means that not only are the closer ratios of the “sports” S gearbox lost, but also the engine revs much higher in any given gear due to the lower ratio final drive.

This would not do no, not at all.

September 2017 — The first thing I needed was to know exactly which gearbox casing to start from. The premier source for Mini gearbox parts is guess-works.co.uk, and a quick e-mail to John Guess confirmed the worst: “Mk1 S parts are far and few between now. You’re looking for a 190 or 333, for which you may as well take out a second mortgage to pay for.” The Internet forums and reference books confirmed that “Q 22G333” was the casting number used for the 1967 Cooper S 1275.

The 3-synchro 22G333 gearbox was only used from 1964 to 1968. To make matters worse, the factory-spec set-up for my 1967 S was with an improved differential having Hardy Spicer output shafts, introduced as part of the homologation improvements for the Monte Carlo works rally cars to use. Of the total four-year production life of the 22G333 gearbox, that particular combination was only fitted between April 1966 and the introduction of the Mk2 all-synchro gearbox in August 1968.

Other than a list of part numbers, I really didn’t know what I was getting into. Back in the late ’80s/early ’90s, when I was repairing old Minis most weekends, I would focus on bodywork, mechanicals and engines, while anything gearbox-related was left to my father. Gearboxes always seemed like a box of black magic to me. Now it would be my turn to figure out how they worked.

November 2019

[3-Dec_19_Diff_New_Crown_Wheel.jpg] These arrived with the gearbox -- a most welcome package!
Photo by Iain Barker

So this is where I found myself — 50 years too late, no real clue what I was getting into, and trying to source a gearbox that was only in production a little over a year. This was not going to be easy. I spent the next year scouring on-line parts vendors, chat forums and other Mini-related sources, but to no avail. It seemed what I was looking for just wasn’t available. Nobody was selling 22G333 gearboxes, and nobody knew where to find one.

November 2018 — As luck would have it, Mini Mania in California was having an end-of-summer stock clear-out, and one of the things they listed in their e-mail newsletter was a used Hardy Spicer differential. After some discussion it emerged that this particular diff had a broken tooth on the crown wheel so it had been sitting on the shelf for a while, but was otherwise serviceable. Better still, they also had the empty 333 gearbox casing to match the diff, but alas, no gear set to go inside it.

I waited anxiously the few days for their “20% off used parts sale” start date, then placed the order. Sure enough, a week or so later the empty gearbox case and diff arrived, plus a new crown wheel to replace the broken one. Even better, no second mortgage required. The game was afoot.

[To be continued…]

October 2019

[1-Nov_19_Alex_Daly.jpg] Alex Daly’s 1962 Mini Cooper was only one of the attractions at the Weston show.
Photo by David Schwartz

Weston Antique & Classic Car Show
by David Schwartz

WESTON, MASS., Sept. 21 — This marked the 25th year of the Weston car show, presented by the Rotary Club of Weston & Wayland. The show runs from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., with early risers arriving at the Weston town green by 7:30 a.m. Cars park around the green and the Town Hall building and there is plenty of shade.

The morning was cool with bright sunshine — perfect fall weather for a car show. I drove my 1950 Morris Minor Tourer with the top up for the first time this season.

There is always a good turnout of British cars and I knew several NEMO members planned to attend. I spotted Wendy Birchmire’s Union Jack Mini parked next to Tom Birchmire’s MG TD replica and pulled in next to the Mini. Tom and Wendy had spread out to reserve an extra space or two. I made sure to leave room for another little British car. Within minutes Gary and Meryl Hampton parked their TR3A next to my Morris Minor. We had a nice enclave of four LBCs.

Other NEMO members and friends of NEMO trickled in over the course of the morning. Ken Lemoine arrived in his 1961 Jaguar XK150, Iain and Nuala Barker in their 1967 Mini Cooper S, Michael Gaetano in his 1947 Bentley Mark VI, Dean Saluti in his 2007 Jaguar Estate Wagon, and Paul Saulnier in his 1986 Ferrari 328 GTS.

While walking the grounds, I saw the familiar orange color of Alex Daly’s 1962 Mini Cooper 1380. The car was riding a bit low and carrying four adults. Alex’s partner Michael Goncalves was in the back seat, but who were the other people?

A few minutes later the mystery was solved when Alex introduced me to his parents, Ken and Claire Daly. Ken and Claire were long-time NEMO members, bringing Alex with them to NEMO events when he was a baby. Alex is the second-generation owner of the Mini, which he and his father worked on together. Ken declined an offer to drive the car.

Weston is one of my favorite multi-marque shows, with cars spanning 110 or more years of automotive history. The show features everything — Brass Era cars, hot rods, muscle cars, foreign cars, and American cars from every decade.

Each year brings a few rare and unusual cars, and this was no exception. My favorites included a 1904 Oldsmobile, a 1937 Lincoln Zephyr, a 1960 Dodge Polara D-500 and a 1966 Cord 8-10 Sportsman. (Please forgive me as I digress from British cars.)

October 2019

[2-Nov_19_1904_Olds.jpg] Oldest Olds running in Massachusetts? It’s a 1904.
Photo by David Schwartz

Cliff Lewis drove his 1904 Oldsmobile Curved Dash GC from Wayland. The car has tiller steering and is truly a horseless carriage. Cliff believes it is the oldest car in Massachusetts that runs on a regular basis.

The Oldsmobile won five awards in Weston, including Best of Show and Most Unusual. Cliff drove the car on the 60-mile London to Brighton Run, which is held every November. The car doesn’t have a top or a wind screen, just an umbrella in a wicker holder fixed to the side, and it rained for the entire drive.

The Lincoln Zephyr is one of three that were factory-built and is the only survivor. It is powered by a V12 engine. The car has streamlined styling cues, teardrop badges and fender decorations that mirror the hood ornament. The Zephyr won two awards.

I am a fan of space-age styling, gratuitous tailfins and extra chrome, and the Dodge Polara is in a class of its own. The car is a two-door with tailfins starting just behind the doors and ending about a third of the way down the trunk. The rear corners have a pair of stacked “jet exhaust” tail lights with the lower lights built into the bumper.

The Polara’s engine is a 383 V8 with ram induction. Dual carburetors connect to long intake manifolds that feed cylinder banks on opposite sides of the engine. Even the interior is futuristic, with a translucent steering wheel and speedometer, push-button transmission, and matching climate control push-buttons.

The Polara won three awards, including Best Muscle Car.

I am familiar with the graceful Cord 810/812 from the late 1930s, but did not know the make was briefly revived in the 1960s.

The original Cords were powered by a V8 engine, featured front wheel drive and had hand-cranked headlights that disappeared into the front fenders. The 1966 Cord Sportsman is scaled down from the original, with a wheelbase 20% shorter and a height lowered by five inches. It retains front wheel drive and is powered by a Corvair flat six engine.

The show car was number 53 out of a total production of 97. It has some original trim parts from 1936 and the first owner was Dick Clark (of American Bandstand fame). Surprisingly, the Cord did not win any awards.

Other British cars included Mike Rosen’s pristine 1962 MGA 1600 MkII, a 1978 Austin Mini, an MGB, a TR6, a 1968 Jaguar E-type, a 1994 Jaguar XJ220, and Rod Gilbert’s 1962 Jaguar XKE OTS. Rod has owned the XKE for many years and drives it regularly. He invited people to sit in it, and I took advantage of his offer.

In the Best British class, Mike Rosen’s 1962 MGA won 1st place, Michael Gaetano’s 1947 Bentley Mark VI placed 2nd, and Gary and Meryl Hampton’s 1960 Triumph TR3A placed 3rd.

In the Best Jaguar class, Ken Lemoine’s 1961 XK150 won 1st place, Rod Gilbert’s 1962 XKE was 2nd and Bill Braun’s 1968 E-type was 3rd. Dean Saluti’s 2007 Jaguar Estate Wagon took 3rd place in the Best of 2000s class.

The Weston show is well worth attending even if you don’t enter a car. You never know what will show up, and I just scratched the surface on interesting non-British cars.

October 2019

[3-Nov_19_Laura.jpg] Laura Schwartz, in dad David’s Mini Traveller. It’s all happening at the zoo.
Photo by David Schwartz

Going to the Zoo, Zoo, Zoo
by David Schwartz

STONEHAM, MASS., Sept. 29 — My daughter Laura usually accompanies me to one car-related event a year as a Father’s Day present. Since she’d met me for lunch at the Faneuil Hall car show in August, I figured we were done for the season. That was before I mentioned “Cars and Critters” at the Stone Zoo in Stoneham, Mass.

When the kids were young, we had a family membership at the Franklin Park Zoo in Boston, and made periodic trips to the Roger Williams Park Zoo in Providence. But somehow, we had never visited the Stone Zoo.

Cars and Critters is sponsored by Mustangs of Massachusetts, a chapter of the Mustang Club of America. Iain and Nuala Barker had attended last year with their 1967 Mini Cooper S. Their car was one of a handful of British cars, amongst a sea of muscle cars. Iain planned to attend again this year, and I asked him to save me a parking spot. Zoo admission is included with the car show entry fee, so the animals would be an added bonus.

My daughters are in their mid-20s, but there are some stuffed animals that they (and we) will never part with. Saturday night before the show I went on a stuffed animal scavenger hunt and found all the old favorites. Laura drove in from Northampton early Sunday morning, accompanied by Simba the lion cub (a recent addition from her days working at the Kennedy Center gift shop.) We filled the back seat of my 1968 Mini Traveller with Daddy Gorilla, Daddy Penguin, Snowflake Shackleton the polar bear, Koala, Monkey Puppet and Simba.

The show hours were 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Four or five rows in the parking lot were already full when we arrived at 9:45. The registration folks were expecting another Mini and directed us to a shady spot next to Iain and Nuala.

As expected, there were loads of Mustangs, muscle cars, a few hot rods with big V8 engines, and some heavily modified Japanese cars. The strangest muscle car was a 1983 SAAB 900 fitted with a short block Ford V-8 engine and a slew of performance upgrades. The Jurassic Park Jeep, a screen accurate recreation of the first jeep seen in the movie, was a special treat. It was parked next to a dinosaur enclosure.

We fielded lots of questions about our Minis and people really enjoyed seeing them at the show. Kids of all ages were amused by the stuffed animals in my car. There was a good climbing tree parked behind the Minis where Nuala spent time channeling her inner primate. (She must have taken lessons from the gibbons.) The only other British cars in attendance were a classic Land Rover, a modern Land Rover, a Rolls-Royce and a Triumph Spitfire. Two Jaguars (of the four-legged variety) live at the zoo as well.

Laura and I spent about two hours visiting the zoo. They have a good variety of animals that are housed in natural enclosures. To quote Laura, “Car shows are more fun when they’re at zoos.”

October 2019

NEMO Holiday Party Dec. 7!

The NEMO Holiday Party will be held at La Cantina Italiana in Framingham, Mass., on Saturday, December 7th, from 12 noon to 4 p.m.

La Cantina is a family-style Italian restaurant and has been in business since 1946. The member cost for the buffet lunch will be $20 for adults and $10 for children, with the club making up the difference. If your membership has lapsed you can renew at the Party for the six-month rate of $10.

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 his or her 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. For those attending your first NEMO Yankee Swap, many gifts are Mini-, MINI- or British-themed.

We need a head count by November 25th. A reminder Evite will be sent to the NEMO e-mail list. RSVP to the Evite or contact me directly, 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.

The Holiday Party is one of our most popular events every year. Hope to see you there!—David Schwartz




September 2019

[1-Oct_19_Mini_Cooper_1991.jpg] Pete Rhoten’s 1991 Mini Cooper at Faneuil Hall — one of only 1,650 produced.
Photo by David Schwartz

Faneuil Hall British Car Shows
by David Schwartz

BOSTON, Mass. — This year marked the 12th time the Boston Area MG Club (BAMG) hosted the Faneuil Hall British Car Show series. BAMG welcomes owners of all British cars to participate. Club membership is not a requirement, nor is owning an MG. Cars are parked on the cobblestones between Quincy Market and Faneuil Hall, with space for about 16 cars, so this is a very small show.

What makes the shows unique is the interaction with the public. Car shows are usually 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 world. They don’t expect to see a classic British car show at a tourist venue and are always pleasantly surprised.

Speaking with people from the U.K. is especially fun. They love to talk about similar cars their family owned, the car they learned to drive on (“Gran owned one just like it”), etc.

It is a long day. Cars need to arrive at the staging area by 8:30 a.m. and the show ends at 3 p.m. Faneuil Hall security opens a gate to let us in and out. Leaving is a hoot, as hundreds of people gather to wave and take photos and videos.

I have been attending these shows with my 1968 Mini for the past five years and it is one of my favorite events of the season. For the June 22nd show I brought the Mini, and for the August 24th “People’s Choice” show, I drove my 1950 Morris Minor convertible.

In June, my Mini, an MGA, and a Triumph TR3A were flanked on both sides by MGBs. The owner of an MGB parked next to my Mini answered questions about my car any time I wasn’t there. It was nice of the organizers to park all the cool cars in the middle.

At about 2 p.m. the sky turned dark and there was a heavy thunderstorm warning. We hurriedly packed up our cars and made a hasty exit to beat the rain. Most of the convertibles left their tops down. I kept trading places with an MGA heading west on the Mass Turnpike. A few miles before my exit it started to rain, but I made it home without getting caught in a downpour.

September 2019

[2-Oct_19_Queen.jpg] ‘Her Majesty’ with Betty and David.
Photo by David Schwartz

The morning of the August show started out like a crisp fall day. It was 55° when I left the house and rather cold driving into Boston with the Morris Minor’s top down. The car doesn’t have a heater, so I rolled up the windows and closed the vent windows. The Minor prefers local roads to highways. The sun was bright and the air much warmer by the time I arrived in Boston.

There was a great turnout, including a 1966 Rolls-Royce Phantom V, a 1991 Mini Cooper, Wendy Birchmire’s Mini-based Domino Pimlico, Gary Hampton’s 1960 TR3A, Nels Anderson’s 1963 Land Rover Station Wagon, Tom Birchmire’s MG TD Replicar, a 1957 MG Magnette ZB, a Triumph TR6, and of course a lot of MGBs!

The Phantom V is slightly larger than the Space Shuttle. It was parked in the center of the car row, surrounded on both sides by mere commoners’ cars. The black paint gleamed, and the interior was replete with luxury accoutrements.

Ned Niemiec owns the Rolls and drives it to other shows around New England, but this was his first Faneuil Hall show. I gave Ned a heads-up that the public would crowd in close for photos. He was a good sport as people posed with the car and leaned in the windows for a better look. It seemed likely that the Rolls would win the 1st place People’s Choice award.

Pete Rhoten’s 1991 Mini Cooper is a Rover Special Products (RSP) model of which only 1,650 were produced. He imported the car from the UK in 2017, shortly after it became legal in the U.S. The car has covered a mere 30,400 miles in 28 years and is original except for a repaint due to fading.

Wendy Birchmire’s incredibly cute Domino was parked next to the BAMG information tent. A steady stream of people posed with the car and took turns sitting in it. Wendy quickly handed out all her voting ballots. When the votes were tallied, “cute” won out over luxury. The Domino placed first, the Rolls second and an MGB third.

A very special guest happened to be visiting Boston on August 24th. When the British Consulate heard about the Faneuil Hall car show, they arranged for “The Queen” to put in an appearance. When the show ended, Ned Niemiec chauffeured Her Majesty back to the consulate in his Rolls. (Truth be told, The Queen was advertising for Boston’s Dreamland Wax Museum.) My family met me for lunch and my daughter Laura accompanied me on the leisurely ride home.

September 2019

[3-Oct_19_Mr_Peanut.jpg] Mr. Peanut’s Nutmobile — seen here with Nuala.
Photos by Iain Barker

The ‘Cars of Summer’
by Iain Barker


“Cars of Summer” in Worcester, Mass., certainly lived up to its name. Set in the picturesque Green Hill Park, the event is arranged around what was originally the access road to the Green family private estate and homestead, circa 1760.

The show is held over three days starting on July 4th, U.S. Independence Day. Saturday was the main car show this year, and when Best in Class awards were presented.

The day was all set for sweltering summer weather, but that didn’t seem to affect the turnout. There were multiple classes, including one for classic cars 25 years and older. While ours was the only classic Mini, there were other European cars including a very nicely restored VW Type 2 van and a ‘screen star’ VW Beetle painted as Herbie, the Love Bug.

This event is very family-friendly, and includes a central pavilion with live music, street food and snack vendors, and a ‘kid zone’ children’s activity area with inflatable bounce house-type attractions. The park also incorporates Green Hill Farm — which although not open for petting the animals during car show hours, was available to walk around and view.

My daughter Nuala views our 1967 Mini Cooper S 1275 as her own (which hopefully one day it will be), and her main activity for the afternoon was treating the Mini like a climb-through playhouse, inviting all the kids at the show to climb in one door and out the other. Good job I’m not one of the “hands off” owners — it’s important to engage the next generation, and a few sticky fingers and scuff marks on the vinyl are no big deal.

Over 300 show cars attended the event, somewhat biased towards American classics and muscle cars. In addition to a Best in Show award, there are 50 judged runner-up prizes given out. Although by far the smallest vehicle in attendance and well out of its element as one of only two British cars I spotted (the other was a ’70s MG Midget), our little Mini did us proud by winning a runner-up prize.

As the afternoon wore on, the weather quickly started to turn and a local thunderstorm and flooding alert was issued on the Wireless Emergency Alerts System. The event organizers decided to hold the prize presentations early, allowing people time to get their cars back home and dry before the rain came. Of course, we did not have that luxury, being in a slow car and a long way from home, so we chose to grab a budget hotel room in Worcester, Mass., and stayed overnight.

Standing in the hotel lobby, looking out at poor “Mini KK” in the rain, we saw our car was almost up to her hubcaps in running water and it was torrenting off the roof and down the scuttle. Being a 52-year-old car it’s not exactly state of the art when it comes to waterproofing, but there was no sheltered parking so c’est la vie.

The next morning, I expected to open the doors and be presented by a biblical level of floodwater gushing out onto my shoes. But in fact, it was remarkably dry inside — just some dampness on the door cards where the rain had driven sideways between the sliding windows, easily cleaned up with paper towels. My daughter got a bonus day at the Worcester EcoTarium as a result, which turned a good weekend into a great weekend.

September 2019

Hold the Date — Dec. 7!
by David Schwartz


The NEMO Holiday Party will be held at La Cantina Italiana in Framingham, Mass., on Saturday, December 7th, from 12 noon to 4 p.m.

This is the same venue we have enjoyed for the last two years. La Cantina is a family-style Italian restaurant and has been in business since 1946. The member cost for the buffet lunch will be $20 for adults and $10 for children, with the club making up the difference. If your membership has lapsed you can renew at the Party for the six-month rate of $10.

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 his or her 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 Party will never end.

For those attending your first NEMO Yankee Swap, many gifts are Mini-, MINI-, or British-themed.

We need a head count by November 25th. A reminder Evite will be sent to the NEMO e-mail list. RSVP to the Evite or contact me directly, 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.

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

Directions: The address is La Cantina Italiana, 911 Waverley St., Framingham, MA 01702, and the phone number is (508) 879-7874.

Take I-90 (Mass Turnpike) to Exit 12. Bear right on the ramp and follows signs toward Framingham. Merge onto Rt. 9 East (Worcester Road). Follow Rt. 9 for about 1.8 miles. You will pass Dunkin’ Donuts followed by Samba Steak & Sushi. Immediately after Samba, take a sharp right onto Winter Street. Follow Winter Street about 1.8 miles until it ends. At the traffic light, take a left onto Waverley Street (Rt. 135). La Cantina will be on the left.

There is parking behind the restaurant and in a large lot across the street.




August 2019

[3-Sept_19_Vespa_Electric.jpg] An electric Vespa 400! Note ZAZ 968M parked on the grass.
Photo by David Schwartz

Gould’s 24th Microcar Classic
by David Schwartz

NEWTON, Mass., July 12-14 — The Goulds’ 24th Microcar Classic varied ever so slightly from its usual format. The Friday evening welcome reception was catered this year, which gave Nancy Gould, who hosts the event with her husband Charles, more time to socialize with the guests. William Ellis mapped out a new route for the Saturday driving tour from Newton to the summit of Mt. Wachusett.

The rest of the weekend was unchanged, with a stop at the Gould’s Matchbox Motors storage facility, Saturday night barbecue, and Sunday lawn event at the Larz Anderson Auto Museum in Brookline, Mass.

AlphaCars was back this year with two different Russian cars. A 1976 Volga GAZ M24 “Moscow Taxi,” complete with taximeter, checkerboards and roof light. The Volga resembled a ’60s Ford Fairlane or Dodge Dart, and was the preferred car of the KGB. The second car was a 1990 ZAZ 968M Zaporozhets with an air-cooled rear engine.

My favorite oddball car this year was Max Hall’s Vespa 400, which was converted to an electric car back in 1972. The Vespa is powered by an old forklift motor and ordinally had eight large lead-acid batteries. Max updated it to use four modern batteries. The electric Vespa was one of three Vespa 400s at the Museum lawn event on Sunday. A gas-powered Vespa screamed its way up Mt. Wachusett on Saturday (and I do mean screamed, since with two passengers the owner kept it in first gear for the entire ascent!).

Minicar and microcar owners often have a sense of humor. A two-tone red and white Nash Metropolitan sported a giant wind-up key protruding from the trunk-mounted spare tire. The previous owner had wired the key to an electric motor so it spun slowly. Sadly, the Metropolitan broke down on the driving tour.

August 2019

[1-Sept_19_Mini_Lineup.jpg] Part of the Mini line, under the shade at Larz Anderson.
Photo by Bruce Vild

Five classic Minis and two Mokes started the 120-mile Mt. Wachusett drive. Unfortunately, Bruce Vild’s Mini suffered a potentially serious failure with no compression in two cylinders, and was towed by AAA. The preliminary diagnosis was head gasket failure, which was confirmed a week later by Dave Black. Dave had the repair complete and Bruce back behind the wheel a few days later. Bruce and Faith completed the driving tour in the Goulds’ Nissan Pao, along with Kate Lane.

Luke Vancraeynest’s 1981 Trabant had an alternator problem early in the driving tour, for a total of three casualties.

Two Subaru 360s were in attendance, both of which completed the driving tour. One of the 360s won an award for the longest distance driven to attend the weekend, having motored in from Springfield, Mass.

The new route to Mt. Wachusett had a lot more turns and a few cars got lost. There was an unexpected construction detour, and cars at the back of the line were quite confused when the front cars doubled back. Everyone eventually reconvened at the summit.

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 eight Minis and two Mokes on the lawn. Most of the Minis belonged to NEMO members. I felt like a bit of a traitor to NEMO by driving my 1950 Morris Minor convertible on Sunday (though I did drive my 1968 Mini Traveller on Saturday). This year the Minis parked in the shade, rather than the sunny center of the lawn.

Sunday, July 14th, was Bastille Day, which is celebrated as the turning point of the French Revolution in 1790. All the French car owners celebrated by holding a parade on the lawn while the French national anthem, “La Marseillaise,” blared from the Museum’s sound system. It was quite a sight. Then it was time to give car rides to the public, a high point of the day.

Ken Lemoine’s 1965 Mini Traveller won 1st place in the Mini class, and Wendy Birchmire’s 1973 Union Jack Mini took 2nd. A VTEC Mini was 3rd.

Next year will be the 25th anniversary of Gould’s Microcar Classic. There will surely be some surprises. To get a sense of the weekend, see the on-line photo album posted by Joshua Sweeney, professional automotive photographer extraordinaire, at https://shootfordetails.smugmug.com/Automotive-Tours/Goulds-Microcar-Classic/Microcar-Classic-2019/.

August 2019

[4-Sept_19_Jack.jpg] ‘Jack’ among the other Brits.
Photo by Wendy Birchmire & Iain Barker

British Cars of N.H. Hosts a Great Show!
by Wendy Birchmire


To show or not to show, that is the question. On the plus side, the BCNH Show of Dreams is well-run, and Hudson, N.H., it isn’t a long drive from Needham, Mass., and is an easy distance to trailer. I was sure other NEMO members would be present, and friendly conversation makes the day go by much faster. On the negative side, my husband and I are winter people and don’t do well in the sun. A day of temperatures in the mid-80s wouldn’t be too hot as long as we had a tent to sit under. Let’s do it!

We decided to trailer “Jack,” our 1973 Morris Mini 1000. This year trailers were allowed to park close to the show field instead of on the other side of the visitor parking lot, making it much easier to unload heavy items like tents. Thank you, BCNH show coordinators! They also had “cooling tents” dispersed throughout the rows of vehicles. Inside each tent was a large cooler filled with ice water. We ended up sitting under one of their tents instead of putting up our own. Others joined us and we got to meet more car enthusiasts.

There were lots of vendors on the perimeter of the show field selling British car products and other items. An especially popular spot was the ice cream truck. There was a 50/50 raffle with over $200 going to the winner, and a silent auction featuring restaurant coupons, hotel accommodations and other goodies. A third raffle was for the prize of your choice on a table filled with car-related products. Each car registrant automatically received one ticket for the third raffle. Some people purchased long strips of tickets, hoping to be one of the early winners.

The Show of Dreams has been held every year since 1996 and BCNH selects local charities to receive show proceeds. The 2019 recipients were the High Hopes Foundation of New Hampshire, which aids chronically ill children and their families, and the New Hampshire Food Bank, the only food bank in the state. Each charity gave an award to their favorite car. Lucinda and Peter Barrone took home a trophy with a miniature shopping cart on it (very cute) from the Food Bank. Jack and I were awarded a plaque from the High Hopes Foundation.

There were only three classic Minis and four modern MINIs in this show. David Rosenberg and his Mini took a 2nd place in his division. Jack took 1st place in the British Classics 1970-1979 class. Best of Show went to Mark Harrison and his 1938 Bentley.

BCNH gives a unique gift to the 1st-place winner in each car class. Last year I received an elegant bottle of wine with a BCNH private label and a matching glass with the club logo. This year I won a folding camp chair. On the back it says, “2019 Show of Dreams 1st Place” along with the BCNH emblem.

The day was a huge success. I won a raffle prize with the one free ticket that came with my registration. For my prize I chose a Stanley Automatic Battery Charger/Maintainer.

A three-win day for Jack and me!

August 2019

[2-Sept_19_MiniFrontSplitApart.jpg] Zach’s Mini split apart as the steering rack is replaced.
Photo by Iain Barker

Racking up the Shows
by Iain Barker & Wendy Birchmire


Regular readers may recall the article in the February newsletter about the early Mini Cooper 1071 S owned by Zach Barbera (car #3 from the 1963 Cooper works build). Iain had been trying for some time to cajole Zach into bringing his car to the Goulds’ Microcar Classic at the Larz Anderson Auto Museum. Unfortunately, despite our best efforts to get the car ready, it failed inspection due to excessive play in the steering rack.

If you’ve ever watched the BMC short film Wizardry on Wheels (available on YouTube) there is a scene where the painted Mini bodies are lowered from an overhead gantry to mate up with the assembled front end. The steering rack is clearly visible already fitted on the body, and it ends up sandwiched between the subframe and the body.

The video should have provided a hint as to how difficult it is to change the rack on an Mk1 Mini. The twin carburetors must be removed to gain vertical clearance. Then the front subframe mounts, engine steady and solid brake lines need to be disconnected so that the front of the car body can be separated from its mechanicals and raised up. Finally, the steering rack can be unbolted and withdrawn through the wheel arch.

So it was, on a hot, hot (90°-plus) day in July we found ourselves splitting a Mini in two. We worked in an open garage using just a trolley jack and an assortment of wooden props and axle stands.

On examining the rack after it was removed, it was obvious it needed a new end bearing. Where there should have been a nylon support bushing, we found nothing but a thick brown slurry of grease and decomposed plastic granules. Unfortunately, this car is not standard Cooper S and had been heavily modified when it was rebuilt as a racecar by Zach’s father in the mid-’90s. The steering rack was in fact a ‘quick rack’ with a 2.2 ratio. We e-mailed the original U.K. vendor and their reply stated that replacement bearings for this specialist part were no longer available.

Fortunately, similar steering racks were used on late model MPi Minis, and an entire new quick-rack is available from U.K. vendors. Order placed, a few days later DHL duly arrived with the new rack. Fitting it was straightforward, other than that I attached the tapered ball joints upside-down. In my defense, I assembled them the way they are shown in the 1963 BMC workshop manual. But the diagram in the manual was evidently drawn the wrong way up! This made for an interesting test-drive by Zach, but was easily remedied.

August 2019

[5-Sept_19_Zach_and_car_line.jpg] Zach and his Mini in the car line again.
Photo by Iain Barker & Wendy Birchmire

With the rack re-fitted and the two halves of the car bolted back together, it passed inspection with no issues. Now all we needed was a show to attend.

Melmark New England, a school for children with autism, hosts an annual all-makes classic car show in Andover, Mass. This year’s show was scheduled for August 10th, so that was our new goal.

The show is held on grass in the leafy grounds surrounding the school. Lots of trees provided shade for a summer day, and there was room for lawn chairs and pop-up awnings. Around 150 cars were in attendance. There was a wide variety, with classic two-seater Ford T-Birds, Corvettes, ’60s to ’70s muscle cars, an Edsel, a Model T, a firetruck, a Willys Jeep and many others.

In addition to Nuala and Iain’s 1967 Morris Cooper S 1275 and Zach’s 1963 Austin Cooper S 1071, Wendy and Tom Birchmire brought ‘Pim’, their Domino Pimlico fiberglass-rebodied Mini convertible. There was just a 10% chance of rain, so Pim’s roof and side windows were removed, which made for a cool drive to Andover.

The show itself is short and sweet, running from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., and entry is free. All exhibitors and spectators are able to vote for their favorite car. We forget who won the show, but the runner-up did not step forward when announced, so the trophy was passed on to Pim as the next-most popular vote getter. (Wendy said, “I’ll take People’s Choice Runner-up any day, especially when competing with the caliber of cars at this show!”)

Good weather held for the duration of the show, but rain appeared shortly thereafter. Luckily, Tom had convinced Wendy to bring along Pim’s top and windows, so they were all set for the drive home. (Wendy again, “Note to self — listen to your husband more frequently!”)

All said, this is a great little car show and highly recommended for classic Mini owners.




July 2019

[1-Aug_19_Mini_Line.jpg] Line of classic Minis at the British Motorcar Festival in Bristol.
Photo by Iain Barker

Shipshape and Bristol Fashion
by Iain Barker

BRISTOL, R.I., June 8 — I was still recovering from a hectic but ultimately rewarding “British by the Sea” show in Waterford, Conn., the previous weekend, and was looking forward to a more relaxed road trip to the British Motorcar Festival in Bristol.

This was to be the second “overnight” car show this year for my daughter Nuala and me, but due to the busy social calendar of a seven-year-old these days, we would not be able to attend the opening Friday night parade. Instead, we drove down early on the Saturday, while temperatures were still cool enough not to trouble the engine of my 1967 Mini Cooper S.

The trip down was uneventful, save for the constant honks, thumbs-up and cellphone photos taken from modern cars on I-95, and we arrived in plenty of time to set up pitch in the classic Mini row.

Bristol has the same organizational team as the Stowe British Invasion, and follows that established order of ceremonies — including having a “royal” visitor chauffeured to her throne, and various British-themed events throughout the day including “British fashion” and “ladies’ hats” competitions.

Seven classic Minis were in attendance, with a good spread of the models represented: Morris Super-Deluxe, Innocenti, Morris Cooper S, Austin Saloon, Austin Countryman, Morris Traveller with a VTEC engine, and a Morris 1/4-ton Commercial Van. Honorable mention goes to “Fuddy,” a solitary Morris Minor Series II.

Compared to Stowe, the Bristol show is small — about a quarter the size — but benefits from a more intimate ambiance. The location is also great for kids, with the seashore and a playground within easy sight of the show field. And bright weather all day helped the cars look their best.

After the show we retired to our hotel in Seekonk, with Sunday being mostly taken up by Nuala’s favorite activity of mini golf.

In all, it was a great little car show and one we will definitely revisit in future.

July 2019

[3-Aug_19_MG_J2.jpg] MG J2 with two young drivers. Ken Lemoine, show organizer, is there to coach them.
Photo by David Schwartz

Framingham MetroFest
by David Schwartz

FRAMINGHAM, Mass., June 15 — NEMO’s Ken Lemoine has organized a small classic car show at Framingham’s MetroFest for the past six years. MetroFest offers a bit of everything, with 20 food trucks, music and dance performances, kids’ activities, craft beer tasting and over 100 vendor booths. In previous years the car show was multi-marque with British cars, American muscle cars, European cars and even a truck from the early 1900s. This year the theme was all British, with cars supplied by members of NEMO and the Boston Area MG Club (BAMG). Many owners belong to both clubs.

Wendy Birchmire drove her oh-so-cute 1973 Union Jack Morris Mini, and was joined later by her husband Tom. Bob Brownell had a short drive from Shrewsbury in his 1963 Austin Mini. Bob’s wife and granddaughters arrived separately in a modern car (no seat belts in the Mini).

I finished re-installing the interior in my 1950 Morris Minor Tourer the night before Metrofest, and the car had its debut at the event. My wife Betty Lehrman and daughter Alison met me later in the day for lunch.

Ken Lemione brought his 1961 Jaguar XK150, one of the last five imported to the U.S. before Jaguar switched to the XKE. Ken’s daughter Alison and her children also joined us for lunch.

BAMG member Michael Crawford drove his 1933 MG J2 in from Uxbridge, Mass. Twenty-year-old James Nifong and other BAMG members brought their MGBs.

The LBCs were very popular with the public. An overly enthusiastic teenage girl sprinted toward an MGB and was about to vault over the door when I called out to her. Owners did allow people to sit in their cars, as long as they asked permission first!

One of my favorite photo-ops was two young brothers sitting in the cockpit of the MG J2 as Ken looked on.

While scoping out food truck menus I was excited to see a nicely restored Divco Milk Truck that had been converted to an ice cream truck. The owner was sitting in the driver’s seat and was quite surprised when I asked him the year of the Divco, as no one else knew what it was!

(I did, because in the late ’50s to early ’60s a milkman delivered dairy products to my house in a Divco truck.)

This particular Divco was a 1948 and the owner, Philip Rosenfield, invited me to climb aboard to look around. Rosenfield also owns the “Reasons to be Cheerful” home-made ice cream shops in Hudson and Concord, Mass. The truck is named “Chillwagon.” It attends local festivals and is available for private events.

Contact Ken (alvis1934@aol.com) if you are interested in participating next year. Or just come for lunch. Admission is free.

July 2019

[2-Aug_19_Mini_MINI.jpg] MINI and Mini on the Museum lawn.
Photos by David Schwartz

British Car Day at LAAM
by David Schwartz

BROOKLINE, Mass., June 23 — The weather was sunny and warm for the 2019 edition of British Car Day at the Larz Anderson Auto Museum. Overall turnout was good, with cars filling the upper lawn and two rows on the lower lawn. The Rolls-Royce and Bentley contingent parked across from the main museum entrance.

Given the record 60th anniversary turnout at British by the Sea, it was surprising there were only five classic Minis and three modern MINIs in attendance. I felt like a traitor driving my 1950 Morris Minor Tourer instead of my Mini. The Minor spent two years on jack stands in my garage while I sorted out sins of previous owners. My goal was to have it back on the road in time for British Car Day.

NEMO regulars Iain and Nuala Barker, Wendy Birchmire, and Alex Daly were in attendance. As was Ken Lemoine, who brought his recently acquired 1961 Jaguar XK150. Brett Lemoine drove Ken’s 1965 Mini Traveller, so he was well represented. Bill Psaledakis and his wife had the fifth classic Mini, a 1979 Austin in green with a checkered roof. Their car pulled in next to a green 2019 JCW MINI Cooper S with only 500 miles.

Most of the Minis were parked in the middle of the upper lawn. I brought my pop-up tent so NEMO members and friends could gather in the shade. When the wind picked up, Iain improvised tent stakes with screwdrivers from his tool kit.

I always search out unusual or rarely seen cars. There was a large Lotus turnout, including a Europa and three Elans, two convertibles and a coupe. The coupe was for sale. Then there was the rare 1948 Jaguar 3-1/2 Litre Drop Head Coupe. The car had a three-position top that can open over the driver while passengers remained in the shade. The look was decidedly prewar, like a chauffeur-driven Duesenberg.

A very original Jaguar XK120 Coupe sported a “Please Touch” sign on the windshield. Wow!

A 1970 Marcos GT powered by a Volvo B30 engine was parked on the lower field. The Marcos has a fiberglass body with a long bonnet that reminded me of a Jaguar E-type. A total of 150 were sold in the U.S. by Volvo dealers.

A Triumph TR7 owner with a sense of humor had affixed Ferrari badges to his car. Late in the show, a beautiful blue and white 1934 Riley roadster was driven onto the upper lawn by an owner clad in a winter hat. The car stayed for less than an hour and was never judged.

Ken Lemoine’s 1965 Mini Traveller won best in the Mini class, and Wendy Birchmire’s 1973 Union Jack Mini took home the People’s Choice Award.




June 2019

[1-Jul_19_DanStCroix.jpg] Dan St Croix and his resurrected Mini — good to see them both at BBTS.
Photo by David Schwartz

Mini’s 60th Anniversary at BBTS
by David Schwartz

WATERFORD, Conn., June 2 — To celebrate its 60th anniversary, the classic Mini was featured as “Marque of the Year” at the Connecticut MG Club’s 32nd annual British by the Sea (BBTS).

The day started out overcast, but around noon the sun broke through the clouds. Harkness Memorial State Park, the site of the gathering, is a beautiful venue, and all show cars park on a large lawn with a view of Long Island Sound. There were 320 fantastic British vehicles at the show this year!

For the past few months I have been writing about BBTS in NEMO Newsbeat and posting event reminders on social media. Clearly, Mini and MINI owners got the message. We had a great turnout with 23 classics and 13 modern MINIs. The CT MG Club said it was the most “Marque of the Year” cars that have ever shown up at BBTS! Several members even brought one of each, while others brought two classics!

The official show start time was 10 a.m., but Minis continued to trickle in until after 11, so the parkers started a second row.

There were four NEMO member classic Minis I had never seen before. Dave and Fran Brown brought a ’66 Moke and ’67 Van, both of which were in pristine condition. Paul Smith brought a ’70 Innocenti Mini that he had rescued from under a tarp, as well as a ’67 Austin Van. The Van was a left-hand drive export model for Finland, equipped with a factory engine block heater and fresh air cabin heater in the engine compartment.

Other NEMO members got their cars back on the road just in time for BBTS.

Dan St Croix’s ’71 Morris Mini had been parked for five years. After a trailer ride to Dave Black’s Mini Barn, Dan’s car made the drive to Waterford. Dan looked particularly natty in his white coveralls with red trim. His windshield sign listed “cute single driver” as a feature, and I have to agree.

Greg Mazza’s ’67 Cooper S also made the trip, after finally drying out from the hurricane that hit British Legends Weekend on Cape Cod in 2016.

Lorine and Derick Karabec trailered their gorgeous ’67 Wolseley Hornet (a “booted” Mini variant) up from Ulster Park, N.Y. It is always a treat to see their Hornet, as these cars were not imported to the U.S. Dianne Izzo couldn’t make it to BBTS, but she sent her ’73 Austin Mini with family friends.

Iain and Nuala Barker’s ’67 Cooper S has been a regular at many events. This year Iain also brought a Churchill Hydrolastic pump he restored, as well as an original BMC tool roll.

Wendy Birchmire brought her popular Union Jack ’73 Morris Mini 1000 and Paul Berton flat-towed his ’67 Austin Cooper S down from Salem, Mass.

Bob Brownell made a 2 1/2-hour scenic drive on back roads from Shrewsbury, Mass., through eastern Connecticut. This was a comfortable 40-50mph drive for his ’63 Austin Mini’s 850cc engine. At 85 miles each way, it was the longest drive in his five years of ownership. To be safe, Bob carried tools and spare parts, while his wife Kathy followed in a modern car.

Dave Black drove down in his ’79 Mini 1000, as did Mark Fodor in his ‘59/’60 Austin Mini. Betty and I had an uneventful drive from Framingham, Mass., in my ’68 Morris Mini Traveller. Given the blown head gasket last year, I kept the speed down on the highway.

Barbara Newman drove “Buffy,” her ’60 Morris Mini, while Dave Newman drove their 2013 MINI Cooper Club Van woodie wagon. I have it on good authority that Dave’s modern MINI had trouble keeping up with Barbara’s 850cc classic. Buffy wore a variety of 60th birthday decorations at the show.

Dave Icaza brought his ’69 “Surfer Dude” Austin Countryman, and Jean Icaza parked her 2002 MINI Cooper on the show field.

Yes, NEMO was well represented in both classes.

June 2019

[2-Jul_19_Barkers.jpg] Best in Show Featured Marque, Best in Class — Nuala and Iain Barker’s 1967 Morris Cooper S.
Photo by David Schwartz

Non-member classics included a ’98 Mini that climbed Mount Washington and sported a “MINIs on Top” decal, a VTEC estate and a VTEC saloon, and a restoration in progress displayed on a flatbed trailer. The show announcer kept referring to the restoration project as half a Mini whenever additional classics arrived on the field and he gave the count!

Antonio Sapata has been active in the modern MINI scene for some time. He brought a recently acquired an ’81 Mini and is busy fitting it with Mk1 features, though he won’t swap out the wind-up windows.

Roger Bartlett’s 2008 “Minions MINI” was a crowd favorite and won 1st in the New MINI class. The car is yellow with green stripes, wheels and accents, and is covered with “Minions” from the Despicable Me movies.

There were several signs stating “Life is too short to drive a boring car.” Dave Oliveira displayed two MINIs on the show field, the GABB racing MINI and his daily driver. A MINI Clubman had a pop-up tent mounted on the roof. The owner said he has taken the car on camping trips and the tent sleeps two.

I am always on the lookout for oddball vehicles, and one of the most unusual cars on the field was a 1960 Bugeye Sprite that had been converted to an electric drivetrain.

From a distance I knew something was different when I spotted thick orange cables under the open bonnet. The 80hp AC motor accelerates from 0 to 60mph in just 10 seconds (the original 948cc engine took 20.5 seconds). The batteries are in the boot, which gives a 50/50 weight distribution, and the car is only 75 lbs. heavier than a 1275cc gas-powered version. The gearshift lever was replaced with a cup holder, and a battery charge gauge is mounted on the dash. Otherwise the interior is true to the original.

Several rarely-seen cars were present at the show. A 1953 Triumph Mayflower was registered in the Open Sedan class. The Mayflower is a very small saloon with upscale lines, as if a Bentley was scaled down by half.

Another Triumph, a 1948 2000 Roadster, was registered in the Open Sport class. The 2000 has “dickey” seats in the boot, just in front of the spare tire, which is mounted on the boot lid. There is a second windshield that folds up from the boot to protect the rear passengers.

When awards were handed out for the Classic Mini class, Iain and Nuala Barker’s 1967 Cooper S took 1st and Best in Show Featured Marque. Wendy Birchmire’s 1973 Morris Mini took 2nd, and Fran and Dave Brown took 3rd with their 1966 Austin Mini Moke. Congratulations to all.

Hopefully, the Mini 60th anniversary celebration will continue throughout the New England car show season.

June 2019

[3-Jul_19_Cable.jpg] Melted clamp. The outcome could have been much worse.
Photo by Iain Barker

Fire in the Hole!
by Iain Barker

A cautionary tale for those who do their own electrical maintenance. When replacing a car battery, make sure it is of the correct physical size and there is plenty of clearance before reconnecting the terminals.

A friend with an Mk1 Mini installed a new battery that had the same amps rating as the old one, but was wider, longer and shorter than the original. The reduced height caused the positive terminal to arc onto the metal floor when driving, and ultimately several hundred amps of current melted the old-style lead negative terminal clamp.

Fortunately, the issue was caught in time. Replacing the cables and using correctly spaced terminal clamps fixed the problem. It is best to try and maintain at least an inch of clearance around any non-insulated connector, or to use modern terminal clamps that have a plastic insulating shroud.




May 2019

[1-Jun_19_Twini_Mini.jpg] The Museum’s ‘Twini Mini’ replica. There’s an engine in front, too.
Photo by David Schwartz

Trip Report: Lane Motor Museum
by David Schwartz

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Jeff Lane established the Lane Motor Museum in 2002, donating a personal collection of 70 vehicles. Now there are over 580 vehicles in the collection, and the Museum, located in a former Sunbeam bakery, has a 40,000 sq. ft. main floor, enough to display approximately 150 cars. Additional vehicles are stored in an attached parking garage and in the lower level known as “The Vault.”

The Museum rotates its collection on a regular basis and runs several special exhibits a year. Vault tours are held on most Saturdays and Sundays and are highly recommended!

Budget an entire day to visit the Museum. Serious fans of unusual cars will have no problem filling that much time. They have a large microcar collection, one-of-a-kind vehicles, and “uniquely different” cars. The Museum slogan is “Unique Cars from A to Z,” and that is an understatement.

The car that started Jeff Lane on the path to collecting was a 1955 MG TF 1500, a Christmas present from his father when he was 12 years old. The MG arrived as a body shell, frame, engine and pile of parts. Jeff spent four years restoring the car and took his driver’s test in it. The TF has a prominent place on the main floor and is surrounded by other British cars.

Unusual Minis

The Museum owns about 40 British cars, including classic Minis wearing Austin, Morris and Innocenti badges. Custom and unusual Minis include a 1965 Austin Twini Mini replica, a 1976 Austin Reptune Mini GT Gullwing, a 1969 Austin Mini Convertible, a Chilean-built, fiberglass bodied 1969 Austin Mini, a 1960 Austin “Shorty” Mini 850, a 2/3rd-scale Morris Mini convertible, and a 1975 Morris Mini GT5 racecar. The Chilean Mini body shell was developed by Peel Engineering.

In 1962, BMC built an experimental Mini Moke with two engines to help its off-road capabilities. This inspired John Cooper to build a “Twini Mini” saloon with a second engine in the rear, for use as a rally car. While testing the Cooper Twini, a mechanical failure resulted in a rollover and John Cooper was seriously injured.

Downton Engineering also built a Twini and BMC may have built several. Research done by the Museum did not reveal any original Twini examples, so the only option was to recreate one. Work on the Lane’s Twini replica started in 2007. A cutaway drawing and photographs helped get the details correct. The car has a set of Smiths gauges for each engine and two gearshift levers linked together by a cross bar. The accelerator works both throttles and one pedal works both clutches.

May 2019

[2-Jun_19_Austin_Mini_Reptune.jpg] Mini Reptune kit car (from 1976).
Photo by David Schwartz

The Reptune Mini kit car is a fiberglass gullwing body designed to drop on a standard Mini, once the doors, roof, bumpers and lights have been removed. The kit was built in Ontario, Canada, and originally came with smoked acrylic gullwing doors. (The doors were not present on the Museum’s example.)

The 2/3rd-scale Mini was displayed next to a scaled-down Messerschmitt KR200. According to the museum website, the scaled down Mini was “built from body parts taken from a 1975 Mini, skillfully shrunken to approximately 2/3 the size of a real Mini.” The car looks much smaller than 2/3rd scale. It’s about the size of a child’s battery powered ride-in car.

Micros and Minicars

Of course, the Lane owns several cars built by the Peel Engineering Company, including a replica of the 1964 Peel P50. The P50 is known as the world’s smallest-ever passenger car. It is a three-wheeler, seats one person, has a 49cc engine with no reverse gear and weighs in at 250 pounds. Many readers have seen the episode of Top Gear where Jeremy Clarkson drove a P50 into the BBC Television Centre, in and out of elevators and down corridors, sitting in the car throughout his journey.

Somewhat taller than the P50 is the 1948 Lamar, described as the world’s narrowest car. At 2 ft., 4 in. wide, the Lamar was designed to fit through a standard British garden gate. The P50 is over 1 ft. wider. The Lamar’s target market was urban women shoppers. The car looks like it belongs on a children’s playground and sales were very limited.

The 1962 Sabra Sport Four was Israel’s first attempt at a sports car and is a marque that few are likely to be familiar with. Israel lacked a domestic auto industry at that time, so components were provided by 27 different British vendors, including Reliant, manufacturer of the tippy three-wheel Robin. The Sabra looks like a cross between an Alfa Romeo Spider and several different British roadsters.

May 2019

[3-Jun_19_1932_Helicron.jpg] Propeller-driven and steered by its rear wheels, the 1932 Helicron.
Photo by David Schwartz

The Museum owns several French-built propeller-driven cars, including a 1932 Helicron. It is unclear why anyone thought mounting a propeller on the front of a car was a good idea, and only one Helicron was produced. The Helicron steers using its rear wheels, and there is a video on the Museum website showing it being driven.

Numerous one-off prototype cars were displayed on the main floor. Streamliners included a replica of the 1933 Dymaxion, designed by Buckminster Fuller, and the oval-shaped 1946 Hewson Rocket, plus three teardrop-shaped cars designed by James Martin: a 1928 Martin Aerodynamic, a 1932 Martin Martinette, and a 1950 Martin Stationette, which featured wooden monocoque construction (you have to admire Martin’s perseverance).

Another odd one, the 1967 Gyro-X two-wheeled, gyroscopically-stabilized vehicle, was reported to reach speeds of 125mph using an 80hp Mini Cooper S engine.

As a microcar fan, I was familiar with the Zundapp Janus 250 from pictures in books and magazines, but had never seen one in person. Fortunately, the Museum owns a nice example from 1957. The Zundapp is like a two-headed BMW Isetta, in that it has a refrigerator-style door at each end. The car is symmetrical when viewed from the side. Passengers enter through the rear door and can face either front or rear. The engine is mounted between the two rows of seats, which can be folded down to provide a double bed for camping.

The Museum website (www.lanemotormuseum.org) provides details on the cars in this article, a complete list of the collection, and videos of unusual cars being driven. Click on the “Events” dropdown for Vault Tour information, and the annual “Rally for the Lane,” a fundraising event where you get to drive cars from the collection on a full day rally.

To see more photos of my trip, go to the NEMO website’s Gallery under “Events.” And for a chance to see and ride in some unique cars in the greater Boston area, don’t miss Gould’s Microcar and Minicar Classic, July 12-14 in Newton, Mass. Visit www.bubbledrome.com for more information.

May 2019

[4-Jun_19_1950_Martin_Stationette.jpg] An even smaller Woodie than David’s Traveller, the Martin Stationette from 1950.
Photo by David Schwartz


April 2019

[1-May_19_Lemoine_Gallagher.jpg] Getting down to business...
Photo by David Schwartz

NEMO Annual Meeting Report
by David Schwartz

WESTBOROUGH, Mass., Mar. 31 — This year we held the NEMO Annual Meeting at Owen O’Leary’s Restaurant, a brew pub with two locations in eastern Massachusetts. They feature an Irish pub menu and a good beer selection. We reserved the lounge, a semi-private room that opens onto the bar. We had a great turnout, with 25 adults and one child in attendance. The meeting started with a social hour followed by an à la carte lunch.

In the last issue I reported that Charles Laughton worked for BMC. Charles saved a variety of Austin marketing brochures from 1956 and 1957 that he shared with us before lunch. Charles also brought an 8x10 movie star-worthy photo with him at the wheel of the top-down 1957 Austin-Healey 100-6 he once owned.

Every year we hold a free raffle of Mini or classic car-related items donated by members. Faith Lamprey handed out raffle tickets as people arrived.

There was a special drawing for the soon-to-be-released book, Mini 60 Years, by Giles Chapman. Dave and Barbara Newman won the book and Faith provided a sign-up sheet for members to purchase copies at a discount. The regular raffle prizes included a yellow Hrach Moke T-shirt, stacks of magazines, books and toys, etc.

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

Dave also provided an update on the Hrach Fund account, which is in honor of founding member Hrach Chekijian. Ken Lemoine started the Fund in 2015. Its charter is to help young people get involved in the British car hobby. Thus far the Hrach Fund donated a new convertible top for 17-year-old James Nifong’s MGB. John Gallagher, who won the Hrach shirt in the raffle, auctioned it off to raise money for the Fund. Ken was the high bidder. Please contact Ken at alvis1934@aol.com if you would like to suggest a worthwhile project or recipient.

Lorine Karabec led a discussion on East Meets West Mini Meet 2019, June 24-28 in Snowmass, Colorado. There was a post in the NEMO Google Group about hiring a car transport company to drive six to eight classic Minis from New England to Colorado and back. Given the short New England driving season, though, members did not want to be without their cars for an extended period of time. It appears there will be little if any NEMO presence at East Meets West Mini Meet 2019.

Faith proposed adding a PayPal option to the website for membership renewals and new members. NEMO may still have a PayPal account from when the club last sponsored Mini Meet East. Stay tuned for additional information.

Yours truly provided an update on the NEMO Facebook page, which currently has 832 follows and 789 likes. Last year Iain Barker created an associated NEMO Marketplace group where members can buy and sell cars and parts, or post wanted ads. This is a closed group, which means members must be approved. To date, we have approved all membership requests. The group has been fairly active and has 259 members.

April 2019

[2-May_19_Karabecs.jpg] ...with a few laughs thrown in.
Photo by David Schwartz

I then led a discussion on the Connecticut MG Club’s 32nd Annual “British by the Sea,” which takes place on June 2nd in Waterford, Conn. (details and registration forms at www.ctmg.com). Classic Mini is the featured marque in honor of its 60th anniversary. Classic Minis will be parked at the front of the show field with modern MINIs two rows back, and we want to have a record turnout of cars. Please invite all your Mini/MINI friends. The British Marque vendor booth will be up front with the Minis, and we are bringing a pop-up tent so club members will have a shady spot to gather.

We invited Zach Barbera to bring his historically significant 1963 Works Mini to BBTS (see Iain Barker’s article in the March 2019 issue). Zach is interested, but will need to have his car trailered from northeastern Mass to Waterford. John Gallagher may be able to provide an enclosed trailer, but we also need a tow vehicle. Please contact me (David Schwartz) at (508) 561-3462 if you have a trailer and/or tow vehicle and the expertise to be able to help.

Bruce Vild gave an update on the British Motorcar Festival, June 7-8 in Bristol, R.I. This event is organized by the same people who run the British Invasion in Stowe, Vt. The format is very similar to Stowe and the Festival is much closer to home for many NEMO members. The show venue is Colt State Park, which overlooks Narragansett Bay.

NEMO member Chris Izzo, a major force in British Motorcars of New England (BMCNE), invited NEMO to attend their events. Chris provided an overview of numerous shows and tours that have been added to the NEMO calendar.

Last but not least, Bruce moderated a discussion on Minis and Mini Variants. This discussion had been going on for months via e-mail and in the NEMO Google Group, with the intention of resolving the issue well before Stowe, where the question came up last year and led to one entrant’s protest after class awards were announced.

Members were happy with the food, drinks and service at Owen O’Leary’s Restaurant, though the space was noisy so that it was difficult to hear some soft-spoken members during the business meeting. For 2020 we would like to find a pub with a fully enclosed function room suitable for 30 people.

April 2019

[3-May_19_Honey_I_Shrunk.jpg] Compared to the other cars, David’s Mini Traveller looks like it could inspire a new movie — Honey, I Shrunk the Woodie Wagon!
Photo by David Schwartz

Mini Among the Woodies
by David Schwartz


Last September, my wife Betty and I drove our 1968 Morris Mini Traveller to the Woodie Car Show in Wareham, Mass.

The show sponsor was the Yankee Wood Chapter of the National Woodie Club. The event was held on the grounds of the A. D. Makepeace Company, one of the oldest cranberry growers in the country. A great bluegrass band played for much of the day and excellent barbecue was available for lunch.

My car was the first Mini-based woodie to attend this event. It was dwarfed by the huge American woodie wagons, sedans and convertibles. Many cars were true works of art, sporting panels of ash with mahogany trim, all varnished to a gleaming mirror finish.

The oldest car was a 1924 Ford Model T Depot Hack, and the newest was a ’70s-vintage station wagon with vinyl wood-grain siding. There were several preserved original cars and even a modern surfer-dude hot rod patterned after a Model A.

The way-back in one station wagon was filled with period-correct picnic baskets and luggage. Another car had child-sized fabric dolls sitting in the third-row seats that the owner had made to amuse her grandchildren.

My car won a trophy for the longest distance driven. After the show, most woodies participated in a driving tour through cranberry bogs, forests and on a historic road. The tour ended at an ice cream stand.

Owners I spoke with had no idea Mini produced woodies, though they were familiar with the Morris Minor Traveller. Everyone was welcoming and excited to see us. The organizers invited us to attend the 2019 National Woodie Meet, August 8-12 in Ogunquit and Wells, Maine. I promised to reach out to NEMO members that own woodies.

If you can’t make the national event in Maine, the Yankee Wood Chapter will be holding a show on September 14th in Wareham, Mass.

Watch the NEMO calendar for links to the National Woodie Club website and Yankee Wood Chapter Facebook page.

April 2019

[4-May_19_Mini_Variant.jpg] We have all agreed: this is a Mini Variant.
Photo by Bruce Vild

So, What Are Mini Variants?
by David Schwartz

As mentioned in the Annual Meeting report, we have been holding an open forum with the goal of arriving at a clear definition of Mini classes in time for the 2019 British Invasion. (This pertains only to Minis, not MINIs.) The club reached a consensus that should avoid the registration confusion and controversies of previous years, and everyone, at least in NEMO, is on board. Michael Gaetano, the Invasion’s Event Organizer, is on board as well.

The classic Mini classes will be separated by year as in previous years, but the Variant class will have a clear, consistent definition. Cars will be segregated by body style rather than what’s under the hood, where they were made, whether they have surfboards on the roof, whatever.

In other words, anything that’s not a saloon will be placed in the Variant class, the hypothetical arrangement and description being as follows:

Class X: Mini Saloons, 1959-1969

Class Y: Mini Saloons, 1970-2000

Class Z: Mini Variants, 1959-2000 (Non-saloons, including Vans, Estates, Mokes, Pickups and Cabrios, plus Riley Elf and Wolseley Hornet).

For members unfamiliar with terms from the other side of the pond, a “saloon” is a sedan and an “estate” is a station wagon such as the Austin Countryman or Morris Mini Traveller. Included now in the saloon classes will be the “foreign” (i.e., non-UK produced) Minis, such as the Innocenti Mini, as long as they have the familiar Mini saloon body style.

Although the Riley Elf and Wolseley Hornet technically are saloons, they have a different body style from other Minis due to their extended trunks and therefore will be grouped with the Variants.

Mike Gaetano has agreed to replace the 2018 class listings “Austin & Morris Mini, 1959-1969” and “Austin, Morris & Rover Mini, 1970-2000” with “Mini Saloons, 1959-1969” and “Mini Saloons, 1970-2000.” This will include the non-UK produced Minis other than Austin, Morris or Rover (for example, Leyland Minis), formerly classed with the Variants simply because they were non-UK models with subtle differences from their British cousins. The British Invasion class list will also include the note describing Variants.

The definition of “Variant” is sometimes called into question. Based on research done by members of NEMO, body style is the one thing that people can agree on, as we did at our Annual Meeting. We think these definitions will help car owners identify where their vehicles should be placed on the show field at Stowe, and may be useful for class registration at other multi-marque meets as well.




March 2019

[1-Apr_19_PhilCarbFieldRepair.jpg] Infield carburetor repair on Phil Darrell’s Mini at BBTS.
Photo by Iain Barker

British by the Sea: Looking Back
by David Schwartz

WATERFORD, Conn. — The Classic Mini will be the featured marque at the 2019 edition of British by the Sea (BBTS), so this seems like a good time to report on the 2018 event — looking back by looking ahead.

The weather in Waterford was sunny but not too warm, which led to a good turnout of cars. Harkness Memorial State Park is a beautiful venue and all show cars park on a large lawn with a view of Long Island Sound.

There were eight or nine classic Minis present, but only four modern MINIs. (There was also a 1965 MG 1100 registered in the MG Saloon class. The MG 1100 shares Mini underpinnings.) Most of the Minis were owned by NEMO members, four of whom drove their Classics to the show for the first time. Three of the four Minis had mechanical issues getting to BBTS but at least they made it, in my case just barely.

I had wanted to drive my 1968 Mini Traveller to BBTS several times, but the car always seemed to be up on jack stands in my garage when the show came around. In 2016, my car made the drive from Framingham, Mass., to Stowe, Vt., so I assumed the trip to Waterford, Conn., would be uneventful.

Sadly, the British car gods were against me, and a few miles before the I-395 exit the engine started losing power. I decided to press on since it was only ten more miles to the venue. I managed to coax my car onto the show field, but was fairly certain the trip back would be on a flatbed.

BBTS was the first long-distance outing for Iain Barker’s 1967 Mini Cooper S. The engine ran hot on the 120-mile drive down and the car experienced electrical gremlins, possibly due to the original Lucas control box overheating. Engine heat may have caused the voltage regulator cut-out mechanism to expand, holding the contacts open and preventing the battery from charging via the dynamo.

When Phil Darrell and Iain fitted Phil’s 1972 Mini with a 1380cc A+ engine, their goal was to have the car ready in time for BBTS. They made the deadline, but Phil’s car stalled out en route at a gas station due to running rich and flooding. Fortunately, he was able to get it restarted and made it to the show.

March 2019

[2-Apr_19_DianneMini.jpg] No problem with Dianne’s Mini!
Photo by David Schwartz

Iain, Phil and I spent much of the show with our car bonnets raised, trying to sort out various mechanical issues. Lots of British car owners stopped by to observe and offer advice.

Iain helped with my car, and we pulled spark plugs and wires checking for a difference in engine rpm. The diagnosis was a blown head gasket, so my car received a ride to Dave Black’s Mini Barn courtesy of Hagerty towing insurance, squeaking in just under the free mileage limit.

Phil and Iain were able to balance the carbs on Phil’s car right there on the show field, using nothing more than a piece of fuel hose as a listening tube to get the airflow at an even hiss by ear. Iain had a battery jump pack as a backup, and found that once the voltage regulator had cooled off it charged normally again.

Dianne Izzo was the only first time NEMO attendee whose Mini didn’t have a problem. Of course, she earned this privilege the hard way, as her 1973 Austin Mini had been in the shop since shortly after she acquired it in 2014. Congratulations, Dianne, it was great to see your car on the road and at the show.

More than 350 British vehicles typically attend BBTS. The Connecticut MG Club posted a photo album from the 2018 event at www.flickr.com/photos/ctmgclub/albums/72157703046010272, and their website, www.ctmgclub.com/BBtS.html, features a drone video from a prior year. In my experience, BTTS is second only to the British Invasion, and there is something different and unusual every year.

For 2019, we want to have a record turnout of classic Minis at BBTS. The date is Sunday, June 2nd, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Our little cars will be at the front of the show field with MINIs two rows back. The Connecticut MG Club plans to place the British Marque vendor booth up front with the Minis, and yours truly is bringing a pop-up tent so club members will have a shady spot to gather.

Pre-registration is $15 and runs until May 24th, or you can register at the gate for $20. The registration form can be downloaded from www.ctmgclub.com/BBtS.html. There is a “2019 Registration” link on the right side of the page. We hope to see you on June 2nd.

March 2019

[3-Apr_19_A50.jpg] The Austin Cambridge A50, as seen on the show field at British Legends Weekend last year.
Photo by Bruce Vild

It Was So
by David Schwartz

Two astute readers reported an error in the “British Legends Weekend (BLW) Car Show” article that appeared in the December NEMO Newsbeat. There was a right-hand-drive Austin Cambridge A50 at the show, and I stated that the A50 was never exported to the US. Clearly, the Internet was wrong.

I received a phone call from NEMO member Charles Laughton who regaled me with stories of his days working for BMC, stating unequivocally that A50s were imported into the US. (Now we need to convince Charles to write some articles about his BMC experiences!)

I also had a pleasant e-mail exchange with David Whall, who provided the following information:

“I well remember two A50s as a child growing up in southern New Hampshire in the 1950s. One could be found in the town of Windham while the second could be spotted in Lee. Both were black.

“I also seem to recall an A90 from the period but could be mistaken — it might have been an A50 after all. Needless to say, the A50 was a rare sight as these were the only ones I recall.

“If I remember Austins too well it is probably because as I child I collected Dinky Toys and my collection included a beige-and-blue-trim pre-Pininfarina A105, much on the stylistic lines of Keith Hartinger’s A50 at BLW.

“As further verification the A50 was exported to the USA I would cite Road & Track’s 1956 Road Test Annual, which on page 59 has a test of the Austin Cambridge. The test report (#F-10-55) listed a top speed of 75.6mph and 0-60 acceleration of 24.4 seconds. POE list price was put at $1,895.

“I read the print edition of British Marque. I mean, what would you expect from someone who actually remembers a 1955 A50 or an even earlier A40!”

Thank you, Charles and David.

March 2019

[4-Apr_19_OriginalAirCooledResister.jpg] The original resistor, which may burn out and cause the cooling fan to fail.
Photo by Iain Barker

MINI Cooling Fan Repair
by Iain Barker

Well, it seems that low-speed cooling fan failure is a common fault as modern MINIs start to age. There are many reports from MINI Gen1 owners on the Internet forums — fewer for Gen2, but my 2009 JCW has the exact same symptoms.

To determine if your MINI has the problem, start the engine and turn on the A/C via the “snowflake” button. The radiator cooling fan at the front of the car should spin. If it doesn’t, the resistor that drives the fan at low speed has burned out.

Replacements for the OEM resistors are available, but fitting requires disassembly of the front of the car (aka service mode) to access the radiator, which is several hours of labor.

For Gen1 MINIs, there is a hack to splice an external resistor into the wiring loom in order to bypass the failed resistor. I traced the fan wiring on my Gen2 JCW using a voltmeter, and realized the same external resistor bypass can be done by just adding jumper wires at the control relays. No modifications to the wiring loom are required.

March 2019

[5-Apr_19_NewExternalResister.jpg] A solution — a replacement external resistor, bonded to the chassis, as a bypass.
Photo by Iain Barker

Basically, instead of the original tubular air-cooled resistor, a higher-power external resistor with an aluminum heat sink is bonded to the chassis with thermal glue.

Solder two 16-gauge wires to the external resistor terminals and insulate with tape or heat-shrink, then install as follows:

1. Open the fuse box and remove both fan relays.

2. Insert one resistor wire into the low-speed fan 12v switched contact #30.

3. Insert the other resistor wire into the high-speed fan 12v switched contact #87.

4. Push both relays firmly back into their sockets, to jam the wires in place.

5. Use thermal glue to fix the resistor to the metal chassis of the car as a heat sink.

The bypass works as follows: When the low-speed fan relay clicks on, 12v are fed from #30 through the resistor into the output side #87 of the high-speed relay, which is wired directly to the fan. When the high-speed fan relay clicks on, the resistor has 12v on both sides so does nothing, and 12v at #87 go directly to the fan.

The Amazon part numbers are B015Z195A4 for the resistor, B072MSXHJD for thermal glue.

Caution: Incorrect wiring can cause fire or other damage. Proceed at your own risk.




February 2019

[1-Mar_19_ZachAndHisMini.jpg] Zach and his car.
Photos by Iain Barker

A Remarkable Works Mini at ‘Caffeine & Classics’
by Iain Barker (with Zach Barbera)

Steven Lichty organizes the biannual Caffeine & Classics Road Rally to Gloucester, Mass., and I was fortunate enough to be invited to attend by Zach Barbera. I had not met Zach prior to the event, but was acquainted with him and his car through the on-line Mk1 Mini forum. Zach is the owner of an Mk1 Mini with a unique history.

The event is very informal — coffee and donuts at Steve’s house, meeting other classic car owners, and then a leisurely drive in procession on back roads to the destination, which was a picnic on the cliff edge next to the quarry at Halibut Point State Park.

There were around a dozen classic cars at the meet, including a rare Triumph TR8 3.5L, an MGA, our two Mk1 Minis, a TR6, various classic Porsches, and even “modern classics” such as a Subaru Impreza. I thought the Minis would be the smallest vehicle in the group, but then an immaculate Fiat 500 Cinquecento arrived. There was even a very nicely restored wooden boat, a 30-year labor of love by its owner.

For me, Zach’s Mini was without a doubt the most interesting car in attendance. It is well documented that on March 7, 1963, five brand new standard Mini 850 body shells were taken from the production line and built up by hand at BMC, upgrading the performance by using Formula Junior race engines provided by John Cooper’s engineering works. These five cars became the very first ‘Mini Cooper 1071 S’ cars, of which a total of 4,030 were eventually produced. Zach owns car #3 from that build, originally registered in the UK as 289 JOB, and it is in remarkably good condition given its age and provenance.

February 2019

[2-Mar_19_ZachEngine.jpg] Detail of the Mini’s engine. Plaque on valve cover reads, ‘Special parts are fitted to this engine. Stage III BMC/Downton. BMC Special Tuning Dept., Abingdon, Berkshire’.
Photo by Iain Barker

The car was initially used in-house by the BMC publicity department for photographs in the ‘1071 S’ launch brochures, and loaned for industry and journalist test drives, reviews, etc., through 1963. Charles Griffin, head of BMC engineering, bought the car used in September ’64 for his son. But with the 1275 S coming out shortly afterwards, he did not keep it long. The car was sold and successfully rallied in club events by several owners through the 1960s and ’70s.

Joe Barbera acquired the rather worn-out remains of the car in the ’90s after the end of its rallying career and had it shipped to Singapore, where he was working as an ex-pat at the time. He then commissioned a local restorer, David Works Garage, to rebuild the car to its factory specifications. The original engine was long gone, but was replaced with a period authentic Downton/ST Stage-3-tuned 1071 of similar vintage and specification.

As a spokesman for David Works explained, “[We] built it for Joe over 20 years ago. That Mini has an original Works FJ Downton motor from Greg Hales, Safety Fast Engineering. We supplied a full straight-cut competition gearbox using the triple-three casing.”

Zach inherited the car at the passing of his father, and had been researching its history on the Mk1 forum, which is where we got connected.

It was great to see the car running on the drive, and especially to hear the throaty roar from the peaky camshaft of its Stage-3 engine, and the whine of its straight-cut racing gearbox.

February 2019

[3-Mar_19_HarleyQuinn.jpg] ‘Harley Quinn’ was a Birchmire favorite.
Photo by Wendy Birchmire

Rally for the U.S. Coast Guard
by Wendy Birchmire

On February 2nd, the MINIs of Boston group held a “Pay the USCG Rally” to help Coast Guard families in need due to the government shutdown. This was one of many rallies held throughout the country to help these men and women, who were working without pay.

Kristin Masta orchestrated this daylong event and it went flawlessly. A dozen MINIs gathered in Bedford, N.H., to begin the Rally. Although the temperature was near zero degrees, the group braved the elements and stood proudly by their cars talking all things MINI. Most cars were filthy and covered in road salt, but they still looked beautiful to me.

At the appointed hour there was a radio check and then off we went. Prior to turns or traffic lights, directions were given via walkie-talkie. A “sweeper” bringing up the rear called in to report whether all cars made it through a light or if some were waiting. This system is great at preventing cars from getting too far apart, and me from getting lost!

After a stop at Panera in Leominster, Mass., everyone gave donations to Kristin so she could pass them along to her contact in the Coast Guard. There were supermarket gift cards and loads of non-perishable food.

Following a bathroom and refreshment break, a few MINIs dropped out of the caravan and several more joined in. Next stop was New Country MINI in Hartford, Conn., to collect more donations. At the dealership we were greeted by members of Nutmeg MINIacs, a Connecticut-based MINI club (Connecticut being “the Nutmeg State”). We took a dinner break at the Plan B Burger Bar in West Hartford, and still more MINI conversations were had. Then it was over…

The Rally was a huge success. Kristin’s MINI was filled with food items and she collected $1,100 in gift certificates. Once again, MINI owners proved they are generous and sensitive to the needs of others!

February 2019

NEMO Annual Meeting Mar. 31!

A reminder: our Annual Meeting will be held on Sunday, March 31st, from 12 noon to 4 p.m. at Owen O’Leary’s, 17 Connector Rd., Westborough, Mass., (508) 366-9262, www.owenolearys.com. We reserved the lounge, which has high-top tables and space for at least 30 people.

Owen O’Leary’s is an Irish pub with a good beer selection. Food and drink will be ordered à la carte.

We will be holding the usual 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 late February with another reminder in March.

Also come with any thoughts you might have about the ongoing “What is a Mini Variant?” controversy. We’re committed to helping Michael Gaetano settle the question before registration time for the next British Motorcar Festival in Bristol and British Invasion in Stowe (in June and September respectively).

Owen O’Leary’s is located on the eastbound side of Rt. 9, about 1 mile west of I-495. It shares an entrance with a Hampton Inn. There is another Owen O’Leary’s several miles away in Southborough, so be sure you punch the correct address into your GPS.




January 2019

[1-JanFeb_19_Costumes.jpg] NEMO’s best-dressed party guests. Nuala Barker is in front, backed by (left to right) John Haig, Dave Newman, Lorine Karabec, Derick Karabec, and Jean Icaza.
Photo by David Schwartz

NEMO’s Holiday Party
by David Schwartz

FRAMINGHAM, Mass., Dec. 1 — The NEMO Holiday Party was again held at La Cantina Italiana in Framingham. The turnout was good, with 27 adults plus our youngest event regular, Nuala Barker. Thanks to the mild weather and lack of road salt, two members drove their classic Minis, yours truly and Paul Berton. (Congratulations to Paul for doing an outstanding job on the 10-year-long restoration project and engine rebuild of his 1967 Austin Cooper S!)

Every year a few people wear holiday-themed outfits to the party. This year featured such a standout selection that we were inspired to hold an impromptu vote for the best outfit. It was a difficult choice, but 1st place went to “Santa’s helper” Lorine Karabec. Keeping with the family theme, Derick Karabec was attired as an elf.

Meanwhile, Dave Newman sported a Rudolph faux tuxedo, John Haig wore a dancing reindeer coat with matching necktie, Jean Icaza wore a hat decorated with candy canes and a Christmas-tree Mini shirt, and Nuala Barker outclassed the adults with her purple velvet party dress.

Several announcements were made at the conclusion of lunch, including a heads-up on British by the Sea, where in honor of the 60th anniversary, the classic Mini is the featured marque. Bruce Vild and Faith Lamprey awarded a “Mini Enthusiast of the Year” trophy to Lorine and Derick in recognition of their work on Mini Meet East 2018 (they also ran MME 2013).

As usual, the Yankee Swap table overflowed with bags and packages of all sizes. Nuala’s ticket was picked first, which by NEMO rules gave her the right to the final swap at the very end. Her first gift was British beer, not really appropriate for a six-year-old, but dad Iain appreciated it (until it was quickly stolen).

January 2019

[2-JanFeb_19_Award.jpg] Derick and Lorine and their ‘Mini Enthusiast’ trophy.
Photo by David Schwartz

The hottest gift last year was a fleece blanket printed with photos of NEMO member cars. Wendy Birchmire designed the blanket, which ultimately went home with Barbara Neiley. To the surprise and delight of many, Barbara re-gifted the blanket this year, explaining that it really should go to someone whose car was pictured. Alex Daly managed to hold onto the blanket this year, which was fitting since he was the first person to receive it last year.

Wendy designed another, slightly smaller blanket for this year’s Swap. It was packaged in a British flag shoulder bag along with a box of English toffee. I was the first to open the gift, but it was quickly stolen. My Mini Traveller was pictured in the top row and was the largest car on the blanket. Oh, well. After changing hands several times, the blanket, shoulder bag and toffee went home with Nuala after she made the final steal, much better than beer.

Other gifts included die cast Minis, two pillows picturing Minis, tools, LED trouble lights, Mini-related books and repair manuals, food, mugs, a radio controlled MINI, a 500-piece Mini puzzle, a vintage Mini advertisement, a framed Mini racing print, and a commemorative Queen Elizabeth tea cup. Ken Lemoine took home a 1:18 scale MINI, which he immediately shared with his young grandson (Ken is already training the next generation of enthusiasts).

Be sure to check the Facebook page and NEMO website for photo albums of the guests and Yankee Swap.

January 2019

[4-JanFeb_19_Bear.jpg] Giant bear guards all the toys collected by participants.
Photo by Wendy Birchmire

‘MINIs Making a Difference’ Toy Rally
by Wendy Birchmire

WARWICK, R.I. — On December 9th, 24 MINIs arrived at MINI of Warwick for the 16th Annual “MINIs Making a Difference” Toy Rally. Each car contained at least one present to be donated to Children’s Friend, Rhode Island’s oldest child welfare organization, providing services for children and families in need for 184 years.

MINI of Warwick closed the dealership to the general public for the day, welcomed the Toy Rally participants with a breakfast of muffins, doughnuts, sandwiches, coffee and orange juice, and gave everyone a goodie bag.

Each person d the number of presents they brought as they entered the dealership. I felt like a bit of a Scrooge when I heard that Abbie, a young MINI enthusiast, contributed 210 toys. She had asked her friends, neighbors and relatives to donate to the drive.

When the final count was tallied, 1,575 gifts had been collected. Wow! This event provided confirmation that MINI owners are kindhearted people. The Toy Rally has been held since 2003, and has so far provided 20,459 toys to needy children.

Members of Children’s Friend arrived to collect the gifts and then it was time to go motoring. We drove to the highway accompanied by a police escort. Officers in cruisers and on motorcycles stopped traffic at intersections so our caravan would not get separated. This year I purchased a walkie-talkie before the rally. I would not get lost this time.

After a short ride, we exited the highway, drove through cow-country back roads and whizzed though S-turns in a way that only MINI owners understand. My MINI felt a little clunky with its new snow tires, but still clung to those turns beautifully.

After about an hour’s drive on mostly rural roads we arrived at Foxwoods Casino. The more adventuresome MINI owners gathered at Monza World Class Karting. They donned full helmets and raced around the twisty track in cars that can go up to 45mph. Instead, I chose to do some Christmas shopping at the resort and had a nice buffet lunch in one of the many restaurants. Yes, I know, I am a coward, and I’m likely to stay that way for the rest of my life! Watching others race around the track is enough excitement for me.

Count me in for this event next year, and maybe also the Turkey Trot, where volunteers fill their MINIs with turkeys and food baskets for distribution around Rhode Island to those in need.

January 2019

[3-JanFeb_19_PaulBertonMini.jpg] Paul Berton was brave enough to bring a classic Mini to the Holiday Party!
Photo by David Schwartz


Coming Attractions

March 31 — NEMO’s Annual Meeting will be held from 12 noon to 4 p.m. at Owen O’Leary’s, 17 Connector Rd., Westborough, Mass. Their phone is (508) 366-9262 and website www.owenolearys.com. We reserved the lounge, which has high-top tables and space for at least 30 people. Owen O’Leary’s is an Irish pub with an extensive beer selection. Food and drink will be ordered à la carte. 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. An evite will be sent to the membership list in late February with a reminder in March. Owen O’Leary’s is located on the eastbound side of Route 9, about 1 mile from I-495. There is another location in Southborough, so be sure you punch the correct address into your GPS.

June 2 — British by the Sea will take place at Harkness Memorial State Park, Waterford, Conn. In honor of the 60th anniversary, the classic Mini will be the featured marque. Classic Minis will be right up front on the show field with new MINIs two rows back. We want to have a record turnout of our favorite little cars! The Connecticut MG Club has offered to put the British Marque vendor booth in front with the Minis. We need one or more of our members to bring pop-up tents so the club will have a place to gather, too. There is a new show T-shirt every year. Dianne Izzo suggested NEMO get involved with the 2019 T-shirt design. Details are on the BBTS website, www.ctmgclub.com/BBtS.html.

July 12-14 — The Goulds’ Microcar Classic. Minis, classic and modern, are welcome, and you never know what else will show up. Last year it was a slew of Russian cars and a Crosley, in addition to the usual 2CVs, Isettas and Messerschmitts. Always a hoot, especially when we go to the Larz Anderson Auto Museum and give spectators rides. Go to www.bubbledrome.com to find out more.

August 8-12 — National Woodie Meet, Ogunquit and Wells, Maine. Here is a chance to show your Mini Traveller or Countryman with their much larger, American-made brethren. A car show and Perkins Cove parade are on Saturday, August 10th. There are several Woodie cruises, a lobster dinner, optional sailing, etc. British Woodies are welcome to attend. The full agenda for the weekend may be found at https://woodies.clubexpress.com/content.aspx?page_id=5&club_id=871106&item_id=43745. The National Woodie Club is made of regional chapters. The “Yankee Wood Chapter” covers New England and runs an annual fall event. Stay tuned.




November 2018

[1-Dec_18_Austin.jpg] Keith Hartinger’s Austin A50, up from Florida, was an eyecatcher at the BLW show.
Photo by David Schwartz

BLW Car Show — Legendary!

by David Schwartz

SANDWICH, Mass., Oct. 7 — The British Legends Weekend (BLW) car show was back on the grass this year at the Oakcrest Cove Field in Sandwich. Jaguar and Land Rover were the featured marques, and once again there was a “Concours d’Evolution,” which paired classic vehicles with their modern counterparts.

Lunch was provided by several food trucks, a dessert truck and a well-attended beer truck. Our hosts, the Cape Cod British Car Club, arranged for a large dining tent next to the food vendors.

The day was dreary with a few raindrops in the afternoon. Even so, there was a stunning selection of classic Jaguars, including my personal favorites, the XK120 and XK150. In the “rarely if ever seen” category were a 1929 Rover Riviera fabric body 2-litre saloon, a 1950 Allard K2, and a 1955 Austin Cambridge A50.

Yes, I am including the Austin A50 with this rarified company because it made me smile more than any other car on the field. The A50 had right-hand drive and a two-tone turquoise-and-white paint scheme. They were never exported to the US and this was the first one I had ever seen. Owner Keith Hartinger trailered the car from Florida to the Cape. He has several other British cars and has previously attended BLW.

[Keith was the recipient of a British Marque Favourite Award a couple of years ago for a lovely bone-stock Mini he had brought to that year’s BLW. —Exec. Ed.]

Classic car expert and author Dave LaChance has been a judge at past BLW shows, and he was around this year, too. Since Rover was a featured marque, Dave drove his 1968 Rover 2000TC from the Berkshires, where he lives, to Sandwich. I have seen photos of the TC on-line and it was nice to finally meet her in person.

On our drive to the Cape, my wife Betty asked about cars besides Jaguar that were named after animals. We only came up with a few. Knowing there were many more, we held an “ask the expert” session with Dave, who came up with a much longer list, including the “horses”: Mustang, Pinto and Bronco.

Sidelined, but saved

Chris Cole and Gail Gray made their annual trip from their home in Vermont to attend BLW. They own a number of classic British cars and alternate between their Mini and TR4A. Despite the long distance, they never trailer a classic car to the Cape.

I knew something was amiss when they pulled onto the show field in an unfamiliar car. It seems they had a misadventure on the Saturday driving tour when a suspension part in their car failed and the left front wheel broke free. Fortunately, no one was injured.

Their car was towed to Mike Dallaire’s garage for temporary repairs. Chris and Keith Hartinger spent hours piecing it back together, but the car was not safe to drive any distance. Keith generously offered to give Chris, Gail and their car a ride back to Vermont (this after trailering his A50 up from Florida!).

Mike loaned his Triumph Spitfire to Chris and Gail to drive for the remainder of the weekend. What a great community.

November 2018

[2-Dec_18_Nuala.jpg] Nuala Barker’s favorite in the car show was the MINI with a mermaid in the driver’s seat!
Photo by Iain Barker

NEMO on the field

Congratulations to NEMO member Chris Izzo on his recent purchase of a 1983 Jaguar XJ6. Chris owns several British project cars including a Mini van. It was great to see him with a well-kept running car on the show field! As a bonus, the car won 1st place on its maiden outing.

The turnout of classic Minis was quite low, with only my 1968 Mini Traveller and Iain Barker’s 1967 Mini Cooper S in attendance. Four modern MINIs were on the show field with another two in the parking lot, including Iain’s 2015 Cooper S tow vehicle. A Honda VTEC-powered 1964 Mini van was registered in the show’s Modified class. Perhaps the rainy weather forecast kept NEMO members away.

Two non-human “drivers” were spotted among the Mini classes. A mermaid was seated in Pam Dallaire’s MINI convertible, and a tree sloth took the wheel of Iain Barker’s Mini Cooper S. It is nice to see car owners add some humor to the show.

The competition was tough, but Iain and I won 1st place in our respective classes. Bruce Vild took home a 2nd for his modern MINI, 1st going to Pam and her mermaid.

Best of Show was awarded to Dirk Burrowes for his 1929 Rover.

At the end of the show it was great fun to watch Iain pull his 2015 MINI onto the field, connect a tow bar to his classic Mini and drive away in tandem. There was some light rain on the drive home, but fortunately Betty and I made it to Framingham just in time to avoid the deluge.

Next year, BLW will be held October 11-13 in Plymouth, Mass. The Saturday evening banquet will be at Plimoth Plantation with the Sunday car show on a grassy field at Plymouth Airport.

See you there!

November 2018

[4-Dec_18_Food_Donations.jpg] Food Bank donations fill the hatch!
Photo by Bob Shaffer

Winnepesaukee Rally — A Food ‘Drive’!

by Bob Shaffer

BEDFORD, N.H., Nov. 10 — The NH Mini Events rally group held their third annual canned food drive and Winnepesaukee Rally in conjunction with MINI of Bedford. The food drive benefits the New Hampshire Food Bank. This year, ten MINI owners and four passengers met at the dealership for coffee and donuts, and to drop off their donations.

As in past years, participants didn’t bring just a few items, but each brought several cases of canned goods. The donations more than half filled the rear of a 2018 MINI Countryman (see photo).

Following some photos at the dealership, the rally group drove north around the western side of Lake Winnepesaukee with a lunch stop at the the Bob House and the Reel ’n Tavern in Moultonborough. After lunch the Rally continued down the eastern side of the lake, concluding at the Cork ’n Keg Grill in Raymond. While the morning weather was rainy at times, the scenery along the New Hampshire country roads was gorgeous, with colorful foliage lining most of the driving route.

NH Mini Events hosts 6-8 rallies a year, featuring scenic drives on twisty roads around New Hampshire. Most rallies include a lunch stop at a good local restaurant. The final two rallies of each calendar year have a charity component. The November rally is a food drive, and the December rally supports Toys for Tots (and is also hosted by MINI of Bedford).

Paul Bradt founded NH Mini Events and continues to lead it. MINI owners interested in participating in the rallies can find more information on the group’s Facebook page, www.facebook.com/NHMiniEvents.




October 2018

[1-Nov_18_Drone.jpg] Drone’s eye view of the MINIs on the Rally.
Photo by AH PhotoVideography


Haunted Apple Jack Rally
by Wendy Birchmire

What could be nicer than joining other MINI owners for a ride through the back roads of New England on a picturesque, but rainy Saturday? “Not much,” would be my answer.

The Haunted Apple Jack Rally on October 13th began at MINI of Peabody in Peabody, Mass. After meeting there and admiring the new MINIs for sale, 29 cars began the caravan to the Cider Hill Farm in Amesbury. We made several stops along the way to admire the autumn foliage.

The orchard provided pick-your-own apples of numerous varieties as well as a farm store stocked with wonderful pastries and freshly made donuts. After the sun began to shine, a group of hearty MINI enthusiasts ventured into the orchard.

The caravan reconvened and we were off to two different restaurants in Epping, N.H.

Somewhere along the way other MINI owners joined the group, so it was about 60 MINI enthusiasts who met for dinner at one of the two restaurants. The Holy Grail, which I chose, could only accommodate 40 people in their upstairs dining room, so the rest of the group went to the Rail Penny Tavern.

Following dinner, an adventurous group of MINI owners went to the Haunted Overload in Lee, N.H., to be scared by the witches and goblins. I headed home since I’m a coward and don’t like people and objects jumping out at me!

If you have never been on a rally, you should give it a try. Kristin Masta and Josh Amato do a great job organizing them. The people are genial and full of information about MINIs. It is a totally fun experience.

All the cars on the route today were modern MINIs, but classic Minis are always welcome.

Check the MINIs of Boston Group on Facebook for upcoming events at www.facebook.com/groups/boston miniclub.

October 2018

[2-Nov_18_Variant.jpg] Variant, or just a different model?
Photo courtesy Wikipedia

Variant, or Just a Variation?
by Bruce Vild

Body style, engine size, wheel size, suspension type, country of origin, even brand — there are so many ways classic Minis have varied during the car’s 41-year run that it’s sometimes difficult to draw the line between a “Variant” and a car that is just the result of product development, adaptation to a particular market, or up-market design for dealers of premium brands in the old BMC chain.

We may all agree that re-bodied or re-engined Minis are Variants (think Mini Marcos or VTEC powerplants here), but what about alternative body styles from the factory, such as the woodie wagons, the vans and pickups, or even the squared-off Mini Clubman saloon and 1275 GT of the 1970s?

The question “What is a Variant?” came up after the most recent British Invasion in Stowe, Vt. In the people’s choice competition there were two classes for Classic Minis according to year, and one for Mini Variants. The classes were sorted on the basis of the information provided about the cars at the time of registration.

An Austin Countryman (woodie wagon) wound up winning the popular vote in one of the Classic Mini classes and a 1st place plaque. The owner of the Mini saloon that placed 2nd lodged a protest, suggesting the winning Countryman be disqualified because it was in the wrong class. He said it should have been with the Variants.

After he and I traded several e-mails, event organizer Michael Gaetano decided that the Countryman would not be disqualified and the results of the popular vote would stand. However, we agreed that a clear, concise and consistent definition of Mini Variant needed to be developed going forward, and NEMO could help.

From some of the initial conversations I’ve had with people, we should start with body style. One person I spoke with said a Classic Mini is a “two-box” saloon, and all other body styles are Variants. So into the latter class would go the Austin Countryman, the Morris Mini Traveller, most certainly the Moke, the panel van and pickup. Add the Wolseley Hornet and Riley Elf as well, with their “three-box” (extended boot) layout.

The first-generation Innocenti Mini Cooper? No, that was a “two-box” saloon, therefore a Classic Mini.

Not so fast, said another person. The Innocenti Mini Cooper, along with the Australian Mini K, were saloons all right, but with enough bespoke features to put them in the Variant category. To the body style criterion for the Classic Mini he would add, “and manufactured in the Cowley plant in Oxford or the Longbridge plant in Birmingham, England.” Even if built under BMC or BL license, “foreign” Minis need not apply — they’re Variants.

What about other BMC models, such as the MG 1100, Morris 1100, Vanden Plas Princess 1100 or Austin America, which have Mini underpinnings?

No, the second person said, these were designed to be different vehicles from the beginning. In a show such as Stowe, they belong in classes for “Other MG, Morris or Austin,” not Mini Variants.

The third person I mentioned the controversy to simply replied, “Hmm. I’ll have to get back to you after I’ve given it some thought.”

And that’s where it stands now. We’ve all been tasked with giving it some thought. Get back to me at execeditor@britishmarque.com or through the NEMO Google group and let’s get the discussion going.

And if you think trying to make the distinction by body style is bogus, let’s discuss that, too. The next Invasion is counting on us.

[Contrib. Ed. note: See the “ADO15” and “ADO16” articles in Wikipedia (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mini and en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BMC_ADO16) for a list of vehicles based on the Mini’s transverse-mounted A Series engine. —DS]




October 2018

NEMO Holiday Party Dec. 1!

The NEMO Holiday Party will be held at La Cantina Italiana in Framingham, Mass., on Saturday, December 1st, from 12 noon to 4 p.m.

This is the same venue we enjoyed last year. La Cantina is a family-style Italian restaurant and has been in business since 1946. The member cost for the buffet lunch will be $15 for adults and $10 for children, with the club making up the difference. If your membership has lapsed you can renew at the Party for the six-month rate of $10.

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 his or her 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 Party will never end. For those attending your first NEMO Yankee Swap, many gifts are Mini-, MINI- or British-themed.

We need a head count by November 20th. A reminder evite will be sent to the NEMO e-mail list. RSVP to the evite or contact me directly, 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.

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

Directions — The address is La Cantina Italiana, 911 Waverley St., Framingham, MA 01702, and the phone number is (508) 879-7874.

Take I-90 (Mass Turnpike) to Exit 12. Bear right on the ramp and follows signs toward Framingham. Merge onto Route 9 East (Worcester Road). Follow Route 9 for about 1.8 miles. You will pass Dunkin’ Donuts followed by Samba Steak & Sushi. Immediately after Samba, take a sharp right onto Winter Street. Follow Winter Street about 1.8 miles until it ends. At the traffic light, take a left onto Waverly Street (Rt. 135). La Cantina will be on the left.

There is parking behind the restaurant and in a large lot across the street. —David Schwartz




September 2018

[1-Oct_18_Paddy_Dash.jpg] Paddy Hopkirk leaves an autograph in Barbara’s car.
Photo by Barbara Newman

The Watkins Glen Mini Festival
by Dave Newman

WATKINS GLEN, N.Y., Sept. 6-9 — The second weekend of September was a time of wonder for classic Mini fans, both on the streets of the village “old course” and at the modern Watkins Glen International racetrack.

The weekend two events in one: the Watkins Glen US Vintage Grand Prix Festival at the track, overseen by the Sportscar Vintage Racing Association (SVRA), and the Watkins Glen Mini Festival.

While the events were open to all who purchased a gate ticket, only 60 dedicated Mini Cooper fans got to purchase tickets for the Tower Suite that overlooks the track’s first turn and esses. This Friday-to-Sunday suite pass provided access to an indoor facility with huge windows, a rooftop viewing area, and breakfast and lunch on Saturday and Sunday. It also included special Mini-only parking, VIP laps on the track Saturday night after the racing was over, and posters and programs signed by Paddy Hopkirk, the famous Mini rallye driver.

The Tower Suite was a great place to meet fellow Mini enthusiasts, and also to meet racing celebrities: Paddy Hopkirk, who was there for three days, Le Mans driver Marc Miller, and David Hobbs, who has driven almost every type of sports racer and has been a television commentator for Formula One and other events. The Tower Suite was arranged by Ian Rae of MotorWerks Magazine and Norman and Jesse Nelson.

The SVRA had all kinds of vintage racing going on that weekend, but the big event was the special Mini-only races, with trophies handed out by Paddy himself.

Friday was the day to visit the village of Watkins Glen, as they closed off the streets of the 6.6-mile “old course” where from 1948 to 1952 races were held on the public streets. There, among the haybales and thousands of fans, vintage racecars of all types took to the streets for a demonstration on the original course.

Watkins Glen International, built in 1956 just above the village as a dedicated racetrack, hosted vintage races from Friday to Sunday. These were held on the 3.4-mile, banked-corners long course, which has significant elevation changes and lots of runoff. This track has hosted F1 racing and continues to host NASCAR, IMSA, Pirelli, SCCA and other series during the year. It is a wonderful track to drive on, and very fan-friendly for camping, photography positions, stands and ease of visiting.

Watkins Glen is situated at the southern end of Seneca Lake. The village has many nice hotels, B&Bs, restaurants and shops of interest not only to race fans but to the average person. The MINI JCW Racing Team has had many 1st and 2nd place finishes at the July IMSA races. If you have never watched these races or visited the village, you are missing a lot.

September 2018

[2-Oct_18_Barb_Tom_Baker.jpg] British Attire Contest at Stowe, starring Paddington Bear and Tom Baker (as Dr. Who)!
Photo by Iain Barker

British Invasion ‘First Timer’s’ Report
by Wendy Birchmire

STOWE, Vt., Sept. 14-16 — The British Invasion is billed as “North America’s largest British classic sports car and motorcycle event.” As a first-time attendee, I didn’t realize it is not just a show, but also a weekend full of activities. My husband Tom and I only attended some of them but we appreciated all the offerings.

Friday afternoon registration was well organized and we quickly received our information packet, lanyards and drink tickets. Participants were treated to a welcome reception with appetizers and complimentary beer or wine. After the reception, drivers parked their cars in downtown Stowe for a street party with live music, food and general gaiety. Spectators were awed by the assembled show cars. Later in the evening a group of NEMO members gathered at the Hob Knob Inn for a delicious meal. I wonder what the major topic of conversation was. Could it have been Minis?

A show in late September means cool temperatures, right? Wrong! Saturday morning started with a bit of haze that eventually burned off and the temperature soared to 82°. It didn’t seem so bad for the first few hours, but later I felt like my 2018 MINI’s paint color, “melting silver”! My solution was to try every cold beverage sold by the food stands. Watermelon lemonade slush worked the best!

A sign designated an area on the show field as Class 32, for Minis produced in the ’70s through 2000. There were two cars parked next to the sign, a 1972 Mini (the class winner) and a 1999 Mini. Across the aisle was an elegant group of Minis that were also in Class 32. Although the class numbers were clearly visible on the windscreen placards, some people were confused about which car was in a given class.

[Some unavoidable last-minute changes led to regrouping some of the classes on the field, which may have caused some of the confusion. —Exec. Ed.]

It is really unkind to have a corral with cars for sale at any show. I wanted to buy them all! The little blue classic Mini was particularly attractive, but I know when to stop spending. Isn’t there an old adage that says, “You can never have too many Minis?” It must be true, because very few Mini enthusiasts own only one car.

September 2018

[3-Oct_18_British_Hat.jpg] Tom models Wendy’s ‘Most British’ hat.
Photo by Wendy Birchmire

The Invasion festivities include a bit of humor. Some participants dressed in British garb and meandered through the crowd. NEMO’s own Barbara Newman looked adorable as Paddington Bear (it was amazing she didn’t melt wearing a winter coat and rubber boots in the heat). An attendee dressed as Mary Poppins had a working carousel on her hat and circulated among the crowd with her brightly attired partner Bert. Other British enthusiasts wore kilts, bowlers, and related finery.

Speaking of hats, there was a ladies’ hat competition judged by “the Queen” (portrayed by Invasion regular Michelle Dickson) and members of her court, including Lord Bruce of County Marque (sometimes known as Bruce Vild, Executive Editor of British Marque). I received the award for the “Most British” hat.

The Saturday afternoon award ceremony began with a parade of gorgeous, shiny cars that took part in the Concours d’Elegance. Following that were awards for outstanding members at the event and then awards for the best costumes. By 4 p.m. the ballots were counted and awards for the 65 classes of cars and motorcycles commenced. I couldn’t wait for the awards to end so I could get back to the hotel and jump in the shower!

A suntanned group of 18 NEMO members chose to forgo the dinner sponsored by the Invasion and assembled for a meal at Junior’s Restaurant. Sometimes I think that listening to the Mini-addict “car talk” is as enjoyable as the show itself. I always learn something new from these knowledgeable folks.

Sunday featured the Competition of Colors, an event where all marques were grouped together by color. Vehicle categories were red, white, blue, British racing green, black, two-tone, and rainbow for any color not previously mentioned. Now that’s a different concept! Car owners cast their ballot for the best in each category.

Sunday was also the Tailgate Picnic Competition, with judging in seven categories. Prizes included Best Costume, Most Elegant, and Best Tasting.

When we return next year (we have already decided to add it to our “must do” list), maybe we will participate in a driving tour or other elements of the British Invasion. This year we came to sample and we liked what we saw.




September 2018

Save the Date — Dec. 1!

It’s official! Saturday, December 1st, is the date of the NEMO Holiday Party, at the venue we used for our party last year: La Cantina Italiana, 911 Waverly St., Framingham, Mass., (508) 879-7874.

The time is 12 noon to 4 p.m. View the facilities at http://functions.golacantina.com/home.

Contributing Editor David Schwartz has received confirmation from the function manager at La Cantina, and we are good to go. Thank you, David!




August 2018

[1-Sept_18_MINI_Towing_Mini.jpg] MINI towing Mini to New Paltz? Yeah, this’ll work.
Photo by Iain Barker

Mini Meet East 2018
by Iain Barker

Mini Meet East (MME) in New Paltz, N.Y., was my first experience attending a classic car destination event. I’ve participated in a bunch of local car shows and driving cruises, plus one-day events such as the London-to-Brighton Mini Run back in ’92, but I had never gone to a multi-day event.

My first decision: Should I take the classic 1967 Morris Mini Cooper S, or the modern 2015 MINI Cooper S? I briefly considered driving my ’67 Cooper S the 220 miles from Cambridge, Mass., to New Paltz. The routes suggested by Apple Maps were either four hours on the highway, or six hours on back roads. The car is prone to overheating, and with a forecast for 90° plus I didn’t much fancy the chances of arriving with the head gasket intact.

Perhaps I could take both, towing the classic behind the modern? The MINI is not really known for its prowess in hauling loads. Tow hitches are available, but only for Class 1 up to 2,000 lbs. The combined weight of a classic Mini at 1,500 lbs. plus a lightweight trailer at 800 lbs. just wouldn’t work.

My wife had a thought, “You see RVs hauling cars behind them on their long Interstate adventures. Perhaps you could fix something up for the Mini?” Sounds like a project for a rainy weekend and fortunately I could see thunderclouds on the horizon.

So, having spent most of a weekend reading about flat towing and buying an assortment of angled steel bar and grade 8 bolts from Home Depot, I had a plan. This involved drilling out the front subframe bolts of the ’67 Mini and fabricating a parallel towing bar behind the front license plate, to which an RV-style flat towing trapeze from Harbor Freight could be attached. On the MINI end, it was a fairly simple job of removing the rear lights, bumper and crash structure to fit the Class 1 hitch.

The only problem came with hooking up the trailer lights. I bought a set of magnetic lights to fit onto the rear parcel shelf of the Mini, and ran the cable across a clothesline of bungee cords to the rear hatch of the MINI. But when I spliced the control box into the MINI wiring loom, all I got was “reverse light failure” displayed on the dashboard.

Hmm. It turns out MINI in their wisdom used a blue wire with a gray trace for the reverse light, and a gray wire with a blue trace for the brake light. Simple fix when I spotted my error, but really, BMW, couldn’t you have thought that through?

So, we were all set. Off to MME.

The drive was uneventful, other than a constant barrage of honking horns, thumbs up from other drivers and even some cars overtaking then dropping back to take photos! The instructions for the towing A-frame said to check the couplings every 100 miles. I didn’t fancy my chances maneuvering in a car park, so I pulled into the truck stop area of a highway service plaza, much to the amusement and curiosity of the big-rig drivers.

MME is technically a four-day event, Monday evening through Thursday evening. Originally, I planned to drive down on Tuesday. I expected the main event would be the car show on Wednesday, so I had only booked the hotel for three nights. After I decided to tow, traveling the day before seemed more prudent. Unfortunately, the host hotel was fully booked for Monday, but I managed to get a room in a hotel next door, literally just across the parking lot.

August 2018

[2-Sept_18_Iains_Car_By_Michael_DiPleco.jpg] Iain’s car, tooling through the idyllic rural countryside of upstate New York.
Photo by Michael DiPleco

On arrival I was immediately impressed by the organization of Brits of The Hudson, the host club. They arranged everything perfectly for a speedy registration. There was a raffle for Mini- and classic car-themed prizes, so I entered a strip of tickets.

I spent the next few hours walking around the parking lot of the hotel, looking at the assembled Minis and MINIs, and chatting with a few of the owners. This turned out to be a mini car show all by itself! Then it was time for the first organized event, the Sunset Tour across local back roads, ending at an ice cream farm stand. The drive was well organized, with everyone assembling at the hotel to travel in a convoy. Even so, I managed to make a wrong turn (actually, following another Mini who went wrong!), but fortunately, my car being a Mini, turning around in the width of a narrow country road was no problem.

Now, truth be told, I had not put many miles on my Mini since rebuilding and fitting the original engine earlier in the year. I’d driven the 100 miles each way to British by the Sea and knew there was a small issue with oil smoke and a more serious overheating issue. Aside from that trip, the car was largely untested. So, the 40-mile-or-so Sunset Tour was a baptism by fire, but the Mini coped with it amicably. And more importantly, I had a great time. We even got to watch parachutists from a nearby municipal airfield skydiving across the sunset.

Tuesday was the first full day of the meet. A driving rallye had been organized, but I elected not to risk my luck and instead drove straight to the second event, the panoramic photo. After a well-organized barbecue (including vegetarian bacon sandwiches for us veggies) and more socializing with owners (during which I learned who the mysterious Hrach was — thanks, Barb), it was time to go to the field for the photo.

It was a scorching hot day and standing on the field for several hours was not particularly comfortable. Eventually the photo was taken and we all retired to the hotel. But, not for long, because there was an evening organized drive. The weather had broken and thunderstorms were brewing. So, I decided to take advantage of being a two-Mini attendee, and used my modern MINI for the drive in the rain to the famous Walkway over the Hudson, a disused railway trestle bridge set in beautiful scenery. Almost immediately I regretted that decision, as the classic Mini drivers were having much more fun.

Back at the hotel, people gathered around a parking lot full of Minis into the late hours, drinking beers from the nearby gas station and chatting about classic car stuff.

August 2018

[3-Sept_18_Funkhana.jpg] What are they doing? Why, the Funkhana, of course!
Photo by Iain Barker

Wednesday was car show day. The show was well categorized, with a specific class for “external hinge” Mk1 and Mk2 Minis, which included mine. There was strong competition from an immaculate yellow Speedwell Mini and a replica of LBL6D, the famous Monte Carlo-winning Works Mini. I had a good day looking around the other classes, in particular the Brits of the Hudson line-up of classic non-Minis. There was also a small swap meet, including a rare Innocenti heater being offered for sale. With rather amazing serendipity, an Italian Innocenti 1300 Mini owner attending the show needed just such a heater!

I met a couple of folks over from the UK whose names were familiar from the on-line Mini forums. UK Mini expert Nick Rogers cast his eye over my car and the only fault he called me out on was the horn being mounted upside down (since rectified!).

The next event was the Funkhana. As a Mini Meet virgin, I had no idea what this was and didn’t enter — just as well, since it needed at least three people in the car to do successfully. As far as I could tell, the objective was to thrash your prized Mini around a parking lot while the passengers jumped out of the moving car to take part in various tasks. Kind of like an obstacle course for cars. It all looked hilarious, with Mini Mokes having a distinct advantage in the egress/ingress department.

The third evening event was an organized drive to a local ice cream parlor to watch the 4th of July fireworks. This again turned into an impromptu car show with so many Minis descending at once. Of course, we enjoyed showing off our cars to the locals. Afterwards we drove back in the dark. I hadn’t thought about that in advance, and it turned out my headlights do a good job of illuminating 5 or 6 yards in front of the car, with high beam adding at most another 2 yards! We arrived safely back at the hotel and held another parking lot post-event discussion. Some of the show cars had already been packed away in their trailers, but there were still plenty of cars and owners hanging around to chat with.

Thursday, the last day of the Meet, was split into two parts: an autocross at the local university campus, and the award ceremony banquet in the evening. The autocross had drivers race against the clock to navigate a course of cones and professional timing lights. Again, not knowing what to expect (and not being entirely confident in the reliability of my car) I hadn’t entered the autocross. But it was fun just to spectate, eat pizza, and watch the lunatic brigade thrash seven bells out of their engines, Turbo Dave in particular!

The evening banquet had a good turnout. It opened with clips from the Italian Job movie, followed by raffle results and then the awards. On the big screen was a photomontage of the entire event, including a rather stunning photo of my car taken by Michael DiPleco.

The drive home was uneventful, even though it was raining hard. In all, I had a great first time at Mini Meet. Next time I’ll know what to expect, hopefully have a better prepared car and be ready to participate in more of the events. I’d like to thank Lorine and Derick Karabec for organizing such a great event, and the members of Brits of The Hudson for making everyone feel so welcome — in particular, stewarding the evening drives which made them much more enjoyable.

Next year will be “Mini Meet East Meets West” in Colorado.

August 2018

[4-Sept_18_Big_Bend.jpg] What a MINI fan sees in Big Bend at LRP.
Photo by Barbara Newman

Lime Rock from a MINI Fan Perspective
by Dave Newman

Barbara and I are big fans of the MINI JCW Team.  Last year we traveled to races in Watkins Glen, N.Y., Mosport in Canada, Lime Rock Park in Lakeville, Conn., and Road Atlanta in Georgia to see our favorite team in action.  This year, due to attending Mini Meet East, we have only been to Lime Rock in July. 

The MINI team has to be the friendliest and most fan-oriented team in IMSA racing.  We see more fans hanging around the MINI paddock than at any other team, even the WeatherTech big boys.  This year, same as last, MINI USA sponsored a MINI corral area where for a few bucks you had an exclusive parking area just for MINIs, a breakfast and lunch and soft drinks and coffee, paid for by MINI USA — and some of the best hillside seating to watch the race, on the end of the main straight with views of Big Bend and beyond.  Big thanks must go to Tonine McGarvie from MINI USA who coordinates the team events.  Tonine also held a prize raffle for MINI fans in the paddock.  Barbara won a big bag of MINI goodies.

The MINI JCW Team competes in the ST class of IMSA’s Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge.  The Lime Rock race was a two-hour event, but there are three other events on the schedule, at Daytona, Watkins Glen, and a newly-added “Encore” race at Sebring, that are four hours in length, testing the MINI race cars to their limit. 

The cars in ST (for “Street Tuner”) are basically the same as the MINIs you can drive every day.  They are MINI Cooper JCW models, with racing tires, racing brakes and a fuel cell instead of a gas tank for safety. The interior is taken out and a roll cage installed along with fire and safety equipment and a team two-way radio.  But the engine and drivetrain is pretty much street-spec with a race exhaust. 

The sad news this year is that the ST class is going away for 2019 as IMSA specs change.  Where our favorite MINI Team will be competing is up in the air at the time of writing.  It may be in the Pirelli World Challenge series with MINI Coopers, or in the TCR (“Touring Car”) class in the IMSA series with a bigger MINI or something different.  We shall have to wait until the end of the season to find out.  After three years of ST class racing, we have grown very fond of “our” team.  MINI fans are like that.

We were sitting in the MINI corral hillside, with our old Motorola police surplus radio programmed to listen to the team radio frequencies, wearing David Clark surplus headsets, and enjoying some fantastic weather for a race. Listening into the communications is fun.  Keeping what you may hear confidential is just plain gentlemanly. 

August 2018

[5-Sept_18_Perocarpi.jpg] MINI JCW Team owner Luis Perocarpi (right) with his most dedicated fan.
Photo by Barbara Newman

We had been keeping our fingers crossed that the plague of broken CV joints (axles) that ended the runs of some of the cars in previous races this year would not happen again. 

Before the race, I spoke about this with the team manager, Luis Perocarpi. He explained it was the rubber boots that kept ripping and causing the grease to leave the CV joints, causing them to snap.  For some reason it only happened this season, leaving the team scratching their heads.  Perhaps it was the stress of racing or the heat build-up from the brakes — or even a mid-year production change by MINI to the rubber boot composition?  But for Lime Rock, all three cars had brand new MINI axles installed, and that seemed to do the trick.  Thinking about this as a MINI JCW owner, we would almost never experience this failure in a street-driven MINI as it would never be stressed for two or four hours straight at top speeds.

The team had never won at Lime Rock.  Last year some difficulties kept them off the podium.  But this year was simply grand.  After a hard-fought two-hour race, MINI #73, driven by Mike LaMarra and Mat Pombo, took 1st place in ST, and MINI #52, driven by Colin Mullen and Mark Pombo, took 3rd place.  MINI #37 came in 4th, driven by Nate Norenberg and Derek Jones. 

Luis was thrilled!  The bubbly was being sprayed at the Winner’s Circle!  The fans surrounding the podium all got to take pictures holding the trophies and with the drivers and team. 

Yes, this team is friendly and approachable. They take time to talk with fans in the paddock before the races and during the Grid Walk right before the start and then after the race at the Winner’s Circle.  I tend to believe that MINI fans are the best in IMSA, too. 

Come to a race, meet the team, have fun!  The last race is at Road Atlanta in October.  Why not fly down and enjoy yourself?  We might do it again this year.  And with MINI’s lead in the Manufacturer’s Championship after Lime Rock, they are the favorite to take the series this year at Road Atlanta.

P.S.:  A few weeks later at Road America in Wisconsin, the team finished 2nd (#73 car) and 3rd (#37 car).




July 2018

[2-Aug_18_KLane_Moskvitch_Bear.jpg] Russian-built Moskvitch had a close encounter of the bear kind!
Graphic by Kate Lane

Minis and Micros and Bears,
Oh My!

by David Schwartz

NEWTON, Mass., July 6-8 — The Goulds’ 23rd Microcar Classic weekend ran like a well-oiled machine, not to mention a well-oiled driveway, garage floor and street.

Friday afternoon the rain cleared out and we had great weather all weekend. Saturday it was in the low 70s, the perfect temperature for a caravan of 40 microcars and minicars to make the 120-mile round trip drive between Newton and the summit of Mount Wachusett. Sunday at the Larz Anderson Auto Museum (LAAM) was hot and sunny, with a good turnout of cars and the public.

NEMO was out in force, with eight classic Minis and two Mokes on the lawn of the Museum. A couple from Florida trailered their classic Mini to Newton and participated in all the weekend events.

Every year there are surprises, and this was no exception. Dmitry Bykhovsky, general manager of AlphaCars in Boxborough, Mass., brought four Russian cars his shop has for sale, Lada being the only brand I had heard of. My favorite was a 1962 Moskvitch 407. Passengers complimented the comfortable ride and spacious interior. Coincidently, while descending Mount Wachusett, the Moskvitch encountered a black bear. Is it just me or is there something funny about the Russian car encountering the bear?

Other new and unusual cars included a 1935 Austin Seven, a Westfield kit car with a Miata drivetrain, an Autozam AZ-1 gullwing kei car, a nice green-and-white BMW Isetta and a 1947 Crosley sedan. The Autozam was built by Suzuki and sold by Mazda. Now that the model is 25 years old it can legally be imported to the US.

At the summit of Mount Wachusett a community access cable TV crew greeted us. They videoed our arrival and departure and interviewed Jon Chomitz and Charles Gould. On Sunday, a different cable TV crew was on the field at LAAM. Wendy Birchmire, Alex Daly and I were interviewed about our classic Minis.

July 2018

[3-Aug_18_Rides.jpg] Queuing up to give rides around the LAAM grounds.
Photo by David Schwartz

NEMO member and first-time attendee 6-year-old Nuala Barker had been asking her father Iain about the microcar event for months, knowing that she would get to ride in the cars rather than just hanging out at the show. Nuala took lots of rides, held several tea parties in the Robbins’ VW camper van, petted many dogs and had her face painted. She invited people to take rides in Iain’s classic Mini and enjoyed riding in the wayback of my ’68 Mini Traveller. It is safe to say that Nuala had a blast.

It was great fun to watch the Austin Seven give rides around the Museum grounds on Sunday. Many NEMO members gave rides in their cars. Bruce Vild responded to a special request for a classic Mini when other members were taking a break to cool down both the cars and drivers.

When awards were handed out for the Mini class, Wendy Birchmire took 1st for her 1990 Mini Domino Pimlico convertible, Bruce Vild’s 1967 Austin Mini 850/1100 received 2nd, and Bob Brownell took 3rd place with his 1963 Austin Mini Cooper S.

In the Minicar class, 2nd place was awarded to Elizabeth (and Michael) Crawford’s 1933 MG J2. Six-month-old Camden Crawford picked up the trophy with his mother and promptly started teething on it.

Many thanks go to the Gould family and all the volunteers that helped with car repairs, food preparation, clean-up, registration and vending. Thanks also to Kate Lane for providing visual proof of the bear sighting. Kate is a Microcar Classic regular and is writing a children’s book inspired by the event.

July 2018

[4-Aug_18_FenwayStop.jpg] MINIs regroup outside Fenway.
Photo by Wendy Birchmire

‘The British Are Coming’ MINI Rally
by Wendy Birchmire

BOSTON, Mass., June 30 — Despite the 90° weather forecast, I joined MINIs of Boston on their annual Summer Rally through Boston, Lexington and Concord. If this were a rally for classic Minis (no air conditioning) it would be a different story! A highpoint of the rally was a tour of the US Coast Guard Base in Boston. We had to submit an application for permission to enter the base.

My husband (who hates hot weather) and I arrived at the Base at about 7:45 a.m. and had our IDs checked at the gate. We passed inspection because they let us in and directed us to the wharf where a lot of MINIs were already parked. Owners were doing their usual inspection of other cars and chatting with fellow enthusiasts.

At 8 a.m. the USS Constitution (which is anchored across the water from the Base) fired off one of its cannons. The ceremonial “Morning Colors” (hoisting and lowering of the flags) was then conducted on the Base. The MINI assemblage removed their hats, most of which were emblazoned with MINI logos.

Our tour of the Coast Guard Base began shortly thereafter. The 270-ft. Seneca, a famous class medium endurance cutter, is berthed there. Josh Amato arranged for us to get a guided tour of the vessel. We broke into small groups, had our IDs checked again and boarded the cutter. We viewed the space where Jayhawk helicopters land and then entered the ship. It has air conditioning, which was good news on such a hot day.

Our group of 20 started on the bridge, where the captain, helmsman, quartermaster and lookout work. We learned about the cutter’s twin V18 diesel engines and that the Seneca can travel at 22mph. We descended three steep, narrow stairways down to the officers’ dining room and the mess hall. I had forgotten how claustrophobic I am, but remembered quickly. The thought of 100 people (86 enlisted men and 14 officers) being on the cutter for extended periods of time shocked me. I couldn’t stay on the Seneca for a half hour without having an anxiety attack.

The Seneca’s jobs include homeland security, enforcing fishery laws, enforcing drug laws, search and rescue missions, and alien migration interdiction (illegally entering the country by sea). Though the Seneca was commissioned in 1987, she recently went out on a 70-day, 15,000-mile deployment, combating international drug trafficking and performing migrant interdiction operations. The ship’s crew, along with an armed helicopter crew, intercepted five vessels carrying cocaine from South America bound for the United States. The interdiction of these vessels resulted in the apprehension of 15 suspected narcotics traffickers, and approximately 3.5 tons of cocaine with a street value of nearly 63 million dollars!

We returned to our cars and found it was hot enough to fry an egg on their bonnets! We split into groups of 10 cars and set off through Boston’s North End. Some cars got stuck at red lights while others whizzed through the narrow, winding streets. We motored by Paul Revere’s house, Boston Common and then on to the Fenway Park area and a short stop to regroup.

After a tour of Back Bay (yes, we did a bit of circling around), it was on to the dreaded Storrow Drive. I say “dreaded” because it is difficult for me to follow the group when everyone spreads out into different lanes. No need to worry, we made it to Panera in Cambridge unscathed. A rest stop was certainly appreciated by this time.

After briefly cooling off, we drove on to Lexington to view historic sites along the Battle Road. A photo stop and a quick look at the Old Manse in Concord put us right on time for our lunch reservation.

At 12:15 p.m., 40 hungry MINI owners arrived at the picturesque Colonial Inn in Concord. There we were able to purchase well-needed cold beverages and lunch from a varied menu. At the restaurant we resumed our earlier conversations. All over the dining room, addicted MINI owners discussed their favorite MINI topics. I got pointers on opening the convertible top on my car. Now I know why the car displayed a strange message about the top not being totally open.

Sharing information is an important part of a rally! The drive and camaraderie made venturing out in the heat wave worthwhile.




June 2018

[1-Jul_18_Phil_Picks_Up_Engine.jpg] Phil picks up new-to-him 1380cc engine and parts.
Photo by Phil Darrell & Iain Barker

Advanced Life Support
by Iain Barker & Phil Darrell

The patient is a 46-year-old with breathing difficulties, low energy, and problems retaining bodily fluids. Diagnosis: major organ failure. Prognosis: terminal.

Well, that’s how it started, anyway, with Phil’s purchase of a 1972 Mini 998cc Mk3 Super Deluxe. Even before the deal was done we knew the engine likely had issues with smoke and emissions, as the “for sale” photos showed that a previous owner had disconnected the crankcase breather hose and blocked it with a half inch bolt. What we didn’t realize is that it was also leaking oil from the differential seals, most of which deposited itself onto the garage floor at a friend’s house after a 20-mile drive.

Fortunately, a plan was afoot. Iain had recently removed a good 1380cc A+ engine from his 1967 Cooper S Mk1, so a deal was done to buy the engine and ancillaries and use them to resurrect the 1972 Mk3. (Cue the opening scene from The Six Million Dollar Man, “We have the technology, we can rebuild him,” etc., etc.)

In addition to upgrading the engine, something would need to be done about the brakes. Twin leading shoe drums might have been adequate (barely) for a 998cc engine with 38bhp, but they would never be a safe match for the 90bhp-plus of a 1380 — and besides, these brakes were not exactly in factory prime condition.

The Dunlop D1 alloy wheels were looking rather tired, with big chunks missing in places. They also suffered from an unsympathetic refurbishment courtesy of a rattle can of silver paint. The wheels stuck out much too far from the side of the car, neither safe nor aesthetically pleasing. The tires were good, though, and could be reused on new wheels.

It was time for Phil to get busy with his credit card and start ordering in some parts.

As with all Mini projects, it’s best to have a goal in mind so the project doesn’t drag on interminably. June 2nd was chosen as the completion date, so that the car could be driven to “British by the Sea” in Connecticut on the 3rd. Phil picked up the engine, exhaust, headers, tools, and a box of miscellaneous parts from Iain, and was ready to start work.

Iain immediately went on vacation for two weeks in Europe trying to forget that he’d talked himself into fixing up yet another Mini (unsuccessfully, as it turns out). While in the UK he picked up a few of the harder-to-find components and brought them back as hand baggage.

It was early May, and with parts ordered from the usual UK motor factors, it was Phil’s turn to do the vanishing act for a week in Chicago. By mid-May we had a looming deadline, a large pile of parts, and a long, long way to go.

Phil stripped the drum hubs, exhaust and most of the ancillaries off the car during weekday evenings, and on weekends Iain drove the 100 miles or so to help with reassembly. First thing was to pull the old engine and separate it from the remote gearbox. The gearbox was in good condition and could be resealed and reused. As with most US Minis of that era, the gearbox had been previously replaced with one from an ADO16 Austin America, a very robust unit more than up to the challenge of a 1380.

However, before the gearbox could be installed, it had to be cleaned. It was caked in engine oil and accumulated road grit, literally up to half an inch thick in places. With no access to a parts washer or even running water, we scrubbed off the mess by hand using rags and wire brushes. It was a very, very long couple of hours, making for quite blistered hands.

Finally, the gearbox was ready to mate with the replacement engine. Being a race-build MED engine, the 1380 had been drilled and tapped for 5/16” crankcase bolts rather than the standard 1/4”. An attack with an electric hand drill quickly solved that problem by re-drilling the holes in the alloy gearbox casting — there was no going back now!

June 2018

[2-Jul_18_Installing_Carbs.jpg] Iain installs the rebuilt carburetors.
Photo by Phil Darrell

The primary oil seal, differential oil seals and all gaskets were replaced with new premium items from Mini Spares. We used Permatex aviation form-a-gasket to ensure a good seal on the gaskets, then proceeded with final assembly of the power unit and reinstallation into the car.

A long 10 hours after starting, it was very late in the evening and we were tired. A misaligned oil filter dumped a pint of Miller’s best Mini 20/50 on the garage floor. When everything was finally ready, a flat battery prevented starting the car that night. Still, we had accomplished a lot, so the next visit should be plain sailing.

Phil got the tires swapped to the new wheels (a nice shiny set of Minilites) and prepared the car for installing disc brakes. The new wheels and brakes are Cooper S-spec (10 x 4.5” deep offset wheels on 7.5” discs) so they fit properly within the bodylines of the car, a very nice upgrade. The exhaust, a Pico straight-through double-chrome center box, was also fitted. We changed the rear brake hydraulic cylinders to the smaller bore used on the Cooper S so the car would retain correct front to rear balance. Oh, and a new battery.

By now it was Memorial Day weekend, just one week before the BBTS deadline. This was the last chance to get the car on the road. Phil focused on the exhaust and rear suspension while Iain worked up front on the discs.

What should have been a simple swap soon became complicated, as the CV joints would not separate from the drive shafts. After some thought, we removed them with extreme prejudice, using an angle grinder to cut the balls out of the CV. The problem was the internal circlip had jumped out of its groove and jammed on the inner race, a simple fix (of course, both sides had the same fault).

Finally, the car was down on all four wheels and ready to be started. After torquing the head, setting the valve clearances and double-checking the ignition timing, it was “go time.” The twin SU HS2 carbs that Iain had refurbished (see May article) were deliberately set to run rich for start-up, and amazingly the engine fired up and idled on first turn of the key. Success!

A quick run down the road confirmed we had very little in the way of brakes, and the front wheel alignment was very toe-out, but at least the car was moving under its own power. In fact, the toe-out was so severe that Phil decided to utilize his AAA Plus towing privileges and had the Mini flat-bedded to his local mechanic, who upon seeing the situation had no choice but to put off all his waiting customers and get the car on the lift pronto. He freed up the stubborn tie rods and got the alignment set. There was even time for an additional brake bleed.

Now all that remained was to balance the carbs dynamically, set the mixture, and head off to British by the Sea. Not necessarily in that order.

June 2018

[3-Jul_18_BBTS_Field_Repair.jpg] Field repair at British by the Sea.
Photo by Phil Darrell

Epilogue: Phil’s car stalled out at a gas station on the way to BBTS due to running over-rich and flooding. Fortunately, he was able to get it restarted and made it to the show.

We balanced the carbs right there on the show field. Phil disconnected the carb linkages, and I used a piece of spare fuel hose as a listening tube to get the airflow at an even hiss by ear, referring to the diagram in my original 1967 Mini Cooper Driver’s Handbook! Then we warmed it up and set the fuel mixture on both carbs, again by ear, using the SU lifter pin to tickle the carb pistons up and listen for the change in revs. Phil then locked the linkages and reassembled the air cleaners.

Dave Black suggested using the plug insulator color to confirm the settings. Phil sent me a photo of the spark plugs last week after a hot run, and it was a nice brown/beige color just like the photo in the Haynes manual, so we must have got it fairly close. Not bad without any proper measuring equipment!




May 2018

[1-Jun_18_Classic_Thermo.jpg] The thermostat housing on the classic Mini.
Photo by Iain Barker

Regular Engine Maintenance: Mini vs. MINI
by Iain Barker

I normally write articles about the trials and tribulations of restoring and maintaining my classic 1967 Morris Mini Cooper S 1275. But I am also the owner of a 2009 MINI John Cooper Works R56 as my daily driver. What follows is a bit of a “compare and contrast” for some common maintenance tasks on both models.

Other than the vastly increased complexity required for modern computerized engine management, the most obvious difference between servicing these two cars is the recommended service intervals. As always, the mantra to follow is air, oil and water.

Air

Replacing the engine air filter on both eras of car is trivial. Unscrew the top of the air box (one or two wing nuts on the classic, three Torx screws on the modern) and replace the paper element (or re-oil if using K&N). Change the filter about once a year for normal highway use in New England, or every 3 or 6 months if you live in the desert or go rallying on the back roads. Elapsed time, 5 minutes.

Oil

The classic Mini uses the same oil for its engine and gearbox, and the Morris 1967 handbook recommends a conventional oil change every 3,000 miles/3 months, or 6,000/6 if using multi-grade. In practice I suspect most of the 5.3 million classic Minis built only got an annual service, at best.

BMW recommends 12,000 miles/12 months as the oil service interval, but the onboard computer on my Gen2 MINI seems to recommend service every 15,000. That is far too long, in my opinion generally I change the oil every 6,000/6 months, which is reasonable for a turbo engine.

So in reality, despite over 40 years of progress, nothing has really changed. You service the oil regularly to avoid engine problems. Of course, actually performing that service is a little different.

On the classic Mini, unscrew the gearbox drain plug and remove one bolt to drop the Purolator oil filter (or spin it off using a pipe wrench if your Mini is Mk3 or later). Replace the filter/element, wipe off the accumulated metal shavings from the magnetic drain plug (and worry briefly about where they might have come from), then refit the plug and refill with oil. It’s an easy 10-minute job.

On the MINI, draining the engine oil is just as straightforward, although the gearbox oil is “lifetime transmission fluid” per the BMW sticker (whose lifetime, mine or the car’s?) I suggest replacing it every few years. For a bi-annual service, only the engine oil and filter need to be changed. The oil filter on the MINI is a little harder to access than on the Mini, since it is tucked away underneath the turbo. Unbolt the cooling radiator expansion tank and move it to one side to gain access to the oil filter. In all, about 15 to 20 minutes for drain and refill.

Water

The other regular maintenance task on any car is to flush and replace the coolant and replace the thermostat. Generally I do that once per year when bringing the classic Mini out of winter hibernation, although every couple of years is probably sufficient on the MINI, as alloy generally corrodes less than cast iron.

On both eras of car, draining and flushing the coolant is the same. Place a large kiddie paddling pool under the front of the car and drain the old coolant. On the MINI it is easiest to disconnect the joint in the bottom radiator hose. On the Mini, unscrew the radiator copper drain plug if your car is lucky enough to have one, or remove the left road wheel to gain access, and then disconnect the lower radiator hose via the cutout in the inner wing. There is probably an official pressurization tool for the job, but I just flush the system with a garden hose to wash out the corroded detritus (make sure the heater tap is open on the Mini), then refit the hose/plug and refill with new coolant via the radiator cap.

On the MINI you also need to bleed air out of the screw on top of the thermostat housing. On the Mini you can do the same by loosening the heater tap hose. Both cars take about the same time, 15 minutes or so.

May 2018

[2-Jun_18_Jarvik_Thermo.jpg] ‘Jarvik’-style thermostat housing on the R56 MINI.
Photo by Iain Barker

What is definitely a very different task is replacing the thermostat. On a classic Mini the thermostat is located at the top front corner of the cylinder head and is retained by three studs (most A/A+ engines) or bolts (late A+ engines without a bypass hose). It has one inlet (from the head) and one clamped outlet hose (to the radiator). Ideally, the hoses should be replaced at the same time as the thermostat. Generally, the hardest part of the job is getting the alloy thermostat housing off the steel studs, due to the dissimilar metals corroding electrolytically over time. Total time to replace is around 10 to 15 minutes.

For the MINI, the thermostat isn’t listed as a service item in the handbook, but they all seem to start leaking after a few years. I found I had to change mine when doing the most recent service.

An R56 MINI thermostat has no less than seven hoses connected to it. Others have compared it to the Jarvik artificial heart. It certainly looks that complicated (see photo). To make matters worse, it is buried in the engine bay on the side of the block, and several layers need to be removed before it can be unbolted.

First, drain the coolant and remove the expansion tank for access. Next, remove the cold intake tubing and the air box, the turbo air pipes, and the noisemaker from the bulkhead. Finally, disconnect about a dozen engine management electrical connections and lift the ECU loom away from the engine.

Now the seven hoses can be unclamped and the thermostat unbolted. As with the classic Mini it is retained by three bolts, but this time the thermostat housing is made of plastic so there are no bi-metal corrosion issues to be concerned about. Of course, using plastic in such a hot environment could be why it degraded and leaked in the first place. Just sayin’.

At this point you will feel some measure of confidence that the whole endeavor will be successful. Unfortunately, that feeling is likely premature. Inspecting the removed part, you will most likely find evidence of leaks around the O-ring seal of the water pump to thermostat transfer pipe, again made of plastic and prone to degradation.

Unless you have arms like Stretch Armstrong, you will need to remove the inlet manifold and throttle valve assembly for access to the water pump coolant transfer pipe. The passenger side road wheel will need to be removed for access to the lower manifold bolt via the cutout in the inner wing. I guess some things never change.

With the transfer pipe and thermostat replaced, refitting is, for once, the exact reverse of removal. Elapsed time is around 2 hours for disassembly. After refilling and bleeding air from the new housing, allow another 1 to 2 hours for reassembly, depending whether you changed the transfer pipe.

In this case, 40-plus years doesn’t seem so much like progress. But despite what many people say, home servicing is still possible on modern cars — it just takes longer than it used to.

May 2018

[3-Jun_18_Kids.jpg] Enjoying MetroFest 2016. This year’s event is on Saturday, June 16.
Photo by David Schwartz

Arts! Music!
Food trucks!
by Ken Lemoine

Join us for the MetroFest Arts, Music & Food Truck Festival on Saturday, June 16th, at Bowditch Field in Framingham, Mass. That’s right, it’s a food truck festival with 20 trucks from across New England, plus 130 vendor booths, a climbing wall, a beer, wine and hard cider tasting tent, an electric bike test track, and “Kids Town” with fire trucks, DPW vehicles, a pair of ambulances and a SWAT truck to climb through. And, of course, there will be classic cars from NEMO members and friends.

Admission is free, and it runs from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Bowditch Field is at 475 Union Ave., Framingham, and the link to the event is www.metrowestvisitors.org/explore/MetroFest.cfm.

Contact me at alvis1934@aol.com or (508) 259-6314 about including your classic car at MetroFest. There is space for 20-plus cars this year and participation, as mentioned, is free. Plan to arrive at Bowditch Field around 10 a.m. We will enter the field through the iron gates right at 475 Union Ave. There will be a guide to get you settled in. The event runs until 4 p.m. but if you need to leave earlier they understand and exit access is very simple.

May 2018

[4-Jun_18_MINI_73.jpg] MINI JCW #73 charging hard at Mid-Ohio.
Photo by Jake Galstad, LAT Images, courtesy IMSA


MINI 1, 2 at Mid-Ohio
by Dave Newman

The MINI JCW Team finished 1st and 2nd in their class on what was otherwise a lackluster day for British cars in the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge race at Mid-Ohio, “the Mid-Ohio 120.”

The two-hour endurance race included cars from the GS (Grand Sport) and new TCR classes along with the ST (Street Tuner) class, where the MINIs were competing against a Porsche and a BMW.

The Mid-Ohio track is 2.4 miles long with 16 turns and many elevation changes and blind corners, perfect for a MINI. It was the first time the team had raced at Mid-Ohio, as the last time IMSA was here was in 2013.

The recently married Nate Norenburg qualified 1st in class in the #37 MINI JCW. At the start of the race, he initially fell back but fought his way to the front before the driver change, with Derek Jones taking over.

The MINI JCW Team has technicians from different local MINI dealers helping out at races as part of MINI USA’s Service Tech Education Program (commonly referred to as STEP). This race had four techs from Cincinnati MINI and one from way down south, Tom Bush MINI in Jacksonville, Fla.

The STEP techs noticed that the #37 MINI JCW had a torn CV boot. They could not fix this and still be competitive, so while Derek was sent back out onto the track, they probably were not surprised when the CV joint (axle assembly) broke with about 30 minutes left in the race. Derek was forced to retire.

This left the race up to the #52 MINI JCW, first driven by Colin Mullan. At mid-point Colin handed the car off to Mark Pombo, who would run a close, bumper-to-bumper race in 1st or 2nd for the last hour with the team’s third car, the #73 MINI JCW.

Number 73 started with driver Mike LaMarra, who swapped positions back and forth with the #52 car, eventually passing his MINI to Mat Pombo (keep your Pombos straight here!). Mat led the race with his brother Mark in the #52 on his tail for some fantastic racing in the last half hour.

The television announcers clearly love the MINI team and the competition between 1st and 2nd was tight. Mat in #73 MINI crossed the finish line inches in front of Mark, bringing home the victory.

Luis Perocarpi, who campaigns the three MINI JCW cars for MINI USA, runs a tight and focused team. Except for the CV joint problem on #37, they had the perfect race. For those of you with a MINI: have you checked your CV joint rubber seals lately?




May 2018

Coming Attractions

Mini Meet East 2018 — July 2-5
New Paltz, N.Y.

Have you ever experienced a Mini Meet? If not, there is nothing like it. Mini Meet is a gathering of a great group of people with enthusiasm for having fun with their cute little cars. And Mini Meet East 2018 (MME) is practically next door compared to the previous four Meets.

In 2013, Derick and Lorine Karabec took the lead on organizing MME with NEMO as the host club. When they learned that no other club had stepped up to the plate for MME 2018, they volunteered again to take the lead, with their local club, Brits of the Hudson, serving as host.

MME 2018 will take place in New Paltz, N.Y., from Monday, July 2nd, through Thursday, July 5th. Registration opens on Monday and the event concludes with an awards ceremony banquet on Thursday.

New Paltz is a great little town with a variety of restaurants, boutiques, artisan shops, and a historic district, all surrounded by the beautiful Shawangunk Mountains. Not far from town is the famous Angry Orchard and Tuthilltown Spirits, New York’s first whiskey distillery since Prohibition. This year’s Meet will feature a 2-3 hour organized drive every evening to introduce you to different points of interest in the area.

The host hotel is Hampton Inn, located on South Putt Road in New Paltz, with a negotiated rate of $99 per night, plus tax. This rate is good through June 1st based on availability, so make your reservation today.

Visit minimeeteast2018.com for complete Meet information. Be sure to check back regularly for updates. They are always looking for volunteers. If you would like to get involved, contact Lorine Karabec at wolfelor@aol.com. Hope to see you all there!

Gould’s Microcar & Minicar Classic — July 6-8
Newton, Mass.

When you come back from Mini Meet, catch your breath quickly, because Gould’s Microcar & Minicar Classic returns to Newton, Mass., July 6th through 8th — an entire weekend of microcar and minicar fun! This includes a Friday evening welcome reception, a Saturday drive and ascent of Wachusett Mountain, a stop at the Gould’s Matchbox Motors to view the entire collection, Saturday night barbecue and frozen margarita party, and a Sunday lawn show at the Larz Anderson Auto Museum with optional rides for the public.

A stuffy “park-and-polish” show this isn’t. NEMO is always well represented and we guarantee you will have a great time. See the event website, www.bubbledrome.com/index2.html or Facebook page www.facebook.com/bubbledrome for the full weekend schedule, photos of past events and registration information. You can also e-mail Charles Gould to request a registration packet at chasgould@mac.com.




April 2018

[1-May_18_Daves_Report.jpg] Dave Black reports on club finances.
Photo by Robert Izzo

NEMO Annual Meeting
by David Schwartz

FRAMINGHAM, Mass., Apr. 8 — This year we held the NEMO Annual Meeting at the British Beer Company (BBC), a small restaurant chain with 12 locations in Massachusetts and New Hampshire. The BBC features a large beer selection and British pub menu and is popular with other British car clubs.

The Framingham BBC provided us with the “Mad Dog Room” free of charge. Sadly, this location will be closing at the end of April, as the landlord wants to replace the restaurant with a larger building. This is the third time a venue is closing after NEMO held an event there. Hopefully, this is just a coincidence.

We had a great turnout, with 27 adults and one child in attendance. In addition to all the regulars, there were several surprise attendees — Charles and Nancy Gould, the Microcar Classic organizers long-time member Phil Darrell at his first NEMO event, and Kathleen Fitzgerald, Nuala Barker’s mom and Iain’s wife. Four new members were also present — MINI owners Eric and Leslie Wickfield, William Ellis, owner of a nice Innocenti Mini, and Ken Howe, also a MINI owner. Ken joined at the meeting after seeing the event listing on the NEMO Facebook page. To paraphrase Ken, “Beer and British cars, how could you go wrong?”

The parking lot contained two classic British cars, the Goulds’ Nissan Pao, and lots of modern MINIs.

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 were fewer than usual (some years we have too many) and included car parts, books, toys, magazines, Mini tchotchkes, etc.

The meeting started with a social hour followed by an à la carte lunch. People ordered a variety of British and non-British dishes and the food received positive reviews.

Down to Business

Faith Lamprey called the meeting to order by pulling the first raffle ticket. This got everyone’s attention and the best prizes went quickly. After the raffle we moved on to the business portion of the Meeting.

Dave Black provided a financial report. The NEMO bank balance is healthy, with the Holiday Party being our major expense, followed by British Marque subscriptions.

Ken Lemoine gave an Hrach Fund update. The Fund is in honor of founding member Hrach Chekijian and is intended to help young people get involved in the British car hobby. Please contact Ken (alvis1934@aol.com) if you have an idea for a worthwhile project or recipient.

April 2018

[3-May_18_Phil_and_Carb.jpg] Phil Darrell shows off the refurbished carburetor set that Iain Barker wrote about last issue.
Photo by David Schwartz

Mini Meet East

Lorine and Derick Karabec provided a Mini Meet East 2018 (MME) update. Their other British car club, Brits of the Hudson (BOTH), is hosting the event. MME will take place in New Paltz, N.Y., from Monday, July 2nd through Thursday, July 5th. Lorine and Derick ran MME in 2013 when NEMO was the host club. They deserve our support and help for taking this on again!

New Paltz is an easy drive, and a lot of NEMO members plan to attend. Classic Minis and modern MINIs are both welcome and BOTH members will participate with other British marques.

Registration is now open. See www.minimeeteast2018.com for additional information. To get involved, contact Lorine Karabec at wolfelor@aol.com or (845) 532-8891.

Other Business

Yours truly provided an update on the NEMO Facebook page, which currently has over 655 likes. We discussed needing more member car photos for the NEMO website. The event photo galleries are updated periodically, but the car galleries are quite out of date. Please e-mail photos to Faith at nemo@auroratechedi.com. Members are also welcome to add photos to the Facebook page in the “Member Cars” album or as a visitor post.

I then led a discussion of the 2018 events calendar. Event listings are updated throughout the driving season. See the website and Facebook page for the latest information. Please let me know about any events you would like to have included.

There was a request from the floor to note whether an event is open to classic Minis, modern MINIs or both. In general, the major British car events welcome both. Most modern MINI events generally welcome classics, though the opposite is not always true.

There were a few other items of note: Wendy Birchmire sold her last “member car” fleece blanket to John Gallagher. The original blanket was the most stolen Yankee Swap gift at the 2017 Holiday Party, so Wendy had some extras made.

Faith gave special recognition to Iain Barker for the great articles he has been writing. The subject of his April article, “Mini Twin SU Carb Conversion,” was shown off by its new owner, Phil Darrell. You do great work, Iain! Phil also bought a 1380cc engine from Iain, and will be installing the engine and carb in his recently acquired 1972 Austin Mini 1000.

People started trickling out around 3:30 p.m. We may try a different British Beer Company location next year, perhaps Franklin, Mass., but are open to other suggestions.

April 2018

[2-May_MINI_Brewery_Rally.jpg] A car for the MINIons!
Photo by Wendy Birchmire

MINIs Invade the Breweries!
by Wendy Birchmire

Wow! Josh Amato is setting up a Brewery Rally for MINIs of Boston. I’ve got a brand new MINI (a 2018 Convertible JCW) and I like beer. This could be a fun event! I think I’ll try it. I haven’t driven “Silver” any distance yet and this will be a great way to see how it handles on the curvy roads of Massachusetts.

One of the best parts of the Rally was reuniting with some of my MINI-loving friends. They were there to greet me when I arrived at Panera in Leominster. Despite the chilly day, participants wandered around admiring each car. I always find it amazing that 22 modern MINI Coopers can assemble and no two look alike. Standing out from the crowd were the yellow MINI decked out with Minion decals covering the entire vehicle, and a blue MINI “time machine” adorned with Tardis stickers.

After a quick trip into Panera for some breakfast, we were off. Josh had set up an ingenious Mapquest program for us. All I had to do was go to the link he’d e-mailed and the route appeared on my iPhone. This was a great idea. If I got separated from the group at least I knew which roads they would be traveling.

Following the voice on my iPhone and a Volcanic Orange MINI with a spoiler bar, I figured that I couldn’t get lost. I was able to stay with the pack, but when we arrived at the Wachusett Brewery I had to check my car to make sure it was still intact. I’d misunderstood what a “rally” is, and didn’t expect to be “cruising” at speed on narrow, windy, back roads!

At the Brewery, most of us sat outside around a gas fireplace for warmth. After imbibing small samples of Bella Czech Pilsner (nice) and Hard Cider (horrible), I was ready to fly to the next stop.

We were running late and skipped a stop at the Clinton Dam. My Mapquest program noted the change and kept me driving right along to the Wormtown Brewery in Worcester. It turned out there was a private party present, and thus not enough parking for 22 cars, or seats in the brewery for 38 people. After a quick trip next door to Volturno Pizza, where we found there was a 20-minute wait for tables, we decided to bypass that stop, too. Others agreed with our choice and our little caravan hit the highway.

My new concept of a rally was confirmed when our group motored along with exuberance on the way to Jack’s Abbey in Framingham. After eating some unusual pizza (bacon and mashed potato) and washing it down with some Smoke and Dagger Black Lager (interesting!), I headed home.

My little MINI performed admirably on the trip and I enjoyed the camaraderie of others who have a (slight) MINI Cooper obsession. Now that I know what a rally is, I would like to go on another one!

March 2018

[1-Apr_18_Carbs_Before.jpg] As purchased on eBay.
Photo by Iain Barker

Mini Twin SU Carb Conversion
by Iain Barker

No, this is not your usual tale of changing a Mini over from single to twin carbs. This is the story of a little winter side project to refurbish a set of twin carbs from an MG and convert them to fit on a Mini.

The great thing about SU carburetors is that they’ve been around pretty much forever, so they are plentiful on the second hand market (eBay). The bad thing is that with so many different types and vehicle applications, it’s easy to buy the wrong model.

So it was that I picked up a much-neglected pair of HS2 carbs off eBay for $120. They came fitted to an ADO16 (actually an MG 1100) manifold, obviously hadn’t been used in 20 or more years, and looked like they’d probably spent most of that time sitting outside in the rain.

From the photos the carbs certainly looked the same as those for a Mini Cooper S. They just needed a good polish and I already had a spare Mini aluminum twin manifold, so it should be a quick bolt-on job, right?

Well, as always, the devil is in the details. I expected I would have to change the main needles (‘M’ for a Mini 1275) and renew the rusted piston springs, but I quickly learned the hard way that the Mini uses half inch wider spacing between the carbs. Further, the Mini manifold is raked upwards at 30° to clear the bulkhead, whereas these were set at 20°. Clearly this wasn’t going to be as straightforward as I had hoped.

Now the SU carb itself doesn’t really care which angle it is running at, but the separate fuel reservoir next to each carb contains a float that operates a needle valve, and that needs to be upright. So the first thing I had to do was order up replacement gaskets with the appropriate 30° offset — orange for the front carb and purple for the rear.

March 2018

[2-Apr_18_Carbs_After.jpg] Work done, ready for air filters.
Photo by Iain Barker

Next up, a genuine SU full rebuild kit from Mini Spares UK, containing replacement butterfly, throttle spindle, choke jet tube, needle valve and seat, plus all the gaskets needed to service a pair of HS2 carbs, basically everything that can wear out over years of use and abuse. The kit comes with clear instructions and is easy to fit using hand tools. Just make sure to get the butterfly the right way around (it has offset chamfered edges) and that the jet tube is centered. The spindle bores were not worn on these carbs, but the kit does come with new bushings just in case.

The classic SU twin carb set-up uses a control linkage, which ensures both throttles and chokes operate together. This consists of two metal rods between the carbs, and an assortment of springs, cams, brackets and clamps. All these parts are identical between the Mini and the MG, except that the two rods need to be half an inch longer for the Mini. I cut some brass rod stock to the appropriate length, and brazed the original steel throttle stop bracket back onto one of the rods using silver solder and a MAPP torch.

The final job was to clean off the remaining surface rust and corrosion with a brass wire brush. I had submerged the bodies in a bucket of carb cleaner for 48 hours prior to disassembly, so it was really just a quick job to brush off the residue. It is important not to scratch the piston or surfaces inside the dashpot, as they are made to close tolerances in order to maintain an effective vacuum seal.

All in, I spent around $150 on parts, plus the original $120 eBay purchase price. At $270 that’s around 1/4 the cost of a new set of carbs. They might not be as shiny as a new set, but should work just as well.

March 2018

Coming Attractions

NEMO Annual Meeting — Apr. 8
Framingham, Mass.

Our Annual Meeting will be held on Sunday, April 8th, from 12 noon to 4 p.m. at the British Beer Company, 120 Worcester Rd. (Route 9), Framingham, Mass., (508) 879-1776, britishbeer.com/location/framingham. We reserved the Mad Dog Room, which is in the back behind the bar. The BBC features an extensive beer selection and British pub menu. Food and drink will be ordered à la carte.

An evite was sent to the membership list on March 4th. As of the Marque deadline, 20 people responded yes, with 3 maybe. Another evite will be sent out a week before the meeting. Feel free to join us at the last minute, even if you don’t RSVP.

Mini Meet East 2018 — July 2-5
New Paltz, N.Y.

Have you ever experienced a Mini Meet? If not, there is nothing like it. Mini Meet is a gathering of a great group of people with enthusiasm for having fun with their cute little cars. And Mini Meet East 2018 (MME) is practically next door compared to the previous four Meets.

In 2013, Derick and Lorine Karabec took the lead on organizing MME with NEMO as the host club. When they learned that no other club had stepped up to the plate for MME 2018, they volunteered again to take the lead, with their local club, Brits of the Hudson, serving as host.

MME 2018 will take place in New Paltz, N.Y., from Monday, July 2nd, through Thursday, July 5th. Registration opens on Monday and the event concludes with an awards ceremony banquet on Thursday.

New Paltz is a great little town with a variety of restaurants, boutiques, artisan shops, and a historic district, all surrounded by the beautiful Shawangunk Mountains. Not far from town is the famous Angry Orchard and Tuthilltown Spirits, New York’s first whiskey distillery since Prohibition. This year’s Meet will feature a 2-3 hour organized drive every evening to introduce you to different points of interest in the area.

The host hotel is Hampton Inn, located on South Putt Road in New Paltz, with a negotiated rate of $99 per night, plus tax. This rate is good through June 1st based on availability, so make your reservation today.

Visit minimeeteast2018.com for complete Meet information. Be sure to check back regularly for updates. They are always looking for volunteers. If you would like to get involved, contact Lorine Karabec at wolfelor@aol.com. Hope to see you all there!

Gould’s Microcar & Minicar Classic — July 6-8
Newton, Mass.

Gould’s Microcar & Minicar Classic returns July 6th through 8th, providing an entire weekend of microcar and minicar fun. This includes a Friday evening welcome reception, a Saturday drive and ascent of Wachusett Mountain, a stop at the Gould’s Matchbox Motors to view the entire collection, Saturday night barbecue and frozen margarita party, and a Sunday lawn show at the Larz Anderson Auto Museum with optional rides for the public.

A stuffy “park-and-polish” show this isn’t. NEMO is always well represented and we guarantee you will have a great time. See the event website, www.bubbledrome.com/index2.html or Facebook page www.facebook.com/bubbledrome for the full weekend schedule, photos of past events and registration information. You can also e-mail Charles Gould to request a registration packet at chasgould@mac.com.




February 2018

[1-Mar_18_DoctorWhoDalek.jpg] For the uninitiated or otherwise curious, this is a Dalek.
Photo from the Doctor Who TV series courtesy Iain Barker

Restoration of a Dalek
by Iain Barker

Warning: the following article contains science, science fiction and peppermint.

“What goes up, must come down,” said Isaac Newton. Well, in the case of my Mini, that would be the Hydrolastic suspension.

For those not familiar, Hydrolastic was a rather clever system fitted on many Minis from the mid-’60s to early ’70s. It connected the front and rear wheel hubs on each side of the car using metal hydraulic pipes and rubber displacers, in place of traditional suspension springs and dampers. To service the suspension, BMC dealers would de-/re-pressurize the system (between 30” vacuum and 300psi) using two levers on a hand pump manufactured in the UK by the (long-gone) V.L. Churchill Company.

The pumps are a black or blue metal box with two long levers at the front. They look a bit like the arms of a Dalek, the metal-cased evil aliens from the Doctor Who British sci-fi TV series, hence the nickname. One lever draws a vacuum the other lever compresses green Hydrolastic fluid (basically 50:50 water and anti-freeze premix) via two pipes connected to valves on the rear subframe.

Why am I telling you all this, you may wonder. Well, I managed to pick up an old Churchill pump fairly cheaply off ebay.co.uk this fall, and decided to restore it for use with my ’67 Mini.

To be blunt, this pump was knackered.

All these pumps date from the mid-1960s, but this one was in a particularly grim state. It had quite obviously not been used for many years as anything other than a storage shelf. It was covered in oil, dirt and cobwebs. The case was bent and corroded. All the main mechanical parts seemed to be intact, but there was a large split in the plastic fluid reservoir, which someone had obviously tried and failed to reseal many years ago using fiberglass resin.

February 2018

[2-Mar_18_Dalek_Before.jpg] The pump before reconstruction. The resemblance between it and a Dalek is extraordinary.
Photo by Iain Barker

I stripped it down easily in a couple of hours, minus a few layers of skin from my knuckles. Where a pump once stood on the workbench, now there was a large disorganized pile of what looked like brass and copper Victorian central heating parts.

I had no clue what to do next, but after a quick wire brushing I saw that the metal corrosion didn’t look too bad. The rubber parts were a different story — flexible hydraulic seals that had seen years of service in alcohol and water had been left many more years to dry out, and now looked more like circles made from hard, cracked raisins.

After a lot of searching (hint: “hard black rubber” is not a good thing to Google with safe-search disabled), I found an article on a vintage motorcycle website that suggested an old trick to soak the hardened rubber part in a mixture of alcohol and natural wintergreen oil. Apparently the methyl salicylate compound in wintergreen oil restores the plasticizing elastomers in natural rubber. It also smells like peppermint.

Since new seals haven’t been available for at least 30 years, I figured anything was worth a try. Wintergreen oil is expensive most uses seemed to be for homeopathy and it is sold by the ounce. Fortunately, continuing with my theme of using weird suppliers for Mini parts restoration, I managed to get a pint of methyl salicylate, courtesy of Big Dee’s Horse Tack & Vet Supply Company. I put the metal parts in a bucket of CLR (calcium, lime and rust remover), the rubber seals in a 1:3 mix of wintergreen oil and rubbing alcohol, and decided the best option was to go on vacation to Florida for Thanksgiving and forget about my troubles.

We returned from Thanksgiving vacation to find the Amazon fairies had paid a visit. They left me a package containing a dozen 1/4” BSP (an old, obsolete British Imperial measurement) Dowty sealing washers and a set of new neoprene piston seals. Now I was ready to try and reassemble the plumbing.

February 2018

[3-Mar_18_Plumbing_Done.jpg] Plastic reservoir tank refurbished, plumbing done, time to reassemble the Dalek and test.
Photo by Iain Barker

First up was the pressure pump, with its obsolete and very custom shaped piston seals. To my amazement, what two weeks ago had been lumps of shriveled hard plastic were now miraculously rejuvenated as supple, usable rubber seals, which smelled faintly like peppermint.

The vacuum pump seal, however, was swollen beyond its original size and cracked into three pieces. Fortunately, this was just a plain rubber seal, nothing proprietary, so it was fairly easy to find a substitute in the seal for the hydraulic piston on a pickup truck snowplow — eBay to the rescue.

With both pumps now able to hold pressure and vacuum, it was time to take care of that “historically repaired” plastic reservoir tank. The old tank was made of some kind of plastic, but of course it predates the introduction of recycling labeling regulations, so it had no material type markings to work from. I tried four different epoxies to fix the cracks in the old tank. JB Weld Plastic Bonder seemed to be the only one, which would adhere to the original plastic. Just in case, I also found a modern five-quart tank of similar design. That is less capacity than the original two-gallon tank, but unless you’re running a 1960s BMC dealership or servicing a fleet of Minis I doubt that would be much of a limitation.

In the spirit of maintaining originality (or maybe just masochism) I decided to use the re-repaired tank, and keep the modern one as a backup. With everything reassembled and a fresh lick of paint on the panels, the Hydrolastic pump was starting to look a lot more like it would have in 1964.

I half-filled the tank with the cheapest 50:50 antifreeze premix I could find, and hooked the hoses up to an old 10” Mini tire to see if the pumps would work. The vacuum side pulled, and held 25” mercury no problem when I put my thumb over the end of the hose. But when hooked up to the tire it was obvious the Schrader valve coupling was leaking in air. Add new Schrader seals to the to-do list.

Worse, the pressure side did not want to work at all. Had all this effort been in vain? No matter how hard I heaved down on the lever, no fluid came out of the hose. Hmm. Time for a beer and a think.

After a while I realized the problem. There is a one-way check valve to prevent the pressure pump from sucking fluid back out of the car on the upstroke. It’s basically a ball bearing floating inside a tube, and some idiot (me) had put it back together upside down. Hey, kids, remember to take photos during disassembly!

February 2018

[4-Mar_18_All_Done.jpg] All done! And ready to exterminate, exterminate... er, recharge Iain’s Hydrolastic system.
Photo by Iain Barker

With the valve reversed, the pump pushed fluid easily through the hose, up to the spare tire, out the top of the Schrader valve — and onto the basement ceiling. Now I had green antifreeze raining down on my head. That was not part of the plan. Add a second set of new Schrader seals to the to-do list.

Of course, neither of the Schrader couplings has been manufactured for at least 30 years, so there are no service kits available with replacement seals. Fortunately, the nitrogen-filled struts on aircraft landing gear are very similar to the Hydrolastic valves, and are still available. In fact, Amazon has them on next day delivery. So it was trivial to replace them with new parts that would hold pressure.

The only thing left now was to print a new instruction placard for the top panel. The pump is complete and ready to use when I reset the suspension height on my Mini in the spring.

February 2018

NEMO Annual Meeting April 8!

NEMO’s Annual Meeting will be held on Sunday, April 8th, from 12 noon to 4 p.m. at the British Beer Company, 120 Worcester Rd. (Route 9), Framingham, Mass., (508) 879-1776. We reserved the “Mad Dog Room,” which is in the back behind the bar.

The BBC features an extensive beer selection and British pub menu. This small restaurant chain is popular with other British car clubs. Food and drink will be ordered à la carte. Take a look at britishbeer.com/location/Framingham.

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. An evite will be sent to the membership list in early March. The British Beer Company is located on Route 9, about 1.5 miles from I-90.

Directions: 1) Take I-90 (Mass Turnpike) to Exit 13, Route 30 West, Natick/Framingham. 2) Bear right on the exit ramp and merge onto Route 30 West (Cochituate Road) toward Framingham. 3) Continue on Route 30 West for about 1.0 mile. 4) Turn left onto Caldor Road (mall service road). There is a McDonald’s on the left corner. 5) Caldor Road ends at a light. Turn left onto Worcester Road (Route 9). 6) The British Beer Company will be on your right, just after you turned onto Worcester Road.




January 2018

[1-JanFeb_18_Rally_Toys.jpg] An incredible haul of presents at MINI of Warwick.
Photo by Wendy Birchmire

MINIs Make a Difference
by Wendy Birchmire

WARWICK, R.I., Dec. 3 — You want me to join you where, at what hour? Oh, the “MINIs Making a Difference” Toy Rally in Warwick. That sounds like a wonderful way to help bring some happiness to children who really need it. But we have to be there at 8 a.m. and it is an hour’s drive from home? I haven’t gotten up before 7 a.m. since I retired, but I can do this. Just get up, get dressed, feed the cats, pack up the presents and get on the road!

On arriving at MINI of Warwick, the first thing I saw was a line of brand new MINIs ready to be someone’s holiday gift. Better stay away from them. My MINI is only two years old and is in fine shape. Those new ones looked so shiny and inviting, however.

There were three lines of modern MINIs and one classic Mini lined up for the rally. Many of them were adorned with Christmas finery. Even though it was a brisk 44°, owners were out inspecting the rally cars. Incredibly, of the 47 cars I didn’t see two cars that looked the same. There were unique paint jobs and clever license plates.

Inside, the dealership provided treats catered by Panera. There were assorted bagels, muffins, pastries, breakfast sandwiches, coffee, milk and orange juice. They even had my favorite, chocolate chip bagels, and cream cheese to smear on them. Yummy!

The dealership also offered a discount on gift items for MINI enthusiasts. I wanted the blue 3D puzzle of a MINI, but decided against it. My friend bought one and I’m sure she will let me play with hers. Thank you, MINI of Warwick, for a perfect start to the day.

Then the presents started flowing in, brought by MINI owners and volunteers. There were bicycles, stuffed animals, games and just about anything a child could wish for. There were over 1,000 presents donated. One enterprising family contributed 170 items. Wow! Apparently all the family members had asked their friends to donate a present. The young lady who brought them to the rally said she wanted to collect even more next year.

There was also a charity raffle for $6,000 worth of donated prizes. My luck was not with me and I did not win anything. Oh, well.

January 2018

[2-JanFeb_18_Rally_Classic_Mini.jpg] A classic among the moderns.
Photo by Wendy Birchmire

At 11 a.m., we were off on the rally to Hasbro Children’s Hospital and the Newport Car Museum. Now that was tricky. Initially my car was sandwiched between two other MINIs. When we got to the highway, everyone spread out and it was difficult to see where to go at the interchanges. Once we got to Providence, local police provided us with an escort to the Hasbro Children’s Hospital. Later, on the drive to the Newport Car Museum, local officers stopped traffic at intersections so our little caravan could stay together.

The people at the Newport Car Museum welcomed us and provided cookies and coffee. There were many docents available to answer our questions. One of the things I really liked was there were no ropes surrounding the vehicles to keep visitors away. The private collection of 50 cars covers six decades of automotive design, from the 1950s to the present. There are separate exhibits of Ford/Shelby cars, Corvettes, Mopars, world cars and fin cars. There are also driving simulations and mid-century modern furnishings.

My favorite cars at the Museum were the 1954 Buick Skylark Convertible and the 2017 Dodge Viper ACR. Although they are quite different, I would be happy to ride in each of them.

All in all, it was a great day. We donated toys to children in need, inspected the other rally cars and were treated to a museum full of awesome vehicles. What could be better?

January 2018

[3-JanFeb_18_Blanket.jpg] ‘The gift’ this year was a blanket made by Wendy Birchmire featuring the favorite cars of NEMO members.
Photo by Robert Izzo

NEMO Holiday Party a Big Hit!
by David Schwartz

FRAMINGHAM, Mass., Dec. 2 — The NEMO Holiday Party was held at La Cantina Italiana in Framingham, and we had a great turnout — 33 adults and one child! The restaurant provided two adjoining rooms. A large outer room contained the bar, hors d’oeuvres table, small drink tables and the buffet table. Members congregated here for a social hour. We had lunch and the Yankee Swap in the smaller inner room. Feedback on the food and space was positive and we will probably use this venue again in 2018.

The Yankee Swap table overflowed with bags and packages of all sizes. There were several gifts that changed hands many times, including a mysterious greasy paper bag.

The only child at the party was Nuala Barker, our youngest NEMO regular. Yours truly bent the rules and presented Nuala with an un-swappable gift, a Finding Dory treasure chest filled with Nemo and Dory items. Nuala quickly caught on to the Yankee Swap process and instructed her father Iain to steal a plush MINI Cooper.

The hottest gift this year was a fleece blanket printed with photos of NEMO member cars. The blanket ultimately went home with Barbara Neiley, who as the first ticket taker was able to make the last steal. Wendy Birchmire designed the blanket, and her British flag Mini was the largest photo, followed closely by my Mini Traveller. Due to popular demand, Wendy ordered several more blankets for members who held “the gift” ever so briefly.

The greasy bag contained a beautiful hand-drawn sketch of a classic Mini. This also changed hands several times, with Lorine Karabec stealing it near the end of the Swap. Dan St. Croix was the artist, and his work has been popular at other Yankee Swaps.

Another unique gift was a signed photo of Paddy Hopkirk driving a works Mini Cooper S, ORX 777F, to 5th overall on the 1968 Monte Carlo Rally. Iain Barker ordered the photo from Europe, and Nuala provided the handmade wrapping paper. The photo was stolen several times, but Dan St. Croix managed to hold onto it.

Be sure to check the Facebook page and NEMO website for photo albums of the guests and Yankee Swap.




December 2017

[1-Dec_17_BBTS_Mini_And_Minors.jpg] Line of Morrises at British by the Sea, with the Karabec Mini Minor 850 on the left.
Photo by David Schwartz

Looking Back at 2017
by David Schwartz

While NEMO members participated in many events this past year, I’d like to give my impressions of three of them that I was able to attend, from British by the Sea to British Legends Weekend.

British by the Sea,
Waterford, Conn., June 4th

This was the 30th anniversary of BBTS and Morris was the featured marque. There were at least eight Morris Minors parked together, along with a 1960 Morris Mini Minor 850 owned by NEMO members Lorine and Derick Karabec. Cooper, their new puppy, accompanied the Karabecs.

The threat of afternoon rain kept many NEMO members away, as I counted only six classic Minis and six modern MINIs. New member Ken Kelly proudly displayed his pristine 2000 Rover Mini. My 1968 Morris Mini Minor Traveller stayed home in a nice dry garage, which was good as there were heavy downpours on the drive home.

The Morris Minors held a special interest for me. In early May I purchased a 1950 Morris Minor Tourer (convertible). It was great to see a wide variety of body styles and model years, and I took lots of photos for comparison with my car. I have never named a car or owned vanity plates, but was inspired to go with “Moyshe” after my great uncle Maurice whose Yiddish name was Moishe. My Morris Minor is in excellent cosmetic shape, inside and out, and I had hoped to drive it to BBTS. However, the brakes and carburetor needed “a little sorting.” In fact, the car needed so much sorting that it is still on jack stands in my garage. Hopefully, Moyshe will be ready in time for the 2018 show.

Weston Antique & Classic Car Show,
Weston, Mass., September 23rd

The Weston Car Show always has a great turnout of British cars. My 1968 Mini Traveller was joined by Wendy Birchmire’s 1977 Austin Mini, Alex Daly’s 1967 Mini Cooper S and Nan Okarma’s 1966 Austin Mini Moke. Other British cars included a 2017 Morgan 3-Wheeler (technically a motorcycle), a 1952 Jaguar XK120 Fixed Head Coupe, a 1962 Jaguar XKE, a 1968 Jaguar E-type, Michael Gaetano’s 1947 Bentley, a 1961 Austin-Healey 3000, a 1960 MGA, a 1964 MGB with a hardtop, a 1980 MGB, and a 1983 Lotus Espirit. The Lotus looked fast standing still and the hatchback was open, providing a good view of the engine.

December 2017

[2-Dec_17_Weston_Moke.jpg] Nan Okarma’s Moke at the Weston show.
Photo by David Schwartz

There was a pair of Datsun 240Zs, one of which looked like it had just rolled off the assembly line. The car sported a pair of SU carburetors and a bright yellow-green paint job.

The American cars included two with retractable hardtops. My personal favorite was a 1957 Ford Skyliner. This is a true “land yacht” with an incredibly long hood and trunk. The Ford was displayed with the roof partially retracted so you could view the Rube Goldberg mechanism and storage box in the middle of the trunk.

There was a good assortment of gratuitous tailfins, muscle cars, hot rods and antique cars dating back to the 1920s. A 1950 Nash Ambassador featured a passenger seat that folded into a bed, and a Stanley Steamer (which attends every year) blew its whistle.

Weston is one of my favorite multi-marque shows. The venue is beautiful with cars parked around the town green and plenty of shade. Keep an eye on the 2018 NEMO event calendar and try to join us next year.

British Legends Weekend Show, North Falmouth, Mass., October 8th

After the horrendous weather in 2016, the Cape Cod British Car Club d a do-over and once again paired classic Minis and modern MINIs in a Concours d’Evolution. The weather forecast kept changing all week and I postponed my decision on attending until the last possible minute. Ultimately, Betty and I drove down Saturday afternoon in my 1968 Mini Traveller.

Thankfully, there was no monsoon this year. Greg Mazza has yet to reinstall the carpets in his Mini after last year’s storm, and the woodwork on my car is definitely the worse for wear.

December 2017

[3-Dec_17_BLW_ChrisC.jpg] The Mini that eventually won the Concours at British Legends Weekend being looked over by the judges.
Photo by David Schwartz

NEMO members and friends of NEMO volunteered their cars for the Concours. We paired five modern MINIs with classics owned by Faith Lamprey and Bruce Vild, Dave and Jean Icaza, Gail Gray and Chris Cole, and yours truly.

In addition, there were two Honda VTEC-powered classic Minis in the Modified class on the people’s-choice showfield outside the Concours. Both modified Minis were respectful to their classic roots, but the Concours prize was given to the Gray/Cole Rover Mini that was a limited edition, high-performance factory model.

Show cars included a large number of MGBs, MG TFs, Austin-Healeys, Jaguar E-types, Morgans and a wide variety of Triumph models. Several less common cars also participated: a 1950 Allard J2, a 1970 Rover P5B Coupe, a 1970 Lotus Europa, a 1947 Bentley, a 1986 TVR, and a 1960s Sunbeam Tiger.

This was my first time seeing an Allard in person and it is a truly unique car. The Rover is quite luxurious and the Lotus is cool and quirky.

By noon there was some intermittent light rain that followed us for most of the drive home. Fortunately the carpets stayed dry, but the driver’s side door pocket was damp. My car is overdue for new window channels and door seals.

[For more photos from these events, courtesy of David, please go to our website Gallery under Events.]

December 2017

NEMO Annual Meeting April 8!

We are planning to hold the NEMO Annual Meeting on Sunday, April 8, 2018. Details will follow in the January/February issue and on-line. We are considering a go-kart track outing, so stay tuned!




October 2017

[1-Nov_17_Winners_Circle.jpg] In the Winners’ Circle at the Glen.
Photo by Barbara Newman

The MINI JCW Team’s 2017 Season
by Dave Newman

Barbara and I are big fans of the MINI John Cooper Works Racing Team, owned by LAP Motorsports (founded by Luis Perocarpi) and sponsored by MINI USA and others. The team has been competing the last two and a half seasons in the IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge in the ST class, which is short for “Street Tuner” and basically means that the race cars are MINI JCW cars like ones you can buy in the showroom, with limited modifications. They compete against Porsche Caymans, Mazda MX-5s, BMW 3 Series, Audi A3s and Nissans.

The races also have a larger and faster car class on the track at the same time called GS, for “Grand Sport.” It makes for some exciting and close racing.

In 2017 there were ten races. Barbara and I traveled to three together and I went to the Lime Rock race alone.

The MINI team runs three cars, numbers 37, 52 and 73. Most races are two hours long, with two of the series being four hours long. Two drivers are required and each must be in the car for at least 45 minutes. Races were held in 2017 at Daytona, Sebring, COTA (Texas), Watkins Glen, Mosport, Lime Rock, Road America, Virginia International Raceway (VIR), Mazda Raceway (Laguna Seca), and Road Atlanta.

At the end of the series, which was very close, the #73 car team, Mat Pombo and Derek Jones, came in 4th in the championship, the #37 team 11th and the #52 team 16th overall.

The Manufacturers’ Championship showed MINI in 4th place, an outcome not without controversy. The Road Atlanta race originally ended with the #73 MINI in 3rd place, but an IMSA caution ruling dropped them to 4th. This also changed the close Manufacturers’ series from 3rd to 4th for MINI, an unexpected disappointment.

But overall it was a good season for the JCW team, which is like a big, friendly family. And they have the most fans in their paddock compared to the other teams. At the races we attended, more MINI fans visited the JCW team than fans of other cars.

The season highlights started with the opening race at Daytona, with MINI #73 in 1st place. At Watkins Glen, the first race we attended, #73 car came in 1st, #52 2nd and #37 car 5th. With two cars on the podium, the MINI fans went wild and Barbara and I were in the Winners’ Circle to be sprayed with champagne by team owner Luis Perocarpi. What a great time!

The following week we traveled to Canada to watch the team compete at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park, also known as Mosport. Number 37 car came in 3rd, for another podium and champagne. The MINI fans were the loudest and most numerous of any team supporters by far.

I went to the Lime Rock race by myself as Barbara was tied up. MINI had a “car corral” for MINI owners with prime seating trackside for lawn chairs. They teamed up with a local MINI dealer and provided a breakfast and lunch tent.

We skipped the next three races in Wisconsin, Virginia and California, but wanted to be at Road Atlanta for the final race, so we flew down for it.

October 2017

[2-Nov_17_Barbara_Salinsky.jpg] Driver Jay Salinsky with a fan (Barbara Newman).
Photo by Dave Newman

At the IMSA races, the paddock areas, which house the team “garages” (prep areas), are open to fans. Cars line up in the pits right before the race, which are open for a “fan walk.” This gives fans an intimate peek behind the scenes, a chance to meet the teams and drivers, and an opportunity to watch the cars being worked on.

Tonine McGarvie, from MINI-USA, has a “meet and greet” in the paddock at each race. There are prizes, including a drawing for a “hot lap.” (The manufacturers each have a car on track to give rides.) I was lucky enough to win a hot lap at Road Atlanta, driven by Luis in a street-modified MINI JCW. MINIs are fast! Barbara and I have also won some of the raffle prizes.

The MINI team and sponsors are some of the friendliest people you will ever meet, and the drivers take the time to speak with you. Barb and I have been invited to have lunch at the paddock and were at the barbecue the night before the Road Atlanta race, put on by Katherine and Mike from a sponsor, Steady Returns. You might catch their green turtle logo on the door of the #52 car in pictures we have posted on-line. Nice people.

The MINI JCW Team has had some problems and setbacks, which they have overcome. Next season they will have a car in the TCR class, a new class IMSA is adding to the races, made to European Touring Car standards. It may be a MINI Clubman, and should be even faster than the ST class of cars. More information will be provided in the off-season.

Barbara and I highly recommend that MINI fans watch all the races on the IMSA app or on FS1 cable, and attend as many races as possible in person. They are huge fun and the team is great to meet.

We want to give a big thanks to Luis and Wendy Perocarpi, Rob Ridgely, Tonine McGarvie, drivers Derek Jones, Mat Pombo, Mark Pombo, Mike LaMarra, James Vance, Jay Salinsky and Nate Norenberg, along with Christine Salinsky, Mr. and Mrs. Pombo, and all the other team members and the many technicians from MINI dealers near each track who volunteered via the Service Tech Education Training Program (STEP). Come to a race, you will love it. Go, MINI, and as they always say, #LetsDoThis!

October 2017

[3-Nov_17_Oh_Look.jpg] Ooh, look at that! (Scene from a typical NEMO Yankee Swap.)
Photo by Robert Izzo

NEMO Holiday Party Dec. 2!
by David Schwartz &
Dave Newman

The NEMO Holiday Party will be held at La Cantina Italiana in Framingham, Mass., on Saturday, December 2nd, from 12 noon to 4 p.m.

La Cantina is a family-style Italian restaurant and has been in business since 1946. The member cost will be $15 with the club making up the difference. (If your membership has lapsed you can renew at the Party at the six-month rate of $10.)

We need a head count by November 17th. A reminder evite will be sent to the NEMO e-mail list. RSVP to the evite or by contacting me directly, dschwartz1957@gmail.com or (508) 561-3462. Let me know how many people will be attending, the ages of any children you are bringing, and whether you have any dietary restrictions.

We will be holding a Yankee Swap, so plan to bring a wrapped gift. 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!

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

Directions — It’s La Cantina Italiana, 911 Waverly St., Framingham, MA 01702, (508) 879-7874. Take I-90 (Mass. Turnpike) to Exit 12. Bear right on the ramp and follows signs toward Framingham. Merge onto Rt. 9 East (Worcester Road).

Follow Rt. 9 for about 1.8 miles. You will pass Dunkin’ Donuts followed by Samba Steak & Sushi. Immediately after Samba, take a sharp right onto Winter Street. Follow Winter Street about 1.8 miles.

Due to a construction detour your GPS probably doesn’t know about, turn left onto Fountain Street. After 0.5 miles, Fountain Street curves right and crosses railroad tracks. At the traffic light, take a sharp right onto Waverly Street (Rt. 135). After 0.7 miles La Cantina will be on the right. There is parking behind the restaurant and a large lot just past La Cantina on the left. —DS

Newman’s guide to the Yankee Swap

As most NEMO members know by now, the famous Holiday Party 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 $25. And for those attending from Canada, that means US dollars, not those depreciated ones with the Queen on them.

Anyway, I encourage all members attending to take the time to select a gift that will be wanted by all others. You know the one, the one that everyone wants and makes the rounds, passing 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.

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 it away. 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 effort into picking your gift and let’s get some enjoyment out of the NEMO Holiday Party. In other words, no picking up a gift at Walgreen’s or the gas station on the way there because you forgot. —DN




October 2017

[1-Oct_17_DaveO.jpg] Dave Oliveira, ready to race.
Photo by Steve Hewitt

A MINI at the SCCA Regionals
by Steve Hewett

LOUDON, N.H., Aug. 5-6 — Dave Oliveira drove his 2008 MINI Cooper to 3rd place in its debut outing this weekend in the SCCA New England Road Racing Championship at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

Our team name, G.A.B.B. Racing, was inspired by Dave’s German and Brazilian heritage, American home and British car. As a MINI tech, Dave’s professional life is spent working on MINI Coopers. When a co-worker’s 2008 R56 was totaled, he saw an opportunity to build a racecar when everyone else saw a parts car.

Rebuilding the MINI and resolving its issues (it was a high-mileage car) were within the realm of Dave’s experience. The greater challenge was navigating a more than 700-rule rulebook to ensure the transformed car would be allowed on the track.

Much of the work Dave did was to bring the car up to par and restore some of the horses that had left the stable. He picked the SCCA B-Spec class to keep the cost of competing low (an understatement, considering that the car was ready for pick-and-pull!). Dave incorporated numerous modifications, including mandatory safety equipment, donated Megan Racing coil-overs, used Hoosier race tires, a K&N intake, and an individual throttle body (ITB). With ITB, each cylinder gets its own butterfly valve regulating air intake, rather than all cylinders sharing one valve. He also removed the muffler and the A/C compressor.

This was a labor of love and the end result was a race-ready car. Although the car is “just a MINI Cooper,” Dave says, “it is plenty fast and handles like it’s on rails!”

Thunderstorms and rainbows greeted us for the MINI’s initial outing at the SCCA “Track Night in America” event at Thompson Speedway in Connecticut. Team resources were deep on enthusiasm and camaraderie, but didn’t include rain tires. Wet track testing on slicks made keeping the car on the pavement a critical challenge. Despite seeing other cars spinning off the course, Dave (and the MINI) came through unscathed and ready for the next milestone, competing at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

Meeting the challenge of operating a race team on a shoestring includes borrowing important items from family, friends and friends of friends. We scrambled to arrange for a tow vehicle and trailer just days before leaving for New Hampshire. We ultimately squeezed the MINI into a small enclosed trailer meant for hauling motorcycles and ATVs. Padding was necessary to prevent the trailer from scratching the car. As the MINI marketing slogan says, “not normal”!

The race weekend started and team members quickly focused on the tasks at hand. The first day was damp and difficult (shades of Thompson), but car and driver managed to stay out of trouble, even without rain tires! After qualifying, minor drama ensued when the race steward reported that the car was under weight. Filling the gas tank wasn’t enough, so the team brainstormed ideas and dashed to the city for supplies. We finalized the solution in the aisles of Walmart and Home Depot. Once back in the pits, we quickly mounted 40 lbs. of Gold’s Gym weights in the car. This resulted in thumbs up from the stewards.

The second day was much better, with dry weather, improved lap times, and a lot more confidence in both the car and the driver. Swarms of factory-spec Mazda Miatas jostled for position in the morning and afternoon races. The MINI managed to stay close to the pack and finished 3rd in class, behind two VW Golfs piloted by far more experienced drivers. Our team goal for the first race was to build some experience, gain seat time for Dave, and load an intact MINI into the trailer Sunday night. We achieved these objectives, to the joy and relief of all.

In the post-race, lessons-learned discussion, we noticed that competing drivers and teams were generous with their advice and goodwill. This trait is also common among MINI owners who wave to each other and are eager to chat over social media or in person. Other teams reached out to G.A.B.B. Racing, made us feel like part of the racing family, and contributed to a successful weekend of racing.

When Dave started his career as a mechanic working on tractors at farms in the US and Canada, racing was just something he dreamed about. Now Dave is the driver, manager, and chief mechanic of his own team. He is quick to point out that none of this would have been possible without the support of his wife, Amanda Oliveira, his friends, fellow enthusiasts Dave Blake and me, and the whole MINI community. Their willingness to help Dave achieve his racing dream left him with an appreciation that will outlast his MINI Cooper.

As Dave said, “We are very much ‘not normal’ and it’s been a blast getting the car ready and seeing it on the track.” To view race pictures and videos, search for g.a.b.b.racing on Facebook and Instagram. Go, MINI!

October 2017

[2-Oct_17_Newmans_Best_Attired_Couple.jpg] Dave and Barbara Newman at British Invasion.
Photo courtesy NEMO

First Photo from Stowe!

STOWE, Vt., Sept. 15-17 — NEMO members Dave and Barbara Newman were awarded a 1st in class for their MINI Van and were recognized as the Best Attired British Couple. Derick and Lorine Karabec — that’s Derick behind the Newmans — were awarded Most Colorful attire-wise, and also grabbed a 1st in class for their Wolesley Hornet.

October 2017

NEMO Calendar

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

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

December 2 — NEMO Holiday Party, details and location TBD. Save the date.

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





August 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.

August 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.

August 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.

August 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.





July 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.

July 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.

July 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.





June 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!

June 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.

June 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.

June 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!

June 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.





May 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?

May 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.

May 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.

April 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.

April 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.

April 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.



March 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.

March 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.

March 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.



February 2017

[2-Mar_17_Dave_Black.jpg] Dave Black snags a Mini-themed Watkins Glen poster in the Yankee Swap. Ah, but will he keep it?
Photo by Robert Izzo

NEMO’s Holiday Party
by David Schwartz

WESTBOROUGH, Mass., Dec. 3 — The NEMO Holiday Party was held once again at the Chateau Italian Restaurant in Westborough.

We had a good turnout with 28 adults, but no children. Lorine and Derick Karabec were the long-distance travelers, driving in from Ulster Park, N.Y. The Party began with a social hour and hors d’oeuvres, followed by a buffet lunch and the ever-popular Yankee Swap.

There was some very creative packaging including a greasy paper bag and some cleverly disguised British food (digestives and spotted dick sponge cake), which drew the biggest laugh of the day. Other gifts of note included an Italian Job framed print, a pencil sketch of a classic Mini, a gingerbread house with a Mini in the garage, and a Watkins Glen race poster.

The hot gift this year was a crystal Mini at about 1:32 scale. This changed hands many times but was ultimately taken home by Bruce Vild.

Be sure to check the Facebook page and NEMO website for photo albums showing all the guests.

February 2017

[3-Mar_17_Newman_MINI.jpg] The newest Newman MINI.
Photo by Dave & Barbara Newman

Living with (and Loving) a new Cooper S
by Dave Newman

Sometimes, having a day off from work can change your life. Like the day I learned that skiing is not my sport. Or the day when a Honda 90 motorcycle, some wet railroad tracks and undeveloped skills taught me that motorcycle driving isn’t for me, either.

Since I had Veterans Day off, I decided to skive off the domestic tasks and go visit Barbara at work at South Shore MINI in Rockland, Mass. Around noontime I dropped in and after helping myself to coffee and cookies I looked across the showroom, and saw it. The 2016 MINI Cooper S with a JCW package, all done up in the MINI JCW Team livery — although the car is BRG and not red like the racecar. It was the car Phil Wicks drove at the South Shore MINI Track Day in Palmer last summer. It had a little less than 500 miles on it, and a big tag proclaiming “Sale.” What I saw was a sign that said, “Buy Me, Dave.”

So I talked with Barbara. And then with the Sales Manager. They had to move three other cars out of the way so I could take it for a test drive. A few minutes later, I was at the long straight at the old South Weymouth Naval Air Station, doing a touch over 100mph, braking for the roundabout. Flick right, flick left, flick right and onto the next stretch. You can see other cars for a mile there, especially multi-colored ones with LED roof racks.

Back to the dealer. How much to trade it for my old 2009 Honda Odyssey? That much? A few days later, it was ours.

So what’s it like to drive the most modern of MINI Coopers?

There are millions of combinations of options and, in theory, no MINI is the same as another. Ours is a 2016 MINI Cooper S Hardtop two-door with a 2-liter BMW engine built in Germany. The car is built in Cowley, UK. Before the John Cooper Works (JCW) kit, it had 189hp and 207ft-lb of torque. It has the kit options, which means it is a “partial” JCW (the “full” JCW is a different model). The engine modifications give it another 20hp.

The Pro Tuning Kit includes a really nice two-mode exhaust, with “Track Use Only” activated by Bluetooth buttons. Then the exhaust just about doubles in volume and drops in tone. And when you are in Sport mode and back off the gas quickly, it belches and burbles just like our classic 1275 Mini. It has to be heard to be appreciated.

The car has other options — a Sport Package with Dynamic Dampers, meaning the shocks are adjusted hundreds of time each second by the computer, which makes this MINI stick to the tarmac like no other. It also has 17-inch wheels with very sticky tires. And all the lights are LED. Then there is the JCW leather steering wheel: pure pleasure to the touch. And automatic headlights that come on when it gets dark, two moon roofs, an auto dipping mirror, Bluetooth phone, and Sirius radio.

If I were Jeremy Clarkson, I’d tell you that the car would save the environment, keep pedestrians from harm, and keep the poor roads of New England from getting worse. Here’s why: in the Green mode the car sips gas and the engine shuts off when you come to a stop. The loud exhaust alerts pedestrians at intersections and crosswalks. And since the car is only 3,000 lbs. and has those dynamic dampers, it doesn’t pound at the roads. So you can drive a sports car that saves the earth like a Prius. Of course, I shut off the Green mode, go right into the Sport mode with the exhaust open, and the comparison to a Prius goes right out the window.

This car is fun to drive. Put the pedal down on a straight stretch of road and before you know it, you have rowed through all six gears and are doing 120 in about 15 seconds. I wish we had an Autobahn.

Barbara’s 2012 MINI, the previous model, is a whole lot of fun to drive and was my “track car” at Palmer this last summer. It feels a lot like a classic 1275. The new 2016 feels more like a BMW 3-series, just half the size, with great handling and a sturdy feel. But before you think I race around town screaming around corners, I have found that my usual “Captain Slow” street driving is very comfortable in this car.

The heated seats are great. And the traction in snow and rain is very good it climbs our icy driveway better than the van it replaced. Driving it in the summer will be great, too. I can’t wait.

I love the new MINI. But now that I have no tow vehicle for trailering classic Minis to faraway shows, maybe next year it will be time to buy a used Mercedes motor home. Change is good. Even Barbara agrees. And I have a huge smile on my face each time I get into the car.

February 2017

[4-Mar_17_73_Daytona.jpg] Number 73 from the MINI JCW Team at NASCAR Turn 1, Daytona.
Photo by Tom Murray

MINI Wins at Daytona
by Dave Newman

Being a mega MINI fan, I took the afternoon off work on Friday, January 27th, to watch the four-hour BMW Endurance Challenge IMSA race live from Daytona. It’s easy to hook your laptop up via an HDMI cable to your big screen TV. There is great commentary, no commercials and no cuts, so it is the next best thing to being there. I watch from www.imsa.com, as the IMSA app has much lower resolution.

When I asked my boss for the time off, he said what’s up, and I told him. I expected a strange look, but he said, “Sounds like fun for you!” and off I went. He sees my BRG MINI Cooper S in JCW Team livery in the parking lot every day and of course thinks I am nuts.

The three team MINIs are in the ST (Street Tuner) class in IMSA’s Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge, and the Daytona session was known as the BMW Endurance Challenge. In ST the MINIs racing against Porsche Caymans, Mazda Miatas, Nissan Altimas and similar cars. The team had not had a 1st place finish in the last two seasons and this was the first race of 2017.

The MINI JCW (for John Cooper Works) Team is run by Luis Perocarpi’s LAP Motorsports and sponsored by MINI with Tonine McGarvie from MINI HQ. They are two of the nicest people you will ever meet. So here I was, 1,300 miles away, when I really wanted to be there!

The three team cars are #37, #52 and #73. If you are a MINI fan, think of the 1960s when Minis were winning Monte Carlo and other rallye events year after year and you will note the significance of the numbers.

I won’t go into the details of the race, but after four long hours, the last ten minutes I was standing in my TV room, jumping up and down yelling as loud as can be, “Go, MINI, go!” And after four hours, the ST class 1st place winner was MINI #73, beating out the next three Porsches by less than two seconds. Imagine that, after 14,400 seconds of racing, the win was decided by less than two! Amazing, and the first class victory for the MINI JCW Team.

You can watch the race on-line at the team website, www.minijcwteam.com/news/article/imsa-continental-tire-sportscar-challenge-2017-bmw-endurance-challenge-at-d.

February 2017

[1-Mar_17_Table.jpg] Come on, join us!
Photo by David Schwartz

Calendar of Events

March 5 — NEMO Annual Planning Meeting & Luncheon, The Pines, 1204 Pound Hill Rd., North Smithfield, R.I., (401) 766-2122, 12 noon to 4 p.m.

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

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

June 4 — British by the Sea, CT 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 29-July 2 — Mini Meet East, Columbus, Ohio. Host hotel: Holiday Inn Columbus N, I-270 Worthington, 7007 N. High St., Worthington, Ohio, http://www.minimeeteast2017.com.



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 Claud