August 2018

MINI Cooper: A Not So “MINI” History

Every once in a blue moon, a truly iconic vehicle is designed so distinctly differently from every other vehicle that it creates a space all its own in the automotive industry. Throughout the decades since it was first unveiled, the MINI Brand is one such mainstay..

MINI Cooper From The Beginning

In the late 1950s when fuel prices were skyrocketing, Alec Issigonis – the top design engineer at the Morris Company – was asked to draft and build a fuel-efficient little vehicle that could comfortably hold four adults and be affordable for just about everyone. The creative challenge was embraced with enthusiasm! In 1959, the first two-door, 4-cyclinder engine MINI (Mark I) was launched. Issigonis had designed a small vehicle with plenty of room in the front – due to his ingenious idea to strategically place the vehicle’s wheels all the way to the corners, and with plenty of room in the back– due to his clever idea to turn the engine sideways (which also gave the mini vehicle more stability in tight turns).
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BMW Engine & Transmission Problems

Like any vehicle, the BMW also occasionally has its own issues. Here’s a look at two of them:

Variable Nockenwellen Steuerung (VANOS) Noise

Also referred to in America as the variable valve timing system, the VANOS is known to be the cause of the annoying engine rattle noises that so many BMW owners have experienced. Let’s face it, you can only drive so long with the speakers blasting to block out the sound of marbles rolling around in a tin can! VANOS modifies the position of the camshafts and is the source of the engine’s rattling noise when you’re driving at higher RPMs. While almost unnoticeable initially, with more wear to the VANOS, the noise gets louder (and more annoying)!
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Beemers at the Beach! A Coastal CA Road Trip in Your BMW

From Central to Southern California, there are countless places to explore in your BMW.

Sand Dollar Beach in Big Sur

As you venture down the central coast of California in your Bimmer, you’ll want to pull over and spend some time in the rugged, mountainous, and stunningly-scenic section known as Big Sur. Although this national treasure of undeveloped coastline offers many beaches that seem hard to access (either because they are blocked by private properties or require precarious hikes to get to), there are some Big Sur beaches you can access, including Sand Dollar Beach. Located along the southern Big Sur coast about half-way between Cambria and Big Sur Station, the long and wide sandy Sand Dollar Beach offers a nice picnic area and great place to watch hardcore surfers ride the waves. While sand dollars are not ever-present along the shores, you can find some beautiful jade stones and rounded sea rock. This destination on your BMW road trip is perfect for fishing, picnicking, or simply beachcombing – and it’s dog-friendly, so feel free to bring Fido. While there are plenty of diverse places to eat in Big Sur, you’ll want to patronize The Big Sur Bakery. Beloved for their credo to “slow down and come to your senses” you’ll enjoy their fresh, homemade pastries and pizzas.
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