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World Premier: the 2015 MINI Countryman

From MotoringFile: Right on cue MINI is releasing the refreshed Countryman three years into it’s lifecycle. As is customary these days with BMW, the refresh has been accomplished with a very light touch.

Mechanically there are no big changes to speak of. Instead it’s mostly cosmetic with three new colors, wheels, a slight update to the grille and a dark trim option. Additionally MINI is taking it’s R56 accessory LED headlights and making them a factory option (standard on the MCS and JCW) on the R60 complete with halo rings. The foglight portion is powered by by three LED units arranged horizontally at the centre of the cluster. The daytime drivin

Event: Brooklands Mini Day 2014

Many people regard Brooklands Mini Day as the first big outdoor show of the year. Once again, this year saw over 1,000 Minis on display from 1959 right up to the brand new 2014 hatch coded as the F56.

Once again, I had a spot on The Portsmouth and Southampton Mini Owners Club stand and this time I had brought along both of my Minis to display. My daily driver; Stripes the Indi Blue R50 along with WinnieP my 95 Sprite. At this point I would like to thank the P&SMOC for being an awesome bunch and putting up with me parking up, cleaning and then disappearing for hours! I do feel a little guilty sometimes!

With each show I tend to wonder around an area to ‘warm up’; that makes me sound like I think I am a Formula 1 car, but others make just say a complete nutter! I would agree with the latter as I then plan out a route to ensure I capture as many as possible and in an organised manner.

As I wondered around the show in my strange planned fashion, I encountered a number of familiar faces along with some who I can now put to a name. I am ever so grateful to those people who do take the time to pop over and say hello to me as I just makes my day even better.

One familiar face was Mary Saunders who invited me to sit in an F56 Cooper S that she had on loan from Vines Guildford MINI for the event. She even snapped a shot of me in the drivers seat! I’d already seen the F56 a number of times and I’m still adjusting to the new look but it is growing on me the more I see it. Despite being one of the first people to clap their eyes on one back in November, I still have not had the privilege of driving one and I’m desperate to give it a go as I’ve only heard great words about how it feels.

Tom Roy contacted me before the event and invited me to check out his pride and joy which would be on the East Coast Mini Club stand. His MINI has a great selection of track stickers – similar to another MINI I know (my Stripes) along with plenty of other interesting decals which help make his stand out and invite people to take a closer look.

Near by to their stand, I fell in love with two Classic Mini’s which were getting a lot of attention as they were immaculate and had some documents on display in the window.

This Mark / Morris Minor which looked as if it had just stepped out a showroom is owned by Carl George. It’s was certainly capturing a lot of attention, in particularly eye catching was the invoice for the vehicle that was laying in the across the rear window. I loved the fact that he had taken the time to leave this on display as it really did get everyone talking and make us all realise what a fantastic history the Mini has.

This Austin Cooper S Speedwell close by was a beauty inside and out.

I could go on and on about various other Minis that caught my eye and the people that I encountered but to finish, I’d just like to say on behalf of everybody that attended, a huge thank you to all the organisers for putting on this show every year. This is one of my personal favourites to attend as it is a fantastic location for holding a Mini show due to its history and especially for photographing Minis as the background and scenery is so interesting.

Check out Sammieee’s first gallery of photos here.
Check out Sammieee’s second gallery of photos here.

Mini Madness is a product of SammieeePhotography and Joe Steel Art and Photography. We bring Mini imaging from a range of Mini and classic car events.

Honoring the true original for the NEW original

Hundreds of MINI dealerships across the UK displayed Classic Mini’s in their showrooms over the weekend of the 15th of March 2014 for the launch of the third generation MINI that was being referred to as The New Original

My local dealership; Snows MINI, asked me if they could display my Classic Mini; WinnieP for the big weekend after having her for their launch party on the Thursday beforehand.

WinnieP had pride of place in the entrance to the showroom and although I didn’t make it down during opening hours, many people contacted me after they had seen her and everyone was so complimentary of her, which made me very proud. All that cleaning was worth it!

I did make the journey down to see her after hours during the weekend and was amazed at how good she looked in there. She looked at home and I’ve a funny feeling she probably didn’t want to leave either after all the attention she had had!

When I went to collect her the following Monday, the manager of that dealership; Ben Trapani, didn’t want to let her go. He had become accustomed to her being the first he sees as he walks in in the mornings! There is something about a Classic Mini that just makes you smile. Whether you are a ‘hard-core mini nut’ or not, the iconic shape and smiling appearance has an effect on you.

Check out Sammieee’s gallery of photos here.

Mini Madness is a product of SammieeePhotography and Joe Steel Art and Photography. We bring Mini imaging from a range of Mini and classic car events.

Owning the road; a MINI adventure through Indonesia

From MINI Space: Jakarta, Panahan Statue. Half past six on a Sunday morning. It’s here at the crack of dawn that the Indo MINI Club meet before embarking on their monthly hunt for the sunrise.

The early rise pays off for the head of the club, Enril, and his crew. During the week, the roads in this metropolis of nine million people are gridlocked but, on the weekend, these Indonesian MINIacs have free rein on the infamous Jagorawi Highway. This panoramic road offers beautiful views and, on its winding sections, drivers can take full advantage of that characteristic MINI go-kart feeling.

Indo MINI Club first began with just a small circle of people. “To begin with, I didn’t really know many MINI drivers – just one friend on Facebook. Together, we set about on the search for others,” reports Enril as he talks about the club’s founding. “We tracked them down everywhere: in forums, on the street, in car parks. Now, we spend lots of time together and we’re just like one big family, bonding over our passion for MINI.”

Today, the Indo MINI Club frequently receives reinforcements on its weekend trips from the Jakarta Morris Club, which is completely devoted to the classic Mini. In the golden morning light, they cruise together along the palm-lined highways of the island of Java.

Check out the full story and see more photos here.

Event: Surrey New MINI track day at Goodwood

Surrey New MINI had the opportunity to hold a private track day at the Goodwood Motor Circuit in Sussex, UK. The date was set and despite the awful weather leading up to the event, all systems were a go, go, GO!

Although I didn’t have my MINI to get there (don’t panic, she’s just having some cosmetic work done so she is looking even better for the 2014 Show Season – blog post on that to follow!) I hitched a ride down to the track just in time for the afternoon session.

I arrived at the best time of the day as the morning had been extremely wet. The weather picked up for the afternoon and the track dried out. Regulars to the track scene were Tom Wild and Simon Darley who were the first I captured.

Phil Kitchen took his Kite Blue R58 out a few times while I was there and he was ecstatic that the weather had improved as he felt more confident about opening her up. It was his first track day but you wouldn’t have guessed so with the speed he was able to take himself to. I managed to get a large number of shots of him, all of which I am very proud of and I even caught him overtaking!

At the end of the day, everyone lined up and headed out on a parade lap before lining up onto the grid for some photographs. This was the perfect way to round off the day as everyone was able to come together on the track.

Even though I loved watching them race around and enjoyed every sense while I was there, I couldn’t take my MINI out onto the track racing. Stripes is all about paying a tribute to the Classic and I’m happy with her looking the best she can on club displays. As a young driver, the insurers would have a field day with me let alone the cost of going out for a track day to start with.

My aim is to photograph more track days involving Minis as its a pleasure to watch them and the noise they make is sensational.

Check out Sammieee’s gallery of photos here.

Mini Madness is a product of SammieeePhotography and Joe Steel Art and Photography. We bring Mini imaging from a range of Mini and classic car events.

MINI evolution: where arctic wanderlust goes to hibernate

From MINI Space: 200 km north of the Arctic Circle: it’s a frontier only the most adventurous wander to. So it’s unsurprising that this winter, you’ll find a hotel suite inspired by the wild spirit of the MINI Countryman in an off-the-map village of northern Sweden. ICEHOTEL is the first and largest hotel built entirely of snow and ice in Jukkasjärvi, with its largest suite custom-designed as a temporary one-off site of experiential lodging – until the April thaw hits.

Named MINI Evolution, the unique room is a collaboration between DesignworksUSA and the skilled hands of Dutch designer Wouter Biegelaar and Bulgarian architect Viktor Tsarski. The glistening final result is a confluence of ideas that meld the austere surrounding environment with the familiar forms of MINI, as well as notions of the evolution of housing – from the ancient cave to the modern abode. Dotted with curious ice sculptures of regional animals and folkloric creatures, the space is a wintry MINI world that ultimately tells the story of icons transformed.

Read the full story and see loads more photos here.

A little paint goes a long way

From MINI Space: To the creative, it’s the little things that stand out, and all the more when it’s done with a personal touch. Individually crafted, they’re the elements that come together and add character to a bigger picture. Compact and vibrant, they pack a punch of personality. They’re the ‘mini’ things.

Artist and MINI One owner Rosemile Drewer’s understanding of this is striking. Many MINIacs seize the opportunity to personalise by snapping up custom models, laying down bonnet stripes and decorating rear windows with unbridled creativity – all to excellent effect. But Rosemile adopted the MINI tradition of customisation a little differently, thanks to her deft hand and discerning eyes. To make her MINI truly hers, she left the hardware alone and made her mark brushstroke by detailed brushstroke.

Read the full story and see loads more great photos here.

MINI snow beasts: wild things climb above the clouds

From MINI Space: An artist’s studio is the last thing you’d expect to find at an elevation of 2,252 m (7,388 ft), high above the timbre line amidst superpipes and ice-glazed gondolas. But MINI goes out of its way to explore paths pure as the driven snow, which is why the MINI C_ART container once again became a studio in the clouds at this year’s Burton European Open presented by MINI.

After a matte white MINI Cooper D ALL4 Paceman was given to an artist to use as a blank canvas, it parked itself beyond the chairlift and boldly restyled for the world to see.

Read the full story and see loads more photos here.

A designer duo explores the Blue Ridge mountains

From MINI Space: The hustle and bustle of the big city has an undeniable pull. But the country has an allure all its own. Originally from St. Louis and Indiana respectively, Meaghan and Nick moved around a lot before settling amidst the quiet forests and hills just outside Blacksburg, Virginia. They’ve since discovered, through many weekend joy rides, that there’s plenty of adventure after you pass the last stop light.

Come with us to the rolling Appalachian hills to learn more about this designer duo, their relationship with the land and a memorable trip to the coldest place on Earth.

Check out the full article and loads more photos here.

Event: Mini Fair 2014

There aren’t many shows I haven’t attended now and last Sunday I ticked another off the list as I ventured to Mini Fair; the annual indoor event run by the British Mini Club.

Bingley Hall in Staffordshire becomes host to hundreds of Mini enthusiasts dying to get the show season started. The show has always been known for being an excellent place for classic owners to grab a bargain to sort out their pride and joy. However, there’s more to it than that as there is a Pride of Ownership area for Classic and Modern MINIs as well as dedicated areas for some club stands to display. You could even enter to win a Mini for just £1.

The turn of driving this long journey had fallen to Keith Burton with his tuned up MINI; RJ. As I had been his driver for two events last year it meant I had the privilege of being his passenger. Just like every other journey we make together, the Mini spotting game was as hot as ever but I’m sure I don’t need to tell you who won of course and I was even the first to spot some F56’s being tested on the A34 and M40!

As we arrived the marshals directed us to the Mini only parking area. Due to the recent miserable winter weather, the grass parking area looked like something out of a Glastonbury festival! At this point I felt pleased that we hadn’t used Stripes, as I can’t stand getting muck under my wheel arches! Poor RJ. I have promised to help give him a good valet session before Brooklands though!

The queue proved how ‘hardcore’ us Mini owners are, not only with the large number of us there but as it was so wet and extremely cold too. As usual, I was dressed for summer weather in my shorts (The summer is coming! I’m just ready before everyone else!) This not only makes me easy to spot with my huge hair accompanying the look but it gets people talking.

Once inside I headed off on the hunt for cleaning products; I really need to calm my cleaning obsession, before making my way to the Pride of Ownership area as that had some fabulous Modern MINIs on display owned by a few familiar faces.

Steve Moore started off the line up but for the first time in 8 years he didn’t have his GP but instead his wife’s Blue R52. Steve is such a bubbly person to talk to and you just can’t help but smile as you talk to him. He has tons of tips and tricks that he was willing to share with me; cheers for helping out with my obsession!

Alongside him was Sally MacPherson with her Mighty White R56. She later won the award in the Modern MINI category, which is well deserved, as she had put so much effort into her presentation and her passion for MINI is obvious.

Also in the line up was Natasha Sharpe with her unique sticker bombed yellow R50. You really can’t miss this MINI and she is definitely a great example of how you can make your MINI stand out from the crowd and reflect your personality.

Although the weather was acting truly British and the ‘car park’ looked more like a farmyard, I couldn’t bare not photographing the treasures out there. Shorts and high-heeled wedge shoes are not ideal for walking or kneeling down in mud. I wouldn’t advise it unless you are totally mad like me.

A number of Minis caught my eye out there but particularly the creation of Paul James, whose colour contrasting could be spotted from miles away.

Events like this prove that owning a Classic Mini is still possible as there are so many traders and parts still around as well as proving that the Mini spirit is still around. At this show I did notice a fair few traders and sellers specialising with Modern MINI parts too and I believe that this will grow especially now as some of the MINIs will be coming up to 13 years old now.

To finish with, a huge thank you to the British Mini Club for all their hard work in creating and evolving events like this one. Additionally, if you have or are thinking about owning a Classic Mini it really is possible to keep it running and in the future, shows like this are bound to have more and more parts for the Modern MINI too.

Check out Sammieee’s gallery of photos here.

Mini Madness is a product of SammieeePhotography and Joe Steel Art and Photography. We bring Mini imaging from a range of Mini and classic car events.