JCW Badge

In the MINI world three words stand between mediocrity and the top level performance trim: John Cooper Works (or JCW for short), but what makes a JCW? Way back in the 1960s John Cooper’s eponymous workshop became famous for building bonkers race cars and the most bonkers of these were the Austin MINI Cooper S that went on to win the Monte Carlo Rally in 1964, 1965, 1967 and would have swept 1966 but were disqualified on a technicality (headlights). Needless to say, motorsport history was made and a giant slaying legend was born.

Paddy Hopkirk and 33 EJB

The car world has changed a lot since then and ownership of the Mini brand, the Cooper name, and the John Cooper Works brands have all changed hands several times; all winding up in the hands of BMW and brought together under the MINI brand.

The last of these brands to make a comeback was actually John Cooper Works which came to market as an independent race tuning partner of the recently resurrected MINI brand in March 2003. JCW tuning kits were sold and installed by the MINI dealer network and unlike other kits it retained the full factory warranty (BMW partner Dinan being the only other exception) until late 2004 when the MINI John Cooper Works became a factory trim for the 2005 model year.

The First Generation Cooper (R50)

The JCW Tuning Kit for the R50 MINI Cooper (yep, the base model) actually existed.

The Cooper kit included the following items:

  • Machined cylinder head
  • Cat-back sport exhaust system
  • Cold air intake
  • Cover injection tube
  • ECU programming
  • Badges for the engine cover, front grille, rear bumper, and side scuttles
  • Certificate of authenticity

This kit is so rare that I have literally only ever seen it once. The price was steep in the US at $2600 and it only added 10 horsepower and 4 lb-ft of torque. Predictably it didn’t do well and was canned after 2004 (though the exhaust was still available). You will probably go your entire life without ever seeing or hearing one.

The First Generation Cooper S (R52 & R53)

The JCW tuning kit for the Supercharged Cooper S was much more popular thanks to it adding a lot more power at a somewhat reasonable price.

There were actually two dealer kits and the first contained:

  • Machined cylinder head
  • Revised supercharger with 11.3% reduction pulley
  • Smaller diameter belt
  • NGK BKR7EQUP Spark Plugs
  • Cat-back sport exhaust system
  • ECU programming
  • Intercooler cover
  • Badges for the front grille and rear bumper
  • Certificate of authencity

Power figures were brought up to 197 hp @ 6950 RPM and peak torque was 177 lb-ft @ 4000 RPM.

The second kit included all of the above, plus the following additions:

  • Cold air intake
  • Bosch 380cc fuel injectors

These two additions brought power up to 207 hp @ 6950 RPM and torque to 180 lb-ft @ 4500 RPM.

Needless to say, these cars were obnoxiously fun, but spotting one requires a bit of detective work. All of these parts except the ECU tune were publically available through the BMW parts network so the only guaranteed way to know is to take the VIN to a dealer and have them verify that this car is noted as having JCW engine software in their system. Unfortunately, this still won’t tell you if you have the first version of the kit, or the second. For that you would need to open the hood and see if you have the JCW air box and pull the fuel rail and check if your injectors are blue.

Regarding the JCW brakes and suspension:

The factory JCW included two additional changes not present in the tuning kits above. Namely larger brakes and stiffer suspension springs that dropped the car 1.25 inches front and rear. These were commonly retrofitted onto other cars so neither is a dead giveaway that you are looking at a JCW.

A note about the factory aero kit:

The first generation also had a factory aero kit, but that actually had nothing to do with John Cooper Works and everything to do with the MINI Challenge racing series. Even if you ordered a JCW from the factory this kit was a separate option with only a few rare exceptions (the Canadian market only Competition Edition for example).  As a result, this body kit can be commonly found on any first generation car (there is even a version for the base Cooper). Heck, I even had it retrofitted on my Dinan tuned R53 almost as soon as I got it because it was too good looking not to.

Second Generation (R55, R56, R57, R58, R59)

Amazingly, for the second generation MINIs with the PSA Prince engines things actually managed to keep things just as confusing as with the first generation (if not moreso because they switched engines at the Life Cycle Impulse or LCI refresh).

The JCW tuning kits for the N14 and N18 engines included the following:

  • Cold air intake with cone filter
  • Updated exhaust manifold
  • Cat-back exhaust
  • ECU programming
  • Front and rear badges
  • Serialized sticker for the valve cover
  • Certificate of authenticity

Despite containing many similar parts, the ECU programming was not cross compatible between the two engines and the CAI box top required a matching bottom (though this will mount to either engine).

Power figures were slightly different mostly because of the different specific outputs of the N14 (172hp) and N18 (181 hp) engines owing to the laters more advanced double VANOS system, revised head, timing, cam and positive crankcase ventilation system. Horsepower figures went up to 189 hp and 197 hp respectively while torque figures jumped to the same 184 lb-ft for both engines (and 199 lb-ft during overboost). Interestingly, the exhaust tips on this tuning kit are actually much nicer than the ones that came on the factory JCW…

Factory JCW mechanicals vs Cooper S:

The differences on the second generation JCW from its Cooper S counterpart are actually far more pronounced than previous generations for both the N14 and N18 engines (2013-onward). Starting at the fuel preparation system and moving backwards.

  • Same air box and filter as the JCW tuning kit above
  • Larger air mass sensor
  • Larger turbocharger capable of a maximum boost level of 25.5 PSI  (vs 21.9 PSI)
  • Common rail direct injection system from the MINI Challenge race car
  • Revised valves and valve seat rings on both intake and exhaust side
  • Same exhaust manifold as the JCW tuning kit above
  • Revised turbo-back exhaust with larger catalytic converter
  • Revised clutch plate with more aggressive friction material

Regarding the JCW aero kit:

Prior to the 2011 LCI the JCW aero kit was only available as a dealer retrofit. The entire design was lifted directly from the JCW Challenge race car with a smaller version of the integrated 2-piece front splitter.

In 2010 MINI introduced a different aerokit exclusively for the factory JCW, but the take rate was very low. MINI quickly noticed that most JCW customers were still ordering the dealer retrofit above and the kit found itself promptly cancelled and replaced by a revised version of the original retrofit kit for the LCI. As a result, the 2010 JCW body kit is extremely rare.

Starting in 2011 with the MINI John Cooper Works World Championship 50 Edition (yep, that whole thing is it’s name) all factory JCWs would come with the JCW Challenge aero kit and wheels as standard equipment.

JCW Challenge race car for reference…


So you want to mod your MINI and make it truly yours, but you don’t know where the reputable sellers are? As far as cars go, the MINIs have one of the best and most specialized aftermarkets of any car because of it’s unique style. However, because the market share of the MINI brand is so small (compared to the Focus or the Civic) these specialists are spread across the US/EU/Asia and survive mostly on thier international web presence. This post is meant to serve as an index of local and international mod vendors for people who want to take “youification” to the next level.


MINI Accessories – The Canadian MINI dealers all have access to the full range of MINI and JCW parts and accessories including some of the GP and Challenge kit. Some dealers offer TMC/SOMC members a club discount on parts and accessories (10-15% depending on the dealer, labour NOT included), while others do not. Locations in Ajax, Kitchener, London, Ottawa, St. Catherines, Toronto, and Vaughan.

Budd’s Performance – The only authorized DINAN tuner in Ontario. Currently the only parts for the MINIs is the DINANTRONICS Sport Performance Tuner for B46/B48 and B36/B38 Engines and the Free Flow exhaust. Both are special order only and not quite enough points to get a DINAN badge (8 points, you need 10). Rumour has it that intake, spring sets, downpipes, swaybars, and front camber plates are on the way.

Uni-Body Collision – Local authorized dealer of ECS Tuning. These guys are often far cheaper than having parts shipped from other US vendors as they group shipments up to save on freight costs. The downside, you have to wait for them to order a shipment (usual once per month).

EuroSport Tuning – Another local authorized dealer of ECS Tuning. These guys primarily specialize in BMW and VW, but will order parts for and work on MINIs. Shipping and labour prices are pretty reasonable.

Eruocharged – This is one of the few local tuning shops that can work on any MINI ECU (R53/R5X/F5X). They deal in MINI parts from Akrapovic, Armytrix, Dinan, Bilstein, Brembo, ECS Tuning,  Forge, H&R, Hawk, KW, Miltek, Remus, Stoptech, Supersprint, and many others. Labour rates are good, dyno time is not too expensive, but all parts orders are special order and must be paid in full in advance. Shop is immaculate, staff is friendly, but your MINI will be surrounded by 450-1200 horsepower monsters. This shop is also capable of custom fabrications.

JR Auto Performance – Another great tuning shop that can work on any MINI ECU (R53, R5X, R6X, FXX). I have not confirmed their MINI parts supply beyond that which is available from BMW. They are also capable of custom fabrications.

Pfaff Tuning – Talking to staff over at MINI Vaughan West, apparently these guys will also tune anything. However, their website is not very helpful so you may need to call, email, or request a quote online. I know they are tapped into the BMW/MINI parts supply via Pfaff BMW, but I am not sure what other products they carry.

Johnston Research & Performance – Dealer for many specialist brands that have parts for MINI. AEM, Bilstein, Borla, BorgWarner, Brembo, Forge,  Hawk, Hella, HSD, K&N, KW, Magnaflow, Neuspeed, Remus, Stoptech, TEIN, Wilwood, and others.

Tdot Performance – Dealer in many specialist brands that have parts for MINI. AEM, Bilstein, Borla, Dinan, EBC, Eibach, Flowmaster, Hawk, Hella, Hotchkis, HSD, K&N, Koni, KW, Magnaflow, Megan, PIAA, Stoptech, Thule, and others.

German Parts Canada – Dealer in OEM (and OEM equivalent) parts.


With Hunter Performance pulling out of the BMW/MINI business (as of Jan 1, 2014) I am currently unaware of any Canadian vendors outside of Ontario that specialize in MINI.


ALTA Performance – ALTA offers up their limited selection of parts directly from their website alongside parts from H&R and PIAA. Available online through various vendors, no Canadian vendors that I am aware of as of yet.

Cravenspeed – Mostly lots of parts for short shifters, phone mounts and interior bits these days.

Detroit Tuned – In addition to their own range of parts, DT offers parts from Borla, CravenSpeed, DDM, Forge, Koni, M7, Magnaflow, Megan, Samco, NM Engineering and others. Thanks to their partnership with Outmotoring, they can get pretty much any OEM part (including parts from the GP and Challenge race cars) and many of the factory tools. Furthermore, they can custom order just about anything from anyone if you’re willing to drive down to the shop in Clawson, Michigan and have it installed.

ECS Tuning – Carries a wide range of their own tuning parts, the also offer a huge array of parts from Borla, CravenSpeed, DDM, Forge, Koni, M7, Magnaflow, Megan, Samco, NM Engineering and many others. Ships from Wadsworth, Ohio.

Fubrication – FU sells a good GP style spoiler along with some carbon fiber bits. Online only, shipping from Cupertino, California.

GO Badges – Lots of exterior badge designs and some interior bits as well. Ships from Camillus, New York.

M7 Tuning – M7 Tuning still makes some of their own parts, but have moved to start selling parts from Borla, Eibach, Hotchkis, Spec-D, and Thumper. They were originally located in Southern California, but has since moved shop to Mooresville, North Carolina and are under new ownership.

Madness Motorworks – Formerly MINI Madness, they offer up some of their own parts, re-branded parts and parts from Giken, KW, and Milltek. The selection for R50-53 owners is much broader than for R55+ owners and includes performance cylinder heads, cams, exhaust manifolds and an oil pan that won’t leak. Located in Portland, Oregon, but also ships across the US and Canada.

MINI Mania – Online vendor of parts for both BMW MINIs and classic Minis. They carry OEM parts and their own parts alongside parts from Borla, Brembo, Flexpod, Giken, Helix, M7, NM Engineering, Wilwood, and others. One of the only places you can get uprated superchargers and turbochargers that fit without extensive modifications.

MINI Motoring Graphics – Official vinyl provider for MINI USA. Recently added custom designs.

MINI Rochester – Several members have gotten JCW parts from this dealership at a fraction of what the Ontario dealerships were charging. Located in Rochester, New York. They do ship to Canada, but you’re better off shipping to a US postal depot and picking it up yourself to avoid UPS brokerage fees (~$240 brokerage for an JCW body kit).

Motoring Badges – Badges! Lots of badge designs from Gabe of WWR repute.

Outmotoring.com – Popular online vendor of OEM parts, tuner parts, car care, swag, and even garage organization and toolboxes. They carry parts from AEM, Alta, Cravenspeed, DDM, Forge, NM Engineering, and many others. Online only.

Revolution Motor Works – If you’re into engine tuning then you’ve probably heard of Jan Brueggemann. Jan specializes in making MINIs put out absurd amounts of power (north of 350 whp) and as such the selection of parts he offers is limited to cylinder heads, cams, injectors, pistons, headers, and connecting rods for the R53. For the R56 he only offers custom ECU tuning for the N14 engine.

Todds Mods – Todd from WWR has done some amazing custom vinyl work, his design for the full Union Jack Livery is the best I’ve seen, but the union jack lion is my favourite.

Vinyl Styles – Lyle only wraps things himself with his own custom designs, but you can mail him trim pieces and he’ll mail them back wrapped!

Pelican Parts – Pelican often has the best prices on big ticket OEM parts. These savings often offset the exchange rate, shipping, duty and HST. Many TMC and SOMC members have their parts shipped to a mail depot in Buffalo and declare it at the border to save on international shipping and brokerage.


Orranje – Maker of the G-wing GP-style spoiler and other exterior styling components. They don’t ship to Canada, but they will accept Canadian orders and then ship them to postal depots across the border.

MINI Genuine Parts – The single largest vendor of OEM MINI parts… in the world. You can get euro-spec OEM parts that you’re dealer may not be able to including trim without reflectors, euro DTR lights and fog lights. Ships from the UK, all prices in GBP.

MINI Graphics UK – Official vinyl provider for the EU zone. Some of the coolest designs. Ships from the UK, all prices in GBP.

Other Internationals:

Please help me fill in this section.

Note: If you know of a shop or vendor that’s not on this list that should be, please comment below.


Real OEM –  Use your VIN and drill through images or search based on part names to find BMW part numbers.



Sometimes life requires a car that is bigger than a MINI Cooper (shocking, I know), but you don’t want to buy something boring and clunky (or slow for that matter). This is where the MINI Countryman comes in handy (and in some respects, the Paceman too). Even a shiny new car from any brand (except maybe Toyota) can be a lemon (looking at you Range Rover), used cars just have an even better chance of leaving you disappointed, or stranded, or both.  This guide is meant to help you mitigate those chances, though nothing is foolproof.

mini paceman vs countryman

Countryman vs. Paceman

There is little difference between the driving dynamics of these two cars and how they make you feel while driving them. However, the two cars are worlds apart in terms of practicality and style; because of this I routinely joke that the Paceman was “too cool to live”. The Paceman’s roof and door lines make it appreciably less dowdy than the Countryman, but also make it understandably less spacious in the rear.

The cool looks of the Paceman will cost you 20 litres of boot space with the seats up, but the inability to option the 60/40 folding rear bench seat costs you a further 80 litres with the rear bucket seats fold down. It’s also important to note that the Countryman’s entire rear bench can slide forward and tilt to offer up an extra 40 litres of space with the seats up and this has come in handy for me in the past.

The Paceman didn’t fare well in the Canadian new car market and towards the end MINI Canada was offering $4500 and $6500 cash back on the ALL4 and JCW versions respectively. Meanwhile most Countryman’s rolled off the lot for at or near MSRP, if you got a deal on a Countryman before 2015 then it’s probably because they were allowed to knock off up to $1500 for returning customers.

From here on out, just assume that when I write “Countryman”, I meant “Countryman and Paceman” unless I write otherwise, or I specifically mention the Paceman.

JCW Engine Bay

The engines N16 vs. N18

The Countryman lucked out by coming with the same revised engines as the Life Cycle Impulse (LCI) I Cooper from start to finish. The naturally aspirated N16 and turbocharged N18 engines are a marked improvement over thier predecessors (the N12 and prolblematic N14). Both engines were more powerful and efficient than thier predecessors thanks to VANOS infinitely variable valve timing (Valvetronic) on both  intake and exhaust valves and a redesigned positive crank case ventilation system.

The N18 further benefited from a new map-controlled oil pump, a lighter/stronger composite camshaft, and revised pistons. These changes served to solve two potentially fatal flaws; coking of the intake valves, and the catastrophic failure of the timing chain assembly colloquially known as “the death rattle”. If the N18 has a drawback, it’s that the induction system lacks the noise maker that lets you hear the whoosh of the turbo sucking in air so that you can go faster and the “choo choo” of the charge recirculation valve. However, it more than makes up for this lost element of fun with a more pronounced “burble and pop” from the exhaust.

If I am honest, the decision by MINI to field a manual Countryman with the N16 engine was a mistake. When paired with an Aisin automatic transmission this engine is merely anemic (0-100 kph in the same 11.6 seconds as a Toyota Corolla). Yet pairing it with the Getrag 6-speed is an exercise in frustration due to the lack of torque, grabby clutch and higher weight resulting in stalls unless you rev it aggressively and wearing down your clutch in the process. During my hill start test I needed to rev it through 1800-2200 rpm just to avoid stalling, in an normal MINI Cooper I could make it up a hill stall free at a modest 1200 rpm. There is a reason MINI Canada cancelled this engine offering with the LCI Countryman; it was a pairing that just didn’t make any sense at all.

DSCF0172 (1)

FWD vs. ALL4 vs. JCW

The Countryman S came in front wheel drive and an all wheel drive system known as ALL4 while the JCW only came with ALL4. Having driven both systems in the wet and the snow I can safely say that the ALL4 system was worth the $1000 premium when new and in the used market it’s a no-brainer as FWD and ALL4 cars command nearly identical prices. A Countryman ALL4 with the TCS and DSC turned off and sport mode on is a bundle of laughs in the snow, the wet and the muck. The car is nicely poised and with the right tires it drifts around effortlessly in first and second gears all the while leaving total control within easy reach. I’ve never had a problem with heavy snow or ice in our Countryman ALL4 on the factory Pirelli Sottozeros, even when other cars were stuck or in the ditch. The TCS and DSC systems are so seamless that only the lack of drama on an icy surface gives the game away.

The Countryman JCW still commands enough of a price premium ($4000-5000) over similarly equipped S ALL4’s on the used market that it is still an emotional buy. It’s important to note that non-MINI dealers often sell S’s with the JCW Appearance Package for the same price as other Countrymen without. This package gets you the JCW aero kit, sport suspension, 18″ JCW Twin Spoke Wheels, JCW steering wheel, JCW shifter, power fold mirrors, anthracite roofliner and piano black interior trim. The 2013-2014’s with this package will also come with the “dark style” package which consists of micro-checkered mirror caps, side scuttles, and down tubes, white side indicators and anthracite scuttle trim instead of chrome. If you can’t find one with the JCW looks, the front spoiler lip and some beefy exhaust tips will only set you back at most $600 and you can install them in your driveway.

Park Lane Interior

Packages and options

Key options include Premium Package (dual pane sunroof, rain sensing wipers, heated seats, climate control, automatic headlights, fog lights and Bluetooth calling), Lights Package (adaptive bi-xenon headlights, white turn signals).

Options that are really nice to have and are prohibitively expensive to retrofit include Wired Package (MINI Connected, navigation, voice recognition, Bluetooth audio streaming), HK Sound, Black Headlights, Comfort Access, rear bench seats, cargo package and the sports gauges. Get the interior you want, lounge leather can be had on the used market for only a modest markup over the base leatherette or punch leather.

Don’t get hung up on things such as accessories and wheels. Things such as black headlight/taillight rings, stripes, mirror caps and side scuttles are inexpensive to add after the fact. Wheels can be tricky if the car comes with the the ugly 17″ 5-Star Triangle Spokes, or the boring 18″ Turbo Fan Spokes, but any of the other option wheels are relatively easy to sell or trade. The American-sized front and rear cup holders are also an inexpensive retrofit ($120 for the front and $80 for the rear), though the install for the front ones can be tricky (panel poppers are your friends).

Paceman ALL4

Regarding resale values (and getting a deal on a Paceman)

In-warranty and certified pre-owned Countryman ALL4 and JCW have the single highest resale/trade value of any car on the market (averaging 59% after 3 years) because of continued high demand. Particularly well optioned low KM examples can go for as high as 70% of MSRP (which is pretty insane). This also means that there are only around 30-50 of these cars on the used market at any given time and turnarounds can be pretty quick.

If you can live without a rear bench and only two doors, similarly optioned Pacemen can be had for much less and despite thier comparative rarity, there are usually 20 kicking around on used car lots at any given time because they tend to sit there and collect dust. This creates opportunities for serious discounts and they can often be had for $2000-6000 less than a similarly equipped Countryman.


Things To Avoid

Avoid anything before an Aug 2012 build at all cost. These cars often develop electrical gremlins and there was no optional rear bench. The most commonly afflicted parts are window motors that will only go down, interior lights that flicker, door locks and wipers that have a mind of thier own.

If you’re looking for a stick, Countrymen prior to Jan 2013 came with a mushy clutch cylinder and a softer friction material. This resulted in smooth takeoffs, but excessive clutch wear and any car on it’s first clutch won’t be for long. If the clutch pedal is really soft and riding high, walk away. Countrymen built after Jan 2013 got the same tougher clutch plate assembly and stiffer clutch cylinders as the JCW, but this also means smooth launches require much more finesse. Older cars that have had thier clutch and flywheel replaced should be using the updated clutch package, but may still be operating with the old input/output cylinders, this is where service records come in really handy. Note that this more aggressive clutch setup makes non-turbo version of the Countryman even more difficult to drive with a stick than it already was.

Other than the above issues, the Countryman has been the MINI model in need of the least amount of sorting out over it’s production cycle. Unlike the Cooper LCI, the Countryman LCI didn’t introduce any major changes to the vehicle, just some cosmetics and reorganization of the option packages.



Summer Cruising


It’s summer (holy @#$% already!?!) and many of us have been preparing for epic road trips. What goes with road trips better than music? This year’s summer mix features modern all-Canadian talent from coast to coast.

MINI Mixtape

We’re currently using Google Music All Access Pass for the MINI Mixtape because it’s one of the only streaming music services that allows users to share curated playlists with each other (the other being Spotify Premium). Both are free for the first 30 days after which you have to pay (currently priced at $9.99/month for single users, Google offers a $14.99/month family plan for up to 10 devices). If someone wants to translate the playlist to a public Spotify playlist I’ll add it later.

MINI Mixtape banner design courtesy of Elwira Wozniak of Wozcreative.com


So summer is here, it’s an even year, and you want to go on a mighty road trip with your MINI, and a few hundred friends. Lucky for you then that MINI Takes the States is a thing. Whether you’re doing the whole thing, half, or even just a single leg, you’re going to want to make sure everything is in order before you set off.


Things to do before you go:

  1. Have any time/distance-based maintenance that will be due during the trip done before you leave.
  2. Unless your car is brand spanking new you should probably have it inspected:
    • Tire tread level and tire pressures (rotate if neccessary)
    • Check alignment
    • Check brakes
    • Check fluid levels (oil, coolant, power steering, brakes, windshield washer)
    • Test battery
  3. Call your bank and credit card companies to make sure they know you will be traveling
  4. Book your hotels and plan your route to and from the venues
  5. Study Google Maps of the areas you will be in:
    • all major routes in and out
    • construction and detours
    • places to stock up on goods for the cooler
  6. If leaving Canada you’ll want to secure a data plan for your phone (normal roaming costs a small fortune)
    • Rogers phones are compatible with T-Mobile/AT&T
      • Rogers offers”Roam Like Home” for $5/day (capped at $50, usage cap based on plan)
      • Unlocked phones can use pre-paid plans from T-Mobile or AT&T
    • Bell & Telus phones are compatible with Verizon
      • Bell offers “Roam Better” for $5/day (no cost cap, data cap of 100MB/day)
      • Telus offers “Easy Roam” for $7/day (no cost cap, usage cap based on plan)
      • Unlocked phones can use Verizon pre-paid plans
    • World phones come unlocked and are compatible with any network by definition
  7. Create a mix tape on your phone (~12 hours of music per day, downloaded in advance)
    • CDs & MP3 players are acceptable substitutes (you Luddite)


Things to bring with you:

  1. Proof of insurance and roadside assistance membership card
  2. Passports if you intend to leave the country
  3. Co-pilot (at least one human)
  4. Phone charger (USB outlets in cars are usually USB 1.0 and can’t charge a modern phone fast enough)
  5. Paper Maps (never hurts to have them as a backup)
  6. Emergency Rations (drinking water and non-perishable food)
  7. Cooler for snacks and beverages (not to be confused with the above, restock at grocery stores)
  8. Flashlight (there are times where your phone just won’t cut it)
  9. FRS/GMRS radios, chargers, and extra batteries (usually tuned to channel 7/21)
  10. Cash (especially if your in rural parts of the USA where debit and credit are not as prevalent)
  11. A spare tire if there is room for one, or an air compressor that runs off 12v and a patch kit if you don’t
  12. A spare towel (always have your towel)
  13. Sunscreen
  14. Brimmed hat or driving cap
  15. UV protectant sunglasses (polarized lenses also help)
  16. Gravol (sometimes people get motion sick)
  17. Chapstick
  18. Folding chairs
  19. Bug spray/repellent for outdoor events (30% Deet, or 20% Picaridin)
  20. Cameras, GoPros and Drones (Oh my!)


Things to do during your trip:

  1. Familiarize yourself with any route books/sheets by following them on a map or plotting them into your GPS
  2. Make friends (especially locals, they often know better routes than the official one and places to eat)
  3. Take lots of pictures and video (post them each night to make people insanely jelly)
  4. Plan out food/rest stops based on time, not distance and have backup plans (pee every chance you get)
  5. Look out for wildlife (even when you’re not out in the back country)
  6. Pack fewer clothes and take advantage of overnight laundry at your hotel (if they provide it)
  7. Drive safely (there have been serious MINI on MINI collisions in the past)
  8. Clean your MINI at every opportunity (OR refuse to clean your MINI the whole trip)
  9. HAVE FUN!!!
  10. And trust me on the sunscreen…



The TMC website is back up and back in action. The reason the site went dark was because of poor planning on the part of the club operators. Specifically, TMC sticker sales dropped off sharply after the big burst in the first year and the margins from selling those stickers for $10 weren’t enough to cover costs. We’ve got a new batch of stickers that we’ll be selling for $20 along with a grille badge (price to be determined) that are still in the works. Both of these items should be able to support us going forward. We didn’t want to just jack up the price of the current stickers and will still be offering them for $10.

In case you are wondering what the new stickers/badges are going to look like… TADA!!!!



We would also like to extend a warm thank you to Ian Rae over at Motorwerks Magazine for helping us get back in action now, rather than after the stickers were done being designed, printed and sold. Head on over and check them out on the link below.


Lastly some housekeeping stuff. I’ll also be looking at doing a few upgrades to the site over the coming months:

Single Sign On – We don’t want your personal details, we just want to cut down on the ability of spammers to sign up for the site and make it easier for people to sign on via mobile.
Disqus Comments – Along with single sign on, we want to move over to Disqus or other similarly free comment management system. Again, purely to combat spam posts.
Personal Gallery Support
– I am still evaluating this possibility. We would like to make it easier for members to upload and manage thier own content in the blogs and forums.

If there is anything else you would like to see in terms of features, let us know in the comments below.



Summer may be over, but the motoring season is still going strong.  Technology has made it easy for us to share streaming playlists with each other and MINI has made it easy for us play that music in our cars while the fall colours fly by.

Banner Design: Elwira Wozniak of Wozcreative.com

We’re currently using Google Music All Access Pass for the MINI Mixtape because it’s one of the only streaming music services that allows users to share curated playlists with each other (the other being Spotify Premium). Both Google Music All Access Pass is free for the first 30 days after which you have to pay (both are currently $9.99/month).

If you know of any better/freer options, please mention them in the comments below.

MINI Mixtape banner design courtesy of Elwira Wozniak of Wozcreative.com

Summer Cruising


Summer is sneaking up on us and is unofficially already here! Clear skies and warm weather are conducive to cruising to some fun tunes. Technology has made it easy for us to share streaming playlists with each other and MINI has made it easy for us play that music in our cars.

Banner Design: Elwira Wozniak of Wozcreative.com

We’re currently using Google Music All Access Pass for the MINI Mixtape because it’s one of the only streaming music services (the other being Spotify Premium) that allows users to share curated playlists with each other. Both Google Music All Access Pass and Spotify Premium are only free for the first 30 days after which you have to pay (both are currently $9.99/month). If you know of any better/freer options, please mention them in the comments below.

MINI Mixtape banner design courtesy of Elwira Wozniak of Wozcreative.com

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This Sunday May 3 is looking to be a massive event as over 50 cars are gathering from the New York Club and the Ontario Clubs to have a fun drive and a bite to eat.


Sunday May 3 – 3pm meeting at the Canadian Tire near Clappisons Corners in Waterdown: 11 Clappison Avenue

Drive through the Dundas Valley and area

Arrive at the Winchester Arms in Downtown Dundas: 120 King St W after

This will be a spirited driving event :)

Hope to see you there!