Does anybody drive a Cooper..not a mini?

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by Jay H, May 4, 2006.

  1. Jay H

    Jay H Producer

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    I mean, if there is a mini cooper, is there a plain old "cooper" or a maxi cooper?

    I mean there is a minibike as well as a bike,

    A mini me and a Minnie Driver... Is there such a thing as a "cooper"?

    Jay
     
  2. andrew markworthy

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    I think that 'Cooper' refers to a British rally driver who designed a more sporty version of the basic Mini. I've been told by a devotee that they're great fun to drive.
     
  3. CameronJ

    CameronJ Stunt Coordinator

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    I think they're called BMW's [​IMG]
     
  4. Steve Berger

    Steve Berger Supporting Actor

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    I haven't kept up with the latest reincarnation but I think they just picked the most famous of the old names. I have had an Austin Cooper, a Mini Cooper, and an Austin America. IIRC (~ 1969 - 75)

    Looking at an old tuning manual (I never throw books away) seems to indicate that the original car was a "Mini" and came in farious flavors, supplied by B.M.C. (MG, Morris, Austin, etc) The correct name seems to have been either an Austin Mini or Morris Mini type Cooper or Cooper S and the development of the car was credited to Alec Issigonis.

    They were a lot of fun to drive and race, could be highly modified, had lots of problems, broke a lot, and were really hard to work on.
     
  5. andrew markworthy

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    The original Mini was Issigonis's design. The Cooper suffix purely refers to the modified version.
     
  6. Mary M S

    Mary M S Screenwriter

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  7. alan halvorson

    alan halvorson Cinematographer

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    Geez, Andrew, you ought to know your own countries racing history a little better![​IMG] This is from Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cooper_Car_Company

    Delving into my faint memory of my one-time interest in formula racing: One of the odd things about a Cooper Formula chassis was the construction of the spaceframe (this was before the unified chassis now used). For maximum strength, the diagonal members of a normal spaceframe are joined and welded at the junction of the horizontal and vertical members. Cooper, for reasons I can't recall, refused to do this and instead joined them well away from any junction. This made the frame more flexible. Maybe Cooper could get away with this technique in the days of small engines and narrow tires, but not today.
     
  8. Steve Schaffer

    Steve Schaffer Producer

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    Currently all Coopers are minis but not all minis are Coopers.

    The original Mini was introduced in England around 1959 by BMC (British Motor Corporation) under the Austin and Morris nameplates as a replacement for the Morris Minor. It's designer, Alec Issigonis (may he rot in hell) came up with the idea of putting the engine in sideways and driving the front wheels to maximize interior space in a tiny car, thus pretty much inventing today's most common configuration even in large cars and earning the everlasting hatred of auto mechanics everywhere who have to deal with the resultant horrible service accessibility.

    The original Mini came with a .85 liter (850cc) pushrod valve 4 cylinder engine and a rubber-band type suspension. BMC failed to do their homework on the cost of production, or did and didn't tell marketing because the original price was less than what it cost to manufacture them-typical of the kind of thinking (or lack thereof) that eventually killed the British auto industry.

    They did sell well, and soon a larger car was introduced based on the same layout, which was most commonly known in the US as the MG Sports Sedan and later the Austin America. These had 4 doors and a 1.1 liter or larger engine, and were about the size and weight of Hyundai Accent. Eventually an even larger car was introduced, about the size of the current Malibu, a 2 liter(ish) version which was indeed called the Maxi. In fact the current Malibu Maxx looks very much like one of the old BMC Maxis, which is probably why the Maxx doesn't sell very well.

    The Maxi wasn't offered in the US, didn't go over well at home either, and was replaced in the early 70s by the Austin/Morris Marina, a conventional front engine rear drive car. The Marina was marketed in the US in response to the increasingly popular Toyota Corona and Datsun (now Nissan) 510. It failed in the US abysmally.
     
  9. andrew markworthy

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    Sorry, I spent my time learning correct spellings instead. [​IMG] Quite right - 'Cooper' was the name of the design team, though it is true to say that the Mini Cooper was primarily designed with rallying in mind.
     
  10. Mary M S

    Mary M S Screenwriter

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    "Sorry, I spent my time learning correct spellings instead"
    Oh Andrew I am not Worthy...I hope you and like know that I personally am extremely mortified by the grammar (lack of ) in my posts. I ask for the easy button. A permanent pass for the hopeless.

    ...that (was) my mini-cooper I posted a pic of. I was impressed by its agility, but also by its strength of construction during rollover.
     
  11. andrew markworthy

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    I trust the occupants were okay?

    The Mini is a great little car - and very light. When I was at [what I guess you guys would call] high school, there was a fellow pupil who was not exactly popular who drove a Mini. One day eight of us picked up his car and placed it sideways between two of the teachers' cars. We knew the teachers in question were on a school trip and wouldn't be moving their cars until late evening, so the guy was in effect trapped and couldn't get out until one of them returned. Of such petty pleasures is school life made.
     
  12. Mary M S

    Mary M S Screenwriter

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    Yes. Miraculously no injurys. One occupant, the driver, my son. I burst into tears when I saw the car which had been towed to the pound, could not believe that he exited in one piece. The car hit a tree on a stretch of roadway, which has propelled countless, other vehicles off the concrete and up to the fence or various trees at a very large home since the pavement has been in existence. The owner of the home has car-trash picked up off his property on an almost weekly basis. I have known the danger of this strip for years having seen two major accidents on this stretch occur in front of me as I traveled. I have been watching with greater attention since the son’s incident. In the months since, I have seen one cross with flowers, planted at the exact location of his incident, and on 2 different occasion’s fresh evidence of newly dredged ‘tracks.’ Last year, 2 brothers died a block beyond at the second danger zone on this stretch. From the footprint we know the MINI rolled at least 3 times before hitting a tree, My husband thinks that the fact the MINI was stoped by the tree at its undercarriage (the beefiest portion of any car) was what saved him. Police officers/ins adjuster all expressed shock that the MINI held up so well. I was stunned recreating the incident that the roof support columns up the side of the main windscreen held. The whole accident was lateral rolls and the engineered safety features did it's job deploying all side airbags (thank God for them) front bags did not fire.

    The modern MINI with its German mesh, is a very heavy car factoring size - weight ratio. I am glad of this now. I used to wonder as I drove how I would fair if tangleing with the majority preferred vehicle in the area...SUV’s. I do think the sudden stop at the undercarriage made all the difference...but I was impressed.

    Loved your story.... unless you ceaselessly tormented this schoolmate...and enjoyed tendencies towards making his permanent residence a locker it would indeed be my favorite kind of a prank.
    One off...no one hurt....and very funny. [​IMG]
    I have known of a few Volkswagens being deposited upon roofs and at various other non-designated thoroughfare locales.
     
  13. andrew markworthy

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    No - but the guy was pretty unpopular with staff and pupils. I'll give you an idea of just how unpopular. Unbeknown to us, some of the teachers had seen us moving the Mini. One of them came up to me afterwards and said on behalf of the staff that they thought this was brilliant, and apparently a couple of the teachers had to be restrained from coming down to help us move the car.

    Incidentally, the poor put upon schoolmate is now extremely rich and a reasonably well known newspaper writer, so don't feel too sorry for him.
     
  14. Ron-P

    Ron-P Producer

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    I'll be driving one (hopefully) very shortly. I've been shopping for at 02/03 model. So far at the top of my list is this one, a 2003...

    [​IMG]

    I've had a love for these little cars for a very long time. Looking very forward to finally owning one.
     
  15. Mary M S

    Mary M S Screenwriter

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    Ron, do you live in a hot region? My biggest gripe with the MC was the famous bog/stutter, mine was a 2003, last I checked BMW acknowledged the issue and there was a computer flash upgrade that alleviated but did not eliminate. It is actually dangerous till you get used to it. Mine was an S 6-spd. Starting up from 1st the mini required a changing amount of extreme throttle. It would have been easily dealt with if it stayed consistent as to amount required but would literally change one light to next. At its worst I would have to be 90% into throttle and as soon as the tires got traction back off smoothly to decrease the bog which occurred directly after. If you were not ready for it, you’d kill the engine. Heat made it worst, Cool weather I had far less incidents. After the flash it was not as extreme and I had no trouble with it, but some do.
    Enjoyed it greatly, find a local SCCA course and you will really have fun. They can take a corner serenely at 30 to 40. Good gas mileage and much larger on interior than expected. I was an ‘early’ adopter my area and for almost a yr, I was interrupted on all errands explaining what it was and who made it. Now I see them quite often. It felt very multi-national since my engine was Brazilian; the car fitted in the UK with German engineering input.

    There is currently a “John Cooper Works” upgrade available for the MCS model, (not sure if one is available for the MC model) this can be added/ordered at the MINI dealers or aftermarket and maintains your warranty. (about 6k). We found it not worth the price, (the men here being car people we upgraded the cold air intake and muffler system which increased power a tad and (I felt definitely) improved the ‘stutter’ issue.

    Andrew: ”they thought this was brilliant” which carries the additional benefit of completely insulating you from being booted off-campus for the stunt, barring the Pater being all-powerful! [​IMG]
    I hope along his path to ”extremely rich and a reasonably well known newspaper writer” he had been humbled into a more rounded person by his willing to supply ‘whatfors’ school mates! [​IMG]
     
  16. Ron-P

    Ron-P Producer

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    Thanks for that info Mary. About 2 weeks ago me wife rented my a convertible Mini for 2 days, a 2004 automatic. I did not notice any bog/shutter with it. Do you know if it is only related to manuals?

    I do live on the coast so it's cool most all year long with the exception of a few days during summer where it might get above 85, but that's rare.

    I'm still at least a couple weeks off from buying but next week I plan to put more effort into looking. We are down to one car and it's becoming a pain.l
     
  17. andrew markworthy

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    Mary - in reply to your final statement; by all accounts, no. The last time I saw him was at my 21st birthday party, where he distinguished himself by writing to my then-girlfriend after the party saying that when she was bored with me, why didn't she give him a call? I didn't find this out until years later when now ex-girlfriend and I were having a catch-up chat on the phone - no, she didn't call him (she found him repulsive) but she didn't tell me at the time because she thought it would sever my friendship with him. I haven't laughed so much in years.

    Back on thread - there was a brief article in a Brit magazine announcing a limited edition of the Mini Cooper S. I think it's being advertised as the fastest and most powerful ever. Apparently it will be the last of the current line to be built before the model is restyled.
     
  18. Mary M S

    Mary M S Screenwriter

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    Find NTSB Technical Service Bulletins online along with consumer complaints recalls would be my first stop for current submissions of issues. Next find the MINI owners forums I believe USA MINI has a large user forum use a search with terms like bog/ stutter (there was another couple of owner referred nicknames ..but I cant’ think what?) Reading a few threads should bring you up to speed and give you broader search ‘words’ for the topic.

    When the MINI first launched here (and it took 2 yrs before you saw many units on the road), I think (?) owners reported the automatic was actually worse as regards bog. You had less control to baby it through the issue. Via warranty visits most used MINI’s would have had the flash there were a few versions released and I’m sure majority used MINI’s on the road have had this addressed. (the first flash release was not a success as it reset itself back to factory after a few months allowing the bog to reappear). At its inception (seemingly connected to the stutter) there were owners reporting a stall out in the middle of traffic, this occurred to me once during a U-turn. I was already in gear and moving very quickly through a small gap, - so it was not a engage clutch/throttle timing user malfunction. IT just died in the middle of a tight turn, I believe I was heard to say a really bad word outloud. (Alone - no wittnesses - I can deny deny [​IMG] ) Thank goodness though other owners reported this startling behavior more than once, I only had the single incident. Needless to say one was bad enough – there I was presenting my best steak (t-bone) to traffic, for months after (burned once) I waited for enormous clearances in traffic before any such maneuvers again which frustrated drivers queued behind me.

    However interesting to note, the many males who asked for test-drive of mini, (for as long as I had it) either considering themselves accomplished in stick (or actually were accomplished drivers [​IMG] ) always killed the engine at least 3 times during test. I always found mine twitchy starting 1st, higher gearshifts were never an issue (in fact were a joy).

    Honestly, flash, cold air/muffler upgrade it just was not an issue for me within a yr. of purchase. We talked about various upgrades but the MINI S was very nice, stock. (we had all options but the NAV system, we canned that as it moved the guages around to locations we did not prefer.) All tweaking time available went into this project.
    The project pictured above was all time consuming and through it we met Carroll Shelby, twice; nice, nice man in his twilight years; here at canned charity promo events. He signed the pic of the stang the trip pictured. The first meeting he signed the glovebox of our stang.

    Andrew: CAD! BOUNDER!!!!, - nice the GF had sense. [​IMG]

    “Back on thread” Ron if you’re shopping used/new; I'd recomend researching the engine configurations. I believe 2003/4 (?) were the last yrs for the Brazilian, some MINI enthusiasts were concerned the next engine would not be as desirable over the longterm.
     
  19. Ron-P

    Ron-P Producer

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    Mary, do you know if there is a way to check and see if the flash upgrade was preformed? The Mini I'm looking to buy is a 2003.
     
  20. Mary M S

    Mary M S Screenwriter

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    Ron, If by owner, not so hard they should know if they ever had the issue and inquired at their dealership. If on a lot, as long as you can get the VIN and ask the dealer where it was originally purchased and driven; you could call the nearest local dealer to the original owner with VIN # & ask.

    All BMW dealers can help you during travel under warranty but there are limited MINI service centers so the amount of locations you would need to call would be limited to a few (or one) any region originally driven.
    Hope that helps?
    To be honest I don't know that BMW ever got a definitive flash going for this issue...(last I looked) I may have had the first gen or second generation flash (I think) done to mine, at the time I was dealing with it the dealers themselves were not to up to speed (or ignoring ...hoping it would go away [​IMG] ) it took BMW a while to even admit to this being a problem for some owners, Dealership would not tell you about it unless you asked for it first months it was acknowleged.
    Along with getting used to this idiocrancy and my husband upgrading the muffler and cold air himself, which improved it, this became [for me] a non-issue.
    I did drive with traction control off (have to disengage each ignition) during the first months of ownership when this behavior was at its worst for me....it felt like this reduced the throttle input required when it occured or at least severity during that time.
     

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