Auto blogWed, 13 Nov 2013
Mini will be kicking off production in the Netherlands, a country that hasn't built a Mini-badged machine since 1966. In honor of this event, BMW Group Classic, the team responsible for all the cars in the BMW Museum, as well as being a spare parts and restoration company in its own right, revived a classic 1959 Austin Seven. That particular car, number 983, was one of the first Minis to be built in the Netherlands.
The Netherlands' JJ Molenaar's Car Companies built 4,000 Austin Sevens and Morris Mini-Minors between 1959 and 1966, although we imagine Dutch Mini production will be much bigger when it starts up again in summer 2014. A five-person team from VDL Nedcar, the group handling production of new Minis, took to the job of restoring the diminutive British car from nose to tail.
The 34-horsepower engine and the transmission were both completely rebuilt, while the door panels were redone by hand. Help from the Mini community aided the VDL Nedcar team in finding authentic replicas or original parts where possible. All told, the new classic Mini is a striking example of what a good restoration can do to a car. The Seven was repainted in its original Farina Gray, adding to the car's sense of authenticity.
The Texas grass no longer rustles with 2.4-liter V8 exhaust blown at 18,000 revs, the Texas dust is no longer raised by hard-compound Pirellis. We saw a lot and learned a lot while we were there as guests of Infiniti, and after our Day 1 and race recaps, here are the bits left over from our time spent with the carmaker and Red Bull Racing, including thoughts on a "wicked" race, Christian Horner's quest for a more level playing field, Infiniti "going longer and deeper," and why Mario Andretti should get a police escort at the beginning of a race but not a microphone at the end...Sat, 17 Nov 2012
The Circuit of the Americas is the miracle in the fields, the track that no one thought would be finished in time to hold its appointed race. But the Texans got past the turmoil, and even though the heavy machinery was still working on dirt roads as July, come November 18 there was a beautiful, and completed, Formula 1 facility for Travis County to call its own. It was dusty, sure. But it was done, and F1 could come to town.
Infiniti, sponsors of Red Bull Racing, invited Autoblog to watch the first grand prix in America since 2007, and the first GP on a dedicated F1 course since the Phoenix street circuit in 1991. Here's a little recap of what we saw and fount out on day one.
This was the kind of understatement we didn't expect to encounter in the Lone Star State: on our way into Austin to attend the Grand Prix of the Americas, the man sitting next to us on the plane - an Austinite born and raised - said, "There's gonna be a lot of wealthy people here." You know, as if Texas didn't have its fair share already.
Wealthy people need wealthy things to do and not-as-wealthy people to arrange such things for them. Case in point is My Yacht Club, which follows the Formula 1 parade and other rah-rah events around the globe, hosting guests and parties on yachts. In Austin the event group has had to change its schtick; there's no way to navigate one 150-foot motor yacht into Austin's Lady Bird Lake. MYC principal Nicholas Frankl told KUT News, "We spoke to the Army Air Corps. They couldn't lift it." We believe he meant the Army Corps of Engineers, but no matter, they couldn't lift it either.
So MYC has switched to a land-lubbers venue, The Long Center where Ballet Austin, the opera and the symphony perform. In case you readers are worried about how guests will manage without chiseled Italian deckhands in epaulets, not only has Frankl promised that "the elements of decadence and luxury and coolness and exclusivity are all there," guests will get to guzzle 24-karat gold-infused champagne. Because the stars at night just aren't as big and bright without it, obviously.