Category Archives: Product Reviews

MINI Mods: NM Engineering Strut Brace

I’m beginning to think I’ve been infected with the mod bug that’s so endemic to the MINI community…

First Exposure: February 2010 after taking delivery of the JCW

Incubation Period: I think I was pretty resilient, nearly 9 months from exposure to first mod

Symptoms: Crawling North American Motoring and DC Metro MINIs forums; perpetually full fantasy shopping carts at FastMini and OutMotoring; snapping spy photos of other MINIs at rallies; obsessive usage of the Tire Rack configurator; frequent trips to Mach V ‘just to browse’

Severity: Minor, so far…

Treatment: To combat the latest flare-up of mod fever, I stopped by FastMini / Mach V in Sterling, VA and picked up the NM Engineering Billet Aluminum Tie-Bar in black (NM Engineering product site, currently on sale at FastMini).

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MINI Mods: Black Side Marker Housings

I for one tend to think that MINI went a little overboard with the chrome accents on the R56.  I also think the ‘murdered-out’ look is a little played out at this point.  Trying to strike a balance between the two, I’ve been selectively looking at black parts that will lend a stealthier presence to my MINI.

After going for a VA legal tint back in November to darken the greenhouse a bit, my next move was to swap out the chrome JCW side marker scuttle inserts and carriers that came from the factory with the ‘aero style’ black side marker housings that are shipping on the new 2011 ‘justa’ Cooper.  This is probably one of the easiest exterior mods you can do to a MINI and probably took about 20 minutes to swap out (a stubborn clip and switching the amber for clear bulbs slowed me down a bit – otherwise figure less than 5 minutes). Continue reading

MINI Mods: New Snow Tires

With the MINI’s first winter approaching and memories of 2009/2010’s Snowpocalypse, Snowmageddon, and Snoverkill still fresh on my mind, I figured it would be a smart idea to get equipped with a good set of winter-only snow tires.  Unfortunately, I needed to maintain at least a 17″ wheel diameter to fit over the Brembo brakes up front, severely limiting my options.

After checking out the results on TireRack (and the limited availability of the remaining stock), I settled on the Bridgestone Blizzak LM60 in 205/45/17 fitment.

I had the tires shipped to PBC Automotive in Chantilly, VA for install – they arrived in about 2 days with standard shipping.  Short of having to wait a few days for an appointment, the guys at PBC did a good job mounting the Blizzaks on my JCW challenge wheels – no noticeable scratches on the finish.  By mounting on my existing wheels with TPMS already installed I was able to keep the cost down.

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