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Car Events 2016 – The Mega MINI Meet Lytham St Annes

© Beastmaster 2016

© Beastmaster 2016

The 19th saw us at The Mega MINI Meet at Lytham St Anne’s with the GP UK Owners Club. We have seen this stand many times over the years at various meet and have long wanted to have our own GP on the stand. Ten years later and its job done and we were made very welcome by all the guys on the stand. This is a friendly laid back meet and we enjoyed it a lot. The GP had great fun on its ride up from Malvern and it was good to see him finally on his proper number plates.


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ThunderBeast Kenwood HiFi Installation Update


The installation is complete now. We failed in one are which was connecting the steering wheel controls. This is because I ordered the wrong lead twice and lost the will to live on that one. Also there is not much room behind the stereo for the extra box it uses, so we called it a day on that one. In truth the fascia is much more user friendly on this one. 18 DAB presets in in a bank of 6 push button presets and a quick switch to change between banks 1,2 and three are easy to do even in a bouncing GP. 

Phone auto answers and calls are easy to do using the Siri connected voice recognition. Bluetooth music is a doddle, as is cd and usb music. The sound is as good as in the Opel GT, or better than the Mini Harmon Kardon of the JCW coupe. Put simply we are delighted with the upgrade.


The car finally feels like it belongs with its own 500 plates and a nod to it GP name.


Two modest changes prior to the Mega MINI meet at Lytham this weekend.


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ThunderBeast Kenwood HiFi Installation


We are doing this in stages as we have left the head unit easy to remove for now. First we swapped the head and set it up for sound yesterday.

This has given us Bluetooth music which works beautifully and Bluetooth  phone which uses the iPhone’s contact list and Siri for voice recognition calling. This stage of the install went well and the phone microphone has installed easily and also works very well. The voice recognition is excellent and using Siri it is better than the voice recognition on the Paceman and Coupe.


Next the DAB aerial arrived. So we removed the interior a-pillar trim and fitted the DaB aerial and plugged it in the rear of the radio. Removing the A-pillar was easy in the end. We undid the sun visor, two screws, pulled off the rubber trim from around the door and the pulled off the a trim from the top with a hard but scary yank. This was because the Dab aerial is a small box and aerial which pastes to the window and an extension strip which earths to the metal behind the a pillar.


The photos by the way are purely because they are all from my best angle! Next we set up the DAB radio and this seems to work a treat. The FM is not working yet but it didn’t before. This is because we need to take off the stubby aerial on the roof and put the original back. Alas we just cannot get the current one off so that is another job.

Delighted with the new radio features. Last bit to do is to get the steering wheel controls talking to it.


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ThunderBeast Gets His Plates


Finally (and thanks to M1RVW of MINI Clubman fame for reminding me to get them) ThunderBeast our R53 MINI GP will shortly me sporting his 500 plates which he shares with:

BP500-1 Opel GT The Phantom

BP500-2 MINI Cooper R50 CooperBeast

BP500-3 MINI Paceman SD PaceBeast

BP500-4 MINI Coupe JCW SilverBeast

BP500-5 MINI GP ThunderBeast.


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ThunderBeast – The Drive

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ThunderBeast is our first generation MINI GP. He has just returned from the garage where he has had a full service, two new front bushes, two new front shocks, a couple of oil leaks fixed and a perishing petrol cap replaced. It was good having him back. This is a car that makes you want to write about something as simple as just driving him…

I clocked out of work early, I had suffered enough pain from the cancer in my back. I wanted to rest. First though I was relishing the drive home in ThunderBeast – Our MINI GP1. As I crossed the work car park I clicked the remote and heard a faint click as the remote control opened. My heart matched the click. My mind had been conjuring with a catch phrase for the car. Mini has the “blow the bloody doors off” and Glennister has made “Fire up the Quattro” a modern classic.

I slid into the full leather Recaro seat. “Gun up the GP Ade” I said to myself, at the same time putting the heated seat on to comfort my aching back. The revs as it started hinted at the symphony the car promised to play to me. I reversed out of my parking space slow, real slow, prolonging the moment. Work colleagues were watching me. I was real slow, they were probably wondering where my Trilby was. I crawled past them giving a quick wave.

The road outside the factory was a thirty. Full of pot holes and abandoned cars and lorries on the pavements and road. Schoolkids were passing along. I took it slow to the lights at the top of the road. I was at the front at the lights. I gunned the throttle as I took a right and hit 40 in seconds.The supercharger whined. The Limited slip did its work on the bend. How do I explain the pleasure that move just gave me.

I slowed up to the roundabout then shot through it, stopping on a red light on the roundabout stopping me entering onto the motorway. A green light and I whizzed up to 70 as I went down the slip way, easing off as I did so.The supercharger whined, the exhaust popped as I let off. The car was playing its favourite tune.Driving this is not about speeding, I know how fast it will go, it’s having fun but legal fun.

I cruised along the motorway for one stop.I looked around the cockpit of the GP. Near vertical A-panels gave it a tank like feel. Things looked huge in the rear view mirror and the side mirrors. The gray instruments looked special. The loops of silver gray in the door panels gave it a rally car feel. It feels like a very special place.

Off the motorway now and exiting Upton’s 30 limit onto a 60. Two cars ahead were dawdling along. I lined them up and floored the GP. “Waaaaaaaaaarrrrrp!” went the supercharger as we flew past them. At 60 they were out of sight behind and I reined him in. Again the exhaust popped. My heart was a part of the car. It popped too as it recovered from the “warp” that shot through my chest.

I got home. Peanut was waiting for me on our steps. She hugged me and kissed me. Was she kissing Beastmaster or Steve McQueen? How should I know, I mean inside I felt like Steve McQueen.