Today we did our annual pilgrimage to Santa Pod for the Mini In The Park meet. We went on the GP Uk Owners Club but alas without our GP which is currently having some small rust repairs done under warranty. Continue reading
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
A long while back we installed the GP rear diffuser on SilverBeast. This improves the aerodynamics under the car and gives a more appealing look to the rear of the car either side of the exhaust.
It is because of this visual improvement, giving the car a beefier, sportier and more purposeful look, that this modification has been so popular.
However, without the engine under tray from the GP2 also being fitted then this modification in truth is purely aesthetic and gives no aerodynamic benefit at all. However, match it to the engine undertray and you have the same aerodynamic set up under the car as the GP 2 and this does make a difference.
Above is what SiverBeast looked like before the engine under tray was added and below is how it looks with it installed.
Yep no difference can be seen at all unless you crawl under the engine bay. This is why there has been a much lower take up on having the under tray fitted, compared to take up of the rear diffuser as a modification.
In terms of aerodynamic handling I doubt I drive the car hard enough to notice much difference. That is the honest answer but having spotted other signifcant differences, I don’t doubt that is does work in making improvements in the handling.
Two things we have noticed. First, the noise. This car not quiet and a lot of the noise comes from road noise under the car. The car is a lot noisier than an R56. You had to either talk or listen to the radio but not both. Now, with the undertray fitted, you can have the radio on and still be able to talk. Now we can hear the engine more which is a much better noise than the road noise that dominated before. Also we can pick up the windscreen windnoise which again was drowned out by the road noise from below. For these benefits alone we feel the under tray has been a worthwhile benefit.
Secondly, we have a better fuel consumption. We are now getting an extra 2 to 3 miles per gallon on what we got before. I kid you not here.
So there you have it the GP2 under tray. It works!
Before you ask BP stands for our names in the MINI community, Beastmaster and Peanut. 500 is because all our cars have 500 in their number plate. 5 is because we have 5 cars in the “500 Club” although one we have given to The Elf – Peanut’s daughter.
Next stop is the “500”number plate!
“The Coupe is a lot more economical. In truth I feel it is a smidge faster but in handling I think I prefer the GP. It is the mechanical limited slip differential that gets you round a corner so beautifully that just edges the handling in the GP’s favour. The Coupe is a grown up hooligan. The GP is an adolescent hooligan. The Coupe has all the toys for grand touring particularly sat nav. The GP though also has the heated seats and in the case of this one a very nice sounding Kenwood stereo matched to big boot floor mounted speakers. It sounds great, better than the Harmon Kardon on the Coupe but is fiddly to use and lacks the DAB of the Coupe which is so vital for the football.
The GP has a supercharger, the Coupe has a Turbo. One is grown up, one isn’t. One is a veritable musical instrument, one isn’t. Both are immense fun but the Supercharger is in truth the more addictive drug. You can poodle about in the Coupe. The GP whispers in your ear telling you to go faster.”
Nothing has changed on that initial assessment. But there are a few things I can add. I have described the Coupe as a GP – esque GT and I think that is right. It has the fun factor, but is a bit more comfortable. It isn’t forever urging you to drive like a demon. You can if you want but you don’t have to. With the GP it is always urging you to go faster. Great fun but taxing if you are not in that kind of a mood.
Two weeks on and we are getting the hang of using the Kenwood HiFi. The sound is superb but the radio reception is awful. We suspect the stubby aerial is the problem but trying to remove it is proving hard. We got the aerial off but it left the screw in adapter in the base plate. This just turns and turns but does not come out and in the process we have put a small crack in the plastic antenna base, Water might get in so I think we now have the bigger job of replacing the base plate.
The next thing to break is the driver’s seat. I suspect that only one driver has driven it for the last few years so this has had little use. Now with two drivers we are constantly adjusting the seat height and it has decided to jam. Our plan is to get an old seat remove the mechanism and replace. By removing the mechanism on the old seat first we will have mastered the process before we touch the GP seat. For now, though I am sat a smidge too high and Peanut is a smidge too low.
No other breakages and tinkering is left. We will put the BP500-5 number on him but small so as not to fight with the original GP 0545 roof number. I think we will locate these either side of the rear spoiler. We will also add his name – ThunderBeast – as a decal probably on the bottom of each door and we will give him a 500 number plate.
Peanut meanwhile has made a few observations of her own. First, we used to have a generation 1 MINI Checkmate works and fast driving meant adopting the brace position as a passenger where the 45 degree hand grab in the door panel was of great use. In the GP she very quickly remembered this position! Meanwhile we will carry on enjoying him. Secondly, she enjoyed rediscovering the noise of the Supercharger and how a flap opens at 4000 revs to let more noise into the cabin. Glorious!