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Roadfly Magazine
Issue Four
Table of Contents

Past Issues Index
Roadfly Magazine
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Issue Four
Jan. 6, 2003
LA Auto Show
LA Auto Show Photo Gallery
Mission MINI

Porsche Cayenne Introduction
Maybach Introduction
2003 Jaguar S-Type Road Test
Coming Next Issue
Detroit Auto Show
Nav-TV Interview
Bose Headphones

MISSION MINI: International Intrigue and Mystery -- MINI Style
By Steve Litscher
Executive Editor

(Monday, January 6, 2003 8:00 AM PST)

MINI Test Drive

MINI on the track

MINI film set

MINI Cooper Road Test Crew

MINI Test Drive


VIENNA, VA - The new MINI certainly has been well received by its fans, followers and the general public. In fact, it probably could have sold itself, but that wasn't good enough for MINI - they carefully crafted a fictional story based around a private detective who happened to have a MINI, which, as fate would have it, was stolen during his investigation in to some artwork that was stolen and being held for ransom. They then invited 84 lucky individuals from 17 different countries to help solve the "crime", and they called the entire operation Mission MINI.

MINI contracted the world famous crime writer Val McDermid to craft the story about a fascinating theft that unfolded in Barcelona, Spain. Tens of thousands of people followed Ms. McDermid's story, which centered on detective Sam Cooper, a PI who was in between jobs, and living in Barcelona. In her story, the ending is left wide open, and that's where Mission MINI came in to action.

Through a contest that MINI sponsored, MINI-loyalists were invited to apply for a chance to travel to Spain, and participate as one of 21 teams from around the world competing to solve the Mission MINI mystery, in "real life." Club Roadfly caught up with Kendall Helmstetter, who along with Winnie Poon, Brooks Garner and Brian Huerter were selected to represent the USA at Mission MINI's conclusion in Barcelona, Spain.

Roadfly (Roadfly): What got you interested in Mission MINI?

Kendall Helmstetter (KH): I became interested in MINI cars when a friend of mine pointed me in the direction of the MINI Cooper. While trying to research and learn more about the MINI, I came across the Mission MINI website and was drawn in to the story. Their website was really elaborate and very well done, and it immediately grabbed my attention and hooked me.

Roadfly: What did you do to earn one of the spots for the trip?

LH: The basic idea was an investigator's dossier. I got a really sharp looking 3-ring binder with four sections in the cover and back, and put together a car kit, roof designs, disguises and a "concluding remarks" section. In the center of the binder, I put in a letter of introduction and also crafted a clear plastic VHS videotape holder to hold the contest videotape. In the video, I included a shot of me sliding across the hood of my car and jumping in through the window to drive away.

Roadfly: What was the timeline between your learning of Mission MINI and attending the event?

KH: Well, I think I found out about it just a few weeks before the entry deadline, so I scrambled to put together this really elaborate entry, and I got it to them about 3 weeks before the contest closed. After I found out that I had been selected to participate, I think it was less than a month before we actually left for Barcelona.

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