Hot but much better than rain  

Ben Compton had nine months to gather a team of volunteers and execute a plan and they did it!  The meet and greet was well done, show and shine site was unfortunately changed by the hotel at the last minute but they pulled it off. 

The 75 mile scenic drive went off without a hitch, not counting a 60-car pee stop and having a Mini with no brake lights in front of me. 

Ben’s approach for the meet was to have each event start late in the morning and end in the early afternoon to allow free time to explore. It worked!

The only complaint that I heard was that the autocross course was too cramped but that was to restrict speeds as dictated by the hotel.

There may be some of the normal grousing but the meet was one of the best that I’ve been to!

– Jerry Miller

  • For more about the meet including plenty of photos go to RECENT EVENTS.


Minis right at home on autox course

Autocrossing was huge in the 60s and 70s and, since the Mini is the best autocross car ever produced, SAMOA was formed back then as an “Autocross Club,” partaking in events all over the Northwest.  You can continue the tradition.

The sport of Autocross is alive and well and you can join SAMOA member Dave Anderson and the Bremerton Sports Car Club for some great fun and excitement!!! For further information click on NEXT EVENTS on the above menu. – February, 2022

Dave Anderson flies through the cones at a recent autocross.


Next events

and now for something a little different….

August SAMOA meeting

+ Ballard block party + + Mini car show +

August 16 – 6:30pm, social hour, 7:30pm, member’s meeting

Club secretary, Lara’s house, NW 67th St and 26th Ave NW, Seattle

This is how we roll in Ballard – close down the street and throw a party. Bring a chair, snacks, desert, refreshments, maybe a friend and your Mini. If you can’t bring your Mini, just bring yourself. Ya sure, you betcha. Details will be coming to members via email.

If it looks like rain we’ll zoom instead.


How about a trip to Mount St. Helens?

August 10-11, Castle Rock

A Mini trip to our infamous mountain is in the works. Lots of great roads between here and there. Overnight stay in Castle Rock.

Weekday trip to avoid any possible entanglements with summer traffic/hotel availability around Mt. St. Helens. Room reservations are booked but, if interested, maybe there’s still a nearby vacancy? Please let me know. -Jerry Miller 253-341-9918


Down-home car show on Vashon Island

Engel’s, August 21

An old-timey, no frills, run-whatcha-brung show that remains under the radar. The best car show ever, held in a wrecking yard. Food, live music. Cars, trucks, motorcycles, boats, model railroads, slot cars. It’s on a Sunday from 10am to 4pm and it’s free! (but donations to keep the show going will be much appreciated). On Dockton Road (which actually is on Maury Island). -Peter Larsen


Seattle area Cars and Coffee

Known to be frequented by original Minis


Central Market

15505 Westminster Way N 

Shoreline, WA 98133

Every Saturday from 8am to 10am, May through Sept


Madrona Beach

853 Lake Washington Blvd

Seattle, WA 98122

Every Sunday 10am to 12noon




For all SAMOA members – Have you ever noticed a Mini that you don’t recognize parked on the street or in a lot and wanted to leave a note about SAMOA? Or have you ever been approached by someone who is fascinated by your Mini and wants to know more?

SAMOA now has business cards for all paid members to keep in their car(s) for just such occasions. There is plenty of room on the back of the card to leave your name and number or just a little greeting. Or leave it blank if you’re in a mysterious mood. Send an email or text to me and I’ll see that you get a small quantity of cards. -Ed Sauer, secretary, 1/20/2022



It’s time to renew your dues. This club doesn’t just run on its good looks you know. A new membership renewal procedure is in effect and if you don’t understand. If you aren’t sure if you do or don’t need to renew your dues, you probably do. Call me, my number is listed below. It’s painless as a covid shot. -Toby May, president, membership maven, 1/31/2021


Out and about

In these trying times keep in mind there’s no better mood enhancer than a drive in your Mini. Next time you hit the road, snap a selfie, writeup a brief description of your trip and send it to the blog editor so your fellow SAMOAns get to share in your experience.


On our honeymoon in Santorini and look what’s parked on the beach! -Colin Sauer photo


An historical transmission rebuild

“Met with Chris Miller today to work on the Downton Mini gearbox.” The latest from Ted Atkins on the restoration of the famous Downton Mini. See the HISTORY section of this blog for Del Gould’s account of this most-significant Mini. 4/16/2022 – photo by Ted Atkins


SAMOA’s 55th celebration slightly dampened

Considering the weather (it was raining when we got there and it was raining when we left) it was not a bad turnout at all as 11 Minis and several more Miniacs made the early trip to, of all places, The Super China Buffet (next door to The Central Market), to show off to an otherwise almost empty parking lot. SAMOA’s first club meeting took place on March 18, 1967.

Long-time SAMOA member, Bill Wecker, and daughter Jamie made the trek up from Ballard to join in the only slightly soggy merriment. -Mark Hurston photo


Down on the dock

Me and Grumbleina with the Ballard Bridge as a backdrop.  Must have been May 2021 because I hadn’t had a haircut during the pandemic when the photo was taken.  From the end of the NW Dock at Fisherman’s Terminal.

-text and selfie by Lara Williamson



Orcas Island Octoberfest, 2021 happened in the middle of November.  So did a healthy storm.

Had it up to here with the Washington State Ferries cancelations so we made other arrangements. -Don Dixon photos

  Quite a few islanders found their driveways out in the road that morning. Washouts, Mount Constitution Road closed, no electricity, Rosario Resort Bar closed, great fun! We still managed a spirited drive using boulders as autocross cones. One spectator was quite worried about our safety.

Two solid days of rain on a tin roof was a bit much but cleared Tuesday in time for me to rescue Old Paint from the rising menace.  

After her many gesticulations and a word or two we figured out we might have endangered her and her wee dogs by doing 17mph in a 25 zone with 20 feet between us. We’re so, so sorry.  – Don and Marian

The calm after the storm, Crow Valley, Orcas Island. See MENU/RECENT EVENTS for full-size image of this idyllic part of Orcas Island.  


Why the big smile?

Why indeed! It’s Barbara Praefke’s first time behind the wheel of her newly recommissioned Riley Elf MkI. The beautiful and oh so original Mini was brought back to life by Kelley Mascher after Barbara purchased it from Chuck Heleker.

This was Barbara’s first drive in the Elf and the first time it’s been on the road in about 20 years.

The Mk I Elf was produced from October 1961 through October 1962. Only about 3000 were manufactured. This car was built in October 1962. Mrs. Greenhill purchased the car new on the south coast of England in January, 1963. The color scheme, Chartreuse Yellow and Florentine Blue, is the original paint. The car has 30,000 original miles. 

In the UK, after Mrs. Greenhill, the Elf was owned for a short time by Keith Redwood and then by Roy Laycock. Both are well known in the UK Mini community. Chuck Heleker imported the car in 1997 and sold it to Barbara.

The Elf appears in the April 1997 issue of Mini Magazine.  –Kelley Mascher 8/3/2021


On the 2022 calendar

SAMOA plans for 2022 are well underway and an events calendar is now available at the above menu. More info to come here and at every monthly member zoom meeting.


Go to HISTORY in the MENU at top of home page for details of the following and many other past events.

A few months ago SAMOA’s long-time leader and Historian, Chuck Heleker, let it be known he would be retiring from his Historian position.  A tough act to follow but SAMOA got lucky when Kelley Mascher stepped forward and volunteered.  

Boxes and boxes of archived material have made their way from Chuck’s to Kelley’s including a classic first-person account by Del Gould of how the iconic “Downton Mini” came to be.  – March 5, 2022




For more regalia info click on MENU/REGALIA in the header at the top of the home page.

SAMOA celebrates 55 years in existence in 2022.  To help mark this occasion your Regalia department is advocating for a new item of SAMOA memorabilia.  NEW DRIVERS HATS

Similar to the style worn by a famous Scottish racing driver who has not endorsed the use of his name so we won’t. These Fersten hats are 78% polyester, 20% cotton, 2% spandex and 100% the classic style for NW Mini drivers. With the legendary SAMOA emblem on the back these hats can be worn with the visor to the front or back, depending on the wind speed.

The following pictures show the correct orientation for slow speeds and/or light winds, high speeds and/or strong winds. and if you guess wrong.The hats are available in two sizes, S/M and L/XL.  Color selection is limited to the brown shown. The price is only $30.00.

Details in MENU/REGALIA.




SAMOA members can now custom order an official SAMOA jacket of their very own!  Go up to the menu and click on REGALIA for all the exciting details.

Tool library

You’ll be saying, “Thank goodness for SAMOA,” the first time you are working on your Mini and you need “that special tool.”  You know the one, and chances are it’s in the SAMOA Tool Library.

For more info, click on MENU/TOOL LIBRARY above.

Gas was $6.299 per gallon. Filled my tank. Came to $125.98 Drove off without paying. Court date is August 22. Fine is $70.

 Savings is $55.98.

 Stay tuned for more money saving tips

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