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Old 10-01-2007, 07:28 AM
m|u Presents... m|u Presents... is offline
Join Date: Sep 2007
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Default Interview: Aaron Cornaby of Outmotoring

Hollis Lee with Aaron Cornaby

This article was going to be an article similar to Driver Thoughts, gathering answers from various tuners in order to help the community make decisions and compare philosophies. When the time came and went, we were left with one response. Rather than start over, we've decided to expand our single question into a full interview. Hopefully, this offers a little insight into who it is at the other end of the computer when contacting Aaron Cornaby of OutMotoring.

Click the image to open in full size.


m|u: As a tuner, what do you feel is your specialty, and what attracted you to it?

Aaron: OutMotoring has a unique perspective on what a 'tuned' MINI is. To me, a car must be a cohesive package including design/aesthetics, handling/suspension, power/speed, and overall presentation. A car should be balanced and, as such, we offer products in categories that help achieve a balance of those main categories. Some cars are certainly more tuned towards the performance side, while others are well rounded autocross or race-spec cars. Others yet are purely for 'looks'. At some point some of the categories blend. For example, most cars look better lowered and with larger wheels and thinner tires which is an aesthetic thing. Does lowering improve handling? Sometimes, especially if it's done right and with the right products. Does an aftermarket intake look cool? Usually. Does it perform? Hopefully.

Each driver has their own way of expressing themselves and making their car unique, and that is the point. From our perspective, we want to support the creative side of car customization. So, while the word 'tuning' typically applies the more performance side of things, is it wrong to consider a tuned car one that is not only fast, but good looking? Can you have a tweaked engine and some cool exterior styling mods? Of course. That is why OutMotoring exists.

Some of my favorite MINI's are those that appear to be stock until you look deeper into the details. Yet, part of me loves a MINI that is all committed to a theme that is well executed. Again, it's an extension of the drivers DNA. What helped form this opinion is that I very much respect design and the aesthetic side of objects, yet I also love the sound of a good exhaust note and the ride of a tuned suspension that is set off with the proper wheel and tire package. It's something that has evolved over time as I have owned and upgraded numerous cars over the last 18 or so years.

So, our specialty is making your MINI yours. Our tagline is "Enjoy Your Ride" and that drives me to create and add products to our offerings that meet my high quality design and performance standards.

m|u: With three MINI project cars covering various stages which one do you drive the most?

Aaron: I currently drive the 2007 Cooper S Turbo as my daily driver. It is more refined than the Gen 1 MINI and has a distinct appeal to it that I really like. I thoroughly enjoy the Gen 1 Cooper S hatchback project car, but after 50K of driving it and with tons of mods, it is not as 'fresh' as the new car. The two are closely related but there are numerous changes to the new car that are just flat-out nice. The interior is more refined, the exterior transitions are much smoother (for example the front bumper transition into the bonnet) and the stock brakes absolutely pound on the Gen 1 MINI. With the many negative responses to the new MINI, I must say that I don't share in it. I think it's a great car, as is the Gen 1 MINI.

Now, to really see a major change, drive a classic. The classic that I called my own for three years was a New Zealand import with virtually NO rust, right-hand drive, and nearly bone stock. It was a blast to drive and was no more than a tiny motor with a thin sheet-metal can attached to it. It was loud. It was not 'safe' by today's standards. It was slow. The brakes sucked. BUT, the car was more charming to drive and own than any other car I have ever owned. Everytime I got in it I smiled and I can't recall ever driving past more than three cars when at least two of the owners rubber-necked. The original/classic Mini is one of the most unique cars on the planet and is a blast to own and drive, but it is what it is. Don't expect more.

m|u: What other brand of car do you love?

Aaron: I have a deep love affair with Land Rover but after owning one and knowing the complete nightmare that service and maintanence can be I have held back on getting another one. Deep down, I love the Range Rover Sport and Range Rover and may get another some day when I am ready to deal with owning a more expensive British car (unfortunately now owned by Ford).

I also really loved the VW Corrado and the Scirocco, of which I have owned six combined over the years. I wish VW had a cool 'low' hatch, not the larger/taller Golf that has taken over their performance line. When they ditched the Corrado in 1995 I pretty much walked away from VW and floundered until the MINI was released and I had a reason to live again. Everytime I see a Corrado drive by I think to myself, "I can pick one of those up for $XXXX. It would be so cool to have one again," but the MINI starts everytime, is easier to tune, and I don't have to dump money into silly stuff like power window motors and ignition switches.

Another favorite is the Lotus Elise but it's nearly impractical to drive with the passenger and driver sitting shoulder-to-shoulder. Although it is a very distinctive car I don't know that I will ever get one. If I were to get a 'little sports car', it would probably be the Porsche Cayman.

Although I am not a huge fan of the Miata, I do have one (91 white w/ hardtop). It was the car my wife and I went on our first date in 11 years ago and so when my dad decided to let it go after owning it for nearly 16 years, I negotiated a fair deal on it and it's now in my garage.

m|u: We know you love balance with setting up cars for an individual owner, but what is your personal preference when tuning a MINI?

Aaron: My personal taste can be described as 'restrained'. I like my cars to have subtle details, clean lines, tasteful lowering, integrated (yet upgraded) stereo, and nice wheels with some mods that make the car somewhat of a sleeper (within reason). The Gen 1 MINI Cooper S project car is very clean looking and always had traditional multi-spoke wheels like the Team Dynamics that we sell. The new car has them too. They are by far my favorite wheel of all time. I like my suspension to be drivable on normal roads. I hate the feeling of bottoming out so I don't let my car ride on the bump stops. I did some very subtle stuff to the new car that most people don't notice, like painting the chrome trim around the head and taillights, switching to a JCW Grill Trim, painting all of the arches and adding the JCW side skirts. It looks simple and does not attact a lot of attention aside from the fact that it is bright yellow! In the next few weeks I am sure it will have either a DDM or Alta intake installed, along with either a Alta or Milltek exhaust and Alta intercooler.

Check our project cars out here:

m|u: Enough marketing and good MINI feelings. So, what sucks about the MINI?

Aaron: In reference to the Gen 2 MINI, I think they completely dropped the ball on the center stack. The back end looks like a hefty person with a belt that's too tight and the wheel-well gap is enormous! There's not much to complain about from my perspective. You get a lot for so little.


Thanks again to Aaron for his responses. µ
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