The Mini, the car star of the 2003 Paramount movie The Italian Job, has landed another role. This time, replica Mini Coopers -- actually roller-coaster cars -- race down stairs, crash through a billboard and splash down into a replica of a Los Angeles aqueduct in a new roller-coaster ride called The Italian Job Stunt Track. The coasters are at Paramount's amusement parks in Cincinnati and Toronto. Paramount says its engineers got technical advice from Mini to replicate the feeling of the Mini Cooper S for the coaster cars.
TEED OFF -- Golf fiend and Ford Motor Co. executive Steve Lyons isn't getting any time on the links. The former Ford Division president used to play a lot of golf with dealers. But that has changed since he was promoted to group vice president of North America marketing, sales and service -- just as the golf season got under way in April. "It's not a popular part of my new job," Lyons says. "I really think that's why they put me in there, just to torture me."
WHEELER DEALERS -- Dealers take pride in being savvy people who know how to build equity in their businesses. But dealers who dabble in professional football may be in another league of shrewdness altogether. Red McCombs, whose dealership group is based in San Antonio, last week sold the Minnesota Vikings for $600 million. He bought the team for $246 million in 1998, according to media reports. Meanwhile, Tom Benson, whose company has stores in Louisiana and Texas, told reporters he turned down a $1 billion offer for his New Orleans Saints. He didn't say what it would take for him to sell. He and partners bought the team in 1985 for $75 million.
LOW-TECH APPROACH -- Who favors diesel? Gasoline-electric hybrids? Fuel cells? Amid the debate in the auto industry over which power source is best for the future, the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association may be on to something. At a Tokyo reception after its annual meeting this month, JAMA handed out gifts of radio-alarm clocks -- powered by a hand-cranked dynamo.