The Heritage Motor Centre (HMC) combined their historical resources with Mark Greer and Associates’ knack for cataloguing and compiled the largest assemblage of Adobe Acrobat files, for 1959 to 1969 Minis, on the face of the earth.  The most amazing part of this is there were no Adobe Acrobat files at all until 1990, thus provoking the question, “Where exactly did they get these?”  This mystery aside, the HMC has amassed a virtual cornucopia of technical and owner’s manuals for the Mini Saloon, Mini Cooper and Cooper S, the Mini Van, the Mini Pick-up, Countryman, Traveler, Riley Elf, Austin Seven, Australian Mini, and Woseley Hornet MKI, II and III on one super-easy to use CDROM.  You might be asking yourself, “Self, why do I need all of these manuals when I only have one classic Mini?”  Well, to be quite honest, apart from nostalgic reasons, and the fact that you cannot find original parts publications for a 1967 Mini Countryman Woody Wagon anywhere else, much less the original owner’s manual to a 1959 Austin Seven MKI, there might not be a reason for you to invest in this CD.  However, if you want these impossible to find manuals to top off that “complete car” restoration project, or if you can’t remember the proper firing order for your Riley Elf (1, 3, 4, 2), or if you are simply a glutton for knowledge, this is the compilation for you.


This is computer software, so let’s get the technical specifications out of the way first.  This CDROM requires windows 98 or newer, a Pentium266 MHz, 64 MB RAM, and Adobe Acrobat Reader v6.0 or newer (free software packaged neatly on the CD in case you don’t already have it), in other words, if you are currently reading this review you probably meet these minimum requirements.  Just remember, that retractable thing on your computer is for CDs only. If you set your coffee on it, you might break something, or worse, start a fire.


The program’s interface itself is beyond user friendly.  It begins by asking what type of manual you would like to see, Parts Publications, Workshop Publications, Owners’ Literature, you then click the type of vehicle you’re inquiring about and bingo-bango, you have quasi-original, digitally scanned manual from the authentic documents published for your vehicle. 


The workshop manuals are helpful, accurate, loaded with useful diagrams, and can be printed by individual chapter or page. Moreover, they are the original workshop manuals created by the guys who built the car.  These are the best ways to keep maintenance manuals anyway, print out only the sections you need to do the job and if you get them torn, wrinkled, covered in grease, or even breathed on wrong, you simply dispose of it and print a new one. 


As for the owner’s manuals, carry the file to your local print shop and have them bind you a new owner’s manual for that big car show coming up.  (Providing it is used strictly for personal, non-commercial applications, we don’t want to break copyright laws here.)  The owner’s manuals and the parts publications are nice to have, especially as the missing link to your perfect restoration, but neither of these are a life or death necessity, much less in the mass varieties provided on this CD by HMC.  


Before ordering, know this CD is not going to dramatically change your life, it will not help you stop smoking, baby-sit your kids, nor will it save the world from corporate conglomerates.  But this CD will fill that nice blank spot in your car library between the Sir Alec Issigonis Biography and the Haynes Carburetor Manual and will be used as much as either.