Euro Revolution
Wednesday, 24 July 2013 00:00

The classic–Euro look suits the MINI no end and we think Adam Marshall’s nailed it with his super-low R53 Cooper SI

 

Words: Sarah Harrington-James | PicsL Rob Fisher

Euro Revolution

Inspiration can come a knockin’ at any moment and for quite a few MINI owners, it’s the Euro scene that’s got the greatest pull. The simplest of changes, like slamming a MINI and crackin’ the stance and then smoothing body panels for that sleeker look, gives much visual pleasure. Some take it to extremes; others like to keep it subtle. Adam Marshall’s R53 show MINI is planted somewhere in the middle and is an ongoing project, but already has the attention of Show and Shine judges at some of the top modified car shows in the UK.

Owned for three years, this is his first MINI. “I was searching everywhere for the right MINI and I loved the fact it already had coilovers fitted and a 15 per cent reduced supercharger pulley, which would save me money in the long run. I also loved the colour,” says Adam, who never planned on modifying it any further. So, what happened? “My wife didn’t want me to modify it, but I just got carried away. I read up on a few forums and that was the start of a slippery slope!” he laughs.

 
Radical Reincarnation
Monday, 22 July 2013 00:00

A handful of people have laid claim to running a twincharged MINI, but there are pitfalls. We pay GT Tuning a visit to discover how it went about building its own...

 

Words & Pics: Sarah Harrington-James                      

Radical Reincarnation

There’s engineering and then there’s GT Tuning; this MINI specialist is simply in a totally different league. Formed by Roland Gardiner in 1993, he has been fine-fettling everything from Renault 5 GT Turbos to Audi TTs and of course new MINIs to a mind-bogglingly high level ever since. Known predominately for tuning conversions, with the GTT220 being the most popular, I sat up and took note when Roland said he’d gone one further and twincharged an R53 for the first time.

Double trouble

Now twincharging (using a supercharger and turbo together) isn’t something new; there are a few MINIs on the scene that claim to have this setup, but it’s no mean feat and actually getting the engine running right without pinking or detonation is the real art. This takes years of experience and a seriously good engineering-based mind to sort – but Roland likes a challenge.  

 

 
White Lightning
Friday, 31 May 2013 00:00

Having been a car nut since he was a kid, John Monk’s obsession with MINIs landed him a sales job and led to the creation of this trophy-grabbing JCW Coupé

Words: Sarah Harrington-James                        Pics: Ty Cobb

White Lightning

Having slammed, customised and shown almost every car, truck and motorbike he’s ever owned, American petrolhead John Monk knows a thing or two about creating a MINI that’s easy on the eye.

“I’ve always been a Mini fan, ever since I was a kid,” he remembers. “I never found the right classic because it seemed like every time one came along that I wanted, I didn’t have the money. But then when I could afford it, I just couldn’t find the right one!”

Cure and the cause

When he heard the news that BMW had bought the MINI brand and was launching the cars in the States, John was excited and knew he had to secure a job working for MINI, or at least in a dealership. He started out as a salesman at MINI of Nashville in 2003 and has been part of the furniture ever since. Astonishingly he’s owned nine MINIs during this time – that’s almost one for every year he’s been there! His first MINI was a 2004 Cooper S, ordered the minute he got his feet under the table at the dealership. John slammed it, had the arches and sideskirts colour-coded and continued to modify it. This R53 ended up receiving plenty of aftermarket Dinan Engineering goodies that are available through the US MINI dealership network, before a customer walked into the showroom armed with a chequebook and the rest is history. “That was a great little track car which served me well,” says John, who started the Middle Tennessee MINI Club in 2004 and now has over 300 members.

 
FIRST DRIVE: JCW Countryman
Thursday, 28 March 2013 00:00

Has a plethora of JCW tweaks made the Countryman all the more attractive?

Words: Martyn Collins             Pics: MINI/Mark Fagelson

JCW Countryman first drive

Like it or loathe it, the idea of a four-door, all-wheel drive MINI seems to really appeal to UK buyers. On sale since 2010, an impressive 100,000 Countrymans found their way to owners in Blighty last year, which is second only to the original hatch that came top.

New for 2013 and completing the Countryman range, is this more hardcore John Cooper Works (JCW) version. Following the formula of other JCW fast MINIs in the range, changes for the Countryman centre on increased performance, modifications to the suspension and dynamics, plus cosmetic tweaks.

So, with prices starting at a rather strong £28,595, will the JCW version of the Countryman appeal as a fast, fun and practical family alternative for MINI fans? On top of this, could it be a serious if offbeat alternative to mainstream rivals such as the Focus ST and the iconic Golf GTi? We headed to Lisbon for the UK launch to find out.

 
FIRST DRIVE: Paceman
Wednesday, 23 January 2013 00:00

MINI somehow found another niche unfilled – here's the Countryman-based Paceman

WORDS: Shane O' Donoghue  PICS: MINI/Richard Newton

Paceman

Many wondered if the Paceman concept car, first shown at the Detroit Auto Show in 2011, was a niche too far for the ever-expanding MINI line up. Yet here it is in the metal and on the road for the first time. In case you've missed all the furore surrounding the seventh standalone body style in the MINI range, the Paceman is built on the platform of the Countryman, but replaces that car's practical, upright, crossover-rivalling bodywork with sleeker styling at the rear and two less doors. The best way to explain it to the uninitiated is to say that it's a rival for the Range Rover Evoque Coupé – and little else at this stage it seems.

But while the baby Range Rover is priced from £29,695 and powered by a range of 2.2-litre diesel and 2.0-litre petrol engines, the new MINI costs from £18,970 and the biggest engine in the line-up is a modest 2.0-litre diesel – though most options are just 1.6-litre in size. Could MINI have done it again in the niche-busting stakes by introducing a car with much of the cachet of the Evoque, but at a much more affordable price?

 
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