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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Well everyone else seems to have come up with a name for their car, but mine currently lacks one... maybe it'll become apparent as the months go by. Either way, I thought it was about time I started logging everything I'm doing to the car, and here seems as good a place as any :)

So a quick early summary (without going over too much from my Newbie post). I acquired the car early January. It came into my hands with a few mods already fitted, namely:


Alta 17% reduced pulley,
GP intercooler with modified Alta Diverter with water spray,
OMP upper and lower braces,
GTT catch-tank,
K&N Typhoon,
Blueflame Dual Exit Exhaust system

First off, the Blueflame was junked, since the style didn't really work for me, and it droned incredibly loudly on the motorway. Hayward & Scott were tasked with the job of creating the new system, and I'm very, very pleased with the result. They had the car for 3 days, and produced a one-off system based around a one-ball, with centre and rear silencer from the cat back. The sound is very unique (not heard many other Cooper S like it tbh!), with a real forced-induction rip from the tailpipes on boost! At the recent Brands Hatch evening Batou commented it sounded like it had a Jap-style screamer pipe, and that's probably the best description I can give to the noise it makes!

After it came back from Hayward & Scott, a dry day saw time for a bit of detailing. It had a bit of a hard life up in Scotland before it came into my hands, so I thought I'd try my hand at giving it a rotary polish.



As you can see, the paint was a little tired before I started...



But after a few passes with the 3M...




It's still not perfect, but looks a hell of a lot better than it did to start!




The next mod on the list was to the wheels. There were a set of god awful GP reps fitted to the car when it arrived, but the owner also still had the original S-spokes. As a stop gap, the GPs were sold, and the S-spokes refurbed in gloss black. They will make way for something different eventually, but they do the job for now, and look a bit fresher than they did, and certainly better than the reps! Runflats were also ditched not long after, and a set of four Continental Conti Sport Contact 3s were fitted all round. Such an improvement!!

 

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Discussion Starter #2
So the next step was in the interior. The car had a standard head-unit and 6-CD changer from the factory, but I'm used to having my entire iTunes collection with me in my cars on my iPod, and burning CDs every other day was getting to be a bit of a pain. Also, the standard MINI unit was a little temperamental, with half the buttons refusing to work most of the time, making track and CD changes a bit of a trick!

So out with the old unit, and in with a nice shiny Alpine I found for a steal on eBay. I decided to opt for the CDA-117Ri, since it includes a number of audio processing features normally found on high-end units (time delay, parametric EQ etc), which will come in handy when I go to town a little more on the audio side of things, after the summer.

A quick night-shot (since it's all I have to hand)!



Staying on the interior theme, I also picked up some California Scent air fresheners. They come in a whole variety of scents, and smell fantastic! I ordered four in total - Monterey Vanilla, Santa Barbera Berry, Coronado Cherry and Mojave Mango.



Currently using the Santa Barbera Berry, and everyone who's been in the car has asked what the smell is and wanted to order some! I've had it in the car a good 6 weeks so far too, and it's lasting well, and still smells as strong as the first day i opened the can.
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
Anyway, back to the more interesting stuff. Performance!

At this point I was planning a trip to the 'Ring in August, and had a feeling I'd want to take the MINI instead of the usual trusty steed, at least so it could earn it's 'Ring sticker. Unfortunately, this meant subjecting the car to at least 13 miles of hardcore track action - something I knew it wouldn't be up to in it's current trim. At the very least I knew this meant upgrading the brakes and suspension (since power had already been taken care of some of the way by the previous owner). At the time there were some tasty R56 JCW Brembo's for sale on eBay, and at (too!) good a price, so it seemed rude not to go down this route, and the purchase was made.



At the same time I picked up some HEL braided lines, to fit the new R56 fronts, and for the standard R53 rears, and some Motul RBF600 fluid. About a month ago I spent a sunny weekend day attempting to fit them up to the car, but got so far...



... before realising the S-spokes weren't going to fit over the brakes without some spacers. As a result, the standard brakes had to go back on and the R56s went back in the box for another day, whilst I hunted for some 10-15mm spacers. Eventually I picked some up from eBay, but as yet the brakes are still sitting on the shelf, as I have decided to upgrade the pads to Carbotech XP8s all round before fitting. They're on their way to me now, so I'm hoping to get the Brembo's on in the next week or two with a bit of luck!
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
In between messing around with the brakes, I'd been on the hunt for an Aero front bumper. After trawling yours and mine's friendly local auction site, I picked one up for an absolute bargain as there was a guy advertising both front and rear bumpers for sale, but with an obscure (and mis-spelt) item description. As such I managed to get both bumpers for the princely sum of £125! Unfortunately on picking them up I'd completely missed the fact that the rear was for a Cooper, not an S! However, I was able to shift it on for a reasonable £100, which meant I had myself a front bumper for £25! Not bad!

The bumper was a little tired, but nothing that couldn't be fixed with a little expertise and some new paint, so I dropped it off with a mate who runs a bodyshop specialising in modified cars, Xquisite Automotive.



Being that they're rather handy with the fibreglass and custom modifications in general, I couldnt help modifying the bumper slightly, so smoothed off the number plate mounts, and sidelight/indicator holes for that cleaned look.



It's now sitting in my office looking very nice and shiny, and with a set of aero grilles ready to go in as well. I'm a bit annoyed I didn't realise Oranje did the Challenge-style brake ducts before it went into the 'shop and it was too late, as I'd have had a set of those smoothed in as well, but never mind. However, by messing around I've now created myself even more work as it is, so before I fit the bumper I need to pick up some facelift headlights which I will be customising to relocate the now missing indicator and sidelights. I have a couple of ideas on how to do this, but am still researching into options. Also, I had the bumper fully colour-coded, so the arches and side skirts will need to be painted too before it goes anywhere near the car, as I don't want to do half a job.

Oh, and also along the aesthetics theme, I picked up a glass insert for the rear-wiper, which I decided to remove a few weeks ago to clean up the rear end, and also de-badged the rear by removing the 'Cooper S' decals.

 

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Discussion Starter #5
So that brings me pretty much up to date with what I've done so far. I've got the aforementioned trip to the 'Ring on the 5th August, so the plan between now and then is to get the brakes all fitted up, and then order a set of coilovers and poly bushes, and get all that fitted as well! I'm still swaying between different coilover options, but at the moment I'm most likely leaning towards the KW V2s.... we'll see what happens though!

I guess watch this space for more updates soon :D
 

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Woo Hoo can't wait for 5th august! So much to do to mine too though before then!
 

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Nice write up Andy. Looks like it's coming along nicely!

Your going to the ring aswell Tom? Feel like I'm missing out lol
 

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Nice read. Looking forward to seeing this car progress.

Oh and California scents btw...nom. I use (violate) the coconut ones ha
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Thanks guys! I toasted the rear brakes last week at the Brands evening, which I forgot to mention. The pads were right down to the discs, which wasn't a good look :( So I ordered up some matching drilled/grooved discs to go with the JCW fronts, and it's all turned up this morning, along with the Carbotechs from Ian. :D



Hoping to get these on at the weekend with any luck...
 

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Thanks guys! I toasted the rear brakes last week at the Brands evening, which I forgot to mention. The pads were right down to the discs, which wasn't a good look :( So I ordered up some matching drilled/grooved discs to go with the JCW fronts, and it's all turned up this morning, along with the Carbotechs from Ian. :D



Hoping to get these on at the weekend with any luck...
What make discs are those? Look a nice match for the front JCWs.
Do Carbotech do pads for the Brembos? Seems quite difficult to find uprated replacements for them,
i had to get standard ones for mine, but they don't really last too long with drilled & grooved discs lol
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Yup, Carbotech do pads for the R56 Brembo kit. They offer the XP8, 10, 12 and 16. I just went with 8s seeing as this is my daily driver. Fingers crossed they'll still hold up to track abuse!

The rear discs came from Mintbitz, who fabricate their own discs in a number of different combinations (drilled, grooved, grooved/dimpled, solid etc) and sell on eBay. Seen a few good comments around the web, and they were cheap and cheerful on price. We'll see how they perform in a few weeks I guess!
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Nice write up Andy. Looks like it's coming along nicely!

Your going to the ring aswell Tom? Feel like I'm missing out lol
Dan, get involved! ;)
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Nice brakes man, I think I got them off the same dude on eBay as you!

Carbotechs as well... hmmm suspicious... stalker...

Did you do steel lines on the front too?
Yup, i have the lines to fit on the R56 JCW fronts, and the standard rears. Figured there wasn't much point doing one without the other.
 
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