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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all, hope you’re well?

Just joined looking to research and get into an R53, standard or ideally with a few go-faster tweaks.

Am based near Warwick. The mini will replace an RS4, and compliment a 205 GTI in the stable. Look like a great fun modern classic toy to tear about in.

Cheers,
Mark
 

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Premium Member
2003 cooper S 218bhp
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385 Posts
If you fancy a project you can have my blue one for £1500ish, currently having a new head gasket fitted by carsorbikes (well respected member on here who knows minis in and out) as it started misfiring 2 days ago and we caught it early before any major head damage was done

its not a bad car, not without a few minor easily fixable problems though, bodywork down one side needs a respray due to a poor one in the past, the laquer is peeling off (but I have a spare door and scuttle panel ready to bolt on)

it’s currently having the performance bits I bought taken off and fitted to its replacement by carsorbikes but it is superchipped with a 15%pulley, last time it was dyno’d in that condition (with a cheap stainless exhaust) it was putting out 208bhp so I’d say it’s still around the 200bhp mark

new gearbox and clutch, again done by carsorbikes 10 months ago

Not hiding anything, you can see the ‘fun’ I’ve had with it in this thread, bear in mind a lot of the mods and wheels will be removed bar the superchip and pulley (silver crown or bullet alloys to replace the black ones)

 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks Jim, but I think I’d be absolutely murdered if I brought another interesting project home!
 

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2006 R53 Hyper Blue/White Cooper S
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587 Posts
Cracking little cars, absolutely loved mine and when the times right would love to have another.

Would say dont bother with a JCW unless you find the right car for sensible money. Everyone has a view but Id suggest they arent worth the premium. You certainly dont need to spend anywhere near your budget to get a nice facelift S.

Some very mild tweaks and youre at pretty much JCW performance (if not beyond) anyway.

Getting a facelifts the best idea, many of the earlier cars quirks are resolved and they go a bit better care of the better mapping and shoter gear ratios. The engines on the most part are very robust, but they have their weaknesses/common faults which if ignored can be pretty catastrophic. They mostly all leak oil from somewhere (unless every gasket and seal has been changed), can have cooling system issues (1st speed fan switch failures, weak coolant header tanks - sometimes at the expense of the head gasket) and its not unheard of for the cam chain to stretch....normally because they like to use oil, arent kept topped up enough, the tensioner therefore doesnt tension the chain properly and so on). Another weak point is suspension strut towers.....they like to mushroom (basically the suspensions so firm, the struts push up on the metal and distort it)....can be sorted out but ideally buy a car without the problem or one that has strut defenders in place.

Rust is a big thing on these too, even the best cars will likely have some rot somewhere....if not on the body definitely underneath. Usual points are bottoms of doors, under the front inner door seals, around the petrol filler, around the rear light clusters and the tailgate. Mine was very tidy indeed but that had the start of some rust around one of the rear lights just as I was selling it.

In terms of what to get, dont be too dettered by mileage, particularly if the car has beem enthusiast owned and subject to being "over-maintained" with lots of proactive maintenajce carried out. Lots of expensive, lower mileage examples as nice as they often are likely will have only been serviced to Mini service schedules (so 2 years/18 k miles) which just isnt enough for these particularly at their age now. Many i suspect harbour lots of the common issues these cars tend to suffer, with the owner probably just living with them (or being unaware of the issue).

From experience I would definitely say they are a labour of love, brilliant when in great shape and running right, a royal pain in the a when something goes wrong (which inevitably leads to £££ being spent). Despite mine being a very clean, relatively low mile and very late example I reckon over the course of 18 montjs I probably spent on it not too far off what I bought the car for in the first place.....I benefited a little as I sold it for nearly 1k more than I bought it for but was still well out of pocket.....but then of course us petrolheads do that for the love of a car dont we 😂. Not that anyone buys a Cooper S for good MPG but it is worth noting that urban consumption sucks.....on a car running well probably expect 24 or so. On the one really long run I took it on (ironically to deliver it to its new owner) it did 34 but ir was about the one and only time I saw such good consumption!

Anyways lots of great info and help on this site, best of luck with finding a good one!
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Wow pipsyp, thanks for taking the time to post your advice!

Am coming off the back of as RS Audi where yes, I expected some bills, but christ it was dear to run

Without too much knowledge to base my search on, I’m thinking enthusiast owned (hence the forum), ideally tuned to works sort of level (but not really wanting to pay premium for a factory fitted kit). As you mention, ideally facelift car, and would love cruise control still.

from a bit of a search am hoping 4-5k should bag something half decent
 

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423 Posts
Very healthy budget for the spec you’re looking for, also confident you will come in under that and should be able to get climate and heated seats included too if you like your creature comforts.
 

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2006 R53 Hyper Blue/White Cooper S
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587 Posts
Wow pipsyp, thanks for taking the time to post your advice!

Am coming off the back of as RS Audi where yes, I expected some bills, but christ it was dear to run

Without too much knowledge to base my search on, I’m thinking enthusiast owned (hence the forum), ideally tuned to works sort of level (but not really wanting to pay premium for a factory fitted kit). As you mention, ideally facelift car, and would love cruise control still.

from a bit of a search am hoping 4-5k should bag something half decent
Most welcome mate, if it helps I sold my pretty mint 83k mile, FSH 2006 S with Chilli Pack, Sun Protection Glass and LSD, Milltek exhaust,15% pulley reduction and Helix short shift that had stacks of maintenance (servicing, proactive stuff like supercharger service, cosmetic and fixing anything that wasnt quite right) done on it in my care for 3.5k. 4 to 5k should buy a really nice lower mile one.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
All sounds promising! Am struggling with patience to wait for one.... and am in danger of heading off down a rabbit hole of all kinds of tweaks and bits I might fancy.
 

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423 Posts
Unfortunately that rabbit hole is an inevitability, especially when you start going through the projects on here.

Mine was meant to be a fun station / 2nd car which I was adamant would remain standard.

Going well past that now and the list just keeps growing :LOL:
 
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