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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Current photo - 08/04/2020:


Hello all! I want to start off stating that this thread will probably be quite picture heavy, as I really love documenting my cars in depth. This will probably be a little bit of a slow roll, but I have a few changes that should come right off the bat.

Backstory:
I currently own a 2019 Dodge Challenger Scat Pack, which I was using as a daily driver for the past year and a half. Living in an are that does get snow most winters, I obviously wanted something that could fare the snow a bit better, and went off hunting for a daily. I didn't have any criteria in mind originally, but slowly found myself hunting for a R53 Mini Cooper S, as I was really falling in love with what I was seeing. I ended up essentially trading an AR-15 for a black 2005 with leather seats, nav, Harman Kardon, etc. The car is a bit high mileage, and does have some issues, but was almost 100% stock and I couldn't beat the price 馃槅 Here are some photos from the day I brought it home:













And a few pictures of the Challenger for good measure:






I have a few goals in mind for this car, and the stage I will want to have it in before this coming Winter will definitely be different than they will be for Spring / Summer of next year, but I'll try to keep up to date with everything as I go! Enjoy.
 

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Welcome to the forum!

Car has great spec and looks well too, look forward to following your progress.

Challenger looks very naughty indeed馃構
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Welcome to the forum!

Car has great spec and looks well too, look forward to following your progress.

Challenger looks very naughty indeed馃構
Thank you! I am actually a bit more excited about the Mini, as modifying the Challenger feels like it hurts a bit more with it being so new... and yes, she is very naughty!

Minis work well on winter tyres,
as long as you have ground clearance over the hump between the tyre tracks.
Winter tires are definitely in the plans for pre-winter, and I do have my AWD SUV for any real emergencies. I did order coilovers yesterday, and will raise it up for winter driving when needed!
 

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Discussion Starter #6
That Dodge looks epic. Im definitely in this camp rather than Mustang.
Must be a first on here, swapping an assault rifle for a Mini 馃ぃ
Thank you! I actually owned a classic Mustang back in the day, and considered a new one, but happened to have a connection at a local Dodge dealer and got an insane deal. It is definitely fun, but sometimes I wish I had gone with a Mustang or Camaro for various reasons.

And yes, I imagine it would be! The goal of this car was to have as little financial impact up front as possible, leaving room for me to make it what I want it. I was looking for a real project, so I think stage two of this is to find a nice low mileage shell and transfer over anything I do to this car after I get some restoration done on the shell. Long term plans, but we will see!
 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
On the road to pass inspection:
I know this is a mixed crowd as far as countries go, so things might be a bit different everywhere. Hell, things vary in the US so much that not every state even has an inspection necessary to register a pre-owned car! Here in Maryland, there is just an initial safety inspection on the vehicle needed before registration, and they can be a bit strict on certain things. I have failed on previous cars for the most mundane things, and given how difficult everything is at the current moment due to Covid-19, I am going to try to prepare as much as possible before my appointment.

There were a few issues I knew about when purchasing the car; notably the common rust that seems to be on most Minis, front driver and rear passenger struts on their way out, AC condenser is toast, the rally lights were dead, license plate bulbs were out, and the exhaust is fairly rusty (no holes). Starting with the easiest first, I decided to tackle the rally lights and the license plate lights, discovering both were in really bad shape. The holders for the rally lights were really rusty, and the bulbs were corroded to hell. Wanting to get a new grille anyway, I just yanked them off, which I wasn't too upset about. The license plate bulbs were actually due to being completely corroded, I am guessing due to the lenses being gone entirely.





I was going to rip these out and solder in some LED lights I picked up on Amazon, but decided to take care of the chrome on the hatch handle before committing to this project. I abhor chrome, and really just don't want it on any of my cars. I know there are a few things I can easily and cheaply swap over, but others will have to be painted black instead. For the hatch handle, I decided to take off the extremely bubbly chrome to paint, only to discover the plastic was absolutely wrecked underneath too. Oh well, time to order a new hatch handle!

Mirror caps were very easy, and I was able to grab a pair of black ones with some really rough paint protection for $14 total. Spending about an hour with a heat gun and some goo-gone, I was able to clean them up fairly respectably. Side by side comparison:



Unfortunately I wasn't able to attach the drivers side one, as it looks like it was previously damaged and glued back together in a way the cap wouldn't fit. I wish I had known that first, as I could have just grabbed the whole mirrors for about the same cost, instead of just the caps! Oh well.



While I was there, I did discover a Mini Fini arm rest in decent condition, and decided to grab it. I also grabbed a few interior pieces, which will be painted to dechrome the interior, as well as a new e-brake boot that was in much better shape than mine. The old boot had a completely cracked trim piece, and the leather was in meh shape:



After:


While I do like the idea of having an arm rest, once installed I just really don't love the look of the Mini Fini. It is way too long, and hits the top of my e-brake. I will be pulling it back out soon, once I start replacing some of my cleaned up interior pieces:



I wasn't able to make a great start so far, but I have a few things coming in the mail this week! In the mail are some cheap (really cheap) black handle covers, a new rear hatch handle, a new grille, and some coilovers. I am going to wait on the AC and exhaust, as I won't need the AC to function to pass inspection, and I think the exhaust will likely be okay in its current condition. I'll follow up with the next bit of cleanup after I get the new parts!
 

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2006 R53 Hyper Blue/White Cooper S
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Welcome and congrats mate, looks like a nice one (y)

Looks like it has an aftermarket intercooler so wouldn't be entirely surprised if it already has a reduced pulley......if it goes considerably stronger than its 170hp would suggest then probably so....either that or someone has just changed the IC out in the past for some reason.

Enjoy it, imagine with some decent winter tyres it'll be a lot better than the Challenger in snow......love that thing by the way, extremely badass :love:(y)(y)
 

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2006 R53 Hyper Blue/White Cooper S
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.....actually correction probably the stock IC......fooled by the aftermarket boots......one thing I would look to do is get a stock S diverter plate (the black plastic cover that goes on top of the IC) as your cooling will be a bit compromised without it I expect (y)(y)
 

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Apologies. I'm still recovering from a challenger and AR related man flush

Sent from my SM-G986B using Tapatalk
 

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.....actually correction probably the stock IC......fooled by the aftermarket boots......one thing I would look to do is get a stock S diverter plate (the black plastic cover that goes on top of the IC) as your cooling will be a bit compromised without it I expect (y)(y)
Second this. The diverter does an important job. The bolts that hold it on also hold the intercooler to it's clamps.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Welcome and congrats mate, looks like a nice one (y)

Looks like it has an aftermarket intercooler so wouldn't be entirely surprised if it already has a reduced pulley......if it goes considerably stronger than its 170hp would suggest then probably so....either that or someone has just changed the IC out in the past for some reason.

Enjoy it, imagine with some decent winter tyres it'll be a lot better than the Challenger in snow......love that thing by the way, extremely badass :love:(y)(y)
.....actually correction probably the stock IC......fooled by the aftermarket boots......one thing I would look to do is get a stock S diverter plate (the black plastic cover that goes on top of the IC) as your cooling will be a bit compromised without it I expect (y)(y)
Second this. The diverter does an important job. The bolts that hold it on also hold the intercooler to it's clamps.
Thank you! Yes, it is the stock intercooler with aftermarket boots. The diverter plate is actually on my list of things to grab from the junkyard, and they just got in a S that looks to have it from the pictures I see online. Hopefully it is still there this weekend!

The car isn't on the road yet, so I can take some time to make sure everything is in order before I get it registered.

Apologies. I'm still recovering from a challenger and AR related man flush

Sent from my SM-G986B using Tapatalk
lol no worries! I can definitely post more Challenger pictures, but I don't usually post photos of my guns online....





Or how about some exhaust porn? Exhaust is GT Haus, fully controllable using the Homelink buttons above my rear view mirror to open and close the valves:

Dodge Challenger GT Haus exhaust 1 by Sam Griffith, on Flickr

Dodge Challenger GT Haus exhaust 2 by Sam Griffith, on Flickr
 

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2006 R53 Hyper Blue/White Cooper S
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Thank you! Yes, it is the stock intercooler with aftermarket boots. The diverter plate is actually on my list of things to grab from the junkyard, and they just got in a S that looks to have it from the pictures I see online. Hopefully it is still there this weekend!

The car isn't on the road yet, so I can take some time to make sure everything is in order before I get it registered.



lol no worries! I can definitely post more Challenger pictures, but I don't usually post photos of my guns online....
I do bloody love a modern muscle car, wife and I honeymooned in Canada late 2010 and thanks to a super kind guy running the car rental place we used (think it was Enterprise) he put us in a 5.0 GT Premium Mustang hardtop instead of the cheapo compact class car we were supposed to have which we did a good 10 days worth of road trip in, was an auto but Coyote engined (so an early 412hp one) and really loved the thing. Remember fondly destroying some poor guy in his 2.7 Boxster on the freeway, the noise a decent US V8 makes is like nothing else is it?! Also the Shaker 1000w sound system was just obscene 馃ぃ馃ぃ. Also it wasnt all that terrible on fuel if you weren't spanking it all the time (though it was hard not to!).

My father in law loves US cars and has a 95 Camaro Z28 as a bit of a folly....not really my kinda thing but it does sound awesome.

I think if I had your Challenger I'd probably crash it quicker than it'd empty my bank account for fuel :LOL::ROFLMAO:
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I do bloody love a modern muscle car, wife and I honeymooned in Canada late 2010 and thanks to a super kind guy running the car rental place we used (think it was Enterprise) he put us in a 5.0 GT Premium Mustang hardtop instead of the cheapo compact class car we were supposed to have which we did a good 10 days worth of road trip in, was an auto but Coyote engined (so an early 412hp one) and really loved the thing. Remember fondly destroying some poor guy in his 2.7 Boxster on the freeway, the noise a decent US V8 makes is like nothing else is it?! Also the Shaker 1000w sound system was just obscene 馃ぃ馃ぃ. Also it wasnt all that terrible on fuel if you weren't spanking it all the time (though it was hard not to!).

My father in law loves US cars and has a 95 Camaro Z28 as a bit of a folly....not really my kinda thing but it does sound awesome.

I think if I had your Challenger I'd probably crash it quicker than it'd empty my bank account for fuel :LOL::ROFLMAO:
Oh that is definitely a better treat than your typical rental sedan! I actually owned a 1969 Mustang as my first car back in 2004 (bad idea), and then looked at the newer Mustangs and Camaros when we went looking for the new muscle. I actually loved all three, but we got a HELL of a deal on the Challenger so it was hard to beat.

And yes, the gas mileage isn't absolutely horrible if you baby it....but that is easier said than done. Just another reason for me to get the Mini!
 

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Oh that is definitely a better treat than your typical rental sedan! I actually owned a 1969 Mustang as my first car back in 2004 (bad idea), and then looked at the newer Mustangs and Camaros when we went looking for the new muscle. I actually loved all three, but we got a HELL of a deal on the Challenger so it was hard to beat.

And yes, the gas mileage isn't absolutely horrible if you baby it....but that is easier said than done. Just another reason for me to get the Mini!
Mate nothing like a classic 'Stang! What a great first car!

We don't have Dodge over here in the UK but we can get some variants of the Mustang officially finally......though a base 5.0 GT manual runs to the equivalent of nearly $57k here and fuel is still fairly ridiculously priced (not as bad as it was due to the current downturn, but we still favour small 4 cyl petrols and diesels here) they are hard to justify. The Ecoboost version actually seems very decent but it's still expensive and you can't have a 4 cylinder Mustang can you?! :ROFLMAO::ROFLMAO:

That said the Mini does have the fuel economy of something far larger particularly when you drive it hard or only do lots of stop start driving in it....it's actually comical!!
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Apparently one of my previous posts is awaiting moderator approval, and is currently invisible...oops! Well either way, I'll post the follow-up to it just to keep things rolling, but for now the title of this might seem out of place!

On the road to pass inspection - part 2:
In my attempt to continue de-chroming the car, i made a little bit of progress, and then hit a small snag. I decided to start working on my tail lights, as they needed love in two directions; remove the chrome on the inside, and remove the excessive haziness that might actually cause me to fail inspection. I spent a good while trying to remove the haziness, and realized after the outside looked damn good, that there was actually haziness INSIDE the lens itself. No worries here, I was planning on cutting them open anyway to remove the chrome with some isopropyl alcohol. Well after I got them open and removed the chrome, I decided just to scrap the whole thing as the lenses were just not doing what I wanted them to. I had my eye on the LED tails that a lot of people seem to get, so I just staid screw it and ordered them. They should be here Friday. :)



The little bit of progress I did make was on the door handles, with some VERY cheap Amazon covers. When I say cheap, I mean cheap. I will be lucky if these things dont fall off within a few months, but I am going to take the handles off and try to trim these up a bit to fit better. My goal is to get them to last me until next year, which is when a full repaint (or new shell) will likely be closer in my mind...



Now my previous post (that isn't showing up as of me writing this) talked about me getting the Mini Fini arm rest at a junkyard, and really not liking it. When I got it, I actually pulled the center console and the mounting bracket underneath, since they needed to be modified to fit the arm rest. I am glad I did, as I would be pretty pissed if I cut my current one to make something fit that I will be getting rid of! Before I take it out, I wanted to do a quick test of my interior mods to see how it would look. I also had to repair one of the mounting points that was completely broken on my bracket when I bought it. Just a little acetone on the ABS part to fuse it back together!





Now another thing I REALLY don't like about these cars is the interior accents...the style is okay, but I don't love the fact that everything is kind of a dull dark gray instead of black, and has the weird two tone top / bottom thing going on that most cars around this time did. Time to start blacking it all out! If you haven't used the SEM interior paints (dyes?), this stuff is really amazing. It takes a tiny bit of prep work to get right, but it really looks OEM once it is done. It also helps to match some of the inconsistencies that these plastics get with age. Just a quick preview, more to come as i start working on the rest of the interior!





Parts coming in this weekend / early next week include the new tail lights, new hatch handle, new front grille, coilovers, and the blackout kit for the beltline. Should have some good updates soon!
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Mate nothing like a classic 'Stang! What a great first car!

We don't have Dodge over here in the UK but we can get some variants of the Mustang officially finally......though a base 5.0 GT manual runs to the equivalent of nearly $57k here and fuel is still fairly ridiculously priced (not as bad as it was due to the current downturn, but we still favour small 4 cyl petrols and diesels here) they are hard to justify. The Ecoboost version actually seems very decent but it's still expensive and you can't have a 4 cylinder Mustang can you?! :ROFLMAO::ROFLMAO:

That said the Mini does have the fuel economy of something far larger particularly when you drive it hard or only do lots of stop start driving in it....it's actually comical!!
Oops I somehow missed this. Yeah that is definitely a lot for the Mustang, but they are pretty expensive for the higher packages even here. To get an equivalent Mustang loaded up the way my Challenger is, it would probably be around that cost in USD. I paid about $42k out the door for my Challenger, which is pretty well equipped considering.

And there are certainly a lot of people with the Ecoboost Mustangs here, but I agree....I think if you are buying an American muscle car, you have to get it with a V8!



I just realized the Cooper at the junkyard with the intercooler diverter plate has factory Xenons that look to be in good condition too... I won't be able to get out there until Saturday morning, and things do get picked over pretty quickly. I am hoping to snag those, the diverter plate, and the lower front grille since mine is broken (assuming everything is in good shape). Looking at the parts prices online, I think it should be around $100 for everything, so I think it is probably worth it?
 

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For sure, everything's just getting expensive isn't it no matter where you are?!馃憤

I expect the Ecoboost version makes the most sense, particularly here as I bet performance wise real world there probably isn't tons between the two......but none of the drama and sense of occasion you get with the V8.

Personally as nice as it would be to have the Xenon's, to fit them on a car with Halogens really isn't plug and play, they need to be wired in, coded, have self leveling hardware that would be a pain to retrofit, then really you also need the headlamp washing system that they come with (they are the little ovals that sit either side of the lamp bezel).....nothings impossible but would be a minefield I don't doubt. Quite a few people with pre facelift Minis end up fitting the facelift Xenon's (as they went from reflector to projectors....don't think they necessary work lots better but they look better) but of course all the necessary wiring, systems and coding is already there on those cars.

Not sure how it was in the States but here in the UK we had an option pack called the Chilli pack which was very popular as it bundled quite a bit of decent stuff for a fair saving over the individual options and on an S it included Xenon's.....most people ticked the box so it just happens most UK spec S cars have Xenon's. The Cooper Chilli pack didn't come with Xenon's so consequently few non S Minis have Xenon's.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
For sure, everything's just getting expensive isn't it no matter where you are?!馃憤

I expect the Ecoboost version makes the most sense, particularly here as I bet performance wise real world there probably isn't tons between the two......but none of the drama and sense of occasion you get with the V8.

Personally as nice as it would be to have the Xenon's, to fit them on a car with Halogens really isn't plug and play, they need to be wired in, coded, have self leveling hardware that would be a pain to retrofit, then really you also need the headlamp washing system that they come with (they are the little ovals that sit either side of the lamp bezel).....nothings impossible but would be a minefield I don't doubt. Quite a few people with pre facelift Minis end up fitting the facelift Xenon's (as they went from reflector to projectors....don't think they necessary work lots better but they look better) but of course all the necessary wiring, systems and coding is already there on those cars.

Not sure how it was in the States but here in the UK we had an option pack called the Chilli pack which was very popular as it bundled quite a bit of decent stuff for a fair saving over the individual options and on an S it included Xenon's.....most people ticked the box so it just happens most UK spec S cars have Xenon's. The Cooper Chilli pack didn't come with Xenon's so consequently few non S Minis have Xenon's.
Hmm....interesting. From reading online, it didn't seem like it was that big of a pain, and I do have a connection to someone with a shop who does performance BMW / Mini stuff. I'll see if he can assist with the coding side at least, but I think I will pick these up either way if they are clean. Worst case scenario, I have a set available on the marketplace for someone who needs to replace theirs!

Thanks for the information and little history though, it is definitely good to hear! A lot of the other posts made it seem like there was very little involved in this project. Also, I should mention....I don't need anything to be plug and play. While that is helpful, I am totally fine taking everything apart and customizing it if necessary!
 
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