The R53 Cooper S was a car that always intrigued me. I’d driven one many many years ago and I loved that supercharged whine and distinctive retro looks. I owned a R50 Cooper previously, would the bump in performance be worth it?

After driving a Japanese import Impreza STI as my daily for over a year, the time was right to source a good sound example for daily duties.

I went to view several. One of which had a bottom end knock that had me refuse to test drive the thing out mechanical sympathy. Another in a dealership has a premium price, but no history and in need of a mechanical overhaul. Then this example popped up fairly close to home.

It was a privately owned car purchased a few years prior from Bavarian Mini. It had stacks of history and needed very little immediate attention. A deal was struck and the car was purchased.

Aiming to use the car as a daily driver, it was to be a cheap car to run. In my typical tradition that lasted about a week, the upgrades have started…

-A motorsport version of the JCW airbox was purchased. Massively increasing the airbox efficiency. It adds a little more volume, an additional feed and the option of a much larger filter.

-The supercharger is now spinning a little faster down to a 15% pulley and belt.

-A JCW style / R56 brake upgrade has been installed. This provides a much larger disc, caliper and pad vastly improving the braking performance.

-A JCW exhaust has also been installed, further enhancing the performance and looks of the car.

The well thought out tweaks have left me with a very drivable car, with much improved performance. Nothing OTT in the noise front, so it is still a very comfortable daily driver… if a little small for transportation duties.

The next steps are to keep up the regular maintenance and probably look at having the output tested on a rolling road.

Updates to follow.