A supercharged Mini Cooper S is a cheap hot hatchback and a really fun one, but this one is much more than that. This is one of only a handful of early, supercharged Mini Cooper Ss that were upgraded with what was then an aftermarket tuning kit by a fledgling outfit called John Cooper Works.
Lifting the R53 Cooper S’s power to 200bhp from a fairly lowly 163bhp, the upgraded engine and exhaust kit was nonetheless rare because it cost over £3000 at the time. A few years later, the tuning kits had become so successful in transforming the Mini into something altogether more exciting that BMW actually bought the company.
That makes these rare early cars future classics. You read it here first, and we’re also giving you an opportunity to get in there while they’re as cheap as they’re going to get. Over and above the fact that our hen’s tooth from the classifieds will be a superb thing to drive, full of angry supercharger whine, a great gear shift and, err, lively ride quality, one day it’ll be worth a lot more than it is today.
The seller of YK53 ZGO is asking just £2600 for it. Having covered 87,000 miles it’s no spring chicken and the R53 was infamous for its shoddy interior materials, but this is the real deal; a genuine R53 JCW. It has xenon lights, leather upholstery in very good order and all the original paperwork that came with the kit.
Sadly the service history isn’t complete; the book is stamped but there’s a (worryingly) big gap between attention at 21,000 miles and 58,000. We’d want to investigate why that occurred, and how healthy things like the cam chain are as a result. According to the seller it also needs a full service yesterday.
So, things might not be all rosy underneath the skin. That said, for the price there’s serious room to budget for repairs and refurbishments. This car deserves a loving owner and it deserves to be brought back to its former glory with a full wheel refurb, paint correction and plenty of mechanical love. We’d account for a £4000-£5000 budget overall to buy it, have all the necessary inspections carried out and fix/refresh anything that needs it.
Someone please buy it before one of us has to. You’ll thank us in 30 years. Alternatively, check out what Mini has lately been up to with the current version of the JCW hatchback.