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Big, Bad Mini


This is the perfect formula for a truly fun car: Take one small, lightweight and nimble chassis, throw in a lightweight but powerful engine to power it and market it all to hell. The Mini, although quite a bit bigger and fatter than its predecessor, the original Mini designed by Sir Alec Issigonis, is a truly wonderful car to drive around in. My only gripe about the car is that it’s just a little too stylized for my liking; too much frill and flair and not quite enough purpose.

But if you can look past all its hip trendiness, underneath all the hoopla is a truly fun little car. It may not pack gobs of face distorting power nor does it have a particularly charismatic exhaust note, but it excels so well as a fun, tiny, dynamic package which, pound for pound, offers just as much fun on your favourite road as a million ringgit supercar, if not more.

What makes it even more fun is the fact that thanks to the great aftermarket support the Mini has, it can be made even more fun than it already is. The supercharged, 1.6 litre engine can be tuned to make even more power than its standard 160bhp (this orange one packs 207hp at the wheels), and the chassis can be made even more nimble and responsive than it already is. It’s like a toy for big boys, or in this case, for Bad Boys.

This Mini belongs to Patrick, owner and man in charge of Fast Lane Automotive, a workshop and tuning house which caters almost exclusively to continental cars and of course, the Mini. Using his own Cooper S as a moving billboard for his shop, Patrick’s Mini is beautifully well rounded package, combining looks, power, function and form seamlessly.

Underneath the hood is the 1.6 litre supercharged four cylinder engine with a lot of improvements. The cylinder head has been ported and polished and fitted with a Mini Mania camshaft as well as Pro Mini oversized valves for even better gas flow. The ceramic coated supercharger has also been upgraded to provide 17% more boost with an ALTA supercharger pulley. With more boost, comes the need for more fuel and holding up that end are a quartet of John Cooper Works (JCW) 400cc injectors.

The engine breathes easier thanks to a JCW airbox and an ALTA inlet hose. The ignition system is also upgraded with Denso Iridium spark plugs, Nology plug cables, a Nology ignition spark stabilizer, a Hot Inazma voltage stabilizer and grounding cables, and MSD ignition coils. Lightening the engine’s load is a lightweight aluminium Fast Lane crank pulley and the exhaust receives a nice upgrade with a free flowing Fast Lane exhaust header and a Fox catback exhaust system which has a really nice growl. Optimizing air and fuel ratios and squeezing more power out of the 1.6 litre Tritec engine is N1 Racing’s N1Reflash ECU remapping service. For better cooling and longer engine life, a Fast Lane oil cooler kit keeps the engine oil healthy and within operating temperatures.

Transferring power to the front wheels is the standard 6-speed gearbox and clutch with a short shift adapter for smoother and faster gearshifts.

Improving the Mini’s handling and comfort considerably is a set of TEIN Type Euro adjustable coilovers and giving the Mini a more neutral handling balance is a Pro Mini rear anti-roll bar and a H&R front anti roll bar. Stiffening the chassis is a Pro Mini adjustable front lower arm brace and a AC Schnitzer front strut tower bar and allowing camber adjustment for the front wheels is a K-MAC camber adjustment plate.

Complementing the bright orange paint is a set of black 17 inch OZ Superleggera wheels wrapped in Hankook V8RS tyres which measure 205/45R17 in size. Playing peekaboo with onlookers behind the spokes of the wheels is a Stoptech 4-piston caliper brake kit in the front with 328mm rotors and a pair Tar.Ox 328mm rotors at the rear with the stock calipers.

Inside, the over-stylized interior gets a slight toning down with more purposeful looking Sparco Torino reclineable bucket seats, Fast Lane carbon fibre trimmings, Hartge pedals and a Hartge gearknob and handbrake lever. Because of the Mini’s well laid out dashboard, a Defi boost and oil temperature gauges sit nicely on either side of the tachometer. Reminding Patrick to shift gears is a JCW dash mounted shift light cluster.

This bad looking Mini looks so good because of its John Cooper Works bodykit which consists of the front and rear bumpers and the roof mounted wing. Adding to the visual panache of the “Bad Boy Mini” is the custom add-on front lip, Fast Lane carbon fibre trimmings for the intercooler scoop and the custom fender vents. Other details which add to the Mini’s striking looks are the custom designed Bad Boy Mini decals on both doors and the brake calipers.

When Patrick decides to slow things down and take it easy, he turns on his Pioneer P80 head unit which pumps music to AD 6.- 3-way components and a single AD 10-inch subwoofer, which are powered by a Sinfoni and Precision Power amplifier and connected via Monster 402 cables. Keeping road noise out and the music in is Dynamat soundproofing.

Mini are fun little cars with so much potential. They’re great fun in the corners and they’re quite sprightly when it comes to impromptu drag races, and the best part is, most girl love them. With 207 dyno proven horsepower and 24kg/m of torque, this Mini is one of the nicer ones on the road today.

Hyperfacts!
Car: R53 Mini Cooper S
Engine: 1.6 litre, SOHC, 4-cylinder, supercharged
Engine modifications: Ported & polished head, Mini Mania camshaft, Pro Mini oversized valves, ceramic coated supercharger, 400cc JCW injectors, JCW intake, ALTA inlet hose, ALTA 17% supercharger pulley, Fast Lane crank pulley, Denso Iridium spark plugs, Nology cables, Nology ignition stabilizer, MSD ignition coils, Fast Lance oil cooler kit, Hot Inazma coltage stabilizer, grounding cables, Fox catback exhaust system, Fast Lane header
Transmission: Standard 6-speed gearbox, short shift adapter
Suspension/Chassis: TEIN Type Euro Damper, Pro Mini rear anti-roll bar, H&R front anti-roll bar, Pro Mini adjustable lower arm brace, K-MAC camber plate, AC Schnitzer front strut tower bar
Brakes: Stoptech 4-piston calipers and 328mm rotors (front), Tar.Ox 328mm rotors (rear)
Wheels & Tyres: 17 inch OZ Superleggera wheeks, 205/45R17 Hankook V8RS tyres
Electronics: N1Reflash ECU remap, Defi boost % oil temp gauge, Tyredog TPMS, JCW shift lights
Interior: Sparco Torino seats, Fast Lance carbon fibre trimmings, Hartge pedals, Hartge gearknob, Hartge handbrake lever
Exterior: John Cooper Works bodykit, custom Fast Lane add on front lip, Fast Lane carbon fibre trimmings, fender vents
ICE: Pioneer P80 head unit, AD 6.0 3-way component speakers, AD 10 inch subwoofer, Sinfoni amplifier, Power Precision amplifier, Monster 402 cables, Dynamat soundproofing
Tuner:
Fast Lane Automotive – 03-7806 5128
N1Reflash tuned by N1 Racing – 603-5636 5557 / 603-5636 5559

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