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Tell us the story behind your ride. What made you pick this particular one? Where did you find it? This car was (and still is) my first car that I bought right before I turned 16. My story starts out the same way a lot of MINI owners' stories do... I saw The Italian Job when I was younger, and that was it. I had to have one. My dad told me he'd match whatever I contributed towards a car, so I spent the next few summers saving every dime I could. He's actually told me looking back that he regretted making that deal because he didn't think I'd save as much as I did ;) But after I had saved enough, in 2009 I found this one at a local auto sales place with 60k miles on the clock, and the rest is history. Nine years later, I'm out on my own, I'm just about to cross the 100k mark, and this thing has absolutely been the most fun money pit on planet Earth. I've loved every minute of it. We have been through hell and back together, and I have absolutely no plans to get rid of it. It is so much fun to drive, it's creaky, noisy, uncomfortable, handles like it defies the laws of physics, and has surprisingly quick acceleration. It really is one of the most exhilarating cars I've ever driven, even if it's not the fastest. The car has been in two wrecks, so it's by no means perfect, but it's mine. I've loved MINI so much that I also bought a used JCW Roadster in 2016 for a daily, and while that is an incredible car too, I'd pick this one any day of the week. Describe the modifications you've made. Where did you start, what’s the most recent mod and what motivated it? It all started with a JCW cold air intake. I originally wanted to keep the car OEM+, so I figured a JCW intake was a good entry-level mod that I could do, with the idea of adding more parts of the JCW kit later on. That gave me the taste of modding, but the more I learned, the more it became clear you can get a LOT more bang for your buck when you enter the wonderful world of aftermarket performance parts. So of course, I fell down the rabbit hole of modding shortly after that. I went to Way at WMW and he put a 15% supercharger pulley on it, and I saw stupid gains form that. From there on, it was just me craving more and more zip and tighter and tighter corners. I've done everything from pulleys to intercooler to exhaust to camshaft to brakes to coilovers. I can't stop. Send help. (But I've recently started tracking the car, so I can write off these purchases off as prep for that, right?) Of all the mods you’ve made, which do you think offers the biggest bang for the buck? In terms of power, the 15% supercharger pulley by far, especially since that only ran me about $450 installed. I also felt pretty big gains with the custom camshaft and single mass flywheel/clutch conversion too, but those weren't quite as drastic and were more expensive. Suspension-wise, definitely the 25mm rear sway bar, at about only $350 installed. I've heard that referred to as "the pulley for your suspension" around the MINI community many times. What are you planning next? The car is currently on jack stands in the garage, I've got a set of Wilwood FSL calipers with 13" two-piece rotors I'm putting on place of my current setup. The R56S calipers didn't perform as well as I would have liked on Road Atlanta, and also my JCW Roadster's Brembo's have spoiled me ;) Injectors and a dyno tune are after that, hopefully!
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