The first in a long line of MINIs to join the Lohen ranks, our R53 had maintained a modest life in OEM form at the hands of its one previous lady owner. The car was the perfect platform for any future development having never truly had her legs stretched and driven sympathetically for the most part.
The car has suffered a few ups and downs along the way, taking a spin into a hedge at the hands of owner Andrey that prompted the naming of the corner 'Russian Roulette'. It would be unfair to say her nickname is purely of her own making; driver 'input' has contributed to her rollercoaster journey but it's an affectionate handle we now can't step away from.
At her peak this Gen 1 MINI Cooper S has run at 260bhp with a ported head, uprated cam and internals. Lohen recognised very quickly that handling and drivetrain needed to be uprated to tame that power and harness it for road use. We've experimented with a range of ATB and plate differentials, considerable upgrades to the chassis and better brakes.
As part of our tuning development the car was kitted out with a fresh set of KW Variant 3 Coilovers, OZ Racing Ultraleggeras and Pirelli tyres to cope with the demands of high-speed testing. The car visited a proving ground and performed numerous runs to determine the validity of our tuning, ECU development work we're still very proud of today.
Recently our Gen 1 MINI has been awaiting some upgrade work. The satin white wrap she received at one Brands Hatch MINI Festival was removed and she is 'almost' back to her usual self (we say 'almost' because the blue roof remains...) but is still one of the most recognisable cars in the MINI tuning scene and remains hugely popular with our customers and followers and we've had many requests to sell her over the years!
Our R53 is still the most enjoyable to handle of all the cars, that supercharger whine being very difficult to beat. We've expertly set our MINI up on her many suspension modifications; the car behaves exactly like a go-cart with superb turn-in and is enormous fun for a spirited drive. As well as a superb demonstrator for our many Generation 1 MINI tuning products, the car is still a favourite of Andrey's and will never leave the fleet.