MINI Cooper S R53.
A mouthful to say, and only makes sense to a few. And now probably it would to you after reading this post.
The MINI Cooper has been a household name in motoring with its small sized nature and super cornering abilities. And R53 being its model number for the ones that rolled off the production line from 2002-2006. Many a time people downplay MINI’s, overlooking them, with the occasional ‘Hey! thats a cute car!” exclamation and then its back to fawning over the A1’s and the Sirocco’s, being yet another individual fallen prey to the blitzkrieg of a marketing campaign the VW group has been dumping massive amounts of money into.
But, little do they know the potential of the little car, turning tighter through any corner than any other in its class, and the ability to whizz in and out of traffic, getting you out of “tough spot” situations. These are only experiences a MINI owner would know. Or with any luck, people who have gotten behind the wheel of a MINI. There is a special feeling when you get behind the wheel of one. And i was lucky to have that opportunity when my parents got me one in 2011.
This is Ellen. A year 2006 Mini Cooper S R53. She’s the last of the Supercharged MINI’s. She was pure fun and brilliant to drive, and as a first car, i learnt lots about driving in it. It could take bends without worry with a mild camber setting and lowered springs on the car. The Center Gravity was perfect. Of course it comes with the occasional scraping of the bumper on massively high speed humps and if you had one or two more passengers that had extra to eat at dinner riding at the back, tyre rubs shudders from the wheel arches into the cabin, never fails to get everyone cringing and ooh-ing.
British Racing Green, the colour she came in. Repulsed by many. Loved by a few. And me? I Adored it to the core, it made the car look inconspicuous to many, yet preserves the time classic colour that not many cars are able to pull off. Yeah, lets try see this colour on your Vee-Dub.
I’ve had loads of fun times and memories in the car, and lets face it, lots of lancer-lution wannabe’s or colts and swifts tried their fair share of pushing from behind but when the throttle goes down, Ellen’s 1.6 litre Supercharged engine whines with every rev following its pitch higher and higher. I could only imagine the look on the other driver’s faces when they thought the MINI looked like a pushover.
The car came pre-modded, with lowered H&R Springs and Konig Rims. If you could call that a mod.
But i loved it anyway, being the PARK LANE edition it bore this extra badge on the side.
The car never had really much of an exhaust growl. Though when pedal to the metal came no one really complained about it anyways.
Which was funny too. I keep getting asked, the question often accompanied by a snigger, ‘how fast can a MINI go?’
To which my reply would be ‘How fast do you expect it to go? Its a MINI, its by all means no EVO killer, but sure, on the straights it can’t smell an evo for jack. But outlast that and lets play the tune in the corners’
I learnt too that its not about speed. Everyone else just wants to see how fast their rides can reach 0-100 in, and keep bettering that and what not. But in the course of it, i realised MINI owners don’t really sought that, rather more on how their rides reflect their personality instead. No two MINI’s are identical. Neither are our personalities. Thats what makes it so special, thats what makes the MINI such an awesome car. Never is there another marque that gives the same experience.
Being an old car, Wear and tear takes its toll, Look what camber wear does to your tyre
Tyre wear is horrid, makes rain driving a little difficult, but either way i loved it. The low ride, the camber, the insane cornering angles you could put the car in.
Oh and, the friend’s you make.
I Joined up the local MINI community “THEMINIMOB” And went for convoys with them. Scoring a bunch of 40 odd MINI’s down orchard road was a pretty rad experience. Not to mention a delightful sight for the onlookers.
Now, let me show you what she looks like on the inside~
The awesome centre console never gets old.
As the old handbrake wilted away i changed it for a Sparco Settanta one.
Not the cleanest engine bay, but it produces the nicest sounds.
And yes.. the only thing done to the bay was an ALTA Air Filter. That ensured more cold air into the engine~
Sweet lights too. With PIAA bulbs fitted in place. It looked awesome at night.
By now though you must be wondering, why the post on your car?
Well, my parents laid upon me the decision to sell the car. It was ageing much and was time to let her go due to rising costs in repairs and upkeep.
I fetched my sister to school in Ellen, my grandma to the market, got me to camp when and back safely when i was still serving NS, heck, even mounting bikes for trail riding! There was even once we squeezed 7 people into the little thing!
Ellen sang me her sweet sweet whine and i managed to get this awesome mileage number on her before letting her go.
Indeed she has been the best first car anyone could ever ask for.
And above is the last time i saw her, handed over the keys to the dealer, who said that the new owners are anxious to get her.
Hopefully they’d take good care of her.
I keep a keen eye out on the streets now to see if i’ll get to catch a glimpse of her again. Perhaps one day..
“Be Nice Ellen, Be Safe, BE MINI.”
I know what you’re thinking.
Well. As it turns out, the silver lining from selling my beloved Ellen came with a Spicy orange tinge~
Till that post.. Stay classy all!