“Mini has lost its way, man.” “Yeah, the new ones are just bloated, overpriced, kitschy garbage aimed at the lifestyle vehicle market.” “Totally. They’re nothing like my old 2006 JCW GP.” Shocked? This could be a legitimate conversation between two modern Mini enthusiasts. Or the start of a fight between an Austin Mini and a BMW Mini driver about corporate BMW oversight, creeping rust, size and implied safety, giant-slaying, and other buzzwords. If you’re a neo-nostalgist aching for the best of the newest cars to bear the Mini badge, the supercharged, 1.6-liter R53 GP is for you. Find this 2006 Mini Cooper S John Cooper Works GP here on eBay, located in West Chester, PA for $17,900 buy-it-now via eBay.
Before S models were updated to a turbocharged engine in 2007, Mini’s John Cooper Works took one final crack at it. They stole its backseat and replaced it with a chassis brace. They also gutted over 60 pounds (or nearly 100 if you can live without A/C), swapped its steel rear trailing arms for aluminum pieces, picked up a new supercharger, intercooler, and bigger injectors. Apply carbon fiber liberally, and you have a 215-horsepower, 149-mph, 0.35 (vs 0.39 stock) drag coefficient, 6-speed, 2,600-pound two-seater. But the most important figure is 415: the number of units sold in the U.S.
Like any limited-production car, their scarcity keeps prices high. In 2006, JCW GPs had a suggested retail price of $31,150. Examples with 28,000 miles sell for that much or more. Also like other rare cars, they seemingly beg for criticism against their price premium. “I could defecate in a bag and it would be rare!” Facts are facts, and the “GP” badge adds just eight horsepower over a contemporary John Cooper Works Mini. Cooper S models had 168 horsepower. You could build one for much less.
For nearly the price of a new base Mini, you can get this 93k-mile GP with an additional engine mount bracing, aftermarket radio, a goofy add-on cup holder, and a 10-MPG demerit (at least) compared to the three-cylinder turbo in the new cars. But hey, that carbon fiber wing is pretty neat.
See a rarer go-fast special for cheap? Email us firstname.lastname@example.org.