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Who Put The Cooper In To Mini Cooper

By raccars Published

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His name is synonymous with the hottest Minis, but who is John Cooper? In 1961, John Cooper, a Formula One team owner, took the standard Mini engine, bored it out and slung in a pair of carburettors. A close ratio gearbox and a set of disc brakes later and the Mini Cooper was taking the rally stages and the general public by storm.

BMW, not one to miss a trick, was quick to revive the John Cooper name for its high performance versions of the reworked Mini from 2001. Badged Cooper, Cooper S and Cooper D, these are the brand's halo models. However, topping them all are the pocket rocket John Cooper Works versions.

These did not start off as BMW factory versions. John Cooper Works was in fact a Mini tuning firm, started by Michael Cooper, son of John. Its first product in 2001 was a Mini Cooper tuning kit which, for £1,500, would boost your Mini's power output to 126bhp - only an extra 11bhp. The kit was BMW sanctioned, so Mini warranties were unaffected.

The firm released the Cooper S tuning Kit in 2002, offering a far more substantial 200bhp. Mini dealers offered fitting, with the kit including upgraded engine components, a new exhaust and some gentle John Cooper Works logos. An extra 10bhp was added in 2005, but at a cost of £3,600, these were expensive upgrades so you won't find many of them around. Further upgrades were added with the second generation Mini in 2007.

However in 2008, BMW bit the bullet and bought out John Cooper Works, using it to come up with its own factory built model of JCW. BMW continued developing the JCW system to coax 211bhp out of the car and added an electronic limited slip diff., its own Dynamic Traction Control and Brembo brakes. The resulting car was very difficult to beat on a performance per pound basis and was a pure joy to drive.

Petrolheads loved the JCW Minis, but BMW decided to go even further with a pair of hardcore GP versions. Think even higher power outputs, spoilers back and front, and the back seats were taken out in favour of a roll cage for a dramatic, track focused feel. Some components were shared with the Mini Challenge racer, and the results were seriously hot - fast and with super sharp handling. Only 2,000 of each GP version was built, making them some of the most desirable Minis on the market today.

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