If you’re looking to take on Civic Type Rs and Veloster Ns, the 2021 Mini Cooper John Cooper Works GP is a great option. But its serious performance comes with a serious price tag. And some hot-hatch fans may not like the lack of a manual. However, a solution is available this week on Bring a Trailer—or rather, two solutions. That’s because this week’s BaT bargain is a double-feature: a 2006 and a 2013 Mini Cooper JCW GP.
The 2006 Mini Cooper John Cooper Works GP sent the first-gen car off with a bang
The ‘Cooper’ name became intertwined with Mini’s during the ‘60s when British racer John Cooper turned classic Minis into rally machines. He was the one who created the “original hot rod Mini—the Cooper S,” Hagerty explains. And when BMW bought and relaunched the Mini brand in the early 2000s, the Cooper S returned, Road & Track explains.
By 2006, though, the first-gen BMW-made ‘R53’ model was due for an update. So, as one final hurrah before the R56’s debut, Mini released the Cooper S John Cooper Works GP.
Like the ‘base’ Cooper S, the 2006 Mini JCW GP has a 1.6-liter supercharged four-cylinder engine, Car and Driver reports. However, thanks to intercooler, supercharger, exhaust, fuel injection, and ECU tweaks, it makes 214 hp, 46 more hp than the base car, Autoweek reports. And because it has no rear seat, upgraded aluminum suspension components, lighter wheels, no rear wiper, and optional A/C, it weighs 100 pounds less, MotorTrend reports. But it does have Recaro front seats.
The 2006 and 2021 Mini Cooper JCW GP are similar in many ways. Both hot hatches have firmer shocks and springs and an extensive aero kit, Top Gear reports. Plus, strut-tower braces in place of rear seats and limited-slip differentials. However, the 2006 car has something the 2021 car lacks: a 6-speed manual.
How the 2013 model compares
The manual returned on the next-gen model, the 2013 Mini Cooper JCW GP, which followed a similar formula to the 2006 car, Car and Driver reports. Namely, Recaro seats, no rear seat, a lower ride height, stiffer springs and shocks, larger brakes, and fewer luxuries—not even cruise control. However, compared to the earlier car, the 2013 Mini GP is noticeably “more focused,” MT reports.
The 2013 Mini Cooper JCW GP has fully-adjustable coil-overs and a different suspension geometry than the base car. Mini also tweaked the 2013 car’s steering, traction control, and stability control settings, MT reports. And instead of being supercharged, the 2013 Mini GP has a 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine. Normally, it makes 211 hp and 192 lb-ft, but during overboost, torque rises to 207 lb-ft.
On paper, the 2006 and 2013 models are similarly speedy. Car and Driver clocked the former’s 0-60 mph time at 5.9 seconds; the latter managed a 5.8-second time. The supercharged car, though, feels rawer, and the engine responds a bit faster, AROnline reports. It’s “brutally stiff and freakishly responsive to inputs,” Hagerty reports. However, the 2013 car is still a riot, with neutral handling and “instantaneous” steering, Car and Driver reports. And it has some more modern infotainment features, Driving.ca reports.
The 2006 and 2013 Mini Cooper John Cooper Works GP on Bring a Trailer
As of this writing, there are two Mini Cooper JCW GPs listed on Bring a Trailer. There’s a 2006 ‘GP1’ and a 2013 ‘GP2’. Neither are precisely stock, though both have less than 100,000 miles on the clock.
The 2006 Mini Cooper JCW GP has A/C, which was an in-period no-cost option, and heated seats. The Pioneer stereo and remote-controlled footwell lighting, though, are aftermarket modifications. So are the engine-bay strut-tower brace, the Valeo single-mass flywheel, and the PRW FluidGel crankshaft pulley. Plus, the hot hatch has tinted windows.
The 2013 Mini Cooper JCW GP comes with a few more luxuries. In addition to the stability and traction control, it has automatic climate control and Alcantara instead of cloth. It also has fewer miles than the 2006 car: 39,000 to 63,000. Plus, it’s less modified, though it does have an aftermarket ATM intercooler.
Bring a Trailer reports that both cars have accident-free histories, along with plenty of service records. The current owner of the 2013 car recently replaced the front tires and the water pump, as well as the spark plugs. The 2006 car was sold on Bring a Trailer in 2017, and since then the right-front ball joint has been replaced.
These hot hatches are limited-edition bargains
As of this writing, the 2006 Mini Cooper JCW GP is listed on Bring a Trailer for $7150, though it does have a title lien. The 2013 car is listed at $12,000; there are three days left in both auctions. And in both cases, their prices are below average, especially for these cars’ level of rarity.
Both the 2006 and 2013 Mini Cooper JCW GP are limited-edition models. Mini only made 2000 of each car, with 415 GP1s and 500 GP2s earmarked for the US. Combined with their modifications, they’re very desirable amongst Mini fans. And the average Bring a Trailer price hovers in the $15,000-$20,000 range. Which, incidentally, is about half of the original MSRP.
That makes this situation a genuine two-for-one special.
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