Remember that scene in The Italian Job, when three Mini Coopers had to jump the Fiat factory’s roof to escape the pursuing rozzers? Had they been three of these Mini Coopers, we suspect they would have made it a little further than the next building across. We’re thinking somewhere around Pluto.
Yes, this is a Mini Cooper. Yes, it was originally built in 1974. And yes, it looks like a Mini. It has the proportions of a Mini. Except it is not a Mini. It is a hyperspace machine. It has, and there’s no more fluff to be inserted here… 500hp.
Five. Hundred. Horsepower. In something weighing as much as a squeaky dog toy. It is the work of a company called Gildred Racing, who will build just 10 of these so-called ‘Super Cooper Type S’ models because that’s really enough.
Underneath, said company deemed it prudent to shoehorn in a 3.2-litre Honda V6 in the back (originally deployed in an early Noughties Acura CL coupe), upgraded to 3.5-litres thanks to a new crank. This engine benefits from forged pistons, fancy connecting rods, 850cc fuel injectors… and a Rotex supercharger.
Because a naturally-aspirated 3.5-litre V6 would barely get out of its own way in a Mini, right? Forced induction equals 50hp and 520Nm of torque, all fired through a 6spd manual gearbox, at a set of 13in rear wheels. The results are… hilarious. Hilariously fast, that is: 0-95km/h takes just four seconds.
Some braking occurs via 9.5in vented discs with four-piston Wilwood calipers, and suspending comes via fully adjustable coilovers. Inside, as you would expect, it’s all custom. And, as you would expect, quite excellent. There’s a 9.7in iPad integrated neatly into the centre console, a fancy Alpine stereo, touch start, a ‘Super Cooper’ switch panel, a motorsport-style steering wheel and chrome dials.
Gildred Racing reckons on US$150,000 for this Type S. Yes, that’s a lot, but for something that looks fairly original, for something capable of humiliating most road-going cars apart from the really, really special stuff, for 500 horses, for something so rare… you just would, wouldn’t you?
STORY Vijay Pattni