As import enthusiasts, there’s a common tendency to complain about the lack of new prospect-cars on the market today. I can definitely lump myself in with this category of people. But maybe – just maybe, the problem is not with the new cars on the market today… maybe it’s how we, as tuners, look (or FAIL to look) at the new cars on the market today. Lately I’ve been coming to that conclusion. Because a truth is – we are still passionately loyal & committed to manufacturers like Honda, for cars that they built 10-25 years ago… but do not build anymore. Do they really still deserve that loyalty? I don’t know – that’s an open ended question. But has time proven them to be loyal to us, the enthusiasts? The answer is a very sobering – no. It would be elementary, obvious, & probably bitter for me to list the great Japanese cars that have been killed-off over the last 15 years… and we don’t even need to go that route in this article, because it will lose focus. And we will always buy/love/mod those imports of yesteryear because they all mean so much to us. But what happens when it becomes a requirement to buy/build something newer as well? My opinion is – we shouldn’t get the past twisted for the present. We shouldn’t distort a manufacturer’s heritage, for their current line-up. Heritage turns into pedigree if you build on your foundation. On the other hand, heritage is nothing more than history if you lose your way. I am personally loyal to Honda… for what they did in the late 80s-early 2000s. But most of those racer execs responsible for all that awesomeness have since moved on, and they have somehow been replaced with keyboard-cat-loving execs with 1/8th the balls. I don’t know that to be 100% fact, but it’s the only conclusion that makes sense when I see what’s available at dealerships these days. So my loyalty, as an enthusiast, has to stop there. I’m not going to buy a hybrid CRZ, because I love the CRX. It’s not the same soul. So maybe we don’t need to follow the natural tendency to be a little close-minded to a car like this Mini… because it’s not from Japan. Maybe this is the new kind of sport-compact we’ve been waiting for… and we just haven’t noticed it yet, because we still have our blinders on.
Text by Jonathan Wooley Photos by Ty Cobb

2012 Mini John Cooper Works (JCW) Coupe

ENGINE / TRANSMISSION
BMW 1.6 liter w/ twin scroll turbo
DDM Works race intake system
Getrag 6-speed manual transmission

EXTERIOR
Pepper white paint, w/custom painted roof & mirrors to match
JCW Aero Kit – custom painted to match car
“De-chromed” accents

INTERIOR
Custom leather
Custom Alcantara suede accents

WHEELS / BRAKES / SUSPENSION
17” JCW black Challenge Spoke wheels
205/40/17 Yokohama S Drives
JCW Brembo brakes
Megan Racing coilovers

ACT clutch