In the car world, saying “from humble beginnings” is a phrase that’s often followed with someone’s explosion of e-fame stardom that leaves them with an inflated ego. While this isn’t always the case, in today’s day & age, it seems more & more that it’s becoming the norm… rather than an anomaly. That’s why it’s so refreshing when you find a wickedly cool build, and the owner has stuck to their roots. That’s the absolute epitome of who Chase Gamblin is – and what his Mini Cooper S, Buddy, is all about.
While the Mini Cooper is not a spotlight-car in recent years…
Minis have always been a widely-loved, classically fun hot-hatch that offer the driver a great connection with the road. What you get with Chase’s Mini, however, is all of that – juiced up with a mega-dose of steroids.
This R53 Mini has been over a 10-year build for Chase…
The idea of sticking with one car for so long has kinda become a foreign concept to a lot of today’s newsfeed tuners. These days, it seems that people go through cars like cell phones – turn ’em & burn ’em to keep the content going on their IG feed and/or Youtube channel. But after getting to know Chase, you get a quick feeling that he’s not like them.
Having always been a Mini guy, Chase picked up this car in 2005, and named it Buddy…
The Mini’s first necessities were taken care of quickly: wheels, tires, exhaust, sway bars, end links, etc. But things never settled down after that with Chase. He continued to stretch out & modify his Mini… and his hot-hatch fever continued to intensify. And as we all know, it’s a sickness that brakes bank accounts lol. Big brake kits, DOTR tires, tighter suspension, fresh color schemes, etc. Eventually – Chase began diving into mods that were not only different for a Mini, but they were truly going the way of unique & custom fabricated.
Chase sourced & fabricated parts to go after an aggressive look on the Mini Cooper…
It was just a natural scenario where – the next idea evolved on top of the last idea… and the car got meaner & meaner. As he neared the 5-year mark of ownership, Chase decided to really marry himself to the Mini & take it to the next level. He pulled the motor, and sent it to ENDYN for a complete build. While that was in play, he acquired a set of rare wide-arches from a friend. Now, we see the phrase ‘widebody’ hashtagged to just about every make & model of car these days. And Chase is no different – other than the fact that his arches were widened to swallow up meaty tire, rather than negative camber.
As soon as the fresh motor was delivered, things began to take a different turn…
A unique thought had begun to creep into Chase’s head, and he began taking steps to secure a turbo system in addition to his OEM supercharger… in a scheme to twin-charge the car. But after purchasing the turbo and getting deeper into the idea of twin-charging, he decided to ditch the unstable twin-charge idea, and all-out replace the supercharger with a new Garrett Gt2860rs turbocharger setup.
The turbo-swapped R53 Mini brought a whole gaggle of other new modifications…
New additions included: a custom carbon fiber hood, full cage, gutted interior, new radiator & piping, a roof swap from the OEM sunroof to a slick roof, Relax seats, and SSR wheels.
However, as the car came back together… the ever-present issues with turning a factory supercharged car to a turbocharged car seemed to resurface & plague Chase with problems. So he finally threw his hands up & sent the car to Track One Motorsports to put an end to the annoying complications.
The Mini Cooper came back from Track One sorted & reliable…
And Chase parts-slapped it a few more times with Bilstein challenge coilovers, a new front splitter, a Vipec ECU, and a custom fuel system. Finally – a tune from Dynosty Tuning yielding a conservative & reliable 330whp and 236wtq. The Mini was finally rippin’ again, and Chase couldn’t have been happier.
10 years, 5 states, 5 sets of coilovers, 5 exhausts, 7 sets of wheels, a turbo swap, wide-body arches, motor rebuilds, undergraduate/graduate classes, untold passion… and so much more. The Mini Cooper has evolved through over a decade of Chase’s life.
Chase is a good example of what & who is missing in the younger-side of car culture these days.
We get so caught up in the attention of a digital world… that we lose sight of what really brought us into this scene in the first place.
This feature is from past Issue 35 of S3 Magazine // Text & Photos by Dustin Kessler.
Bilstein JCM Challenge spec coilovers
Challenge camber plates
I.E. rear control arms, rear sway bar, and end links
Onasled Racing rear control arms & trailing arm pickups
Power Flex front control arm bushings
Detroit Tuned front end links
Super Pro sway bar bushings & steering rack bushing
SSR Professor SP1r wheels: 16×9 +13
Advan AD08 tires: 225/50/16
Roof swap to sunroof delete; shaved antenna hole
Craft square mirrors
TSW wheel stud conversion
De-striped & de-badged
Blacked-out belt line
Rear wiper delete
Rogue Blue Dragon eyes
MC gas door conversion
Aero front bumper
Shaved turn signal holes w/ LED turn signals behind the Aero grille
Aero side skirts
Cooper Only rear aero bumper
Way Motor Works brake ducts
TSW tall jack points
MHW wide arches
Harrison dry carbon hood
GPGarage hood vents
Seibon carbon hatch
Samtrack vented fenders
Shaved side markers
M7 tuning splitter
ENDYN built/balanced motor: with big valve head, ported intake manifold, rollerwave pistons +.20, ported oil jackets, and a modified oil pump.
Pistons coated with antifriction coating on domes & skirts
Garrett Gt2860rs turbo
3″ intake with K&N filter
Cole Regal turbo manifold
custom 3” downpipe & exhaust with Magnaflow race muffler
Custom Treadstone intercooler with 2.25″ piping
Modified and shaved intake manifold
3-core half radiator
Shaman 13-row oil cooler
Marren fuel rail
Fuellab fuel pressure regulator
Bosch 044 in-line fuel pump
Vipec standalone ECU
NITROSTICK crower NS2
ATI crank pulley
Davies Craig electric water pump & pump controller
ClutchMasters FX400 clutch & lightweight flywheel
Oil filter relocation to front bumper
Touge Factory seats
Brey Krause mounting brackets
Crow Enterprises 6-point harness
Momo blue suede steering wheel with pink Hello Kitty horn button
Helix short shift
Autometer – water temp and EGT gauge
Innovate – Oil pressure, Oil temp, Air/fuel gauge
AEM – Boost controller & fuel pressure gauge
Wilwood 6-piston calipers
Steal braided lines
Carbotech ax6 pads – front
Hawk HPS pads – rear
ATE super Blue fluid