AGranger's Jango - Cooper Flags MINI of the Month - June 2009

Discussion in 'Featured MINI' started by Nathan, May 31, 2009.

  1. Nathan

    Nathan Founder

    Mar 30, 2009
    Short North
    +10,049 / 0 / -0

    1. Please tell us about your MINI when it was delivered. Option Packages along with the Year, Model and Color.

    Jango is a 2006 MINI Cooper S that I picked up in December of 2005 from Moritz MINI in Dallas, TX. Pepper White body with Pepper White roof and side view mirrors.

    - Convenience, Sport, Premium & Cold Weather Packs
    - LSD
    - Webspoke Wheels
    - Cordoba Beige Leather interior with the Chrome Package
    - Anthracite Dash/Headliner
    - Rear Fog & Front Driving Lights
    - HK Stereo & Factory Alarm


    2. Why did you choose a MINI?

    MINI provided a level of design style and sophistication that couldn’t be had anywhere else at a similar price-point. Once I test drove the car and experienced the go-kart-like handling for myself, the deal was done.

    When I first saw it in 2002, I knew that I wanted one and would have had one earlier if a company-wide layoff hadn’t thrown a financial monkey wrench into my plans a few weeks before I was planning to place my order. I wound up lurking for several years, contributing to the detailing forums and refining my future order sheet, until I had recovered financially and felt comfortable with another car payment.

    3. Please tell us about the various phases your MINI has taken as your mods progressed.
    I always joke that I am such a hard-core modder that I owned mods for my MINI before I had even placed the order for the car! I week or so before I ordered, I read that Ian Cull was going to stop making his auto-up circuit, so I bought one of the last batch that he was selling. It arrived 2 days before I went to the dealership to write the check and start the order process.

    I started on exterior mods, moving to the inside and handling/braking mods fairly quickly. I’m a big believer in being able to control power before adding power, so it took me a few years to get to the engine bay. There is now more power than I need for the street and plenty to play with for motorsports, so I’m pretty happy and now I’m just making minor tweaks here and there.

    4. What has been your modification philosophy?

    I started doing exterior cosmetic mods first, trying to remedy a few problems that I had with the basic aesthetics of the car. I liked the way that the MINI Aero package brings the car down to the ground, but I never liked the Aero bumpers look, so I sourced a new set of Aero side sills. I also purchased a new set of black plastic arches at the dealership and had them painted by a good body shop in Dallas. I love the angled lines of the side windows, so I went for a tint as deep as Texas law enforcement would allow to emphasize that aspect of the car. I also painted the arches
    I made my design decisions working with what I call my “Modern British†philosophy, trying to create a very clean, sophisticated look that didn’t scream “Modded Car!†at the general public but would give lots of little touches for a MINI enthusiast to appreciate. This ‘Modern British’ approach lead the painting of the arches and guided my wheel work; I disassembled the factory Webspoke wheels and had the centers powdercoated with a custom silvery bronze, to pop up the brown tones in the Pepper White paint… nothing that suggested “aftermarket†but just a subtle change to emphasize my favorite parts of the car.
    I love the modern retro interior design and the black and tan leather interior, but I made some functional mods like the downtube pad and some for my own pleasure like “Blackjack†gauge faces that go with the Union Jack on my Whalen shift knob. I’ve got custom install points for my radar detector and my Garmin, so I don’t have dangling wires distracting me from the road. I also installed a VHF radio with a magnetic mount antenna to ease communications while leading group drives. Tucked away are the mounting points for my Schroth harness for DE and Auto-X fun and the pedals from Ultimate Pedals (brake and clutch pedal design are the Ferrari Mod 1) give me some side-to-side adjustability for better heel-toe action.
    I started my mechanical mods with the firm belief that before you add more power to a car you have to be able to control that power, so suspension and brakes came first. I put a rear swaybar on the car, added several braces and upgraded the brake pads, lines, bushings and fluids. I stumbled across a great deal on a Wilwood BBK, so I did that as well. I’m running TSW Springs, front camber plates and lower rear control arms to bring the stance down and strengthen the handling. I followed the air path through the engine, once I was ready to dig into the engine: DDM Air Box, silicone intake tube, GMRS intercooler, M7 16% pulley and an Alta 2.5†Sportone exhaust. Jan’s tune, colder plugs, JCW injectors, a bigger coil pack and upgraded wires round out the rest of the engine mods.

    5. What has been the most difficult mod completed to date? Why?

    When I first heard the horn on the MINI, I knew that I wanted to do some sort of upgrade. Coming from Texas, the home of the pick-up truck, I thought that a massive set of air horns would be appropriate, but I could never find space to mount them. A vendor used to make a set that mounted behind the headlights, but they wouldn’t work with my Xenons. When I installed the Alta Sportone exhaust, I saw the huge hole under the rear bumper where a second factory muffler used to be and knew that I had just found the home for my air horns.

    To avoid the noise of a compressor, I purchased a low-pressure paintball CO2 regulator and tank set-up. I found horns and valves on eBay but couldn’t find just the right way to trigger it until I spotted a Bowden cable (like a caliper brake cable on a bicycle) with a black anodized T-handle that was supposed to be a throttle cable for a Cesna airplane. It now “flies†next to the emergency brake handle on my MINI, allowing a small tug to be transmitted back along the exhaust channel to the valve in the muffler cavity.

    [ame=]Air Horn in MINI Cooper S - #3[/ame]

    6. Where do you research and source your modifications; materials, parts, etc?

    I did a lot of research on various forums and spent entirely too many lunch hours looking for parts and suggestions. My favorite mods are the ones that I had to invent myself (the air-horns and VHF radio mic bracket) or had to modify significantly from the original design (radar detector remote signal) to make work.
    7. Have other Motoring Alliance members assisted you? If so, give them a shout out.

    The Metroplex MINI club has been an amazing resource for me and they are as fine a group of people as one could hope to meet. Thank you!

    9. What are you planning next? What remains to be done? What are your goals?

    It is hard to imagine, but I’m running out of things to do to the car! I would like to go deeper into the suspension eventually, perhaps coil-overs, but I am very happy with the performance of the car as it stands and the weakest point in the system is clearly the driver. I do driver education events as my schedule and finances allow to try and tighten up the nut behind the wheel.

    10. Please list all current mods.

    Exterior Aesthetics
    Aero Side Skirts
    Lower front grill by Grillcraft modded for tow-hook access badge & MOTD 2006 badge in the lower front grill
    Painted arches
    30% Tint all around
    9% Tint on the Sunroof
    Door handle scratch protectors
    Stubby Alloy Antenna
    Clear front turn-signal and side-marker bulbs (flash amber)
    "S" valve stem caps
    Red "S" logos changed to carbon-fiber look
    Custom colored webspokes
    Interior Aesthetics
    Two-tone shift and e-brake boots from Redline Goods
    Whalen Shift Knob - bead blasted w/ hand-polished finish
    Racing pedals from Ultimate Pedals
    Custom Greyscale Union Jack gauge faces

    Wilwood BBK - 11.7" with slotted rotors
    Hawk HPS Brake Pads in the rear
    Tyrolsport brass caliper bushings in the rear
    Stainless Brake Lines
    Top Center Brake Light Flasher

    H-Sport Comp Rear Sway Bar
    OMP Front Lower Strut Brace
    Convertible engine compartment diagonal frame bracing - red
    TSW Engine Damper in Red
    TSW Lowering Springs
    M7 Strut tower brace [IMGR][/IMGR]
    Pilo Rear Upper Stress Bar
    Rear Lower Control Arms
    Ireland Engineering fixed front camber plates
    Muteki M12x1.5 Lug Nuts
    75mm Wheel Studs from Turner Motorsports
    Street: Kuhmo SPT - 215/45/17 – use 5mm H&R Spacers to clear the BBK
    Track: 16x6.5 Rota Slipstreams (black w/ polished lip) with Goodyear Eagle F4 GS-D3 - 215/40/16 - Y Rated - use 12mm spacers to clear the BBK

    Go Fast Bits & Other Mods
    GRS Intercooler
    M7 16% Pulley
    Detroit Tuned Tensioner Stop
    Alta intercooler boots - red silicone
    Alta intake hose - red silicone
    B&M Short Shifter
    Alta Sportone 2.5" Exhaust w/ Vibrant resonator
    380 JCW Injectors
    MDS Coil Pack
    Nology Hotwires - red
    NGK spark plugs (22 ft-lbs torque) [imgR][/imgR]
    CO2 powered air horn
    Front skid plate

    Convenience items
    Ian Cull Auto-up Circuit
    Factory iPod Adaptor
    MyMini Knee Pad
    Glove box organizer
    Hardwired Radar Detector - Custom Install
    Euro-spec convex driver's side mirror
    Fumoto oil change valve 106-N with hose for draining through skid plate
    LightInSight lens
    Schroth harness and pads for track days or auto-x
    Garmin Nuvi 750 with Kuda dash mount
    Motorola Bluetooth system
    ICom FRS/GMRS UHF Radio with custom mic bracket

  2. agranger

    agranger MINI of the Month June 2009
    Supporting Member

    Apr 22, 2009
    Project Manager
    Charlotte, NC
    +1,405 / 1 / -0
    And given the sponsor of the "Cooper Flags MINI of the Month" award, I thought that it would be good to mention that the meatballs (track numbers in a circle on the doors and the boot/bonnet) were made by Ed at CooperFlags and I highly recommend his work! I gave him a few parameters (size, magnetic, numbers, wanted sans-serif font that could be flipped to be an 86 or 98) and set him free. He chose a cool carbon fiber look background with a great fon't in metallic silver with a subtle metallic silver ring around the outside... Looks great!

  3. mini_racer

    mini_racer Well-Known Member

    May 4, 2009
    Engr Manager
    Austin, TX
    +55 / 0 / -0
    Beautiful Car Aaron ! :Thumbsup:
  4. BlimeyCabrio

    BlimeyCabrio Oscar Goldman of MINIs
    Lifetime Supporter

    May 4, 2009
    Professional Facilitator and Alignment Consultant
    Holly Springs, NC
    +2,896 / 0 / -0
    Congrats, Aaron! :Thumbsup:
  5. ScottinBend

    ScottinBend Space Cowboy
    Supporting Member

    May 4, 2009
    Bend, OR USA
    +2,585 / 0 / -0

  6. Octaneguy

    Octaneguy New Member

    Apr 24, 2009
    Dream job
    Anaheim, CA
    +30 / 0 / -0
    Spotless from here! :p Really, congrats!
  7. TGS91

    TGS91 New Member

    May 8, 2009
    Sales Dude
    St. Louis, MO
    +17 / 0 / -0
    sweet! NICE WORK!
  8. mom2jmg

    mom2jmg New Member

    May 4, 2009
    +0 / 0 / -0
    Congrats Aaron. A very nice car owned by a very nice guy.
  9. T8rChick

    T8rChick Active Member

    May 4, 2009
    Paying for new tires! The wheels were a deal!!!
    Oak Cliff, TX
    +110 / 0 / -0
    You and Jango are the perfect pick for the first Cooper Flags MINI of the Month!
  10. davavd

    davavd Club Coordinator

    May 7, 2009
    Covington, La
    +6 / 0 / -0
    I got a 1st hand tour in the campground at the last MOTD. The car is more than a treat for the eyes and Aaron was a great neighbor.
  11. Mishka

    Mishka Badge Whore

    May 4, 2009
    Locomotive Engineer
    Southeast Missouri
    +13 / 0 / -0
    You have an awesome MINI, Aaron.

    MININIGEL New Member

    May 4, 2009
    +0 / 0 / -0
    Way to go Aaron!! Congratulations! You have done great things with your MINI! Looking forward to seeing more that you do with it!!! :eek:
  13. Minifast

    Minifast New Member

    May 9, 2009
    +0 / 0 / -0
    Yes Aaron, you were right. I'm surprised. There is a verry cool car in the spotlight this month.I know first hand as a passenger! Congrats!
  14. imspencerwithanr53

    imspencerwithanr53 New Member

    May 27, 2009
    Portland, OR
    +2 / 0 / -0
    Well done! I bet it feels nice to have those bragging rights of car of the month. :Thumbsup:
  15. tenpen

    tenpen Wheel Whore

    May 4, 2009
    MINI Mobile Notary..when I'm not at FedEx.
    Saginaw, TX
    +1 / 0 / -0
    Congrats Aaron!!
  16. Mini33

    Mini33 New Member

    Jun 7, 2009
    NW of Chi Town
    +0 / 0 / -0
    Congrats Aaron! Well deserved. SWEEEEEEEEEEEET:Thumbsup:
  17. MiniMac2005

    MiniMac2005 Club Coordinator

    May 16, 2009
    +0 / 0 / -0
    I still remember that horn at MOTD last year. Jango looks great. love the painted arches. Congrats!!!
  18. putterfarm

    putterfarm New Member

    May 18, 2009
    Pittsfield, Pa.
    +8 / 0 / -0
    What a beautiful MINI. Congrads ! You've done more writing about what you've done than what I've done to "Chili". Go ahead-make me jealous.
  19. MINIMM

    MINIMM New Member

    May 4, 2009
    +0 / 0 / -0
    Congrats Aaron!
  20. bstaps

    bstaps New Member

    May 4, 2009
    Hose Jockey
    +0 / 0 / -0
    Jango is one of the nicest cars I have seen in person, regardless of make. I have seen museum pieces that weren't as clean

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