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Chris_V
Chris_V UberDork
1/4/21 6:48 a.m.

It all started with helping out a friend. He was looking into MINI John Cooper Works models and I was helping out with research and pricing. My wife was a MINI Genius at the local dealership for a few years and we've had a couple MINIs ourselves. And while I was looking for pricing and what was available, I ran across a '13 JCW Roadster for a really good price. But it was listed as a shiftable automatic. Pictures showed, however, a manual trans and 3 pedals. Hmmm. This was a car I've wanted since we had our first MINI. I've missed our E46 ZHP convertible (never should have sold it) for weekend romps and tours with the top down. And with the Bolt joining the fleet back in February, the Volt has become redundant (I've put 300 miles on it since March). I tried to make it more personal and desirable, but the Bolt is just more fun to drive. Here's the latest shot of the Volt...



So I called the dealership it was at (4.5 hours away in Virginia Beach). We crunched the numbers and talked about trading the Volt in. The numbers looked good and the salesguy confirmed the JCW was indeed a manual trans (at the time there were only 4 JCW Roadsters available in the country and the other three were definitely automatics). I checked the carfax on it. 52k miles, one owner car, service records on carfax (including a water pump replacement at 36k miles). Drove down there just before Christmas in the Volt and drove the MINI. Everything seemed to work like it was supposed to and man, put it in Sport and the exhaust valves open up with the most wonderful little growl and burbles and pops on the overrun (not obnoxious like some burble tunes, but a sweet factory rortyness). Took a moment to get back in the groove of how to drive manual (to much time in EVs and E38s lately lol), but it was easy. Made sure it drove good, no clunks or rattles. Brembo brakes stop nicely. Steering was perfect.

Paperwork took very little time, and I left Virginia beach at 2 pm. And just before the tunnel on I-64 (the only way out of Virginia beach heading north, really) traffic started backing up. Learned how stiff the clutch was on the JCW. But traffic cleared after the tunnel until we got to I-95 north. From that point on, I averaged 20 mph back to Baltimore. Ugh. Got home at 8:30pm, wondering if going back to a manual was the right thing to do. lol.

Anyway, meet Rowdy the Roadster. A ton of fun, and now the fleet is right sized with the daily driver EV (2020 Bolt) the 2500 Suburban 8.1 for towing, and this:

lotusseven7 (Forum Supporter)
lotusseven7 (Forum Supporter) HalfDork
1/4/21 6:54 a.m.

That's a cute little bugger. I wish I could get my better half to stray away from 4-door German sedans and drive something topless. That just doesn't sound right? Or does it? Anyway, I'm hoping there is a convertible in our future. 
 

Good looking ride!

 

Duke
Duke MegaDork
1/4/21 9:08 a.m.

TIL that convertible ZHPs exist.

Nice buy on the roadster!  Looks like fun.

 

frenchyd
frenchyd PowerDork
1/4/21 9:18 a.m.

In reply to lotusseven7 (Forum Supporter) :

Convertibles are really what a sports car should be. Sedans are for taxi cabs. There is no such thing as a sports sedan. That's just pure marketing to get some  guy to buy them.  I don't care how fast they are.  

wearymicrobe
wearymicrobe PowerDork
1/4/21 9:37 a.m.

JCW with comfort seats? Did tey add the JCW kit after the car was received. I have never seen one like that but I have never seen a JCW roadster. 

Chris_V
Chris_V UberDork
1/4/21 9:46 a.m.
wearymicrobe said:

JCW with comfort seats? Did tey add the JCW kit after the car was received. I have never seen one like that but I have never seen a JCW roadster. 

All stock for this year JCW. It's not just an S with some JCW bits. The big Brembos are one giveaway that it's legit, as most S models with the JCW kit still have the normal brakes. But running the VIN brings up the fact it's a factory JCW.

pirate
pirate HalfDork
1/4/21 9:49 a.m.

I think everyone should own a convertible at least once in their life. Nothing like the sights, sounds, smell you experience on a warm summer evening just driving around in the countryside with the top down.

I used to tell people that when I got into my Z4 put the top down and started the engine I could look into the rear view mirror and my hair and beard would turn from gray and start getting darker. I'd suddenly lose thirty pounds and was more muscular. If I stopped at a traffic light next to a building with plate glass windows I'd wonder who that young guy in the nice car was in the reflection. The birthdate on my drivers license would roll back 30 years. Unfortunately when I pulled into my driveway and put the top up and turned off the engine everything returns to normal. I swear this is a true story but then again my memory is not what it once was. 

Chris_V
Chris_V UberDork
1/4/21 10:00 a.m.
Duke said:

TIL that convertible ZHPs exist.

Nice buy on the roadster!  Looks like fun.

 

This was our ZHP convertible:

Ian F (Forum Supporter)
Ian F (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
1/4/21 10:05 a.m.

In reply to Chris_V :

Very cool.  If I were to get one of the R56 variants, a JCW Roadster would be the pick - pretty much the same as yours. 

I would say these cars are future collectible sleepers if kept original and in good condition. They were pretty expensive when new and the 2-seat Roadster in general didn't really sell that well.

I'm surprised at the heavy feeling clutch, although MINI clutches do seem inconsistent. Of the 3 cars I've had extensive time with (my ex's '03 MCS, the '07 Cooper vert and the '06 R53 JCW I currently own), all three felt different, although the '03 definitely has the heaviest feel.  Although none are as light as my '03 VW.

Chris_V
Chris_V UberDork
1/4/21 10:07 a.m.
pirate said:

I think everyone should own a convertible at least once in their life. Nothing like the sights, sounds, smell you experience on a warm summer evening just driving around in the countryside with the top down.

I've had a lot of convertibles, mostly little British cars, from my MG Midgets through MGBs and Fiat 124s to the ZHP and some American iron. If it's not actually raining or snowing, I'll put the top down. It's just an amazing experience that even a motorcycle can't recreate.

This little MINI is about the perfect blend of all of them. Plenty quick off the line and in a straight line, but extremely agile in the corners and still comfortable enough to want to drive it. Can't wait to get it down to the Dragon this year.

Chris_V
Chris_V UberDork
1/4/21 10:11 a.m.
Ian F (Forum Supporter) said:

In reply to Chris_V :

Very cool.  If I were to get one of the R56 variants, a JCW Roadster would be the pick - pretty much the same as yours. 

I would say these cars are future collectible sleepers if kept original and in good condition. They were pretty expensive when new and the 2-seat Roadster in general didn't really sell that well.

I'm surprised at the heavy feeling clutch, although MINI clutches do seem inconsistent. Of the 3 cars I've had extensive time with (my ex's '03 MCS, the '07 Cooper vert and the '06 R53 JCW I currently own), all three felt different, although the '03 definitely has the heaviest feel.  Although none are as light as my '03 VW.

Yeah, plan to keep this one stock (maybe a couple trim upgrades. MINIs tend to be eminently customizeable in that regard). The JCW is so good in most regards that I don't want for anything performance wise. Maybe some new mirror covers and side scuttles. The clutch wasn't terribly heavy, but after a few hours of stop and go traffic it was wearisome. Just felt heavy compared to our earlier '11 and '14 Coopers.

AngryCorvair (Forum Supporter)
AngryCorvair (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
1/4/21 10:37 a.m.

Yeah, 95 from Richmond to Baltimore is definitely on the Hennessy Honda of Woodstock diet plan.

Chris_V
Chris_V UberDork
4/12/21 6:23 a.m.

Ok, finally warmed up enough to spend real time with the top down.

 

Joined the local MINI club and had a photoshoot down at Baltimore's Graffiti Alley:

 

 

This little car is a blast. I'm thinking I'll be keeping it for a while, as it's so much the kind of car I've always been drawn to.

Chris_V
Chris_V UberDork
8/11/21 3:07 p.m.

So I did a thing...

Custom ghosted pearl stripes under clearcoat to replace the deteriorating stock vinyl. All House of Kolor materials and sprayed in my garage. And to make it more difficult, I decided to ghost in the Union Jack on the hood in the stripes... Which meant figuring out how to layer it, with the background going on last. First up, removing the stock stripes, then sanding the hood and deck and laying out the stripes. Then came masking each individual layer so that the first layer went on with a light coat of pearl in the clear, then removing the masking for the next layer and painting another layer of pearl (making the first layer have two coats) then removing the masking for the final layer (which made the first layer have 3 coats, the second layer 2 coats, and the third layer only the one coat. Then a clear over the whole thing. it's a subtle design that is almost invisible in mopst lights and angles, but pops in the sunlight and under street lights, as the last couple pictures show.

On to the pics.

 

 

of course the stripes go over the rear deck as well.

 

Dusterbd13-michael
Dusterbd13-michael MegaDork
8/11/21 3:16 p.m.

Beautiful job!!

tuna55
tuna55 MegaDork
8/11/21 7:12 p.m.

That's amazing! So each layer is just pearl with the same color as the rest of the body?

JoeTR6
JoeTR6 Dork
8/11/21 7:18 p.m.

That looks nice.  Good work.

Chris_V
Chris_V UberDork
8/12/21 7:05 a.m.
tuna55 said:

That's amazing! So each layer is just pearl with the same color as the rest of the body?

Yeah, each layer is just a bit of gold pearl suspended in the House of Kolor intercoat clear as a carrier, so that the green of the body shows through. I love how subtle it ended up under most lights.

dean1484
dean1484 GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
8/12/21 7:07 a.m.

Excellent paint work  I really like how that turned out.

I am going the other way. I test drove a 2018 volt yesterday with 11k mikes on it. The owner will let it go for 23.5 (what carvana offered them). I don't need this car but I really did like it.  

EDIT. And I looked at comps and at 23.5 with that low millage it is overpriced. Makes me a little sad as I liked it but comps say it is an 18k car. 

Chris_V
Chris_V UberDork
8/12/21 7:08 a.m.

Also added a couple other little JCW tidbits. Puddle lights and a dash emblem

tuna55
tuna55 MegaDork
8/12/21 7:20 a.m.
Chris_V said:
tuna55 said:

That's amazing! So each layer is just pearl with the same color as the rest of the body?

Yeah, each layer is just a bit of gold pearl suspended in the House of Kolor intercoat clear as a carrier, so that the green of the body shows through. I love how subtle it ended up under most lights.

I really love that idea. I want to do something like it myself now.

Ian F (Forum Supporter)
Ian F (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
8/12/21 8:19 a.m.

That looks amazing! Awesome idea!

Chris_V
Chris_V UberDork
8/12/21 9:19 a.m.

Oh and OMG, I pulled up the build sheet using the VIN and wow, this thing was optioned up! Just the seats were a $2000 option... Looks like the only options it DIDN'T get were the chrome mirror caps and the automatic trans.

z31maniac
z31maniac MegaDork
8/12/21 9:59 a.m.

Great job! I would not have the stones to sand down the paint on my car unless it was going to E36 M3!

Chris_V
Chris_V UberDork
12/27/21 11:38 a.m.

Ok, a year with the car, and I found too many reasons to drive it. 60k on it now and well over 5k of those 8 k miles I added were with the top down...

No problems to report. I had replaced the tires when I got it with new Dunlop Sport Maxx and they are great. The battery in it was the original (2012 date code) so I replaced that before it could go bad. That's it. Completely reliable and sooo much fun. I think it's become about my favorite car I've ever owned.

 

 

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