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Old 08-05-2008, 09:37 PM
Syco R53's Avatar
Syco R53 Syco R53 is offline
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Default My First Day with a Dinan R53 Cooper S

I got referred over here by Alpha Motoring over on the NAM forum, which was my first point of entry into the Mini community.

If you've read my intro over there, feel free to disregard this post, and I apologize for making you suffer through my drivel twice.

A single email on June 12th started this enjoyable chain of events, culminating on August 1, 2008...

My friend Denis had recently bought a '06 Mini Cooper S, and sent me an email, about a very special '06 R53 that I should check out, that was listed on NAM. I saw just 3 pictures and read the extensive description and it sounded exactly like what I was looking for.

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Click the image to open in full size.

Requests for more photos and initial dialogue confirmed my suspicions. This appeared to be a special Mini, a carefully optioned and meticulously modified, low mileage dark silver 2006 Mini Cooper S. The car had never been raced, just on the track two times in its life for driving events.

The escalating obsession began. After years of curiousity about the Mini, and yearning for something as fun and economical to drive as my '84 Rabbit GTI of years long past, I began to research whatever I could about the Mini Cooper S. NAM most definitely helped. It helped me determine that a six speed 2006 MCS R53 would be the one for me. I had driven about six different Mini's over the years.

And I liked how this particular Mini S was carefully kept, loved, and modified by Bruce and Robert (father and son) at BR Racing of Los Gatos, CA. A colleague from the M5Board met up with the owners and gave me a full review with detailed photos and an enthusiastic thumbs up on the condition and capability of the car, and the obvious care with which the owners had kept it in. So, over the next several weeks, I exchanged emails and dialogue with the owner, Bruce, and made the decision to purchase.

The day had come, and I made arrangements to fly out from So Cal on August 1st, threw my Garmin Nuvi and V1 into a backpack and soon landed at San Jose Airport.

Click the image to open in full size.

Bruce picked me up in his race prepped and firmly suspended 135i and off to the shop we went, to see my Mini.

Click the image to open in full size.


There it was at the BR Racing shop in Los Gatos. Put it up on a lift and checked out all the carefully researched modifications. Dinan Suspension, Dinan Exhaust, CAI, Alta Intercooler, Supercharger reduction pulley, 3 piece 18 inch custom wheels, etc.

Click the image to open in full size.

Click the image to open in full size.

Awesome. It looked and drove exquisitely. We all went out to dinner at a sportsbar in Los Gatos, then I drove to my friend's house in San Jose and slept over, after a few hours of Gran Turismo 5 (driving Mini S's of course), and Tour of Duty, and a couple bottles of IPA. I don't even own a video game console, so it was fun, but I got destroyed.

Click the image to open in full size.

First impressions: feeling of quality, solid build construction, not squeaky and rattly. Comfortable seating.

I woke up at 7:00 am to the sound of sprinklers, and quickly moved my Mini. Of course, I took the opportunity to "dry" it off darting safely around the neighborhood. When I returned, my friend was laughing, since he could hear me driving around the neighborhood and the characteristic Dinan exhaust and occasional pops.

Click the image to open in full size.

We decided to head for the local twisties at 7:30 am and had a blast. Mostly bicyclists and walkers were out, with motorcyclists at local gas stations gathering up for the morning adventures.

Second impressions: OMG, is this perfect for small backroads and twisty switchbacks, or what? Perfectly flat cornering.

Had brunch with friends in Los Gatos at the Southern Kitchen and then it was off to Sunnyvale to meet another buddy (we had gone to high school together - many years ago) Parking not a problem. Then off to make the 360 mile trek to Tarzana for my wife's Uncle's Birthday celebration.

Road work on the 152 gave me ample time to get familiar with the Mini's clutch...It's easy to engage, so no worries.

Click the image to open in full size.

Gas was definitely not cheap, but fortunately the tank is small and the MPG large.

Click the image to open in full size.

Open stretches proved the Dinan spec suspension was as comfortable as it was capable. I was surprised at the level of compliance and comfort of this special Mini.

Click the image to open in full size.

Enjoyed a nice celebration, gave a demo ride, loaded up one of my kids and a car seat, and it was back on the road again, another 60 miles or so to home...

The Mini (named Charlize after the actress who plays "Stella" in the Italian Job) arrives at her new home and takes her first night in the new quarters.

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Click the image to open in full size.


The next day, I learned that a friend of a friend, had taken delivery of his long awaited Ferrari F430, and was invited to take a look. Definitely a gorgeous and graceful machine.

Click the image to open in full size.

That morning I had followed my friend and his Lotus Exige S out to check out the Ferrari, and we had a great time with the corners and straights. I can't decide what I like more: the intoxicating mad max like whine of the supercharger or the ability to attack corners with precision...I think at this point, my vote goes to the supercharger, but with each day, the corners become increasingly more fun.

Click the image to open in full size.

Wow. What a neat car the Mini is. It did a lot of different things well and in style. The visibility is superb and I like the driving position. The controls weren't exactly intuitive, but that's easy to get used to. Most of all, I was impressed with how well the suspension handled a variety of tasks.

Looking forward to many adventures with the Mini and the Mini community. Have already received a lot of compliments and comments. Cute Mini! Great mileage! Those Mini's are tough. That's a very pretty Mini. Nice car! How does it handle? Why didn't you get the JCW package? Nice wheels. How much did the Dinan set up cost? (repeat)

The first 500 miles have been a joy!
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  #2  
Old 08-05-2008, 09:41 PM
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the whine is definately addictive!!

looks great....



enjoy it...


and be safe!
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  #3  
Old 08-05-2008, 09:41 PM
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I always wanted to ask, it's on Dinan suspension? Coilovers perhaps?

If so DROP HERRR!!!
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Old 08-05-2008, 09:42 PM
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Time to make a garage thread!
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Old 08-05-2008, 09:42 PM
PGT PGT is offline
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the wheels are intriguing....what are they?
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Old 08-05-2008, 09:44 PM
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I award you 100 points for the most thorough intro ever!

NAM and MU don't really interchange so you did the right thing by introducing yourself here. Some of us are on NAM too but many of us are not.

Anyway, welcome aboard and enjoy your new MINI!
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Old 08-05-2008, 09:45 PM
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Dinan uses Koni yellow w/ sport springs I think...

Very nice looking car, a bit lower on coil-overs with those wheels would make it hot

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alpha Motoring View Post
I always wanted to ask, it's on Dinan suspension? Coilovers perhaps?

If so DROP HERRR!!!
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  #8  
Old 08-05-2008, 09:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PGT View Post
the wheels are intriguing....what are they?
Don't tell Dan if you do he's probably gonna sell his HRE's and get these
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  #9  
Old 08-05-2008, 09:47 PM
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btw welcome...

and that 135i looks like fun, any more pics/details on it?
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  #10  
Old 08-05-2008, 09:49 PM
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thefuturequeenofnebraska thefuturequeenofnebraska is offline
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Welcome!

I love the combo of the Koni yellows + H-Sport springs... That's one great ride! Enjoy!
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Old 08-05-2008, 10:02 PM
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What, no pictures of the rest stop bathrooms? Just kidding, great post man, enjoyed all the pictures.
Welcome.
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  #12  
Old 08-05-2008, 10:10 PM
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Nice, welcome and enjoy the Dinan R53..!
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  #13  
Old 08-05-2008, 10:15 PM
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whoa youre over here too! love those dinan 3 piece wheels
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  #14  
Old 08-05-2008, 10:18 PM
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Alpha Motoring Alpha Motoring is offline
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I hope you don't mind me asking but how much did you end up paying and miles were on that car? Looks like a sweet car but must have been expensive!
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  #15  
Old 08-05-2008, 11:18 PM
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Syco R53 Syco R53 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cooldaddy View Post
Dinan uses Koni yellow w/ sport springs I think...

Very nice looking car, a bit lower on coil-overs with those wheels would make it hot
You're correct, they are Koni Yellow with Eibach Springs, specs by Dinan.

Originally, they had H&R Coilovers for the suspension, and they said it looked gorgeous, but was way too firm and not enough travel, in their opinion.

As is currently set up, it does a lot of things well, but unfortunately, looking race ready hard core is not one of the benefits.

I ran H&R coilovers on my 2001 e39 M5, and they were very firm. Great at the track, not so great on the street.

Here it is, at a comfortable street height setting, it was adjustable (not easily adjustable, but adjustable):

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Last edited by Syco R53; 08-10-2008 at 10:09 PM..
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