Pick of the Day: 2006 MINI Cooper John Cooper Works GP Edition

When BMW launched the new MINI in 2002 the car was an instant hit that combined retro looks, an affordable price, and was fun to drive. The cars flew through the doors of showrooms across the U.S., and it seemed that every journalist writing about the MINI gave the car a rave review. I was one of those reviewers and was just starting out as a journalist in 2002. I immediately bought my first of two MINIs after driving the test car. These cars are really that much fun to drive.

To me the first generation of the new MINI remains my favorite and the one that best embodies what the original Mini was in a modern package. Of all the first generation MINIs, there is a single model that is to me the ultimate version of the car and the one that best captures the spirit of the classic Mini Cooper S of the 1960s: the 2006 GP edition. In a lot of ways the 2006 GP edition is like the 1965 Shelby GT350 of MINIs, as it is an uncompromising performance version of the MINI in the same way that the original GT350 was for the Mustang. The rear seat is deleted to save weight and just about every conceivable performance part was installed on the car making for a package that made it top of its class in the hot hatch segment.

The MINI GP was special in other ways as well. The company called it a “kit” but it was actually sent to Bertone to be customized. These modifications included the 1.6-liter engine with 218 hp and 184 lb-ft. of torque, due to a re-mapped ECU, upgraded Eaton supercharger, higher performance bespoke intercooler, high-volume fuel injectors, and freer-flowing exhaust. In addition, the standard rear suspension was replaced with GP edition bespoke aluminum control arms and lighter wheels as well as improved chassis tuning. The rear seats were removed and replaced with a body brace. The air conditioning and radio were optional, there was no rear wiper, and soundproofing material was also removed which reduced the weight of the car by 62 pounds when compared to the standard John Cooper Works MINI.

Only 415 MINI Cooper JCW GP cars of the total 2000 built were officially sent to the U.S. making it the most rare MINI offered in the U.S. at the time.

The Pick of the Day is one of these cars, a 2006 MINI Cooper John Cooper Works GP edition located at a dealer in O’Fallon, Illinois. They describe it as a car that has covered only 32,513 miles from new and in exceptional condition.

The seller goes on to state that this MINI GP edition is number 744 and it is finished in Thunder Blue Metallic paint, a color specific to the GP edition, and has a grey and black interior. Features include a JCW aero kit, carbon fiber rear spoiler, sport tuned suspension, aluminum trailing arms, 18″ wheels, unique exterior badging, an increased capacity intercooler and paint protection film.

The seller goes on to state that modifications include a Tarett Engineering adjustable sway bar, additional suspension bracing, Ireland Engineering fixed camber plates, an ATI Performance crank pulley, and a Helix Motorsports short shift kit, strut tower brace from GT Tuning. Other modifications include a JCW Alcantara wrapped steering wheel, aftermarket pedals, an Ian Cull auto up window circuit. The aftermarket sound system is a Kenwood DVD head unit, Audison and JL amplifiers, Focal speakers and a JL Audio Stealthbox subwoofer.

These 2006 GP edition MINIs are getting harder to find for sale and this example is today a true modern collector car and one, that if well cared for, will continue to hold its value.

The asking price for this 2006 MINI Cooper JCW GP edition is a market correct $49,000 and it is not likely to last too long.

To view this listing on ClassicCars.com, cruise on over to the archives at Pick of the Day.