September 26, 2022

We discuss mean-looking automobiles, however this actually is a mean-looking automotive… James Caborn’s tuned Mini R56 JCW appears prefer it’s prepared to choose a combat with each automotive it sees, and it’s obtained loads of muscle to again up that perspective.

Function from Efficiency Mini journal. Images: Jason Dodd.

Automobiles have faces. There isn’t a query about that. We’ll swerve what the Automobiles films did as a result of that went towards the accepted car-face conference (although we get why they did it), and in case you do this, then we’re all in settlement that the headlights are clearly the eyes, and the grille kinds the mouth. It’s truthful to say that almost all manufacturing facility Minis are designed with cute and pleasant faces, and whereas the Cooper S and JCW fashions undoubtedly have a bit extra perspective, they’re not likely angry-looking automobiles. James Caborn’s R56 JCW, nevertheless, is one other matter solely.

James’ tuned Mini R56 JCW isn’t a pleasant automotive. It’s not cute and smiley, it’s not comfortable to see you, and it doesn’t need to be your good friend. James’ R56 is offended – it’s having a foul day, it’s obtained perspective, and in case you take a look at it humorous, it’s in all probability going to deck you. This Mini doesn’t play properly with others and, with its black-on-black color scheme and fats, broad arches, it’s obtained sufficient presence to bully nearly each automotive on the highway out of its manner, and we like it.

James loves it too – the R56 JCW buy happened from each his long-standing curiosity in basic Minis and the necessity for a automotive that he may use every single day. A Mini was the most effective compromise, and a JCW was your best option. “The JCW that I personal was the primary one which I purchased. I owned an Audi A5 that went fallacious; I bought it again to the corporate I purchased it from and wanted one thing for day by day use that was nonetheless enjoyable and one thing I may hold for a very long time,” causes James. “What I actually needed was a basic Mini, however they weren’t sensible sufficient for day by day use. I discover the R56 the most effective form accessible by way of appears and what it delivers.

They’re barely extra strong than the sooner R53s however extra enjoyable and agile than the F56s. It’s a automotive that I intend on conserving for a very long time, and for that purpose, it wanted to remain enjoyable, which is why I purchased a JCW moderately than a Cooper S,” he provides. A little bit of looking out led James to find this utterly inventory instance on the market some 40 miles from him, in glorious situation and with a full service historical past current, and such a cherished Mini couldn’t be handed up.

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Now, you don’t simply casually determine to take a tidy unique Mini and switch it right into a wide-arch bruiser, however James is not any stranger to modding, having beforehand tweaked an Audi A1 and a BMW E92 3 Sequence, which had been each handled to a choice of upgrades, however he’s by no means constructed something on the size of this Mini earlier than. “I used to be all the time going to switch the automotive and get it the best way I needed it. I used to be scrolling via Instagram a couple of months after I purchased it and got here throughout the wide-arch equipment I’ve now. I do know there are different choices accessible, however that was the one I needed to have,” he grins.

We’ve to speak concerning the equipment first, actually, as a result of it dominates this automotive and offers it a lot perspective – we are able to see why James was so smitten with it. “The outside styling was determined the second I noticed an image of that wide-arch Mini in America. It took me a couple of months to search out what equipment it was after which get it ordered,” he tells us, however it was well worth the effort because it appears merely superior. A large-arch equipment utterly transforms a Mini, it offers it that aggressive, broad-shouldered look, with actual goal and presence that makes it seem like it will possibly dominate the highway.

The arches could be the principle attraction, however they’ve obtained loads of assist from the extra styling mods that James has fitted. These mix to essentially ramp up the aggression and ensure this Mini all the time will get observed. Up entrance, there’s a bigger carbon scoop, then you definately’ve obtained the GP rear wing and diffuser plus the Union Jack taillights. However, there’s another addition right here, one which’s not instantly apparent, however one which’s extraordinarily spectacular and makes a giant distinction to the entire look of the automotive. Look intently, and also you’ll realise that the entrance wings are vented on the rear, and these customized gadgets are significantly cool and make this tuned Mini R56 JCW much more of a powerful construct. And the of completion? Why it’s ensuring every part is black, all black, with that de-chrome equipment, the badges, the black door decals and, in fact, these scowling black eyebrows.

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Once you’re constructing a automotive, wheels could make or break it, and particularly so whenever you’ve gone all-out with a wide-arch equipment, so no marvel James took his time making a call. “The wheels took a very long time to decide on, I didn’t need to go along with any of the plain selections, however I additionally wanted one thing that fitted properly inside the arches. The Rotas gave me the choice to have one thing totally different, that fitted correctly and gave the aggressive look that I needed,” he says with a glad smile.

Rota wheels on Tuned Mini R56 JCW

The Kyusha 17s look nice right here, they actually go well with the automotive, however most significantly, they’ve the affect to match the equipment and the width and fitment to fill out these fats arches to perfection. It’s a match made in heaven, and it’s additional enhanced by the suspension upgrades as a result of you’ll be able to’t put collectively a construct of this calibre and depart the automotive rolling with a inventory experience peak.

“The suspension and chassis modifications are a set of HSD coilovers and an SW Motorsport rear strut brace. On the time, I used to be utilizing the automotive every single day, so I didn’t desire a full cage, and that’s why I went with the rear strut brace. The coilovers are my second set as I snapped a strut on the primary set, so I needed one thing that was respectable high quality,” explains James, and the HSDs are doing a little work right here. They’ve obtained this Mini sitting good, with the arch hole gone and the stance spot on – it’s so satisfying.

After all, with that keen turbo four-pot beneath the bonnet, it will have been impolite of James to depart it inventory, and whereas he hasn’t gone mad with it, he’s given his JCW a wholesome enhance in efficiency. “I’ve primarily carried out supporting mods for stage 2 energy, so there’s an AEM induction equipment, MTC intercooler, Powerflex engine mounts and GFB DV+ diverter valve,” he says. That little lot has netted him 257hp, which has undoubtedly made this Mini much more thrilling to drive.

Interior of tuned Mini r56 jcw with strut bar

Lastly, we come to the inside, and James has handled it to a fantastic choice of mods that give it a targeted, hardcore really feel, although there’s lots extra to return. There’s a pair of horny Corbeau Clubsport seats that supply plenty of assist, an equally horny Alcantara steering wheel that pairs completely with the seats, and it’s completed off with a rear seat delete with a flat carpeted boot flooring. “The inside continues to be nowhere close to how I would like it,” James tells us. A Coolerworx short-shifter nonetheless must be added with a full Alcantara sprint, some carbon fibre and a full cage,” he smiles, and that’s all going to look so good in right here.

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James has owned his tuned Mini R56 JCW for just below three years now, and in that point, he has carried out some severe work and given this unsuspecting Mini an unbelievable transformation that has actually taken it to the following degree. There’s a lot to get pleasure from right here, however, actually, it’s all about these arches, particularly when mixed with these achingly cool customized vented wings, and for James, they’re the celebrities of the present. “My favorite mod is the wide-arch equipment, the best way the automotive appears has all the time revolved round getting that fitted,” he grins. After all, a venture isn’t ever really completed, and even with this many mods on board, James has lots extra in thoughts for his tuned Mini R56 JCW.

“I’m unsure at what level I might ever class it as completed. It’s had stuff added to it repeatedly and possibly all the time will,” he smiles, and with no plans to promote it, this Mini is just going to get meaner nonetheless. After all, James’ perma-grinning face behind the wheel will take the sting off that perspective a bit of, however that may’t be helped – it is a automotive that simply makes you smile.

Modified R56 JCW pictures

Tech Spec: Tuned Mini R56 JCW


1.6-litre turbocharged N14, AEM induction equipment, MTC intercooler, GFB DV+ diverter valve, Powerflex engine mounts

Energy & Torque:

256.5hp and 250.7lb ft


Six-speed guide gearbox


HSD Coilovers


Commonplace JCW brake setup

Wheels & Tyres:

17” Rota Kyusha wheels with 215/45 Yokohama Advan Neova AD08RS tyres


Alcantara steering wheel, Corbeau Membership Sport seats, rear seat delete with flat carpeted boot flooring, SW Motorsports rear strut brace


Broad-arch equipment, customized vented entrance wings, carbon entrance scoop, GP diffuser, GP wing, Union Jack taillights, de-chrome equipment