SneedSpeed’s project Alter Ego, a 2003 Mini Cooper S, looked great at SEMA in 2014. Now, SneedSpeed has just finished a significant upgrade of the Super Cooper for a new owner.
The original car was no slouch. The first time I took a bone stock Mini Cooper, not even an S, through a slalom exercise I was shocked to find that even on its original all-season tires it could out-slalom my Miata on R-compounds. I’ve autocrossed a mostly stock Cooper S a couple of times and found it to be one of the best front wheel drive platforms out there at the time. But in 2014, Alter Ego’s mild upgrade to 175hp turned out to be woefully inadequate at the 2014 OPTIMA Ultimate Street Car Invitational. It placed 69th out of 92 in a field dominated by American muscle with many times the Mini’s mini horsepower figures.
The new owner wanted more power, and SneedSpeed has delivered. They bored the cylinders .5mm over, blueprinted and balanced the rotating assembly, and used Carrillo rods and CP forged pistons. It has a SneedSpeed race head, ported, polished and surfaced, with oversized stainless steel valves, double valve springs, titanium retainers, and a SneedSpeed camshaft. Other SneedSpeed parts include a big plenum ported intake manifold and stainless header. Brisk LGS spark plugs, MSD coil and wires, and a K&N intake round out the engine. A Canton Racing coolant expansion tank and SneedSpeed oil cooler keep the temperatures down. This combination generates 256hp and 197 ft-lbs at the wheels. A Quaife limited slip differential and SneedSpeed race axles help to convert this power into rapid acceleration.
Spiderman’s Uncle Ben said, “With great power comes the need for great brakes and suspension,” or something like that. A Wilwood big brake kit on all four corners with 12.18″ rotors and four piston calipers in the front helps bring Alter Ego to a stop quickly and consistently. KW V2 coilovers and Vorslag camber plates help the Mini turn even better than before. R56 aluminum trailing arms and adjustable lower rear lateral arms replace the stock hardware.
On the outside Alter Ego looks pretty much the same as before, but the rally inspired Hella driving lights have been replaced with a more modern LED light bar, color matched to the body for a clean appearance.
I’m a bit envious of Alter Ego’s new owner. This Super Cooper must be a real blast to drive.