Niall O'Dowd's Mini Cooper S
by Adam McPeake
If you're from Belfast or Lurgan. You may have seen a blue Mini with pink wheels being drove around by a heterosexual young lad with a huge quiff lately ( Not as big as our James's quiff though ). Well that large quiffed man would be Niall O'Dowd. If you recongise that name, it's probably because we featured his PVW & Fast Car featured Lupo back at the end of 2011. Or maybe you know him from some where else... whatever.
Well he's back with a brand new whip, and this time he's ditched the leather roof and chrome wheels for a set of pink BBS and a supercharger. But he's kept the roll cage, and the proper stanced look.
Picking up the Cooper S, Niall was content for a few weeks before strapping on it's first mod. An Alta 17% reduction and a Dave F Airbox. Then quickly after that came a de-resonated GP exhaust.
Now on a roll, he hit up Minitorque to buy a GRS/IC... which turned out to be a scam. But luckly enough, instead of being in trouble with the Police as usual - they did him a good change of luck and found the scammer. He ended up buying the GRS I/C from another seller.
Niall's goal from the start, in his own words "wasn't to make a track / racecar, but just to build a stunning looking car that goes when I want it to". So just on the hunt for nice looks, he surfed some American forums and found some Vmaxx coils that would give him a nice drop. So he snatched them up, and got them fitted. But just wasn't feeling it - so obviously, he made the next step and ordered some Hyraulics. As you do.
So, he's got some engine mods and knows the drop he's after. So what's next? Wheels. Snatching a set of 3 piece OZ Breytons from Poland was his first stop. But quickly realised they weren't gonna sit quite right. And with a number plate that says S24NCD, you kinda need to be a bit picky about these things. So they were quickly sold on, and a set of BBS RS were brought in from Germany and soon enough after, custom pink centres and badges were also purchased.
Working with John Pedan previously on the Lupo. They got talking and decided that the hubs were going to have to be redrilled to 5x120 for the wheels to sit perfect. So John got to work, fitting the Hydro and redrilling the hubs. John also cleaned up some paint work, and sent the car off to Rollo at OCD.NI for a full enhancement.
Still on the hunt for more mods, Niall got a message from a guy selling a John Cooper Works head for a unbeatable price. He jumped in the car and made the trip to check it out, but much to his disappointment it was just standard. But not all was lost, as this had now got him properly thinking more about power ( said like Jermany Clarkson )... and not just the looks, he was orginally after.
Like an itch that won't go away. Niall sourced another JCW head and took the plunge. Next came some 380cc injectors and topped the tuning off with a live tune and map from Aidan Kennedy @ Zeetech. Which managed a staggering 252 BHP.
Once you start into a project like this, it only seems fair to go the entire way. So Niall starting thinking about an interrior that would match his engine mods and stanced look. So obviously, a stanced racecar came to mind... classic Niall. Importing some Bride Zeta II fixed bucket seats and grabbing some limited edition bright pink Luke harnesses - he was defeintly on to a winner. Then taking after the Lupo, came a custom designed cage fabricated by Wayne @ motorsport cages and painted by John.
With the car almost complete. Niall added some more finishing touches, including a OMP Corsica 330mm wheel, Sparco Snapp-Off Boss, widened front and rear arches, smoothed rear bumper, colour coded details ( bootlid piece and grill ) and Iridium plated plugs.
Hats off to you Niall. We love it, and enjoyed being the first offical feature on this lovely Mini.
Unfortunately only hours after our shoot with Niall. The unthinkable happened, he awoke in the Holylands to a huge dent on his bonnet, a present left from some midnight dickheads. I also got a text this morning to tell me he's also managed to bust the sump and a lower engine mount - well it is a stanced racecar Niall.
We'd like to thank the nice folks over at Bavarian MINI who kindly opened up their workshop to us after hours to complete the shoot.
Photos by: James Preston and Adam McPeake
Car Owner: Niall O'Dowd
Words by: Adam McPeake
Location: Belfast, Northern Ireland