Ask MF: Anyone Have R50 JCW Info?

This week we’re cleaning out the in box a bit and getting to some Ask MF’s we’ve had in the queue for awhile. The first of the week was sent in by Tim:

I was trying to find the JCW website.  Prior to MINI take-over, JCW had a completely separate website.  I’m only getting links to MINIUSA or MINIUK now. What I’m trying to do is contact someone knowledgeable about the R50 works head, specifically if there is a recommended cam or profile to get the best out of the head.  I know from prior experience MINIUSA won’t have a clue and the JCW R50 is so rare in the States there’s no reason to post in popular forums. Your expertise is appreciated.


Prior to MINI take-over, JCW had a completely separate website that included detailed technical information. Unfortunately now that JCW is fully owned by BMW that site is down and the tech expertise you’re looking for would be best found by a few folks who have likely made their way to independent garages in the UK. So thus we’re throwing this question out to our readers. If any of you know about the JCW R50 (specifically the head) or know someone who does, sound off in the comment section below.


+ R50 JCW Cooper Review / MotoringFile


    Gabe, These guys are the old John Cooper Works. They should be able to help.

  • mini rich

    try this part number at your mini dealership. # 11-12-0-302-672

  • It probably doesn’t contain the technical information you are looking for, but here’s the official JCW site now. I bookmarked it a long time ago after the old JCW site was taken down – and I managed to find it here again: – Accessories & Collection – John Cooper Works

    Unfortunately the site only seems to have the R50 Sound Kit, not the R50 Tuning Kit.

  • greg

    This was always bizarre to me. Why not spens the extra $3k for an S vs whatever this cost for vitually nothing?

  • C4


    And hence, that is the reason why MINI never sold the R50 Cooper JCW kit in the United States.

  • @C4: Actually it was released in the US in 4.04

  • Mk1

    … ditto Gabe’s comment, plus an indy MINI speed shop in Florida imported the kits for re-sale for quite some time after they were no longer available at MINI Dealerships in the U.S., until their UK supply was exhausted.

  • MiniGB06

    I started a topic in a similar vein regarding the original R50 John Cooper Challenge cars here at NAM and we’ve collected some real nuggets of information:

    The JCW R50 cylinder head was essentially the same as what they put on the JCC cars– I don’t think there were any changes to the stock cam or timing. I’m currently having my cylinder head ported and I’m planning on having a tune done by either Mynes or RMW to replicate the HP gains from that kit. I feel like if I know that JCW took the car that far and kept it in good working order then I can push it in a similar direction and be safe as well.

  • Mk1

    …P.S. The shop was MINISpeed in Pompano Beach, FL.

    I seem to remember them having some pretty detailed spec’s and installation instructions on the R50 kits – may still have them on file.

  • Yep, the JCW head is probably the poorest bang for the buck out there. I have one; if you’re starting from scratch, your much better going with a Mynes, RMW or endyn head. This is what I will be doing next spring, with a header/cam and larger injectors, next spring–once I have the suspension and brakes completely sorted out (which should be done by the end of this track season).

  • Tim is on the right track enquiring about a camshaft to compliment the JCW R50 package. Look back at the link above supplied by Gabe to see the power graph and the dip between 3 & 4k rpm is evident. I’ve seen an improvement in this area on a standard R50 with the right camshaft profile. Unfortunately, hardware alone can’t fix it entirely; it requires help from a proper tune. Although the JCW head may be down somewhat in comparison to quality aftermarket offerings, it is still an improvement. Any intelligent work on the exhaust side can yield gains, add a few improvements pre & post head and it all helps. For R50 camshaft information,

  • Keith, the JCW head is an improvement, but only a minimal one. Really, very little has been done to it compared to a standard head. It’s really not worth it IMHO, if you’re looking to replace the head–there are much better options if you’re after performance.

  • rkw
    What I’m trying to do is contact someone knowledgeable about the R50 works head, specifically if there is a recommended cam or profile to get the best out of the head.

    The kit uses the stock cam and was tuned for it. I wouldn’t expect you to find any official recommendation about alternative cams.

    If you want to get the most out of the kit, I suggest getting a custom ECU tune. I have the Sound Kit which came with its own tune, but my RMW custom tune is far superior.

  • Chris Tuveson, disqualifying the merits of the JCW head is a moot point in this topic’s context.

    For the “official” word on a non-stock camshaft, MOTORN provided the link in the second comment post. Tony Franks was there from the beginning and he’s very generous with JCM/JCW information.

  • The MINI in the photos and the MF review is my 2004 JCW MINI Cooper. So obviously (Frank), they WERE sold in the US, but only from April 2004 until the 2005 model year production began on July 1, 2004. Minspeed sold me mine and at least one other to an owner in Seattle.

    As stated, the head is machined but I believe the cam is stock. However, the brochure says they adjusted the compression ratio.

    There was some detailed discussion of the R50 JCW Tuning Kit in both the original 132 hp and later 126 hp versions on MINI2 (

    If you’d like to contact me, Gabe can give you my email address.

  • Crusoe

    Well I had the JCW Soundkit put on my ’06 at the dealer then picked up a JCW Head with valves for a song and had it installed at Madness. All accounts I read that it was the same as the JCW head on the S which is a decent exhaust side polish. Some have hinted a custom grind for that 2.5k to 4k range would be the need and I’d agree. As to the original kit (pre ’05) I never cam across any info there was anything different from the stock cam.

  • Tim (from question) aka goin440

    @MOTORN: Thanks for the link, I’ll try it.

    @mini rich: This is the part number for the kit I have, which includes an unchanged OEM standard cam.

    @greg: This can be repositioned from the perspective that realistically, the MC is more than adequate for 99% of MINI buyers and comes without the MCS premium. The MC scoots its tires around corners every bit as hard has the MCS.

    @Mk1: Acutally, I believe MINIUSA imported the kits and MINISpeed acted as a reseller. Mine came from the US supply, supposedly the last instock. Now, MINISpeed/Dealerships import from Europe, which as of this writing, there are 5 left in the world.

    @MiniGB06: Not similar, the same used in JCC back in the day.

    @Keith: Thats interesting; I’ve heard the same about aftermarket offerings being down in comparison to the JCW and even stock.

    Sidebar: I suggest those interested in upgrading the head read a quality engine building book and understand diminishing returns in relation to the powerband and how building for need is more important than posting numbers.

    @Chris Tuveson: See sidebar above.

    @Keith: I’ll look into the ‘Franks’ thread.

    @James: Cams and entire valvetrain is as stock. Compression Ratio I didn’t know about. Any leads on where I could land one of those early brochures for collection?

  • Goin440