The following is the story of one man (Karl Muller) and his obsession (we’d call it healthy) in transforming his 2009 factory JCW MINI into a JCW GP. A few months back Karl started to pepper our inbox with questions about the GP. It quickly became clear that Karl was on a mission and had both an attention to detail and persistence to actually pull off what seemed impossible – re-create the GP from a stock 2009 JCW. We’ll let him tell the rest.
I didn’t intend to take this so far. What started out as a quest to simply acquire the new GP rear diffuser morphed into a GP parts obsession culminating in my 2009 factory JCW now sporting the rear diffuser, underbody panels, GP coil over suspension, the GP rear spoiler, and the GP aerodynamic splash guard.
From the moment I first saw the new JCW GP, I liked a number of features that I thought, at the time, would be available only on the new GP. The previous GP’s special items were only available with a valid owner’s VIN. I had no expectation that this new GP would be any different, but I had to try.
I posted on a couple of MINI-centric blogs about availability of these new add-ons, without much confidence I would ever be able to order them for my car. You see, I have a 2009 factory JCW, loaded with all the options and only 20K miles. I knew I wouldn’t get what I think its worth in a trade. Plus it’s paid off, so for me, the best option would be to try and find the GP items I wanted, and add them to my car.
Six months ago, a MINI owner from Greece posted pics of his car sporting the new GP rear diffuser he’d just installed. Finally, I had a little hope that I might be able to get some of these add-ons for my own car. Another person posted a link to the parts on RealOEM. So now I was off to my dealer to see if anyone could order the rear diffuser. They were indeed able to order all of the parts – save for a few screws – and, now came the wait to see if MINI would actually ship these to the dealer without a valid GP serial number. This was four months before the first GPs would land in the U.S.
I made sure I didn’t post anything online while I waited for the parts. I didn’t want anyone from MINIUSA to come across the post and put the kibosh on my diffuser order. Well, about 10 days after the order, the parts came in. The diffuser installation was extremely easy, and afterwards, I ordered and installed the underbody panels for the car as well. I wanted to replicate, as close as possible, the smooth underbelly of the new GP. After taking care of the underbody of the car, I now focused my attention on acquiring the new GP spoiler.
The rear spoiler became a bit of a preoccupation for me because I did not know how it attached to the rear glass, or if I actually needed to swap out the rear glass to make it work. Since no GPs had yet arrived at the dealership, I would need to wait again. The part number was available on RealOEM, and my parts person confirmed they could get it. However, all indications were that I would need to get the new rear glass. To me, this was a deal breaker because my car has the rear wiper, and I really didn’t want to lose it. Also, the spoiler itself is very expensive – upwards of $2,000, so I didn’t want the additional cost and possible installation expense of the rear glass as well.
Soon, MINI GPs began showing up at dealerships in the U.S. and some folks starting taking delivery of their new cars. I went to my local dealer and took a close look at the rear spoiler and how it attached to the glass. It appeared that there was some type of bracket glued to the rear glass that the spoiler fins attached to. But without taking the rear spoiler off, there was no way to confirm my suspicions. And at $2,000, I wasn’t willing to take the plunge without some assurance it would work on my car.
That assurance finally came from a new GP owner in Oregon. He not only took off his rear spoiler, he also took pictures to prove that it fit over a rear bracket that is glued to the rear window. I needed to get a part number, or in some other way, get my hands on those rear brackets. RealOEM did not have a separate part number for the brackets. My parts people at the local dealer could not find a part number. I finally reached out to MINI USA in search of the brackets. Their communications manager put me in touch with their Accessory Product Manager. However, that’s where my good fortune ended because he only restated what I already knew from RealOEM. There was no part number for the brackets in his system either.
I went ahead and ordered the spoiler, in hopes that at some point I would find a way to get the brackets. I wanted to make sure I got it in case MINI decided to quit selling these GP parts to the general population. That, and my parts person said there were only seven or eight spoilers available worldwide in the first place.
I forgot to mention that when the gentleman in Oregon took off the rear spoiler and sent me a message about the brackets, I inquired as to how much he got for his GP suspension. You see, in another post, he explained how he replaced the GP coil over suspension with one that is even more adjustable. His GP suspension had at most 90 miles on it. He told me that he still had the suspension, and that he’d take $1,000 for it.
I ordered my 2009 JCW with the factory sport suspension upgrade, so I jumped at the opportunity to get the new GP suspension for less than I’d pay for the JCW upgrade option. He shipped it down to me and I took it to an outfit in Fort Worth, Texas – Texas Track Works – for the install. They charged me a very reasonable fee to install the suspension and align my MINI – less than half of what my dealer wanted. The install took only an hour, and the alignment took 45 minutes. My car looks great lowered, but the ride is the real clincher. My car handles so much better than before. It’s as if I own a brand new MINI. And, to top it off, the guy I bought the suspension from fabricated two spoiler brackets for me, free of charge, and sent them to me. So, now the rear spoiler was going on the car, too. The only thing left to complete the aerodynamics of the car was the under-engine GP splash guard.
To my surprise, vendor actually found the part number to the splash guard and began marketing it. I immediately jumped on the opportunity to finish what I started a few months ago. The splash guard came in a few days later with all the necessary installation hardware. I took my car to a local lift/bay rental place on a Saturday morning, and proceeded with the installation. From start to finish, it took about 15 minutes and completes the smooth airflow underneath the car. The installation was straightforward, and like everything else I put on the car, it’s as if this part was made with my 2009 JCW in mind. I didn’t have to modify anything underneath the car to make this fit perfectly.
Everything came together, but that’s it for the GP parts at this time. I don’t need the red seatbelts, the wheels, or brakes. However, it’s great to know that they may still be available in the future if I change my mind. I’m excited that MINI has allowed non-GP owners to buy these parts. I think I’m like a lot of people; I liked a lot of the styling features of the new GP, but I couldn’t rationalize getting one given what I already owned. In the end, I’m extremely happy with my new 2009 MINI JCW because, to me, it’s a brand new car.