There are always a handful of vehicle enthusiasts who find passion in exploring the outer limits of automotive engineering, often with little regard for cost and even less concern for practical application. Without these visionary pioneers, dreams like the Maxi Cooper could never be realized. What’s the Maxi Cooper? A MINI Cooper with a Hemi. Duh.
The Maxi Cooper made its debut at the SEMA Show in Las Vegas, a haven for auto houses and tuning shops looking to flex their creative muscle to develop eye-grabbing displays and generate some buzz. Mission accomplished with the Maxi Cooper. The Maxi took a stock 5.7L Hemi V8 and stroked it to 6.4L. The engine, which rises from the hood like an old, American hotrod, features a BDS blower which pushes 5psi into the engine for maximum (Maxi?) output. How much? 650 horsepower and 630lb-ft of torque. Bright polished valve covers identify the engine, tongue-in-cheek, as a “Mini Hemi.”
MINI’s are typically characterized by two defining qualities, (Hemi engines not being one of them: unique styling, and their aptly described “go-kart” handling. Despite the monstrous V8 engine protruding from the hood, The Maxi Cooper looks pretty much like a “normal” Cooper, add some aftermarket wheels and a tuned suspension. On the other hand, The Maxi Cooper handling may point to a greater divergence from stock Coopers. For starters, the Maxi Cooper has been converted to a rear-wheel drive platform. Secondly, we can only imagine how much weight that 6.4L V8 adds to the front end of the car. Probably pretty quick in a straight line, though.
In summation, the Maxi Cooper is an ostentatious, expensive, completely-impractical vehicle, likely to offend MINI purists, the elderly and the feint of heart – and this is exactly why it’s so wonderful.
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