Monterey Car Week always brings out the auto industry’s heavy hitters, from world-class vintage cars to the latest seven-figure track toys, classic Vespa scooters, and everything in between. And yet, an amazing duo wound up as my favorite experience of the week: driving a pair of tiny “Super Coopers” brought to Monterey by Gildred Racing to promote the first of a new Tesla electric project .
The company’s Super Cooper electric powertrain may have deserved the lion’s share of the headlines as the latest and greatest offering, but the company’s previous Super Cooper “S” still offered a mind-boggling 502 hp (375 kW) to the wheels. rear from the mid-range supercharged V6.
In a broader view, the pair really works as a microcosm that perfectly complements the current passion industry, right down to the differences between the rear- and front-drive-and even to this day, I can’t decide which one I like more. open.
Small racing cars for big enthusiasts
Gildred Racing of Buellton, California, specializes in restorations and race preparation for classic Mini Coopers. A halo project that turned one of the diminutive British hatchbacks into a mid-engine RWD screamer helped make the name more recognizable when the Super Cooper first started attracting attention six years ago. And SI certainly did not disappoint.
For some context, this car already beat a McLaren 720S drag race in Season 2 of Netflix’s Fastest Car, so my impressions of absolute insane acceleration should not be a myth. It’s not even close, because the peak of 502 hp is dyno-proven at the wheels, not at the start. The power-to-weight ratios work flawlessly, then, and even with the 3.5 L Acura V6 and supercharger tucked behind the front seats, this little Cooper still weighs just 2,100 pounds (954 kg).
Forget about ABS or traction control; The S demands maximum driver attention at all times, highlighted by a six-speed stick shift that sends that torque to the floor. A set of 13-inch wheels shod in 225 millimeter tires helped steer the little beast a bit, but as soon as some classic Monterey fog started rolling in on the beach, we started skittering around on slippery roads. with a hint of countersteering needed to fly. into action for action.