I am Maine’s Finest
Welcome back everyone. This week is our first community spotlight! Jake Roger’s 2004 Mini Cooper S.
Anyone who knows me knows a few things; I love food, I love making people smile, and I love cars. It doesn’t matter what it is, it doesn’t matter what drive train it has. I love the idea of the car and I love how personal they are. I simply love cars.
I love this Mini Cooper. I’ve driven minis before. I test drove a 2015 Cooper S recently. I hated it. The dash reminded me of a Fischer Price toy, it was sluggish, and I just expected more out of it to be honest. They look so cool and you expect a little zip to the zap, but it was just puttering along down the road.
Jake’s 40th anniversary was nearly the opposite of those things. It went well, it handled like a little go-kart, and it was fun. He’s got it lowered and stiffened with Megan Racing Coilovers. He’s got a 17% reduction pulley strapped to the supercharger. He had a front lip made in his garage, but like most low things, it got eaten by the road. He has an aggressively angled exhaust that gives the car a really awesome growl and bark.
He replaced the clutch in his driveway without a lift. He replaced crank seals in the corner of his garage. He’s installed all of his mods himself, and coming from a car guy’s perspective, I’m impressed. Sure we know it’s all possible, but here’s the coolest part…
Jake is 17, and goes to school full time still. He’s replacing clutches in the driveway on jacks. That’s difficult as it is, and if you add the fact that it’s a Mini Cooper into the mix, it’s a whole different ball game. Mini Coopers for the most part suck to work on. The entire front clip has to be removed to yank the engine. It’s not easy work by any means.
I asked Jake why of all things, he bought a Mini Cooper, and his response was super simple. “It’s small, quick and fun to drive” he peeped from the passenger seat as I bombed around the Old Port. It’s not aggressive, it’s perfect. It’s refined and easy to drive. The supercharged 1.6l was responsive and had a great power band as I cruised down the streets.
I asked what he had planned for the car, and he told me he is really looking forward to autocrossing it again. He’d done a little last year, and then he smiled and told me even his dad raced with him. Jake’s dad also has a Cooper S, but as it turns out, he races Jake’s. I laughed and asked why. Jake smiled wide and said “Mines more fun”. He was right.
Every time I pressed the pedal down, the intake whistled and the supercharger whined. It was a blast. I smiled the whole time I drove it. We parked and took some pictures, and that’s when I discovered Jake had one of a thousand, That was really cool to me. I love limited runs. 804 of a 1000 , and I’ll bet that his is one of the better ones. Then we accidentally drove down the walking path trying to get back to my car. The Old Port is confusing and the parking attendants didn’t appreciate our shenanigans. Really though, I thought it was ironic we drove a mini down the path, it even fit through the barriers at the end easily.
Some of you might be wondering why I picked this car for my first feature. Two things. First: I am Maine’s Finest is about the people and the cars, not just the cars. I’ll leave that to Jason and the rest of the goons. Second: If Jake is doing this level of work on the ground, by himself after school, I’m excited to see what he’s doing in ten years. He is the future of our passion, and it makes me feel awesome to know we’ve got kids that are so in love with their cars to fight with it and make it work. He’s not like me who begs and pleads for my mechanic to do the simple stuff, he just does it. I appreciate that at 17, Jake is building and maintaining an amazing car. It’s not overdone. It’s not cheesy or tacky. The craziest thing is his exhaust. It’s tame and built for function mostly. That’s really awesome to see. Jake is a perfect example of the people that make up Maine’s Finest, and that’s why I chose him for my first feature. He’s the future of our scene, and I can’t wait to see what he does with it.
Stay tuned for more of I am Main’es Finest