Article By Rick Jensen (Turboguy). Photography by Corey Davis (iMPREZiONS).
Corey Kelty is a 23-year-old Air Force crew chief who "works on C130s, gets his hands dirty, and travels all over hell,” in that order. Growing up, he raced slot cars with his gramps, and learned about old Austin/Morris Minis from his dad, so it was no surprise that when Kelty got close to driving age, he fell in love with European cars.
Growing up with Euro cars, you’d think fate had just gone ahead and hooked him up with his automotive namesake. Not so—he has Gran Turismo to thank for that. Because like the rest of us, he could have minored in that game while at tech school. "While playing GT, I kept thinking about which car to buy when I got back to Colorado,” Corey starts. "I drove a newer R53 Mini in the game, and loved its looks and driving feel.” So once he made it back in 2011, Kelty test-drove a newer-model Mini, which he didn’t like. But when he took a ’04 Mini for a spin, he fell in love.
Kelty enjoyed the impressive all-around performance of his stock Mini for about a year, and finally bought a set of coilovers and a 3M carbon fiber wrap. It looked clean and cool, but it wasn’t long before he wanted to go a little crazy with it. He unwrapped it, then turned to a customizer and tattoo-artist friend, Cody Buck, for inspiration.
As Corey is a through-and-through Air Force man, they decided to combine USAF grunge paint with an Attack On Titan vinyl hood wrap. The exterior features many fighter-plane influences: the massive, toothy mouth was inspired by the WWII P-40 fighter plane, the exhaust tips are accompanied by a "Hot Exhaust” warning and the fuel filler cap says "Jet Fuel Only.” Fighter plane influences are the best influences.
Additional body mods got slapped on too: custom fender flares, hood-mounted custom side mirrors, and shakotan/bosozoku exhaust tips for good measure. And don’t those gold wheels really set this thing off? They’re 17x8.25 XXR 527s, wearing Michelin Pilot Sport 3s.
There are also a couple of really cool interior touches: an old-look wood steering wheel takes the modern interior back in time, and a custom metal rear seat delete and cargo net adds to this Mini’s utilitarian look. There’s also an aftermarket stereo, which Coop probably uses to rock out to an SR-71 engine’s soundtrack or something.
Kelty’s blown 4-cylinder put out 163 horses from the factory—a nice kick for its 2,600-pound curb weight. But we Americans always want more, so he bolted up a few upgrades. An ALTA Performance 15% supercharger pulley bumps up the boost, and ALTA’s cold-air induction system helps the engine ingest dense, cool air. On the exhaust side, a custom exhaust system was bolted up in place of the stocker. Combined, these mods bump his horsepower to right around 200—and add lots of neck-snapping torque under the curve. Aside from an upgraded set of custom axles, that power passes through a stock drivetrain; the Getrag 6-speed manual, clutch, flywheel, and rear were all blessed from the factory.
Aside from terrorizing Colorado’s streets (and vaporizing wayward coyotes—don’t ask), Corey has a few more changes in store. More engine power, different fender flares, and a new, "top secret” wrap is in the works. (Works?) But regardless of its spec, this S will be rolling in fangs out for the forseeable future. Watch your six.
BUILD AT A GLANCE
2004 Mini Cooper S R53
Nicknamed "Bruce” (the shark from Finding Nemo)
Built by Corey Kelty, Cody Buck and James Nimon
Stock Short Block
Stock Supercharger with ALTA Performance 15% Pulley
ALTA Performance CAI
Custom Cat-Back Exhaust System
Stock Getrag 6-Speed Manual
Classic Wood Grip Wheel
Custom Metal Rear Seat Delete w/ Cargo Net
USAF Grunge Paint
Attack On Titan Vinyl Hood Wrap
Custom Mounted Hood Mirrors
Custom Fender Flares
Shakotan/Bosozoku Exhaust Tips
Michelin Pilot 3 205/45/17 Tires
XXR 527 17x 8.25 +20mmWheels
V-MAXX Autosport Coilovers
SP Performance Street Plus Brake Pads
190 hp/225 lb-ft
Future Plans: New Wrap that he calls "Top Secret,” New Fender Flares, and More Engine Mods