Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Crime Fighter

Words & Snaps by Ben

You've heard it many times before, and you will hear it many more times - a car can tell a lot about its owner. Mood swings, finances, new trends, evolving family situations, or simply different phases of life of a motorhead can influence radical changes in terms of looks or mechanical development of their ride.

Kevin's Cooper S R53 is one of those cars that evolve along with its owner. Back in 2004, Kevin picked up this 6-speed manual supercharged pocket rocket from the dealership and started a 10-year kinship which, so far, has spread across 3 life phases, and that is not ready to end.

The R53, originally dubbed "MiniBoy", went through 2 different design phases as Kevin lived through new stages of his life. It came out of the dealer as a dark grey Mini with white roof and double racing stripes, before donning racing-inspired liveries which added checkered decals on the roof, sides and side mirrors.Yet these prelimirary stages were nothing compared to the metamorphosis it was about to go through.

Kevin recently entered a new phase in his life, and so has his car. As a great fan of the DC Comics universe, he found similarities and solace in the character development of Batman's sidekick, Robin. In the latest series The New 52, Robin takes his own identity: Nightwing, a new page to which Kevin saw parallels with his own life.

No, Kevin does not don an armoured leotard and fights crime at night. Not that I know of, at least. Instead, the strength Kevin found in the Nightwing character helped him overcome difficult steps in his life, and as a result of it, his car took on a new identity and appearance.

It wasn't an overnight process, and while Kevin had no particular vision of how the newly dubbed "Nightwing" would look like in the end, he progressively added layers and elements to the design, leading to this current, finished state.

Nightwing is far from being the most heavily modified car featured here on POWAA Garage, but it certainly received more attention for its looks than any other.

The theme, based on an Oracal Charcoal matte full wrap, is subtly enhanced by black brushed metal accents on the fenders, side skirts and lower bumpers. Kevin has also blacked out the chrome and added the red highlights to complete the theme.

Kevin is a man with an artistic eye, and even the mechanical mods have been carefully chosen to provide the best compromise between looks and performance.

The gun metal grey 17"OZ Ultraleggera, for example, merge in perfectly with the theme thanks to their red lining, yet provide improved handling by reducing unsprung weight. 

Shod with Continental ContiSportContact 5, the wheels also provide a good amount of grip in the corners and under the strong stopping forces brought by the red AP Racing 4 pot calipers mounted at the front.

The front stability is enhanced by a sleek M7 front splitter, which once again weaves perfectly with the aggressive yet sleek Nightwing theme.

The rear is made more stable by a GP Style Spoiler, which crowns above the sexy dual SuperSprint exhaust tips.

Kevin finished the theme thanks to some smartly placed lights that complement the overall design of Nightwing. At the front, he integrated a set of white DRL in the bumper and a red night rider-style LED strip in the grille.

My personal favourite are the side skirt lights, that remind of jet planes' position lights. It's a rather unique highlight, and it fits the Nightwing theme flawlessly!

Finally, he complemented the rear spoiler with 2 LED brake lights at each corner. Simple and sleek.

Nightwing is reaching the end of its COE this year, but Kevin will not let his long time friend get scrapped, and he is set to renew the certificate for another 10 years. Following this, he plans on turning his artistic eye to the mechanical side, and he already has a list of goodies on his wishlist.

He plans on dishing out more power from his R53 by servicing his 10 year old supercharger and enhancing it with Alta Performance's 15% Supercharger Pulley, Supercharger Pulley Belt, and Tensioner Stop. Ignition will also get a refreshment with an MSD Coil Pack with Magnecor wires and Brisk Spark Plugs. Finally, he will keep Nightwing's heart cool with an Alta Performance Intercooler and a Cold Air Intake.

That's his wishlist for now, but I have a feeling this will not be enough to keep Kevin satisfied for the next 10 years. More to come? Time will tell!


Cooper S R53
1.6L inline 4 Supercharged
Drive Layout
Max Output
163bhp ; 210Nm

Power Mods

OZ Ultraleggera
Continental ContiSportContact 5
AP Racing 4 Pot

M7 Front Splitter
GP Style ChallengeR Wing Spoiler
Daytime Running Lights
Night Rider LED Lights
Fender Lights
Wing Spoiler LED
Full Wrap Oracal Charcoal
Windows Tinting
Front and Rear Lights Tinting
Chrome parts blackout
Nighwing Theme

Special Thanks
Kevin would like to thank JieFeng from Project De Creation, Zoey from Johnson Stickers, and Kendrick & Victor from MyCarShop for their patience, help and decicated services.


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