BMW/MINI are usually great at providing a plethora of OEM options and accessories to customize your car, and the R50/R52/R53 Mini was no exception. However, as these cars age, the availability of some of the more desirable parts has dwindled, with many of them no longer available new. Some of our favorite parts are pulled from the accessories and retrofitting catalog, and we thought it would be nice to put them all in one place.
R53 w/OEM aerodynamics package
Now discontinued, the aerodynamics package (sometimes called the aero kit or JCW aero kit) really transforms the look of the first gen Mini. Featuring black mesh grilles, painted and flared side skirts, and molded bumpers, the aerodynamics package is one of the enthusiast favorite. It's pretty much like a subtle body kit with OEM quality and fitment. When available, you could purchase individual pieces of the kit, or the entire kit together. There was also an even more rare optional aero spoiler, which was not often included with the full package.
Note the bumper design with mesh grille inserts
OEM White/Clear Tail Lights
The OEM white tail lights were available for a short time as well. It was a nice way to add some different lights to the rear if you were not a fan of the aftermarket tail lights available. The tail light retrofit kit could also come with a white third brake light, as well as optional red reflectors (technically supposed to be installed for safety purposes, they were often forgone as installation would require cutting of the bumper). They also use a specific bulb socket and bulbs to display the correct light colors and brightness.
OEM Optional Auxiliary Gauges/Additional Instruments
There are actually two separate auxiliary gauges available at one point in the retrofitting catalog: a pair that would be installed below the center stack, and a pair installed on either side of the steering column. The center stack gauges displayed voltage and oil temperature (in Celsius), and the steering column gauges displayed boost and voltage. A nice way to have some more information displayed and keep the OEM look. The center stack gauges were available in black or silver (with the option of a chrome trim ring) while the steering column gauges were only available in one finish, silver.
Center Stack Additional Instruments
Steering Column Additional Instruments
Gear Shift Indicator
One of the few options we've never seen on any Mini here, the gear shift indicator was mounted on the center of the dash above the speedometer. The different colored LEDs illuminate in sequence as you get closer to the shift point, which is programmable. The surround was available in black or silver.
Gear Shift Indicator
JCW Leather Dash and Downtubes
One of the rarest OEM parts available, the JCW leather dash is one of the nicest OEM upgrades in our opinion. The leather dash panels replace the stock 3 pieces across the dash, as well as the downtubes that run either side of the center stack. The leather is also stitched with an accenting red color around the vents and center gauges.
JCW Leather Dash w/red stitching
JCW (Sparco) Sports Seats
The Sparco seats were unfortunately never offered in the United States, leaving Mini owners on this side of the pond to lust after them. Made by Sparco, the seats feature deep bolsters on the sides and bottom of the seats, adjustable thigh support, and a true racing seat design. The lightly etched JCW logo on the backrest adds an OEM look to the seats. These seats were offered in a few variations including full leather, alcantara, and cloth, as well as a couple of different upholstery colors.
R53 JCW Sparco Sport Seats, in black and grey full leather