If it is an authentic JCW's it should have a JCW engine plate baring the number of the conversion. It should also have a Certificate of authentication with the same number from the original supplying dealer or John Cooper Garages if they did the conversion.
These are the quick and superficial items you can use for a check. If you are buying from a (non-BMW) dealer then you should ask them tho check with BMW. You could also try contacting any previous servicing dealers in the service book and ask them to check their records.
If buying privately then beware.......you can buy engine plates and the cosmetic JCW bits on ebay and fake a MCS Works pretty easily. You really need a specialist to examine the car and engine to be able to really confirm if it is a good (and not fake) JCW.
If you have a look at the Works area of this forum you will find details of the actual Works components/modifications fitted to the R53 MCS.
So the only differences are the badges and engine cover ?
There aren't any other tell tale signs like rim types or some badging on the interior?
Example : the differnces between a b6 a4 and s4 had different wheels , a body kit , rear trunk spoiler and a v8 or like the Vw r32 which was only produced in 2004 amd 2008
There's no differences like that where an untrained eye like myself could catch ?
The key elements of the Works MCS conversion was the engine modifications to produce the extra BHP. Other performance modifications and accessories were available form John Cooper Garages such as the Aero kit, grill, seats, steering wheel, up-rated brakes, strut braces, suspension, exhaust system, engine airbox etc.
You may find real Works cars that have no external badges and the standard exhaust so apart from the engine cover and Works engine plate they don't look any different to a standard R53 MCS.
I think its fair to say that all the JCW mods and accessories were very expensive so a lot of the original cars were quite spartan with there specification.
You will also come across ordinary Coopers and Cooper S where any of the non-engine accessories have been fitted (including the exhaust) and they do look like a proper Works, but they don't go like a Works!
One of my neighbours has what appears to be a Works MCS with aerokit, grill (but no Works Badges)......when I got chatting to them about it, turns out to be a standard Cooper that has had all the body works mods of a Works Cooper S installed including an S bonnet with air scoop! They bought it for their daughter to get cheaper insurance!
As I have said before, you really need to have a very detailed inspection of a potential purchase and do some investigation with BMW and/or any previous service garages.
My own car is an original Sept 2003 BMW-fitted Works conversion (210bhp)
which was subsequently fitted with the 225bhp engine conversion by John Cooper Garages.
It has the full Works exhaust and sports CAT and Cooper Challange Cup brakes up-grade (6 pot front calipers).
The engine plate number does not correspond to the Works Certificate issued by the original BMW dealer, because when JCG's fitted the motorsport spec, engine modifications they installed a new engine plate with the number of this conversion on it. Luckily when I bought it, I was able to speak to the specialist garage that looked after the car and they were able to tell me the full specification of the engine and a bit about the history of the vehicle.
Thank you Hughes.
I just did a google image search and noticed the obvious differences
The grill and body kit , the wheel arches are color coded (from what I seen) , badges and better looking seats
Well from your info an extra couple of bhp isn't worth the extra money
Thank you sir
Sorry I hadn't noticed that you were based in the USA. I guess all JCW Cooper S models were factory/dealer supplied and I don't know exactly what specification they may have been built to for the US market.
I appreciate that the 'few extra' bhp might seem expensive, but my experience to date with my own Works is that it is quite a different driving experience compared to a standard MCS.
I guess you would really need to have a test drive in both (especially if you are considering a 1st Generation Works over a standard MCS).
One thing to bare in mind is that because of the German regulations and standards, the specified bhp for the standard MCS is 'conservative' and a good one that has been properly run-in and looked after may well already be more powerful than the spec. sheet suggests.
The 1st Gen JCW is simply a MCS with a JCW Engine Tuning Kit. The JCW Package from the factory also included JCW Sport brakes.
There body kit you're seeing is the Aerodynamic Package and is often mistakenly referred to as JCW aero kit. The better looking seats you're seeing are probably Sparco or Recaro seats which weren't an OEM option in the US.
If you use Kelly Blue Book you'll find that a JCW Tuning Kit adds about $2K to the value of a MCS. Aftermarket engine mods can be added to a standard MCS to gain "JCW like" performance for less money.
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