MINI’s JCW (that’s John Cooper Works) name is older than you might think. Its heritage stretches back to John Cooper, the British racing driver and engineer who not only pioneered the rear-engined layout in single-seat racers, but also figured out that the Issigonis-designed BMC Mini would make a rather good race and rally car. A point that went on to be proved most famously by Paddy Hopkirk’s fabled win in the 1964 Monte Carlo rally.
There are cars that are “nice to drive,” and there are cars that are “fun to drive.”
Plenty of options exist for the people who prefer a smooth ride, luxurious cabin, numb steering and no real connection between driver and pavement. I won’t name names here, but feel free to make assumptions.
On the other hand, some cars simply beg to be driven hard, because doing so provides an overload of sensory excitement and pure joy. Yes, many of those cost upward of $100,000, but for mere plebeians like me, driving joy can be had for $30K and under.
Keep reading for seven examples of inexpensive greatness.