Forty years ago, a privateer Mini Cooper S specially prepared by Arden Engineering took the British Touring Car Championship, and today, Arden's modern custom house is celebrating the occasion with a heavily modified special edition Mini Equipe.

The Equipe gets a custom two-tone leather upholstery scheme throughout the cabin, including the doors and dash. Hand-stitched casings and handmade stainless steel and chrome elements adorn the car front to rear, including the redesigned grille.

But the upgrades aren't all cosmetic - super-light 18x8in aluminum alloy wheels - 15lb each - are placed at each corner, and the ECU is upgraded to take advantage of a new intercooler and full stainless steel exhaust system complete with racing catalytic converters. The net result? About 40hp (30kW) and 37lb-ft (50Nm) of torque over stock.

Handling is improved as well, with a special Arden sport suspension and 30mm lowering springs. Six-piston brakes hammer the front rotors for fade-free braking.

The whole package comes together to deliver one of the most upscale Mini Cooper S conversions to date, and the upgrade makes us eager to see what Rolls Royce has in store for the pint-sized premium hatch.

The first was the Mini Challenge Cup car we covered back in April. Much of the final Equipe package was developed with the experience gained from the Cup car according to the team at Arden.

The Arden Mini Equipe is available by special order now. It marks Arden's second attempt at a custom Mini Cooper.