Alec Issigonis’ original Mini was perhaps the most ingeniously packaged car the world has ever seen. Today’s Nice Price or No Dice Cooper S is a good bit bigger than its iconic ancestor but comes with a fairly small price. Will that make it just as legendary?
One of the hallmarks of the pony car market is that these cars can be many things to many people. You can get your ‘Stang, ‘Challenger, or Camaro in either fire-breathing or chardonnay-sipping form, or almost any mix in between.
Yesterday’s 2011 Chevy Camaro RS was one of those in-betweeners, as it showed up with no more than a modest V6 under the hood, but also a six-speed stick, and some pretty stylish footwear. All that had a reasonable 139K on the clock and a $9,500 price tag on the docket. That seemed an inequitable situation for many of you, however, with both car and price, earning a 59% No Dice loss.
Next to Jaguar’s E-Type, the original Mini is perhaps the most iconic British car ever produced. When you see one, you know immediately what it is, and where it came from. Um, except, of course, for the license-built Innocenti Minis which looked the same, but were constructed in Italy.
Not just iconic, the Mini was also… well, mini. The tiny size was made possible by several innovative design decisions, including having the engine sump be flatmates with the gearbox, and sliding the radiator over to the side like it was avoiding the paparazzi. Sharing its name with a popular new ‘60s women’s fashion trend helped make the Mini as much a fashion accessory as it was a practical mode of transportation.
The modern Mini is nowhere near as small as its ancestor, a reality demanded by our current safety standards, and the fact that nobody but me thinks 10-inch tires are a good idea anymore. That being said, the modern Mini, developed under BMW’s ownership of the brand, is still a damn small car, and it’s also still very much a fashion accessory.
This 2005 Mini Cooper S looks very fashionable, what with its extended body kit, arrest-me red paint, and carbon fiber bonnet. It appears to have the goods under that carbon fiber clamshell too, as the 1.6-litre supercharged four is claimed by the seller to have been rebuilt top to bottom just 3K ago. In fact, there’s a bunch of stuff on this car that has been recently added/replaced/or is just plain cool.
The seller says that the car has been a shop cat for a couple of years and was originally acquired as a clean title repo. Since then it’s seemingly received a lot of love and a bunch of parts off of other, less fortunate Minis.
Pluses here include the aforementioned refreshed mill. Along with that comes a new clutch, full exhaust including high-flow cat, and a 15% reduction pulley for the roots-style blower giving more power. Gearbox duties are handled by a six-speed stick and there are Wilwood brakes behind the Cooper alloys up front.
The bodywork has been resprayed in what looks to be its factory red, but the seller admits the paint job is more Maaco than magnifico and shows a few shots where places like door jams show evidence of lackadaisical prep. In fact, everything on the car looks a little beat up—check out that door handle. Still, it’s nothing that you’d necessarily be ashamed to bring home to mom.
The interior looks to be a happier place, and sports what the seller describes as a rare clamp-on gauge cluster around the tach. A billet shift knob and E-brake handle will burn the crap out of you on crazy-hot days, while the Cooper embroidered upholstery will keep you at least looking cool.
There’s a lot that has gone into this R53 and you can go down the full list in the ad. Despite all the fun and games, however, the car is still said to sport a clear title and a clean Carfax so it should be a straight shooter underneath.
The asking price for then Franken-Mini is $6,500 and while that gets you the car, the ad says there’s “no warranty” so you don’t get any guarantee that it won’t crap the sack the second you drive off in it.
That’s what life is, though, isn’t it—a bunch of chances? What we need to decide is whether anyone should take a chance on this Mini by paying that $6,500 asking. What do you think, does that seem like a deal to you? Or, is this Mini’s price tag just too maxi to take on?
H/T to Donnie Paydre for the hookup!
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