For $6,000, Does This 2008 Mini Cooper S 4X4 Rise To The Occasion?

Nice Price Or Crack PipeIs this used car a good deal? You decide!

If you’ve ever looked longingly at a Suzuki Sidekick and wondered why it couldn’t have the retro-fresh styling of the re-born British Mini then wonder no more. Today’s Nice Price or Crack Pipe 4X4 Cooper S answers your prayers, but let’s see, pray tell, if it’s price is wonderful as well.

The seller of yesterday’s 2003 VW Passat W8 Wagon said it was dope. Well, he did if you could decipher his punctuation-eschewing ad that is. In response, you said it was nope and gave its twelve-grand asking price a 63% Crack Pipe loss to even up the week.


Do you remember how the British turned the original Austin Mini into an AWD vehicle? They dropped another A-series, driving the rear wheels in the back, that’s how and it was awesome.

What the Twini-Mini gave up in luggage accommodations it more than made up for in party trivia fodder. One was even entered in the 1963 Targa Florio race, piloted by Paul Frere and John Whitmore.

This 2008 Mini Cooper S is 4WD, but sadly it has only one engine. And unlike either of the motors in the Twini-Mini, this one sits north-south, and not east-west. That’s because this odd-bodkin of a mashup rides on the frame of a Suzuki Sidekick and maintains that Japanese charm bracelet bauble of a truck’s entire running gear underneath its oh-so British body.


Why would you do that? Well, in the immortal words of John Belushi’s Animal House character, Bluto, why (belch) not?!


Let’s get one thing out of the way right now, this… um, car comes with a salvage title. I mean, you don’t do fun shit to cars that don’t have nothing left to lose, do you? A quick check of the VIN indicates that the Mini was once sold through an auction house that specializes in damaged cars. The origin of the Sidekick down-under however, is unknown.


What is known is that there’s a Suzuki 1.6-litre four under the hood right now, and that’s backed up by the Japanese company’s three (or maybe four) speed automatic gearbox. A two-speed transfer case send the engine’s meager power to both axles and the car rides like a low dog peeing on high, wet grass.

Amazingly, the seller says that all the Mini’s factory bits work as they should. That includes the lights and the panoramic moonroof, as well as—and this is a little scary if you think about it—the airbags.


Another thing to ponder is what went into dropping the uni-body Mini onto the ladder frame of the Sidekick. Keep in mind that the Mini sports a wheelbase of 97.1 inches while the Sidekick four-door is an incremental .6 inches longer between the axle centers so it was pretty much a slam dunk. Hell, that’s even close enough for government work!


There’s no A/C on the car, nor a working speedo or fuel gauge so driving it any distance will be an adventure. The Suzuki frame has seen 60K already while the ad notes the Mini up top sports 135K on its now none-working odometer. I guess with that salvage title the mileage on the Mini is a bit of a point that is moot.

On the plus side, it’s claimed to have passed California’s onerous smog test and is currently titled and licensed for the street. Can I get a fist bump over that?


What’s all that worth? Well, the asking is $6,000, down $500 from an earlier attempt at a sale. Weird and wonderful as it is, it’s a tough row to hoe trying to sell a salvage title car as a number of insurance carriers won’t touch them with a ten-foot actuarial. This one may just be worth changing insurers however.

What’s your take on this off-roadable Mini Cooper and that $6,000 asking? Does that seem fair for a fey four-by-four? Or, is this one Mini with too maxi a price?


You decide!


San Diego, CA Craigslist, or go here if the ad disappears.

H/T to svenskfox for the hookup!

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About the author

Rob Emslie

Rob Emslie is a contributing writer for Jalopnik. He has too many cars, and not enough time to work on them all.