Almost five years on, every time I slip behind the wheel of my 2006 MINI Cooper S, it still puts a smile on my face. I remember the first time I drove one of these supercharged pocket rockets almost a decade ago. I thought to myself “someday, you’ll be mine.” After four years of running a 2007 Mercedes-Benz C230, I finally had enough of the 7-speed automatic AKA the gearbox with a personality disorder. I was lusting after something more fun, and with a manual gearbox. And seeing how much my father enjoyed his 2002 MINI Cooper, I went to work in search of a final year R53 Cooper S. It’s been a fairly trouble free ownership experience and I don’t see myself selling it anytime soon.
Two years before the R53 hardtop disappeared, MINI payed homage to their past with the Cooper S MC40. Dedicated to Mini’s historic win at the Monte Carlo Rally in 1964, this car was equipped with the Sport Package, driving lights, special interior trim, magnetic body decals and a numbered plaque with Paddy Hopkirk’s signature. One color was offered, Chili Red with a White roof. This MC40 for sale in Florida has just over 60,000 miles. Even with the limitless color and trim combinations MINI offers, this special edition is a good way to stand out from the crowd.
It’s hard to believe it’s almost been a full decade since the first generation of the reborn MINI Cooper has passed. Four years ago I made the fateful choice to sell my 2007 Mercedes-Benz C230 Sport for a low mileage 2006 Cooper S. I haven’t looked back. It’s been a fantastic ownership experience and a car that suits my needs quite well. I choose a 2006 Cooper S because it was the final year for the Brasilian sourced Tritec supercharged engine. The first time I got behind the wheel of an R53 Cooper S I was hooked. The engine was punchy, had torque in every gear and, oh, that whine from the blower under the bonnet. In an age where a lot of newer cars seem to just blend together, this little car had serious character.
For the R53’s final year, MINI would introduce a special run of 2000 Cooper S models, with the John Cooper Works package labeled the “GP.” This was a very focused, track ready beast built in Italy by Bertone, sans rear seat with some other weight savings measures and a higher output motor. The sole color choice was Thunder Blue with red door mirror caps, carbon fiber rear wing and unique four-spoke alloys. This Cooper S JCW GP for sale in Miami has done just over 40,000 miles and is ready to tackle any curve you could throw at it.
Quintessentially British, the MINI has BMWs fingerprints all over it and thus, is a welcome addition in the usual GCFSB roundup. Yours truly is an R53 Cooper S owner. For four years, the car has had very few issues and has been a pleasantly fun and trusty motoring sidekick. I’ve never grown tired of driving it and the power delivery by the supercharger makes this 1.6 liter feel a lot mightier than its displacement would suggest. At the end of the R53 run, MINI unleashed a special version, the Cooper S GP. Only 2,000 examples were produced, which featured no rear seats, reduced sound deadening, optional A/C and a few other weight savings measures. One color was available, Thunder Blue with a Pure Silver roof with the serial number on the roof and dashboard. This particular GP for sale in Virginia is a low production number and was brought to our attention from our reader Walker.