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.