Buy One Now: 2003 Mini Cooper S – Sold?

by | Jan 2023 | Classifinds, Free For All Friday

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March 2, 2023, Update – We confirmed the listing for this “Classifind” expired, so with no replacement found, we’re assuming this ride is “Sold?” While this one got away, please reach out either by email or call us directly if you’d like to be informed when we come across something similar.

When buying hobby cars that won’t bite you in the rear, I think I’ve learned enough lessons the hard way to spot winners and losers from afar. In the case of the market right now, it’s inevitable that the average collector will be priced out of the currently hot stuff sooner than later and look to newer models to fill their cup. In the case of the first-generation supercharged Mini Cooper S, this is a scenario wherein the first edition of a model is the best and potentially poised for a jump. This 2003 Mini Cooper S, last listed in January 2023 on Craigslist in Tampa Bay, shows a reasonable 110,000 miles and benefits from recent maintenance, all with an asking price of just $4,800. Comparing that price against the model guide shows that the seller has been asking well under the going rate of nearly $12,000 over the past six months:

When the first run of the Mini Cooper came out in the early 2000s, it was a revelation. I recall my brother being on a waiting list for upwards of a year for a supercharged model. Driving it did not disappoint, with razor-sharp reflexes and the benefit of compact proportions that could squeeze into gaps in traffic other cars could only dream of. And then there was the intoxicating whine of the supercharger, coming from beneath the shortest hood you’d ever seen. The whole combination was somewhat frenzied in the best way possible as if it was a hardtop Miata built by BMW. It felt completely Germanic inside while also being a little bit of a scamp. In short, it was a magical combination of features that hasn’t been repeated since.

The MotorWeek RetroReview YouTube Channel features this test drive of the 2002 Mini Cooper when it launched in 2002:

The road test editors also loved the original MCS, and it was heaped with praise in its introductory years. Like all good things, the ride eventually ends, and the original Mini Cooper quickly left its roots behind in an attempt to move upmarket quickly. Today, they are the playthings of the suburban elite, and the supercharger has given way to a muted turbocharger, like any other Hyundai product. The seller’s car is one of the best versions of the Mini Cooper you can buy: an early model in “S” specifications wearing British Racing Green paint. This was a hot car if you bought it new in 2003, and if you haven’t noticed, they’ve become increasingly hard to find. If you’re smart, you’ll buy one now, especially a car like this that benefits from a recent clutch job and new tires.

Here’s the seller’s description:

“2003 Mini Cooper S
110,000 miles
6-speed manual
Brand new clutch
Brand new tires
Brand new battery
Cold AC
Runs and drives smooth

Modern classic: is the first-generation Mini Cooper S a comer on the collector car market?   


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