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Treasure Hunting: In Search of the First New Generation by MINI.

I'm always on the look-out! I spend sleepless nights at car markets, and on the Internet on my quest. At home the scene magazines and technical journals pile up. And when I'm on the dealer is safe. I especially like the somewhat shabby used car dealers. You know, the ones with the colored flags and the wildly flattering pennants. Because that's where you actually have the best chance of finding hidden treasure.

Hidden treasures in flight.
Hidden treasures in flight. © BMW Group Classic

Hey, what are you looking at me like that for? I can't help it. I've been this way since I was a kid. The first word I could say wasn't "Mama" or "Papa" - it was "car!" And don't get me wrong. I'm not one of those people looking for a cheap bargain. On the contrary, I'm searching for everyday gems. It's not the lowest price that's decisive for me, but instead the charm, the character and the personality a car has.

And I ask you, why I've been thrown off course to end up, of all places, at the MINI? Now, I'm searching for a charismatic small car that doesn't get lost in the crowd, that's affordable and that has the potential to become a modern classic. That's why it's the MINI. What else could it be? And I have a question for you. Did you know that the MINI turns 10 years old this year? No, I'm not mistaken. I mean the first generation of the New MINI, because it was launched on the market and its amazing success story began in 2001. After a full decade of new MINI, and two million MINI produced, there appears be no end to in sight.

Think there are far too many of these stylish new MINIs driving around, that it will still be awhile until they become classics? You just might be mistaken. A MINI from the first generation from the early years certainly has the stuff to become a modern classic. And it's much harder to find one in original condition that it is to find a super sports car with a trailer hitch. I've really been looking for a long time to find exactly the gem for me. But see for yourself. This is an absolute beauty among the countless number of used MINIs I've looked at recently: Model year 07/2002, just over 39,000 mi (63,000 km), air conditioning, non-smoker vehicle, first hand, with full service history.

The classic interior of a MINI from the recent past
The classic interior of a MINI from the recent past © BMW Group

Run-of-the-mill? No way! But I will admit, that is of course subjective. For example, I especially like this color and I have discovered that this shade of green was only available for less than two years. What's the color called? Silk Green. And have a look at the rims as well. I find them extremely tasteful. Too small? Maybe from today's standpoint. But 15" are absolutely contemporary. What? You don't like the fact that this MINI has an automatic transmission? But that's exactly the particular appeal of this gem! How many MINIs have that? But I can see your and my understanding of an "automotive gem" are quite contradictory.

The sleek automatic transmission from 2001
The sleek automatic transmision from 2001 © BMW Group

But to be honest, that doesn't really bother me, as otherwise all car nuts would be looking for the same treasure. Oh, by the way, as I've found my gem now, I ask you: Are you also looking for a hidden treasure in the shape of a MINI? Or did you long ago find a gem of your own? Show it to me and explain why this particular MINI is a special treasure to you. I'm looking forward to hearing your story!

MINI Clubs International Office

"Treasure Hunting: In Search of the First New Generation by MINI." by Alex Griesinger at MINI Clubs International Office.


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Comments (10)


posted by czastley | 09/29/2011 03:45 pm

I love my first Gen Cooper S (April 2003). I've had to replace a LOT of parts, but she's over 203,000 km and still going strong. She came from Quebec and now lives in Vancouver so she's seen a lot of this country. Plus she has a fun decal package to boot. And the JCW Supercharger (one of the replacements...). She's me in sheet metal form. I won't be getting rid of her - she'll have to fall to pieces from underneath me first!


posted by Morty | 09/12/2011 01:39 pm

I still own a R50 Pure Silver Cooper built 03/2002 and delivered on 2/4/2002. Reviewed in a few magazines and probably known by a few of the fanatics in Europe and beyond. Added a few modifications and striping throughout the years... unfortunately someone smashed into the passengers side on 14/08/2011 and the car is still at the dealers bodyshop waiting on the verdict. Total loss like the insurance says or still let it repair... out of love and dedication to MINI.


posted by jamesday24 | 09/11/2011 06:52 pm

I have an R50 MINI Cooper in original condition. Mine is a special and very rare John Cooper Works MINI Cooper with the addition of the John Cooper Works Tuning Kit available in the US for only a few months in 2004. MINI USA has told me there are less than 30 JCW Coopers in the US and I have personally never seen another one. My MINI has nearly 108,000 miles now and has traveled around the eastern half of the US twice and attended part of all three MINI Takes the States. It is definitely a modern classic and will be joined in the garage soon by a 2012 MINI John Cooper Works Coupe which is on order.


posted by Katal1 | 09/10/2011 12:00 pm

I love my April 03 first gen! 80k miles, custom designed online for me. CVT, tan/black leather interior. Red, white top, 15-inch white wheels. Pure classic. I recently test drove the countryman but didn't love it enough to leave my baby. Keep the classic styling! A MINI should only look like a MINI. It's good to be different

Paul Guenther

posted by Paul Guenther | 09/08/2011 08:31 pm

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