Asking Price: $7,995 USD
Seller: Autosport Inc.
Original Selling Price: $17,450 Base Model
Engine: 1600cc 4-CYL OHV
Max Power: 115hp
PROS: Fitted with a 5-speed manual transmission opposed to the automatic CVT transmission, which is a bit of a nightmare.
CONS: With over 90,000 miles, the car very likely needs front-lower control arm bushings if they have not already been replaced. Tires and suspension are usually worn.
The Mini Cooper is one of the most recognized cars in the world, and in 1999 it was voted the second-best car of the century by an international panel of experts. It is also the most produced car without any significant changes (1959-2000). In 1994, the brand was acquired by BMW and plans were made for an all new Mini. In 2001, BMW finally released its all-new Mini to the European market, and 2002, North America. This model was the first major redesign in forty-one years of production.
This particular car is a 2006 Mini Cooper, known as an R50 to us car geeks. These R50 Mini Coopers were produced from 2001-2006 and do have a few issues that you’ll want to pay close attention to. This car is fitted with a 5-speed manual transmission, which is the only way to go with one of these cars. The automatic transmission versions are quite frankly complete junk and very unreliable—not to mention very costly to repair.
These models also known for terrible tire wear problems. Take a close look at the front and rear tires and make sure they are wearing correctly and evenly across all four tires. If they’re not, you’ll want to work a new set of tires into the sale and be sure to have the car aligned and the front lower control arm bushings inspected for wear. You’ll also want to rotate the tires every 6,000 miles to get the maximum distance out of them.
Make sure the power windows roll up and down easily without making any popping or grinding noises, as the window motors and regulators commonly fail. Also, make sure both doors lock and unlock when using the key as well as the lock/unlock switch inside the car. If they don’t, suspect a faulty door latch.
The engines on these Minis are excellent, but do pay attention to the service history and always run a Carfax to ensure you’re not buying a car that’s been in an accident or has any title issues. Remember that not all service history or accident damage will show on a Carfax, so be certain to inspect the car for any non-original paint work, and be sure to get it up on a lift and inspect the underside for any visible signs of accidents or major repairs.
When sitting in the vehicle, make sure both front seats have full movement and the backrests recline and move forward. The seats commonly jam up and can be expensive to repair. Pay attention to any dashboard warning lights, especially the air bag warning. If you see a warning light, it’s essential to have the warning diagnosed before purchasing the car.
Overall I’m am a big fan of these late R50 Mini Coopers, so don’t by any means think they’re lemons. They do have their little quirks you’ll want to pay attention to, but they are great little cars. In terms of bang for your buck, you really can’t do much better. My one rule for purchasing an R50 Mini Cooper is to steer clear of the automatics as they really are rubbish and extremely expensive to repair. If you’re in the market for a R50, you may also want to check out a R53 Mini Cooper S. They were produced from 2003-2006 and are the performance version of the R50.
Happy motoring and hope to see you on the road! Remember to visit us at British Car Classifieds – the global online marketplace dedicated exclusively to buying and selling British automobiles.