MINI Officially Debuts the MC40

The MC40 was introduced at the Chicago Auto Show today and MotoringFile was there to capture it all.

The MC40 is limited to 1000 units and will comes with a specific set of standard features and only in Chili Red with a white roof. The standard equipment list also includes a sport package with Dynamic Stability Control (DSC), front and rear fog lights, on-board computer and Xenon headlamps with power wash. Each car will also come with a number of exclusive additions.

The carbon fiber dash looks absolutely high quality and really quite fabulous. The shifter is a simple, satin aluminum design with the MC40 logo on top. Also exclusive to this model are special rubber floor mats emblazoned with the same MC40 logos found elsewhere on the car. The red leather is very impressive and looks great with the current seat pattern. I'm surprised we haven't seen it before. Also inside is a special numbered commemorative plate in the center console indicating the exclusivity of each car.


On the outside MINI has outfitted the MC40 with as much chrome as is available. Front grille, mirrors and the Cooper's boot trim are all standard. Also on the exterior of the car are three 40th anniversary graphics as well as two door numbers and a 33-EJB graphic for the front hood. MINI stressed the fact that the add-on graphics are entirely magnetic and can be taken off for more of a stealth mode). They also mentioned that they were tested up to 110mph!

From my discussion with MINI execs it would appear that they are as yet uncertain whether or not they are going to officially offer the two-toned R90 wheels as optional accessories throughout the MINI range. That being said with any hard to find part, with the right person at a MINI parts counter, you should be able to get what you want. I would guess the same goes for the dash board and the magnetic add-ons.

Last but not least a 'GB' insignia adorns the rear boot lid, paying tribute to the car's place-of-origin in Oxford, England.

Customers are able to order the MINI Cooper S MC40 at dealers with expected delivery by April, 2004. MSRP will be about $27,000 including $550 for destination. You cannot however order these cars with other factory options (essentially you are limited to dealer accessories).

Here's some further background on the legend of 33-EJB from MINIUSA:

MINI and the 1964 Monte Carlo Rally – The Making of a Legend What makes this limited edition so special is the historic event the MINI Cooper S MC40 commemorates. The 1964 Monte Carlo victory heralded the car as a worthy motorsport competitor and set the Mini on a course to become a motoring icon lasting 40 years to this very day.

The date was January 17th, 1964 and the Monte Carlo Rally was becoming more challenging than ever with the entry of well-organized factory teams. Competition for the Mini was stiff with bigger, more powerful cars from Ford, Mercedes-Benz and Volvo to Citroen, Saab and other pedigree challengers.

Piloted by fearless rally driver Paddy Hopkirk and his skilled navigator, Henry Liddon, the pint-sized Mini overcame great odds in all sorts of challenging conditions. Ice, twisty mountain passes, darkness and above all, formidable challengers, made for an exciting, flat-out drive for the team. On snowy sections of the route, the Mini's nimble handling and front-wheel-drive proved advantageous over the more powerful, albeit heavier, larger rear-wheel-drive competition. In the final moments of the rally on the Grand Prix circuit, Paddy and the pint-sized Mini were tenacious, pulling a victory over the second place contender by little more than 30 points.

It certainly was the sensation in the rally season that year: A small red David with a white roof proudly showed its tailpipe to all those ultra-powerful Goliaths, clinching overall victory in the Monte Carlo Rally. And in this “big bang”, the tiny little car immediately became a legend.

Originally conceived as an inexpensive and economical means of transportation, the Mini had been transformed into the hot-blooded Mini Cooper and Mini Cooper S thanks to the legendary John Cooper of Formula 1 fame. John recognized the Mini's excellent attributes as a quick and nimble performer with great potential on the motorsport circuits. The Mini Cooper and Mini Cooper S clearly stood out as the “every man's sports car”.

Wherever the Mini – either in standard trim or in highly modified form – appeared at the start of a race, it was always good for a genuine surprise. Indeed, the Mini wrote many a headline in the world of rally racing, just like it made things more than difficult for the usual “tough guys” on race circuits the world over. There was truly no other car in the market able to offer the same kind of sporting performance for so little money and providing outstanding driving pleasure within such compact dimensions.

Forty years on nothing has changed: The features which once took the classic Mini to victory in that historic race to Monaco remain the basic ingredients of the MINI today. With its compact exterior dimensions, the new MINI simply whisks around corners, resting solidly on its wide track and long wheelbase. In particular, however, every driver given the opportunity to take the wheel of a MINI will feel immediately why entering the Monte Carlo Rally would indeed be a wonderful experience. Both generations of MINI clearly stand out from all other cars in precisely the same way. They are extremely agile and posses go-kart-like reflexes.

  • Jason Hartong

    Thanks to MINI and Gabe for the invite. It was a joy to see Paddy in person.



  • JT

    Noticed a couple of things from the pictures: 1. No switch for the rear foglights on the switch panel. Guess they forgot to add the panel to the show car.

    1. Noticed a JCW badge on the car as well… Was this one a JCW?
  • Beautiful!

  • Vanwall

    You Lucky B*ds! You prolly experienced the real highlite of the whole MC40 story. Love the plate and the mag – Paddy did, too. If it comes with JCW perfomance encancements, it would be awesome. If it's nowt but a warmed-over 'S', it's much less so, exclusivity aside. I'll hafta think about some more. Still it's cool MINI even thought about it at all.

        Rob in Dago

  • John

    I agree with Rob…if it includes JCW enhancement, it would be great! The seats and dash are nice. Would like to have a sunroof…does anybody know if that is an option? Also, gotta have the 2 tone R90s… 😉

    Thanks. John

  • Jason

    Is that the same dash as in the accessory catalog? It seems the same, but it goes all the way across the dash. Did the doors have any of the carbon fiber panels?

  • No it absolutely is not. The one in the accessories catalog is hysterically bad looking in person.

  • Nice, but $27,550 seems a bit steep.

    A new 2004 Chili Red/White COOPER S, Sport Package, with Leather MSRP's at $23,049. Add another $1687 for the R90s. That takes us to $24,736. (all pricing information taken straight from

    So what is the extra $2500+ being added for (note: my price comparison has destination charges included for both the MC40 car and the normal pricing)?

    “Exclusive” magnets and markings?

    It would have been nice if MINI had made something that was a little bit more than a purely cosmetic tribute to their own rally heritage.

  • add about $2000 for that dash and the driving lights 🙂

  • Frank

    Very nice, but… for $27K I was expecting some juicy performance mods like the JCW package.

    I still contend that CR/W is the absolute best combo in the MINI and when you add the extra chrome bits, the car just looks gorgeous!

    By the way, notice that the 3-spoke steering wheel does not MFSW buttons or cruise (Strike #1), no HK stereo or rain sensing/auto mirror? (Strike #2) and quite frankly I prefer the Anthracite dash over the Carbon Fiber in the MC40 (Strike #3).

    I like the big chromed “GB” letters in the hatch. I like them so much that I am thinking of ordering a pair of the same exact letters from for $21 bucks. They are self adhesive and made of real metal, not plastic.

    The MC40 is sure a head turner but not worth $27K in my book. This car screams for JCW kit standard at that high admission price.

    Perhaps the whole entire 1K unit production will be sold out by the end of the week. More power to new MC40 buyers.

    I wonder if MINIUSA will sell car chassis #1 to the general public? If so that will be the most valuable car of the entire run.

    What is that switch located in the driver's side knee bolster panel? Is that the rear fog light???

    Speaking of knee bolster panels, this MC40 should have come with the Euro parcel shelf but probably is not “legal” to sell it from factory with it.

    While the red leather seats are interesting I don't like them. look a bit cheap at list in the photos.

    Well, so I guess as soon as I get in the mail my chromed “GB” letters and my magnetic number “37” meatballs for each door I will too will be driving my very own MC40 “By Frank”..LOL

  • Frank

    I just finished off configuring a base '04 MCS with all the goodies included in the MC40 (The ala carte options) which are:

    Xenons OBC Front and rear fog lights Rally lights DSC R90 wheels

    The total comes about $1,150 less than the $27K + 550 freight for the MC40. So I guess in reality the cost of the extra chrome line bits, the stickers, shifter, dash carbon kit is what makes up the $1.1K difference over a similarly equipped base MCS.

    I still contend the best MCS is a base model with a few options a la carte or a base MCS with JCW kit.

    All of a sudden that JCW kit doesn't seem overpriced anymore after the arrival of the MC40.

  • Frank – things to note:

    I can't stress how nice the carbon fiber dash was in person. Very subtle and very high quality.

    The car can be ordered to your spec so if you want HK it's available.

    Several MINI execs made it a point to say that the JCW kit could be added (and should according to one) to the MC40.

    The chrome letters on the MC40 seem to be the exact ones you mention – I know I have a pair on the back of my MINI 🙂

    The switch is for the driving lights.

    Again the red leather is much nicer in person. However it does have a sportier feel than the more sublte lapis blue.

  • While I agree with you Frank – I would take one and add the JCW kit in a heartbeat if I had an extra 32k(!!) laying around.

  • Frank

    Dave Bunting, you need to compare “apples to apples” sort of speak:

    2004 MCS CR/W:

    Xenons Front and rear fogs OBC Rally lights Chrome mirror caps Chrome front grille R90s DSC Gravity leather (Red leather is not available in regular production models) Rubber floor mats

    Per MINIUSA car comes out to:

    $25,699 including $550 for freight charge.

    So the “real” differenc ebetween this car I just configured and the MC40 is $1,851. So you are paying almost $2K extra for stickers, badges, red dyed leather, shift knob, carbon fiber dash, center console gauges (Add $250) and signed “Paddy” plaque in the interior.

    Nice markup. So let's see so MINI will make an extra $2 million in profit when it sells the entire 1K MC40 production run.

    Maybe I should sell badges and stickers myself….


  • Frank

    Gabe, I will definetely give that carbon Fiber dash and red leather interior a second look. I am not a fan of the carbon fiber look but will give it the benefit of the doubt when my dealer gets a MC40 in their showroom and get a chance to take a peek inside.

    Thanks for clarifying the ordering in the MC40. I was under the impression that all 1K units came in a fixed configuration with no room to add options.

    Still at the end of the day by the time you add HK, premium/sport/cold packs, NAV and JCW kit you are looking at a near $40K MCS!!!!!

  • But you can't expect any automaker to sell a limited edition model without some sort of mark-up for the add-ons. I think MINI is going about the process rather well.

    I believe in the end the MC40 will sell well and in fact sell out fairly quickly.

  • Frank

    Oh yeah! I will not be a bit surprised if that entire MC40 production run is not sold out coming Monday of next week.

    MINI knows what is doing. They know the MC40 will sell well in the US but maybe not as well in Europe hence their decision to make it a US model only.

    The MC40 reminds me of the “Canadian Launch” Cooper editions first sold north of the border.

    You must be dead tired Gabe! Anyway, thanks for the excellent reporting and photos. Believe it or not I stayed up late waiting for your article to be posted.

  • Why only for the US market …. 🙁 I want to have one……

  • Matt

    Gabe, are you sure about the ability to spec options? i asked one of the kids attending the booth and they said they're all as is, no options available.

  • Lee Langston

    Oohh, I like the chrome boot lip. I wonder if that can be retrofitted?

  • Robert

    Gabe, thanks for the wonderful post. Kool movie and pics.

    I think the car has some nice details, would love the dash in mine, but I must agree with some of the others it's weak. I think a special edition should be that, not just some nice parts here and there.

    I would have loved to meet Paddy….WOW!


  • Frank

    Lee, yest it can. In fact the chrome front grille, chrome mirror caps and chrome boot lid are part of a package called “Chrome trim line” which is sold in Europe but not here. However, you can buy all 3 components separately at your dealer's parts counter with no further issues.

    When I ordered my MCS, I had the dealer install the chrome grille and mirror caps but not the boot lid. While I like the chrome boot lid it has a tremendous appearance problem….your fingerprints get printed there every time you touch it and looks aweful. So then I decided to leave the stock MCS body color boot lid as it hides fingerprints much better.

    Also this MC40 sample in Gabe's pics does not have a chrome boot lid…

  • Robert

    PS……too bad it couldn't have been right hand drive…RB

  • Frank

    Sorry I'll take that back…the pic does indeed show the chrome boot lid.

  • Ken Endres

    Lee, you can use the inside handle to close the boot and you never get your hands dirty or your finger prints on the boot.

  • Frank

    Ken, I also have a Cooper with the chrome boot lid and believe me you will get your fingerprints on it even if you close the hatch from within the inside handles.

  • While there are handles under there and I use them religously my… uh-em… wife forgets from time to time 😉 and yes it does fingerprint easily.

  • flyboy66

    Gabe, thanks for all your hard work. I am glad that you can get the H/K. 3 weeks ago I was going to order a CR/W with those options. My name is already at the dealer.

  • I am sure it is a fantastic vehicle. It is just not “me”. I would feel funny driving around in a car all tarted up like that. Just my 2 sense.

  • jim mccarthy

    The MC40 looks great!! In the long run it will be worth twice as much in 20-30 years. I'm sure some folks are already drooling over its potential investment value. I would consider getting one if I didn't just purchased my 2004 CR/W MC. I also predict that it will sell out quickly and become a big hit at auto shows around the U.S. I do like the GB on the back. Let's people know the origin of the car. Credo's to the BMW marketing boys!!

  • Al


    So, how did you get them to brand your initials at the back of the car? 🙂


  • Update: The car cannot be specced any different than what you see here.

    So essentially no premium pack and no cold weather pack. Otherwise it will have what is essentially the sport pack and rear foglights. More to come…

  • I thought I posted here…Can't find it in the list.

    Anyhow, Seeing that it cannot be ordered to your liking (hence LTD), it is purely a collectible. A collectible with an ugly interior. CF is fun and sweet, but you have to bring that element through the rest of the styling. I was hoping to see a significant change in some facet of the production to warrant it's namesake. A few decals, special interio plates, and a signed plaque are not interesting enough, for me. For any of you guys/gals out there who are die hard , it's a cool addition to the collection. I can't wait to see the dealer mark up on these. You thought $3000 mark ups were shocking. 1000 made = Highest bidder.

  • Are the rear seats red too, or just the standard black?

  • i just want the part #s and price for the carbon dash. it's really nice.

  • Tons more pics and info coming…

    …and yes the rears are red too.

  • dgszweda

    Question: Can you get the JCW kit on it.

    Also, they will sell for much more than $27,000. I will not be suprised at all seeing someone post that their dealer is selling them for $35,000. There just isn't much exclusivity in this car except for the shifter, cf dash, seats and plaque. These are just very minor things. I wish they would have done somthing more along the racing theme lines, like a very stripped out car with carbon fiber hood and superlight wheels. Stripped out, I mean stuff removed like A/C, rear seats… This would have made it quite cool, especially very light Mini wheels. The car itself doesn't speak to the racing heritage, except for some stickers.

  • Frank

    I suspected that the car could not be specced like any other regular production MINI. $27K for a MCS with not even MFSW included???

  • Robert

    dgszweda…….here, here! I agree!


  • Robert

    I don't understand why the plaque only has Paddy Hopkirk's name and did not include Henry Liddon. As most who follow WRC know the navigator is as important as the driver if not more so. even back then.

    Kinda like Abbott w/o out Costello.

  • I believe it's because Mr Liddon passed away a few years back.

  • Robert

    No dead guys on the car, hum? Says something about the marketing people, to me.

  • M. Dillon

    Thanks for the great pictures of the Limited Edition MCS,Gabe. By viewing the extra pictures,I was able to have a question that I posted last night answer. —Will the '05 MCS grill be chrome;or will it be monochromatic? Mmmmm,Boooyyy!!! I can see that '05 Open MCS,with the JCW kit from Hank Arron Mini parked in front of my house by 'Xmas time.Peace.

  • Pat Crowley

    I really must disagree with everyone that says the seats look bad. In person they are VERY VERY nice looking. And that carbon fiber dash is really a nice piece of work. If only I could afford a summer weekend toy that baby would be mine. I believe that the take it or leave it as far as options goes is kind of a downer. The car is a collectible, not necessarily meant as a daily driver. The only thing that made me roll my eyes about the whole event was when Paddy opened up by saying how wonderful Chicago was and how great a show they put on. Wonder if he says that at every city, LOL.

  • Robert

    Not everyone thought the seats are bad and I also like the dash, wish I had it in my MCS instead of the tacky brushed/swirled or whatever they call dash….RB

  • Lee Langston

    Thanks for the info about the Chrome boot lip.

    I already use the latch hoop to close the boot most of the time but somethings have to puch on the license plate to get it to shut all the way.

    I just love the way it looks on the car especially since I already got the front chrome grilles from the dealer.

    Time to give Classic MINI a call I guess.

  • Casey Swenson

    Over Priced and Fluff….i would have perfered to see some inovations instead of just a history rip off. No performance since the original didn't have added performance? I don't buy it, then why super fancy wheels, carbon fiber dash, luxury leather seats??? the original didn't have that. Also for the people that added the prices up – you gotta remember these are factory prices not the dealer prices your using. The R90s don't add 1600 to the price as you don't get other wheels…when you buy the r90s now you have to get your normal wheels first then buy a 2nd set which is the r90s. With this kit you are essentially trading your stock wheels for the r90s and would only add maybe 600-700 more to the price…not 1600. To me the car seems to be just marketing fluff…the only people that will buy it will be people that were going to buy a MINI anyway…it isn't going to capture any new markets etc.

  • Seth S

    Saw the MC40 in person last week at Crown MINI in Richmond. IMHO, the red accents on the seats are absolutely gorgeous. Don't really care for the carbon fiber dash. Was dissapointed that the stickers and magnets are just that. It would have been really awesome if for the 1-2 grand for these stickers and magents that it would have been hand-painted on at the factory. I also agree that some sort of performance mods would have been nice like cross drilled and slotted rotors w/ steel brake lines or something like that. Also superlight wheels would have been better than the R90's. Just my $0.02

  • Pingback: Chicago MINI Motoring Club » Archive » CMMC Elections 2008()

  • Pingback: MotoringFile » Archive » The Full Story Behind the MC40()