Pedestrian impact standards. Crash standards. Efficiency standards. Lets just get them out of the way. These are the typical reasons stated why automakers redesign their cars every 6-7 years. You can also add to the list changing consumer tastes and the need to attract customers by new designs and different offerings.
It’s all in the name of progress. But as many MF readers know progress doesn’t always appeal to everyone.
Case in point the R53 Cooper S. For many of us it’s the car that began our love our MINIs. Arguably it’s also the most iconic car MINI’s made since the classic Mini. MotoringFile called it the last classic car that will ever be made while it was still being produced. It wasn’t refined in any way yet it’s the immediately fun car we had ever driven outside of a classic Mini.
Another example is the first generation Clubman. Weird in all the right ways it defied categorization by taking a small city car and growing it only slightly and adding one small door. It’s the kind of car that we all knew would never sell in quantity but we were so thankful MINI made it. As much as we love our new Clubman (and in most ways prefer it) we miss the smaller more nimble R55.
Take away all those standards that cars have to meet and all the arguments why old cars wouldn’t sell in mass numbers for a moment. Wouldn’t it be interesting if MINI could sell a few of these old models along side the new more modern line-up similar to how Apple sells previous generation devices. Looking at the Apple model, the strategy is to take last year’s high-end phone and sell it for less to reach a different market. For MINI it would be a very different strategy. Sell an older generation in small numbers at a higher price and target enthusiasts and those who simply prefer the older cars.
It defies standard automotive logic and it would have to overcome enormous legislative hurdles. But it makes for a great dream. In the meantime prices of low mileage R53s keep going down and they keep looking appealing.