Feb 5th, 2004
After taking the whole MC40 press introduction in yesterday I thought it would be best to take some time and thoroughly go over the MC40 without the crowds and cameras. You can see some further details of the car by checking out the greatly expanded photo section (to the left).
Beyond photos and seat time I was also after some of the story behind this quickly concieved and designed MINI. What I found out was quite enlightening
While the MC40 is a fabulous package in it’s current production form it could have been even more so.
Feb 4th, 2004
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.