Junkyard Find: 2007 Mini Cooper S

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin

The "New Mini" first appeared in North American showrooms as a 2002 model, as part of the turn-of-the-century wave of retro-styled machinery that included the Volkswagen New Beetle, Chrysler PT Cruiser and Chevrolet HHR. It took about a decade for the 21st-century Mini to begin showing up in car graveyards in large numbers, and they remain easy to find today. Here's an '07 Cooper S model in a Colorado yard.

When BMW bought the Rover Group in 1994, the original Mini (which began production by the British Motor Corporation in 1959) was still being built. The various BMC successors had tried and failed repeatedly to design a Mini successor over the decades, but it took a big stack of Deutschmarks (and, later on, Euros) to do the trick.

I know that the official name of this car's marque is spelled MINI in annoying all-caps letters, but I have adopted a policy of repairing make and model names that incorporate such maddening tricks as punctuation marks or all-uppercase/all-lowercase letters. That means I refuse to play the marketers' clever games with the Nissan LEAF, smart fortwo, Volkswagen up! and all the rest (FIAT is a tough one, since it started out as a legitimate acronym for Fabbrica Italiana Automobil di Torino, but the company itself ditched the all-caps spelling many years ago).

The MSRP for the regular 2007 Mini Cooper was $18,050, while the hot-rod Cooper S version listed at $21,850 (those prices come to $27,673 and $33,498 in 2024 dollars).

New for 2007 was this 1.6-liter turbocharged straight-four engine co-developed by Peugeot and BMW, replacing the supercharged Brazilian 1.6 and its Chrysler/Rover ancestry.

This engine was rated at 175 horsepower and 177 pound-feet.

A six-speed manual was standard equipment. A six-speed Steptronic automatic was available; unusually, the buyer of this car chose the three-pedal setup.

There were convertible versions of the Cooper and Cooper S available as well.

Mini dealers offered many add-on accessories, including these John Cooper Works sill plates. They didn't make this car a real JCW, but still looked cool.

Way back in 2009, a 24 Hours of Lemons team tried to get a 2005 Cooper S through the BS Inspection unscathed, earning 1,066 penalty laps in the process.

By about the middle 2010s, these cars began appearing en masse in the boneyards I frequent, so many that I thought about doing a Minipocalypse article on the subject (along the lines of the Subiepocalypse and 240calypse pieces I wrote for this publication).

Now, of course, Mini Coopers are seen competing in most 24 Hours of Lemons races. They're cheap, quick enough to be fun, and junkyard parts are plentiful. Their main drawback is poor reliability, a trait they share with Lemons cars made by Toyota, Audi, Subaru, Mitsubishi and Nissan (strangely, cheap Alfa Romeos are very reliable under punitive road-racing conditions).

You could do a lot worse than a Mini Cooper S as a cheap project car, thanks to their fell-off-a-cliff depreciation and vast parts availability.

There is a lot of room in here, huh?

From the "What could they have been thinking?" department.

2007 Mini Cooper S in Colorado junkyard.

2007 Mini Cooper S in Colorado junkyard.

2007 Mini Cooper S in Colorado junkyard.

2007 Mini Cooper S in Colorado junkyard.

2007 Mini Cooper S in Colorado junkyard.

2007 Mini Cooper S in Colorado junkyard.

2007 Mini Cooper S in Colorado junkyard.

2007 Mini Cooper S in Colorado junkyard.

2007 Mini Cooper S in Colorado junkyard.

2007 Mini Cooper S in Colorado junkyard.

2007 Mini Cooper S in Colorado junkyard.

2007 Mini Cooper S in Colorado junkyard.

2007 Mini Cooper S in Colorado junkyard.

2007 Mini Cooper S in Colorado junkyard.

2007 Mini Cooper S in Colorado junkyard.

2007 Mini Cooper S in Colorado junkyard.

2007 Mini Cooper S in Colorado junkyard.

2007 Mini Cooper S in Colorado junkyard.

2007 Mini Cooper S in Colorado junkyard.

[Images: The Author]

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Murilee Martin
Murilee Martin

Murilee Martin is the pen name of Phil Greden, a writer who has lived in Minnesota, California, Georgia and (now) Colorado. He has toiled at copywriting, technical writing, junkmail writing, fiction writing and now automotive writing. He has owned many terrible vehicles and some good ones. He spends a great deal of time in self-service junkyards. These days, he writes for publications including Autoweek, Autoblog, Hagerty, The Truth About Cars and Capital One.

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  • 3SpeedAutomatic 3SpeedAutomatic on Apr 11, 2024

    German design and British assembly.....two wrongs don't make it right...think I'll pass!!! 🚗🚗🚗

  • Gayneu Gayneu on Apr 12, 2024

    I can comment on these. My wife always thought the Minis were "cute" so I bought her a used 2005 (non-S, 5 speed) for one of her "special" birthdays. She loved it and I kinda did too. Somehow a hole developed in the transmission case and the fluid drained out, ruining the car (too expensive to fix). A local mechanic bought it for $800.


    We then bought a used 2015 S (6 speed) which we still have today (80k miles). Her sister just bought a used S as well (also manual). It has been a dependable car but BMW-priced maintenance and premium gas hurts for sure. I think the earlier generation (like in the article) were better looking with cleaner lines. The 2015 S rides too stiff for me (Chicago roads) but is a hoot on smooth ones. It does seem to shift weird - its hard to describe but it shifts differently from every other manual I have driven. No matter how hard I try, so won't let go of her Mini.

  • Wjtinfwb Job cuts and EV's... is that a winning strategy? You're locked in to substantial labor expense after the UAW agreement signed a few months ago. And EV's ain't exactly flying off the shelves en masse. Get the new Charger out already, it's been teased more than the Bronco and Supra were combined. Get a real Hybrid option out for the RAM trucks and big Jeeps that consumers will buy. Consider bringing back a Gen 3 Hemi with an aluminum block, direct injection and perhaps a Hybrid option to counter the Toyota debacle and get a jump on GM. Dump the Hornet and build Dodge a version of the Jeep Compass they can actually sell. A Dodge with Alfa bones isn't compelling to either brands fans. Fix the Durango's oil cooler problems to avoid alienating police departments nationwide. Do you want every cop in the US driving an Explorer? Freshen up the Pacifica and get Chrysler a cool sedan or wagon that can create a buzz like the 300 did more than a decade ago. And fix your dealers, they are by a large jackasses. Plenty of opportunity for improvement.
  • 3-On-The-Tree True that’s the worst beat down in history.
  • Jalop1991 Tesla has made getting repairs a real headache for some owners, as the automaker hasn’t allowed them to get work done at third-party shops. That policy has led owners to seek  class-action status against the company,So, move next to the airport then complain about the noise.Got it.
  • Jalop1991 One of the most interesting parts of this situation is that Stellantis, and by extension, the Chrysler Group, is increasingly considered a foreign companyNational Lampoon, May 1981.
  • ChristianWimmer This W126 example looks very nicely maintained and very clean inside and out. Definitely owned with love and respect. I can see Bill from Curious Cars selling this thing! My father drove a second hand bare bones facelifted 1985 Mercedes 300SE W126 back in the day until the early 2000s which eventually got passed down to me. The previous owner had only paid extra for a sunroof and automatic transmission. It had black cloth seats, no A/C, manual windows, no cruise control and those ugly plastic hubcaps which were so common on 1980s Mercedes’. I drove the 300SE for about seven years and enjoyed the comfort and pretty low running costs: reliable and also relatively fuel efficient. If you drove it normally you could get it to sip 9 L / 100 km. Motor oil consumption was pretty high as it got older needing a top up with 1 L of oil every 1,500-2,000 km, but this was apparently normal on the 3.0 inline-6. A comfortable long-distance cruiser and it even “handled” pretty nicely when you attempted to drive it in a 50% sporty manner on some backroads. After the free-for-all parking lot it usually parked on got demolished and parking such a huge barge became a problem, I ended up selling it to a local classic car club which still own it to this day and display it at classic car shows. Great memories of that car. 420SE/SEL and the 560SE/SEL are nice but the thirsty motors are something of a turn off.
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