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Weekly Craigslist Hidden Treasure: 2009 Mini Cooper S Clubman

Car Culture / 5 Comments

It's still underrated to this day.

The Mini Cooper Clubman was always something of an oddity. Inspired by the classic Mini wagons from the 1960s, the first generation Clubman is essentially a stretched Mini three-door hatchback, though with a couple of significant additions: suicide doors and bi-parting rear doors. At least that's how it was for the first generation Clubman.

Its second-generation successor, still currently on sale, ditched those suicide doors for a conventional pair while the rear door design remained in place. But it was the first-gen model that we think will go down as a classic because it was just so wonderfully weird. There was nothing else like it. Launched for 2007, the original BMW-owned Mini Cooper Clubman was classified as a five-door supermini wagon.

Compared to the second-gen Cooper at the time, the Clubman's length increased by 9.4 inches and its wheelbase was also 3.1-inches longer. This resulted in expanded rear-seat legroom and deeper cargo space. Instead of the three-door Cooper's 24 cubic feet, the Clubman offered 33 cubic feet, once the rear seats were folded. Despite that, the Clubman weighed only 141 pounds more. Its trademark suicide door is located on the right side only, regardless of whether it was a left- or right-hand drive model.

Unfortunately, in right-hand drive markets, this created something of a problem because the steering would not enable the driver's seat from folding forward as far as the front passenger seat could. Not the biggest inconvenience, but there was nothing Mini could do about it. Re-engineering the entire car solely to create a left body side suicide door did not make financial sense.

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Also like the regular Cooper, the Clubman was offered with the same variants, including gasoline and diesel engines, and the more powerful S and John Cooper Works (JCW). Under the hood, at least for North America, is a 1.6-liter inline-four. This was turbocharged for the S and JCW variants, where it produced 176 hp and 208 hp, respectively. Either a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic were available, with power being sent to the front wheels only. When the Clubman launched it was the largest Mini to date. A lot of brand enthusiasts weren't so happy about that, though today they're likely even more bothered by the Countryman and the second-gen Clubman which, not at all surprisingly, grew in size.

Heck, the entire Mini lineup, including the regular hardtop and convertible, has never been bigger. And because of this, there has been something of a resurgence of previous-gen Minis lately. Not everyone is racing to buy a first or second-gen model, but there's a greater appreciation for both given the growth spurt.

And this leads us to this 2009 Mini Cooper Clubman S up for sale on Craigslist. Located in Los Angeles, this Clubman is reportedly in great condition and has just 53,000 miles on its odometer. And yes, this Clubman has the six-speed manual, making it even more fun to drive. Other features include traction control, sport mode, a panoramic dual-pane sunroof, fog lights, sport stripe, tinted windows, and alloy wheels. Asking price: $6,998. Given it's a decade old and the relatively low mileage, this really isn't such a bad price. It certainly cost a lot more when new, which was at least $23,000. The price of a brand new base Clubman today is nearly $25,000, just to compare.

So call the first-gen Mini Cooper Clubman weird, unique, or whatever. It had a personality and was fun to drive. Despite its relatively compact dimensions, interior space was sufficient. It still remains a fun car to own and drive.