Weekly Treasure: JDM Rover Mini Cooper

For Sale / 3 Comments

It's got the largest factory-installed engine.

The original Mini Cooper was built from 1959 until 2000, receiving regular updates throughout. What wasn't significantly changed during this 40-year period was the exterior design; no matter what, the original Mini was always instantly recognizable. The modern Mini is the result of BMW purchasing the brand in 2000 and completely redesigning the small two-door inside and out. Of course, there are millions of original Mini Cooper fans out there and while it's not difficult to find an old-school example, some are more interesting than others. This is one of them.

Up for sale from Michigan-based JDM Sports Classics is this 1994 Classic Mini Rover, internally known as the Mark VI that was built from 1990 until 1996. This generation received some significant internal changes in order to fit the larger 1275-cc inline-four engine. It had the largest factory-installed engine of any original Mini.

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This 1.3-liter engine, rated at around 60 horsepower (a lot for the tiny Mini), featured a fuel injection system instead of the old carburetor style, making it a better overall daily driver. Another major benefit of fuel injection was the ability for easy cold starts and improved fuel economy. The "Rover" Mini generation was exported in significant numbers to Japan, more so than previous versions. These JDM-spec examples came with several key differences compared to the Euro-bound models. Most commonly was the inclusion of optional air conditioning.

Like many Mini owners, Japanese drivers loved to customize them, such as this one. Its previous owner clearly took great care of it judging by its overall excellent condition. It also has just 47,000 miles on its clock. The owner performed a number of aftermarket upgrades that didn't ruin the iconic styling.

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Painted in a gorgeous Tangerine Orange, it's received a height-adjustable suspension, Momo steering wheel, a new shift knob, custom rear wing and fuel filler cap, unique side mirrors, custom exhaust, aftermarket fender flares, and ridiculously cool custom metal interior door handles and window cranks. Interestingly, it's not equipped with the usual manual gearbox but rather a four-speed automatic. It's not the end of the world but a manual definitely would have been our preferred choice. Some recent work includes a new front lower and upper ball joints, a new exhaust manifold gasket, and a new valve cover gasket.

Offered at a very reasonable $14,995, it's still nearly $8,000 less than a brand-new base trim Mini Cooper Hardtop. It may not have all of the modern amenities, but it'll never lose its charm.

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