By William Clavey, Wheels.ca
Looking to have a bit of fun during the warm summer months without breaking the bank? Here’s a guide on buying and modifying a first-generation MINI Cooper R50, a future classic.
If you’re an automotive enthusiast looking for something cheap and fun in the secondhand market these days, things are a little rough. Ever since the COVID-19 pandemic hit us back in 2020, prices of iconic enthusiast-friendly classics have skyrocketed, making them, in some cases, more expensive than a brand-new sports car. But not all hope is lost, because there are still some hidden gems out there for any budget. One example is the first-generation MINI Cooper R50, an underrated future classic. It was sold here in Canada from 2002 to 2006 (2008 for the convertible).
When these cars came out, they were all about smiles per gallon. They were lightweight and tiny compared to anything else on the road, huge fun to drive and beautifully styled by non-other than Frank Stephenson. They also marked the return of the iconic MINI brand thanks to new BMW ownership.