Limited-production commemorative edition celebrates the 40th anniversary of MINI's win of the famed Monte Carlo Rally in 1964 - a victory that forever changed the reputation of MINI to that of a true motorsport legend.
The MINI Cooper S MC40 possesses all the distinctive visual characteristics that
connects this limited production model to that of its historic predecessor. With
only 1,000 units planned, the limited production MC40 comes with a set list of
standard equipment and special features and will appear only in Chili Red with a
white roof - the signature colors of the winning car.
MINI and the 1964 Monte Carlo Rally
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.
The MINI Cooper S MC40
Competitors could not miss the distinctive red and white colors and tidy
dimensions of the Mini that wrote history in 1964. Taking cues from the winning
car, the same colors adorn the MINI Cooper S MC40. Special commemorative
markings on the car include the famous "33-EJB" on the bonnet and a special 40th
anniversary rally graphic on both the bonnet and rear quarters. The car proudly
wears special magnetic door plaques with the unmistakable white and black
"number 37". The plaques stay securely in place at speed, but can be easily
removed if needed.
The MINI Cooper S MC40 comes with a set of distinctive 17-inch, multi-spoke alloy wheels. The two-piece wheels are finished in anthracite gray and feature a polished aluminum lip. Other special equipment includes rally-style driving lights with chrome bezels, a chrome grille, mirror caps and rear boot handle. A tasteful 'GB' insignia adorns the rear boot lid, paying tribute to the car's place-of-origin in Oxford, England.
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 - features a rally driver could have only dreamed of in 1964.
In the cabin, the dash panel is clad in genuine, lightweight carbon fiber and the seats wear striking red and black leather upholstery unique to this model. A special gauge package is mounted in the center console and indicates voltage and oil temperature. The shift knob features a 40th Anniversary Monte Carlo insignia and has a satin aluminum finish. The interior also features a thick leather wrapped, three-spoke sport wheel and all-weather rubber floor mats to protect the carpets from would-be rally drivers' shoes.
To round out the unique features included in the MINI Cooper S MC40, there is a special numbered commemorative plate in the center console indicating the exclusivity of each car.
"We have created this car to mark a great event in MINI's history", stated Jack Pitney, Vice President, MINI USA. "The 1964 Monte Carlo victory was the event that put MINI on the map to become a lasting motoring icon and the MINI Cooper S MC40 pays a fitting tribute to our rich heritage."
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.