Racing Minis at Zandvoort
Photo: Copyright © 2019 Eelke Blok


It's been quiet on the new Mini front for quite a while. Last time I reported, I was trying to decide whether to get a white car at extra cost, or opting for another color. Neither option appealed to me at the time, really (especially because I don't believe a premium for white is justified in case of a Mini).

Since then, a lot has happened. First, word reached the Mini2 community that new colors were coming available for the 2006 model year; Solar Red and Space Blue. I especially liked the Solar Red, which was going to be a deep, metallic red.

Next, Hyper Blue, up till now a Cooper S-only color, was rumoured to become available in 2006 as well, which was later confirmed by my dealer. With the Solar Red not materializing, this seemed the most interesting at the time.

Then, Mini announced three new special editions (clearly meant to boost Mini sales for the last year before the new model is launched in 2007). The special editions were given names from the Mini past; Seven (after the first Mini ever to be available, the Austin Seven which was launched in 1959 alongside its brother Morris Mini Minor), Park Lane (80s luxury special edition) and Checkmate (90s Special Edition, basically a 1000 with Cooper-look).

The new Seven sported the previously rumoured Solar Red color, but apart from that it didn't appeal to me very much. The same was true for the Park Lane, which was just too luxurious for my taste and has the (IMHO) horrible chrome line interior as standard. However, the sporty Checkmate was right up my alley. It would be available as Cooper and Cooper S, and appeared to incorporate most goodies I was planning to put into my Mini2 anyway.

It took a while for all required information to materialize, so a quote could go to the lease company and we could get clearance, but now I am happy to say it's down to just me signing the company car agreement, after which the order can go out. Cars with the new colors (including my choice, Space Blue) will only be produced in October, so the wait is not over yet, but hopefully by mid november, my daily driver will be (almost) as cool as my classic Mini again.

Here's the spec for the car that's on order (* is what's standard on the Checkmate, + is what I intended to get anyway, so you can see how well the Checkmate matched up):

  • Space Blue Metalic, roof and mirrors Silver*
  • John Cooper Works Stage 1 tuning kit (Or Soundkit, as they tend to call it ;) - Not a lot of extra grunt, but a nice ECU remap and most importantly, a sweet exhaust note)
  • Upholstery Cloth/Leather Checkmate Space Blue*
  • Chrome bumpers*+
  • Sport Suspension Plus*+
  • Leather multi functional steering wheel (cruise control and radio controls)*+
  • ASC+T stability control*
  • Roof spoiler*+
  • S-Spoke 17" wheels+
  • Sport seats*+
  • Roof lining panther black*+
  • Interior panels Space Blue Metallic*
  • Fog lights*+
  • Climate Control+
  • CD frontloader*+
  • White indicator lights*

Now, I can't wait until it's here.

[Update 1-9-2005: The order went out to the lease company last week, so now the long wait starts.]

[Update 9-9-2005: I got a call yesterday from my dealer, saying he finally got the order in from the lease company.]

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