Early R53 Cooper S Buying Advice

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  1. #1
    Theory Test Pass Sprockutt's Avatar
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    Hi All,
    I was i the fortunate position in the early 2000's to have bought both a new Cooper in 2002 and a Cooper S in 2004. I've been on the lookout for a while for decent Cooper S to have as a weekend toy and now have the chance of a very early Cooper S with a Chilli pack and a panoramic roof that was registered on the 1st of September 2002. It's a one owner car that has only covered about 34k miles and has lived it's life just North of London so corrosion shouldn't be too bad hopefully.

    The main things that have been flagged up on the MOT history are that it has a corroded front coil spring and brake pipes and possibly due to the low mileage these haven't been attended to due to only being advisories. The other thing that has caused MOT fails is a recurring problem with headlight aim, too low/too high etc.

    Overall the car does look to be in very good order from the pictures but I can't get down to see it for myself due to restrictions. Although they aren't too far from Deutsch Tech in Milton Keynes who could do an inspection service for me for around 90 which I would think be a good idea. I do know that it was in at Deutsch Tech to have the front bushes replaced a few years back so they have seen the car previously.

    I just wanted to get any kind of advice as it's been a long time since I've had a MINI and they were brand new back then.

  2. #2
    Super Moderator Alasdair JCW's Avatar
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    I don't have much experience with the 1st generation cars but, from what I've heard and read, they do seem to be a bit more reliable than other models provided they've been well looked after. I do know there were gearbox issues with some of the earlier models but the main issues I think are just those that you'd expect on a car that's coming up for 20 years old.

    I'd say the inspection service would be well worth, even just for peace of mind that an independent and knowledgable pair of eyes has had a good look at it.
    F56 GP with some JCW Pro goodies.

  3. #3
    Site Owner badwolf340's Avatar
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    Some of the common problems with R53’s are engine oil leaks ,subframe bushes power steering problems ,cooling leaks the usual sorts of stuff ,get it checked over for these common issues and go from there sounds great with that mileage on it
    The cars in front are New MINI Scotland



  4. #4
    Site Owner MINI William's Avatar
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    Sounds a good little car. Oil leaks are a problem on an R53 along with subframe bushes and coolant leaks. The boot above the boot handle is also bad for rusting
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  5. #5
    Theory Test Pass Sprockutt's Avatar
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    Cheers for the replies guys and the car is now booked into Deutsch Tech for an inspection. To be fair to the seller he is keen on having it inspected for his peace of mind as well and is being good enough to take the car and spend a couple of hours waiting for it whilst its being done.

    All going well I should be going down to get it as soon as restrictions have been lifted

  6. #6
    Site Owner MINI William's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sprockutt View Post
    Cheers for the replies guys and the car is now booked into Deutsch Tech for an inspection. To be fair to the seller he is keen on having it inspected for his peace of mind as well and is being good enough to take the car and spend a couple of hours waiting for it whilst its being done.

    All going well I should be going down to get it as soon as restrictions have been lifted
    Good news and a nice thing for the current owner to agree to do
    Racing Grey F56 JCW GP 0370 - Chilli Red Mirror Caps, JCW Shiftlight, Motech Performance By PiperCross Panel Filter, Custom GP Steering Wheel Spoke, Custom GP Side Scuttles, JCW Pro Mats, RSI C6 Carbonfibre Scoop

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  7. #7
    Super Moderator Alasdair JCW's Avatar
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    Excellent news.
    F56 GP with some JCW Pro goodies.

  8. #8
    Werther's Original & Sponsor ELFMAN's Avatar
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    Good Luck with your prospective purchase, I think you’re going about it in exactly the right way under the current circumstances.

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  9. #9
    Theory Test Pass Sprockutt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ELFMAN View Post
    Good Luck with your prospective purchase, I think you’re going about it in exactly the right way under the current circumstances.
    Cheers, it's not natural for me to be patient where buying a car is concerned but we need to be sensible these days with current circumstances.

    Although it is a slightly unusual sale to be honest in that he had taken the advert down several moths ago after changing his mind about selling last year. I just recently dropped him a message to see if he was reconsidering selling again this year and fortunately he was. So given it isn't currently advertised for sale and that I've made him a good offer, it's all quite relaxed and he's happy to take it for the inspection knowing that I won't actually be able to come down and collect and conclude the deal until around the end of April.

    I'm also a bit more relaxed with the inspection as although I've never used them it appears Deutsch Tech have a good reputation and know there way around mini's. I had only previously heard of them when looking into buying a brand new JCW last year and I seriously considered a DT Edition JCW. They produce these in conjunction with Berry MINI and the visual/suspension and exhaust modifications they make don't affect the warranty on a new car. I've not ruled out a DT Edition in the future at some point but waiting to see what they come up with for the LCI2.

  10. #10
    Theory Test Pass Sprockutt's Avatar
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    So the owner took it into Deutsch Tech and the only thing they highlighted was a slightly corroded o/s front brake pipe. Not bad for a 19 year old car!

    Road trip planned for the end of lockdown to collect

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