2009 MINI Cooper S Clubman – Road Test

Road Test: 2009 MINI Cooper S Clubman
Text & Images: Iain Shankland

Having grown up in the UK, the Mini has always been an integral part of the roadscape to me. From the familiar and traditional 2-door version to a station wagon (Clubman), to a panel van version and even a pick up, the mini was everywhere. When British Leyland (BL) decided to re-design the Mini in the mid-eighties, more than a few people went: “Bluh” and refused to buy it.

British Leyland scrambled and re-introduced the “Mini Classic” – basically the original version with a couple of new elements, to it like bigger wheels and brakes, more creature comforts and a price increase to boot. The “Classic” continued to be sold alongside the new one and handily outsold the newer version for more than two decades. BL was eventually sold and carved up, with various parts sold to other manufacturers. Continue reading

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2008 MINI Cooper S + John Cooper Works Edition – Road Test

Road Test: 2008 MINI Cooper & 2008 MINI Cooper S John Cooper Works Edition
Text & Images: Iain Shankland

2008 MINI Cooper S John Cooper Works Edition, Iain Shankland, Road-Test.org

Having grown up in the UK for the most part, the Mini has always been an integral part of the road-scape for me. Although it had a bit of a cult following over here in North America, there were numerous versions of the Mini in Britain and Europe. From the familiar and traditional 2-door version to a station wagon (Clubman), to a panel van version and a pick up – the mini was everywhere. The Post Office had what seemed like millions of them and they seemed to be standard issue for every traveling salesman. And let’s not forget the movie “The Italian Job” – it just wouldn’t have been the same if they’d used VW Beetles, would it?

When the Mini was redesigned in the mid ‘80’s a lot of people in Britain were upset because it was nothing like the original – it was just downright ugly. British Leyland – or whatever it was called at the time – was derided for designing such a dog. A “Mini Classic” continued and outsold the newer version for more than two decades. Forever hampered by weekly wildcat strikes, by a union that thought that people would always buy the crap they were building because it was British, BL struggled for years. The company was eventually sold and carved up, with various parts sold to other manufacturers. More than a few Brits were upset that German manufacturer – BMW, had gobbled up the Mini, Rolls Royce and Rover. Continue reading