I started falling for the MINI Cooper back in April of 2004 when I went car shopping for my mom. We test drove a number of cars including the VW Golf, Mazda 3, and a variety of other small hatchbacks. At the time, the Scion Xa had not reached the Chicago area, but would have been another on our test drive list. My mom ended up getting the Chevy Aveo, which was a new model for 2004, but she did consider the MINI. Some of the things that turned her off were the sporty nature and look, the lack of room of the interior, and the fact that it only came in a three door model (she wanted a five door car). The major turn off was the price, which was almost double of the Aveo.
All good points, but none of those were issues for me. After test driving the MINI, I knew that I would get a Cooper as my next car. I felt that if I were to buy a Cooper, I would have to think of it as a premium sports car for a great price. At this time, the MCS was only available as a 6 speed manual, but a new MCS auto was on the horizon.
Over the next year or so, I visited the dealer about once a week, test driving the CVT Cooper to get a feel of the car in general, and asking as much I could about the future MCSa; and, without the full support of my family, I went ahead and put a deposit for MCSa in October of 2004. The wait time was about two months, but I intended to take delivery in the beginning of April and did not want any surprise delays with delivery time. So I was put on the wait list and allowed people to go ahead of me as needed to get the car when I wanted.
I ended up taking delivery on April 15th (tax day) just in time for some Spring motoring. I was extremely happy to say the least. Mini Dee was waiting in the show room, all nice and shiny. I even was offered to drive it out of the show room, but I opted not to for fear of hitting the door or something. My dark silver/black roof MINI Cooper S automatic had only 11 miles on it, if I remember correctly.
Here's my original spec list: