Mini stylists took a trip to the design well and came back with a limited-edition model named Coral Red inspired by the brand’s heritage. Offered with two or four doors, it’s scheduled to arrive in showrooms this month.
As its name clearly implies, the Coral Red edition primarily stands out from the Cooper S it’s based on with Coral Red Metallic paint borrowed from the Clubman’s palette. Black paint on the door mirrors and on the roof adds a touch of contrast. Mini also added 17-inch Rail Spoke wheels, LED lights at both ends, plus a long list of piano black trim pieces including the headlight bezels, the door handles, and the emblems.
Photos of the interior haven’t been published yet, but the BMW-owned firm noted the Carbon Red edition gains additional piano black trim in the cabin. It also receives black leatherette upholstery.
Mini made no mechanical changes, so power for the Coral Red comes from the same 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine as the Cooper S. It’s turbocharged to deliver 189 horsepower at 5,000 rpm and 207 pound-feet of torque at 1,350 rpm, and it once again spins the front wheels via a six-speed manual transmission. Alternatively, buyers who want two pedals can order a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic at extra cost.
Approximately 300 examples of the Coral Red have been earmarked for the American market. Pricing starts at $34,125 for the two-door and $35,370 for the four-door, figures that include a mandatory $850 destination charge. In comparison, the standard Cooper S costs $28,100 with two doors and $29,100 with four.
Although the pink-ish Coral Red color comes from the Clubman, the first Mini to wear something like it was the 1100 Special model introduced in 1979 to celebrate the Mini’s 20th anniversary. It was one of the first in a shockingly long line of limited-edition variants released largely to hide the fact that British Leyland (and, later, the Rover Group) either didn’t know how to replace the original Mini or didn’t have the money required to fund the project, depending on the era, market conditions, and who was in charge of either company at a given time.
Sold exclusively in England, the 1100 Special was available in two metallic colors named Silver Grey (shown above) and Rose, respectively; the latter was close to 2020’s Coral Red hue. Silver cars featured a black vinyl roof, while Rose cars were topped with beige vinyl. Black stripes above both rocker panels, a passenger-side door mirror, wider tires wrapped around 10-inch alloy wheels and tucked under fender flares, as well as turn signal repeaters mounted on the front fenders added a finishing touch to what was a decidedly upmarket look.
Looking through the tinted windows revealed a floor-mounted console, a radio, a cigar lighter and an electric clock, items that were a bigger deal in 1979. Special models also received thicker carpet, a tachometer, specific cloth upholstery, and a two-spoke steering wheel with a commemorative logo. There were no mechanical modifications, so every Special shipped with a 44-horsepower 1.1-liter engine bolted on top of a four-speed manual transmission. Only 5,000 units were made, many rusted (the original Mini did that very well) or were driven into the ground, so the model is relatively sought-after among collectors in 2020.