Chances are, if you’re a collector of the Hot Wheels #Mini Cooper, this piece was (or still is) your holy grail when it comes to completing all the variants of this casting’s collection. Even back in 2002, this was not an easy car to find as it seemed to be in short supply as a #Power Launcher Exclusive. While, I never tested this car in the power launcher it came with, for fear of damaging a pretty hard car to locate, I have always assumed it was discontinued (as part of the line) because of its performance — or what I meant to say is its lack there of. See, with the Power Launchers, many castings (like the #Dodge Viper RT/10) were repeated over the line’s existence … so it only makes sense (in my mind) that a car that didn’t perform well would get a one-off, shortened run, when it was revealed after the fact. Its impossible to know how many people passed up this release thinking it was just another repaint, but as you can see below, this car came with the same roof graphic four times over a 3-year span (not counting wheels variations) and when you get all the ones that had the #Wire-Spoke/Lace Wheels together, they make a great set.
Being that orange was my favorite color at the time, and that this #Phil Riehlman designed casting was also among my favorites, it was a must-have for me. I did have to resort to the secondary market however just to obtain one. Back in 2002, I was able to get one off eBay for a mere $10. It seemed like a lot at the time, as it was double the price of the power launcher itself, but my gotta-have-its got the best of me. This instance is one of the rarer examples of the gotta-have-its working to your benefit as this release just became harder and harder to find over the years. Recently, I saw one listed on eBay for $170 with a bunch of people watching it. We will see if someone’s trigger finger gets itchy and meets the seller’s price. While it wouldn’t be shocking if someone did, most #Mini Cooper collectors expect this release (in its original packaging) to easily set you back $100.