Ask any collector for a top 10 list of Red Line Club (#RLC) releases and I’m almost certain this #’01 Mini Cooper doesn’t show up. That mostly speaks to the hundreds of awesome cars the club has released on HWC over the last 20 years, but in a world of latest & greatest hype and RLC prices skyrocketing, this Mini isn’t brought up in collector circles too often — if at all.
Yeah, I do a lot of social listening. I am always watching what collectors are talking about, and what they are finding in stores. I have done so for a looong time. I even watch a good amount of diecast YouTubers. Currently, I am surprised that no one is talking about this release from 2012. Not now — given that we are in the midst of another Olympiad — and not even before. It is by far and away the highest quality (and best looking) Hot Wheels Olympics release we have ever seen, and there has been quite a few!
Sold July 24, 2012 on HotWheelsCollectors.com, the “United States Olympic Committee” #’01 Mini Cooper was an interesting vehicle to slap an #American Flag on. It turned out that since the 2012 Olympic games were in London that year, #Mini — originally a British company — was a huge supporter of them. Mini’s parent company, BMW — a German company — thought it would help the brand’s sporty image. Somewhere in there a deal was done, and Mini was also sponsoring the US Olympic Committee as well.
No official numbers were released on how many were produced as this #’01 Mini Cooper wasn’t sold on HWC exclusively. A number of these were also sold in the Olympic Village — where the athletes stay — during the Olympics in 2012. Given the production runs at the time, it is estimated that between 3,000 and 4,000 were made.
The release of the 2012 US Olympic Committee #’01 Mini Cooper didn’t sit well with collectors initially. It had to do with the whole, “releasing a British car with an American flag” thing back when the club was dominated by the nostalgic and muscle car collectors. Plus, the Hot Wheels ’01 Mini Cooper casting doesn’t exactly have a huge collector following as many had preferred the other #Mini Cooper casting (at the time) been made instead. To this day, it has been the only #Mini to be released on HotWheelsCollectors.com.
That initial collector backlash was a shame as the release is done particularly well. Compare it to the mainline, 2002 First Edition (yellow) and the premium, Hall of Fame (green) releases below. The hand-masked details & graphic quality is up there with the best of them, and it really exhibits the next level of premium despite collectors thinking it was, “nothing more than a $5 premium car” at the time.
It would be interesting to hear the full story on how this Hot Wheels release came to be, unfortunately, I don’t have it. What we do know is that it wasn’t received well on HWC, and that it was the penultimate release of the #’01 Mini Cooper casting before it was #Discontinued in 2013. The value of it has floated just under $100 for a while now, never really exceeding that threshold despite other RLC releases skyrocketing in value. That has to be attributed to a number of things: newer collectors not being aware of it, an undisclosed quantity, and an unpopular casting choice.
Still, the 2012 US Olympic Committee #’01 Mini Cooper is a quirky little release that is definitely undervalued in today’s Hot Wheels landscape. The picture above serves as a pleasant reminder of how this release was indeed elevated above its mainline & premium counterparts. #Spectraflame Paint, paint-masked full detail, and even a higher quality plastic used for the windows — yes, that was a little-known ultra-premium upgrade back then.
This #’01 Mini Cooper is so cool! The more I look at it, the more I like it!