I remember being highly sceptical about the Mini Clubman when it was first revealed. First off, it had the wrong name - ‘Traveller’ was the term usually reserved for estate Minis, but since BMW didn’t have the rights to it, the ‘Clubman’ moniker used for the slab-faced Mini of the same name was borrowed instead.
It also wasn’t as practical as hoped, and it has that weird rear-hinged ‘suicide’ door, which was only on one side. That side being the ‘wrong’ one in the UK because it opened into the road. Awks.
However, as with so many cars we probably wouldn’t have given a second look before, depreciation has won us over. Prompted by a Tweet from a journalist at CT sister title Car Buyer, we dived into the classifieds, finding that early R55 Clubmans start under £2000.
What’s more, with the new version having a bulbous and bloated aesthetic, the original one now looks especially smart. And, they’re potentially quite quick - Cooper, Cooper S and even JCW derivatives were available.
A stretched wheelbase inevitably brought with it an increase in weight, but tipping the scales at around 1200kg, the Clubman isn’t exactly a heavyweight. So, go for a Cooper S with a 1.6-litre, 168bhp turbocharged inline-four (the supercharged 1.6 died off with the previous generation, unfortunately), and you’ll be able to hit 62mph in a respectable 7.3 seconds.
If it’s a Cooper S-flavoured Clubman you want, you will need to up the budget - prices start at around £3500. This one is up for £3900, and looks lovely in Orient Blue with a silver contrasting roof and racing stripes.
It’s done 73,500 miles, which is about average for the year. There’s a full service history, and although we can’t quite tell in the pictures, it looks to be wearing Dunlop tyres all round - a boon when a lot of cars of this age will come with a mix of random brands you’ve never heard of.
Tempted? Or would you go for another practical-ish hot hatch from the mid-2000s?