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Discussion Starter · #21 ·
They predated the SC in the 'small pick up' stakes
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I've only seen a couple of the little pickups and about 5 longer wagons in the US my entire life. The standard short classic Mini Cooper is much more common. I always liked the look of the larger wheels and low profile tires better than the small 10" stockers. My '67 Austin Cooper had the 10" when I bought it. The seats were almost like small beach chairs that had hinges in the front and IIRC nothing holding the rear down. The rear just sat on the floor. Hate to hit something in that little tin can roller skate.
 

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I've only seen a couple of the little pickups and about 5 longer wagons in the US my entire life. The standard short classic Mini Cooper is much more common. I always liked the look of the larger wheels and low profile tires better than the small 10" stockers. My '67 Austin Cooper had the 10" when I bought it. The seats were almost like small beach chairs that had hinges in the front and IIRC nothing holding the rear down. The rear just sat on the floor. Hate to hit something in that little tin can roller skate.

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They were easy to fix, and get parts for, and cheaper than a cheap thing that was cheap - Originally I came from Birmingham (was born there), where the Longbridge plant that churned out the Mini (now a shopping mall) was, the Beemer minis I think are out of Abingdon, Oxford - where the Morris' originated
 

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The weird one I remember actually two... the first was a three-wheeler with a two stroke engine.. And the front opened so you could get in... looked like a egg LOL and the next was a guy in my home town drove a Citron(sp?) we called the lame duck because the car would drive on three wheels.. I guess the frame was so stiff you could remove a tire(flat i guess) and drive home..well anyway he would do that in the parade every year ...
 

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The transition from a 2012 Mini Cooper to the 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz has been a lengthy and at times frustrating one, but it is now complete. The Mini Cooper was originally bought as a fun and economical Daily Driver (DD) to make repeated 60 mile drives across Los Angeles (LA) to Orange County (OC) checking on my aging parents and a possible need drive into downtown LA for employment. Economy, ease of parking and fun to drive were key themes in that purchase. It was a wonderful fun car that served its' purpose well; putting a smile on my face as well as many others driving by. After going through several iterations this was the Mini Coopers final form before letting it go to a very happy young lady that just had to have her "Tiffany Blue" Mini; actaully called Ice Blue by MINI.
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As a true Car Guy I like to personallize my vehicles with minor changes to make them unique. That usually involves wheel and tire updates along with visual changes with color and style, plus functional additions like roof racks, trailer hitches and in the Mini Coopers case a factory storage trunk insert that made the entire back flat when the rear seats were folded down. I already miss it, but the Santa Cruz more than makes up for the loss and meets my new changing requirements perfectly.

Back in April of 2021 the decision was made that as a family my brother and I needed vehicles that can transport my elder widowed mother easily, so we could share parent care duties without having to maintain a third vehicle. Mom had a 2007 Honda CRV that worked, but she had given up driving and the extra expense of insuring and maintaining that third vehicle just to transport her around didn't make sense. She could get into my Mini, but had difficulty getting out of it and there was not much room for her transport chair; I was getting older as well and feeling the entry and exit pains more each day on that low go-cart like racer. My brothers Ford F250 Super Duty 4X4 Longbed Diesel workhorse was almost out of the question when it came to transporting mom because of its' height and my brother was tired of trying to park it, plus not even being able to use some drive-throughs. We were both due for new vehicles age wise anyway. I decided to be an early adopter of the Santa Cruz through the Hyundai Corporate purchase program and my brother took the wait and see approach initially, then signed up for that program as well.

The new Santa Cruz had been on my radar since its' debut in 2015 and the end result was pretty darn close to that beautiful prototype. This purchase had similar goals to the Mini purchase (fun to drive and economical), but we both needed additional functionality and ease of entry/exit at our ages, plus the ability to transport mom and her walker, tranporter chair or wheel chair (eventually). The Santa cruz ticked all those boxes and more; plus an AWD option. After a total fail with the Hyundai Corporate purchase program, I took a trek out of state to buy mine early, mainly because I had already sold my Mini Cooper in anticipation of my order arrival. My brother got lucky and found one locally a few months later after canceling his failed preorder.

About 10 months after my mid April original decision and order, my transition and personalization of the Santa Cruz is complete! It's named El Santa Cruzo because of its' El Camino vibe just for fun, in rememberance of several El Camino's owned in the past. I expanded the Hyundai Sport Adventure Vehicle (SAV) theme with gold Method 503 18X8 Rally Racing wheels and Atturo Trail Blade 245/60R18 tires, plus some mild gold side and rear window graphics to make it mine.
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Like many others, I added a trailer hitch mainly for my bike rack and minor towing if needed. A sequential rear light bar was put out of site between the bottom of the tailgate and the rear bumper for the cool look and added safety it provides. On the inside a center console tray was a must and in my opinion should be included from the factory. A folding storage bin and steering wheel tray are in each of the front seat back pockets for functional daily use.

For camping adventures wood support boards were designed for the bed slots in the bed. A KampRite Oversize Cot Tent can sit on them off the ground for overnighting. I may design a Roof Top Tent (RTT) structure that sits inside the bed and can be simply lifted in and out for two to sleep in, but that will be down the road when needed.

Aside from the long 10 month transition, I (and my brother) couldn't be happier with our purchases. We both went for the SEL AWD Non-Activity trim levels which meets our power and rear bed use needs to a tee. Mom couldn't be happier too!
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At 96 she is amazed at the technology the Santa Cruz has and its' beautifully designed interior. Her only wish is to be young enough to drive it herself.

Funny story just for fun:
Mom was a real car lover herself. In years past she drove almost every car I have owned, including past fast sporty Porsches. She loved manual transmission cars. In her much younger days she was driving from LA to Newport Beach daily for work, which took her through the Long Beach traffic circle. When she was late for work, the office always said she must have got another speeding ticket (lol). One day she got two tickets the same day going to and returning from work. The officer told her he doesn't need her driver's license, he already has that information. Another time she got a ticket for speeding and passing on the right. The small Newport Beach local newspaper wrote up an article about it, because the two officers last names were Goforth and Catchem. :LOL: It's worth mentioning that tickets were about $5 back then and they didn't really effect insurance rates. How times have changed...
From 2005 to 2017 I have owned 7 Mini Cooper’s S and JCWs. I now have a 2022 Santa Cruz and thinking about going back to the Minis.
 

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Discussion Starter · #27 ·
From 2005 to 2017 I have owned 7 Mini Cooper’s S and JCWs. I now have a 2022 Santa Cruz and thinking about going back to the Minis.
No return to Mini for me unless it's in addition to the SC for a little Autocross play. A few weeks after I sold my Blue Ice Mini Cooper with automatic, an identical model showed up for sale with a manual transmission and less miles than mine had. It was also $2,000 less than I sold mine for. That was sure tempting! If I had garage space for it, I'd have bought it for weekend track play.
 
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