The Italian Job: 2003 Mini Cooper S

Fun Facts About the Italian Job 2003 Mini Cooper S

There are lots of iconic movie cars, but very few “small” cars outside of Herbie the Love Bug and, of course, the Mini Cooper from the Italian Job.  In fact, both the original 1969 and the 2003 movie, act as a full-length commercial for the Mini Cooper.

The original picture features three Mk1 Austin Mini Cooper S’s, in red, white and blue and the 2003 movie showcases the 2003 Mini Cooper S, modified both on and off-screen.

1963 Austin Mini Cooper S Mk1 - Front - The Italian Job - Wikimedia Commons - EuroDrift

1963 Austin Mini Cooper S Mk1 – Front – The Italian Job – Wikimedia Commons – EuroDrift

On-Screen and Off-Screen Modifications

On screen, the Mini Coopers were to be used to “get back the gold” after a double-cross. The main characters devise a plan to update and modify three small cars (Mini Coopers). They want them to be FAST and with a beefier suspension to carry the heavy bars of gold they hope to recover.

Off-screen, it was actually necessary for the movie makers to make modifications to the three cars before shooting could take place. Two electric-powered Mini Coopers and a Mini Cooper S had to be built because gasoline-powered vehicles are prohibited in Los Angeles’ subway system. Without the modifications, that iconic chase scene through the tunnels could not have taken place.

Another Mini Cooper with two steering wheels was used for some of the shooting. This was so that a stunt driver could navigate while the actors did their thing for the camera. This one of a kind Mini now sits on display at the Mini factory in Cowley, Oxford.

Specs on a Non-Modified 2003 Mini Cooper S

The Italian Job (2003) – Trailer – Paramount – YouTube

How close to what you see on the screen is a real Mini Cooper S?

A non-modified 2003 Mini Cooper S has a 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine with a mechanical-drive supercharger and produces 163 horsepower.  Though it’s a bit slow off the line, the six-speed manual transmission means there’s plenty of power and good control. However, be prepared to do a lot of shifting. If it’s your daily driver, you may find that to be a bit of a nuisance.

All in all, people find the Mini-Cooper fun to drive around. However, most agree that the size and shifting make it a bit impractical for families or the daily commute.



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