Review: 75894 1967 Mini Cooper S Rally and 2018 MINI John Cooper Works Buggy

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The excellent Speed Champions theme is now entering its fourth year and has featured a great selection of vehicles, encompassing many racing forms along with ten different brands. The latest wave is extraordinary in that regard, introducing two new manufacturers and motor racing forms which have not appeared before.

75894 1967 Mini Cooper S Rally and 2018 MINI John Cooper Works Buggy is the largest set from the 2019 range, containing 481 pieces and costing £44.99 or $49.99. Furthermore, the Mini Cooper S Rally has received a great deal of attention as it looks absolutely marvellous when compared with the source material. My expectations are therefore extremely high!

Minifigures

Four minifigures are included, two of whom work on the MINI John Cooper Works Buggy. Both figures are female and they wear identical uniforms, consisting of black overalls that are decorated with some sponsors alongside the famed MINI emblem. I like the light bluish grey stitched detail on both sides of the torsos and the driver comes with a black racing helmet.

View image at flickr

The mechanic, on the other hand, features a reddish brown hair piece and her head is double-sided. This design has only appeared once before in 60202 People Pack - Outdoor Adventures and it looks brilliant. I particularly appreciate the realistic dirty marks printed on the alternative face. A selection of tools are included along with a radio, presumably for the mechanic to contact the driver during the rally.

View image at flickr

A driver is also provided for the 1967 Mini Cooper S Rally and he is suitably dressed for the period on the whole, sporting tan racing overalls. I love the Morris Cooper logo on the back of the torso and this smiling expression is ideal as the Mini was victorious at the Monte Carlo Rally in 1967! However, the white headgear is not entirely authentic as rally drivers wore open face helmets during the 1960s.

View image at flickr

The fourth minifigure represents a race official who comes with a camera and the vital chequered flag. He is assembled using existing pieces but looks great, featuring a pair of sand blue trousers, a jacket and a dark red shirt underneath. The blue jacket features some lovely detail and I like the character's printed facial hair too.

View image at flickr

The Completed Model

Exceptional praise has been lavished upon the 1967 Mini Cooper S Rally based upon official images and this model does not disappoint. It measures 9cm in length so appears relatively small beside other minifigure-scale vehicles and its unique shape has been replicated with amazing accuracy. The car is intricately constructed but feels sturdy for play and I love the red and white colour scheme, matching the original vehicle exactly.

View image at flickr

Powerful headlights are a necessity for rally driving and the Mini features six, two of which are situated beside the bonnet while four others form a light bar. This configuration looks wonderful and the smooth transition between the bonnet, the lights and the remainder of the bodywork is brilliant. In addition, two black meat cleavers are fitted underneath the light bar, representing the distinctive front mudguards!

View image at flickr

These elements line up nicely with a new wheel arch which has been designed for the Mini Cooper. It looks marvellous here, although the same piece would be suitable for many other vehicles so I hope this will become available in more colours. Unfortunately, the proportions between the bodywork and the windows are not perfect, although improving upon this design may be quite difficult without creating a new windscreen.

View image at flickr

The interior is fairly cramped but there is enough room to seat a minifigure behind the steering wheel, as demonstrated below. The driver must raise their hands and rests against a trans-clear panel which provides additional support to the roof structure. Nevertheless, the designer has still found space for a dark orange 1x3 panel that represents the back seats, although these are not actually functional.

View image at flickr

A couple of spare tyres are strapped to the roof, corresponding with the original competition in 1967. The roof rack makes clever use of a bullbar element which has only appeared in white once before and the tyres are secured using two white rubber bands. Building techniques like this one often appear in fan creations but are very rarely found in official sets. I wonder how rubber bands might be used in future.

View image at flickr

Six stickers are applied at the back of the Mini Cooper, forming the rear bumper, the tail lights and the Mini branding. This design is entirely faithful to the winning car from the 1967 Monte Carlo Rally, even including an accurate number plate! The vehicle does feature several stickers but they are only found where required and the red pillars are printed on the front and rear windscreen, nicely completing an outstanding model.

View image at flickr

The inaugural Dakar Rally was held in 1979 so this famous event is celebrating its fortieth anniversary in 2019. The imposing MINI John Cooper Works Buggy participated in the 2018 competition and looks great, featuring a striking dark green and black livery that contrasts with the 1967 Mini Cooper S Rally. As one might imagine, this model is considerably larger than most Speed Champions cars but it feels correctly scaled with the minifigures and offers excellent ground clearance.

View image at flickr

Dark bluish grey panels prevent sand and other debris from entering the suspension system at either end of the buggy and conceal several Technic pieces underneath the bodywork. The structure above the tyres, on the other hand, looks magnificent. I love the flared wheel arches and the whole forward section is connected upside down, thereby allowing some 1x2 curved slopes with diagonal edges to tesselate neatly around the bonnet.

View image at flickr

White stripes are formed using stickers along either flank and several more stickers feature numerous sponsors as well as the racing number. The red roof really stands out against the rest of the car and is formed using a pair of 3x4 bows. This colour scheme of red, dark green and black matches the vehicle driven by Yazeed Al-Rajhi and Timo Gottschalk during the 2018 race which was a wise decision as the corresponding red and white car might conflict with the Mini Cooper S Rally.

View image at flickr

The vehicle includes a simple suspension mechanism, incorporating red rubber bands which provide some resistance but allow the wheels to move as they roll over rough terrain. These bright red bands are properly concealed and the function works very well, although independent suspension for every wheel would have been even better. Presumably that was not possible at such a small scale.

View image at flickr

Removing the roof reveals a seat for the driver and a steering wheel inside. The cockpit is quite small, despite resting on a large chassis, so there is only space for a single minifigure which is disappointing. However, expanding the cockpit area to include another seat would compromise the exterior so I think the current design is a reasonable compromise.

View image at flickr

The rear appears fairly plain by comparison, featuring a couple more stickers which form the radiators and some additional MINI branding. I like the large mudguards and the trans-red lights look good but I think the exposed studs beside these lights are slightly awkward, as though pieces have been missed. In fact, this design is faithful to the real vehicle but these studs still appear out of place to me.

View image at flickr

Nevertheless, the MINI John Cooper Works Buggy has certainly surpassed my expectations, perhaps because the angle from which it has been photographed for the packaging is not particularly flattering. A simple jack stand is included so minifigures can reach the underside of the car and the set contains a creeper board for the mechanic as well, both of which look fairly realistic.

View image at flickr

Auxiliary models often appear in larger Speed Champions sets and they are usually excellent for play, although some draw attention away from the cars which should remain the primary focus. Fortunately, this pit stop station occupies relatively few pieces and actually provides a superb backdrop for display. The light bluish grey pylons are perfect and rollercoaster track elements have been used between the supports.

View image at flickr

The station is constructed on some tan plates so is presumably intended for the desert environment of the Dakar Rally, although its left side feels more focused upon the 1967 Mini Cooper S Rally. This area includes a pearl gold trophy, a selection of tools and a television that shows the Mini Cooper during the event, passing around a hairpin corner.

View image at flickr

A similar monitor shows live footage of the MINI John Cooper Works Buggy on the opposite side. This features two tool carts which make clever use of light bluish grey rocker elements to form wheels. The red Jerrycan in the centre looks marvellous too and has been designed at approximately the right size for minifigures. It therefore includes a handle and a black spout.

View image at flickr

Overall

75894 1967 Mini Cooper S Rally and 2018 MINI John Cooper Works Buggy is definitely my favourite Speed Champions set that LEGO has produced so far! I had high expectations for the Mini Cooper S Rally and this model is even more impressive when assembled than it appears in official images. The car features numerous realistic details and looks magnificent when compared with the original vehicle, especially at the front and rear.

View image at flickr

Furthermore, I am equally delighted with the MINI John Cooper Works Buggy. This vehicle does not share the iconic status of the Mini Cooper from 1967 but it looks marvellous and represents a classic motorsport event which has not appeared in previous Speed Champions sets. The price of £44.99 or $49.99 seems reasonable as well so I would have no hesitation in recommending this set.

I hope you have found this review informative. Let us know by liking this article and share your thoughts on the set in the comments below.

This set was provided for review by The LEGO Group but the review is an expression of my own opinions.

51 comments on this article

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By in United States,

Is the mini cooper there to get crushed or to race?

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By in Serbia,

A brand new fender piece and no picture of it separately :(

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By in United Kingdom,

Really wish they'd just released the Mini on its own! I don't much care about the buggy, but that thing is adorable!

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By in United States,

I would love to see what’s behind the light bar, but it looks like it’s probably just some snot bricks. I plan to make some different color versions of this (non race versions) for my city!

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By in United States,

Thanks for getting this highly detailed review to us so soon! This set is definately on my "Must Have" list, especially for the Mini Cooper - it is the pinnacle of LEGO perfection. It looks like many clever building techniques have gone into it, I can't wait to build it! The John Cooper Works Buggy is pretty cool as well, although I may make mine into a convertible. The red roof seems too narrow compared to the rest in my eye. The auxillary build is fine, and will become a very nice parts pack. Extra TV's for my Electronic's Store MOC, and pylons and roller coaster track pieces to boot! Overall a "Must Have" set indeed :)

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By in United Kingdom,

This looks great! Plus, I'm so glad that the £90 set spot from the last two years has been replaced with this £45 one, I got worried when images of this and the Dodge set came out, and the Dodge was obviously the ~£35 set. Waiting for the Ferrari team to get cheap this year so I could get the GTO and F1 cars from it was painful. Some of the padding in the more expensive Speed Champions sets really compliments the cars, but I don't think the most expensive sets have ever felt close to justifiable- That Ferrari team, even at £15 a car, was still £45 padding. And while the garage added a solid £20-£25 value in my opinion, I couldn't justify the final £20 of the RRP for the little bit of race track.

Plus, this being a cheaper set to begin with, I'll feel much more inclined to buy a second copy of this on sale in a few months to try and make a street legal version of the classic mini. Doing a similar price breakdown, with the modern (not so)Mini having a gimmick, the cars seem like a £30 value, meaning that with the scenery, £45 is close enough to where I'd want it to be in an ideal world.

Between the Technic car yesterday, and this today, I'm really getting lucky with regards to what 2019 stuff is being chosen to get reviewed first. Will my luck continue tomorrow, I wonder?

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By in France,

Reproduced at such a small scale and being so close to the original is a real masterpiece of design for the Mini Cooper ! So accurate, it almost looks like a toy and not even Lego made. Incredible! I like the buggy version too but indeed the Cooper is the star of the show IMO. I would like to find it by itself in a smaller set. The designers did a great job, and this one joins my top 3 with Bullitt's Mustang fastback 68 (which I MODed without stickers and full dark green parts) and 75880 MC Laren 720 S. Thank you for pictures and review this time again.

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By in United Kingdom,

I’ve not been a fan of the Speed Champions range, but this might have to be the first one I get. Just for the Mini Cooper (my first car). The rest will go straight into the parts box!

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By in United Kingdom,

It's a shame that the cool red Mini is packaged with the ugly green one and unwanted superfluous structures!

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By in Italy,

@ Huw
I totally, totally agree with you and with everyone else saying the same thing in different ways: just give us the darn Mini!

And I don't want to go OT bringing this back up, but seeing what has so accurately been done with Lego on a small scale with the Mini design, don't you all think a similar, somewhat sleeker technique could have been applied to some extent to make the JB Aston Martin a bit closer to the source material?

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By in United States,

Not at all a fan of the bumper stickers.

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By in Canada,

Looks like a fun package! Although that second vehicle does look large for speed champions model.

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By in United States,

Completely agree with others here. I love the detail/ design of Speed Champions but really wish they just sold them all individually with a driver minus the extra stuff. It's kind of a bummer that TLG wants me to spend $100 to get the Ferrari 250 GTO, when I don't really care about F1 cars, garages, etc. I just want cool looking cars on the streets of my town.

But I guess that's why Bricklink exists, so...

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By in United Kingdom,

Nice review, thanks.
Not usually where I spend my Lego money (only have 1 other Speed Champions set ATM) but I really like this one.
My only complaint with these are the stickers, not that it has them, as I appreciate that for most of the cars in this series they are a necessity. I just wish they would print them on clear plastic as opposed to colour coded to to the build. It would have been great to be able to build the three cars from the Italian Job (the original not the new fangled version) and add the details and MINI Cooper branding from this set.

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By in Netherlands,

Would have easily bought the 67 Cooper seperately.

Similar with the green Porsche 911 they did this year.

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By in Germany,

That Mini is a beauty

After this review, i'm prepared to be more openminded about the ugly green one

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By in United States,

I didn't like the green buggy in the official images, but it's growing on me now that I've seen reviews. The classic Mini is, of course, fantastic.

Also, I want like 40 of those new fenders in assorted colors....

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By in United Kingdom,

The white bull bar is also in 31076

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By in United Kingdom,

When are the new Speed Champions sets likely to be released? On 1st January?

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By in United Kingdom,

I’d have preferred a three car Italian Job set, but this makes for a great start.

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By in United States,

It doesn't bother me that they packaged the tiny Mini with the oversized Rally car. That's what I expect LEGO to do. Same with the green Porsche 911 from last year.
I won't buy either set, but I'll still come away with the vehicles I want. I Just might need to wait a bit until the exclusive pieces are either readily available on Bricklink or perhaps available with different LEGO sets.
Glad to know that the windscreens are printed. Those seem like they're pretty essential. I believe I can get away with not using the other stickers.

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By in United States,

I'm excited to buy this at 20% off. That Mini is really well done.

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By in United Kingdom,

Really don't like the buggy, but will pick up at a discount from Amazon I expect. Love the Cooper, and will probably replicate the design to create Mr Beans mini. The scenery reminds me of the old top gear studio... Where's my speed champions Hilux???

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By in Sweden,

The 1967 Mini simply is adorable, most probably my favourite Speed Champions car ever. Like many others I just wish it was sold separately, as I’ve got no interest at all in the rest of the set.

As for the cramped driver space it seems the four tan headlight bricks closest to the driver aren’t actually necessary? Then I’d certainly remove the two next to the steering wheel, so that the driver can have his hands down. (On the box images his hands somehow aren’t up though?) Also got to compliment the printed windscreens.

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By in Sweden,

Looks like I'm going to buy all Speed Champions sets this year. They all look great to me, which seems to be confirmed by this set review. Given my desire for all of them, I'm very glad to learn that this is the most expensive one, costing just under USD50. It'll likely be something like SEK599 in the end, but there are enough places around to likely get it at a discount...

And for the record: I do like both cars, but obviously the Mini steals the show :)

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By in United Kingdom,

Thanks, Isabella and Lego Liker.

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By in Sweden,

They could've made a killing if they'd done a single car set out of that 1967 Mini Cooper. The rest of the set is pretty meh, the modern car is way too big compared to it's real life equivalent, quite possibly one of the worst Speed Champions cars in that regard.

What a shame of a set, really. Wasted potential, wasted sales.

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By in Netherlands,

Well, looks like I'm going to spend €45 for a tiny red Mini and some superfluous green bricks....

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By in France,

I like it. Reminds me om my old scalextric set i had as a kid in the late seventies

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By in United Kingdom,

Where do you put the gold?

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By in United Kingdom,

It's worth it for the Mini Cooper S alone, which I can safely say is the best minifigure-scale car Lego have ever given us.

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By in United Kingdom,

The old Mini is much cuter than the new one anyway in my opinion (although it rusts at the drop of a hat)... but that green monster truck packed in with the mini is horrible... I’d have bought 3 or 4 of the classic, but I’ll wait for a price drop before even thinking about getting this set.

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By in United States,

I've always wanted to get into Speed Champions, but I've never had money. I'm probably just going to buy the sets in wave 2 of Harry Potter.

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By in United States,

Its incredible how they managed to make the mini cooper so compact yet aesthetically pleasing, sturdy and functional. Its not a true 4 wide but certainly pleases 4 wide fans like myself. The designer should win an award for such a thoughtful build. This is one of the best Ive ever seen from Speed Champions. They are one of the only themes that can rival star wars with their intricate builds imo. I have to agree with Graysmith on having this as a single. This was a missed opportunity for Lego to make more money by selling it as a single. Its so good it really doesnt need anything else to compliment it and it would still sell in multiples to many.

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By in Turkey,

Just like everyone else, I wish I could just have the Mini Cooper Rally Car, without the hideous green monstrosity. I guess I'll have to build it from the bin.

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By in Netherlands,

You ought to realise something is off when you put 'MINI' in giant letters on the back of your car..

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By in United States,

We must really have a lot of classic MINI fans for the amount of hate for the newer style Dakar rally buggy.

I suppose the newer style functional bodywork isn't as visually appealing to some compared to the vintage car but it definitely gives it a beastly fast race look. The brick form set actually mimics the actual race version well but in British racing green instead of red.

I'm glad the Speed Champions line is continuing with new models. As a motor sport and LEGO fan I'm looking forward to adding more of these sets to my collection.

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By in United Kingdom,

I wonder how long TLG would last if they would produce only AFOL proof sets...

it is a great set - do I like the big model? No. Is it because it is bad Lego interpretation? No, the original is rubbish. I know it is rubber bands but it has suspension - and based on this years monster truck success it is nice to see it in a smaller model, kids absolutely loved it.
it even has an OK price and it is not super hard to get these at 20-30% off + you can Bricklink it without the ugly stickers.

what is not to like?

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By in Netherlands,

There sure is a lot of overly hyperbolic negativity on the green car here. That's the internet I guess.

I like it, though not as much as the small Mini of course.

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By in Australia,

Like others have said, it would be perfect if the Mini Cooper was sold on it’s own or paired with another Mini Cooper. As it is, I can’t justify the price for a green BURP on wheels and some extra bits when I just want that Mini!

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By in United States,

Hello, all.

Thanks for the great review, CapnRex101. Speed Champions has always been a favorite line of mine, and this year’s models don’t disappoint! However, I’m curious that, being American, Toys R Us was the exclusive seller outside of LEGO themselves for Speed Champions. Last year’s models were coming out just as TRU started announcing their closing sales, so I got a little discount on each.

Any idea who, if anyone, took the exclusive rights for Speed Champions after TRU shuttered?

Take care!

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By in United Kingdom,

@MTbrickhouse and @Nick I am a classic Mini owner and I think I could fit my car into the interior of the ‘new’ one so I am naturally biased ;-). The BMW Mini has been around for almost 18 years now, but the name Mini is a bit of a joke as it seems to grow every year!

Seriously though I’d have been happy with a classic and new mini twin pack without the gubbins and a more standard model done well. I just find the new works Lego model too much removed from the classics design and it jars in a twin pack - simply put it is a two pack with one model I love, and another that I would not consider buying, and I’d end up buying both.

And my Mini says that it does not like it either.

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By in Bermuda,

@CapnRex101 Are there enough of the correct green pieces in the set so that you could rebuild the smaller car in the more traditional British Racing Green colour scheme? If not, what extra pieces would be required?

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By in United Kingdom,

@curtisstu - The MINI John Cooper Works Buggy does include most of the pieces that would be required for a British Racing Green version of the Mini Cooper, although certain elements are not available in a suitable colour such as the 1x2 rounded plate, 1x2 plate with Technic pin hole and 1x2 half bow.

We will be publishing a full article on this topic shortly.

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By in United Kingdom,

It's vastly overpriced but it looks excellent.

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By in France,

Thanks for the review. Regarding the comment about independent suspensions, there is actually a set where LEGO managed to have that. In Creator set 31085, there is a smaller car with 4 independent wheels (and using only one rubber band). This can be seen in this video:

https://youtu.be/-VPN-QJJXVk?t=399

Still a great set though. And may be my 1st Speed Champions one.

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By in United States,

IMO, the Mini Cooper S Rally looks like it ran into a wall, or maybe it ran into the John Cooper Works Buggy.

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By in United States,

@spiritshifterus
Target is the only store in the US that I've seen carry Speed Champions. My local store only carries the smaller sets, which is usually the only ones I buy anyway.

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By in Australia,

I agree with the sentiment of others and wish the red Mini appeared in as a standalone set without the rally counterpart and other guff.

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