Mini Blue Star Limited Edition

During the forty-one year production of the Mini, it was offered in many different limited editions that usually just involved cosmetic changes. One of the less well-known editions was the "Blue Star", produced only in 1996 for the German market and sold through the dealer network of MG Rover Deutschland GmbH. According to various sources, five hundred units were built.

The Blue Star is fitted with an elm dashboard, door caps, gear knob, and handbrake handle, and the seats are trimmed with blue leather. Rather than the standard black plastic steering wheel, the car got a wood-rim RAID model 13D. Interestingly, this RAID wheel can be found fairly easily in central Europe, but it is much less common in the UK. I'm wondering if perhaps the manufacturing of the Blue Star cars was started in Longbridge but finished by Germany with locally available trim pieces? If anyone has any definitive information about where/how the cars were finished, please let me know.

Like most of the other limited editions, this one has decals on the rear quarterpanels that identify it. In this case, the decals consist simply of the words "Blue Star" rendered in light gray with Commercial Script font. The words are 1.00 inch tall and 5.20 inches from the start of the 'B' to the tail of the 'r'. Silver coachlines (at 0.25 inch height) stretch from the front of the front fenders (alongside the headlamps) back to just before the "Blue Star" decals on each side.

The exterior paint color is Tahiti Blue, which is Rover paint code JRJ or 965 (sometimes listed as a Land Rover color, LRC965).

The Blue Star cars are among the last of the single-point injected (SPi) Minis. They actually use a strange hybrid of the earlier under-bonnet fuse box wiring but with the 24-slot fuse box that appeared inside the cabin of MPi Minis. The ECU is the MEMS 1.6 unit, part no. MNE101170. It is paired to a Lucas 5AS security module that uses remote fobs for disabling the immobilizer.

Owners of 5AS-equipped Minis have found that the immobilizer can become a big problem if the key fob is lost or damaged. Fortunately, a car can be converted to run without the immobilizer by changing the ECU and possibly making a small change in the wiring harness. Some (all?) SPi ECUs that are immobilizer-equiped have a so-called "non coded" equivalent. For the MNE101170, the non-coded version is MNE101070. Even with the 101070 ECU in place, the 5AS still intercepts the earth for the starter relay. This can be circumvented by grounding pin 23 of the 5AS connector in the car. (A convenient earth is pin 2 on the same connector.) If you'd like to match a mating connector to the 5AS connector in the car, you will probably be interested in the TE Connectivity 178764. The pin 23 wire should be white with a red tracer according to the source of this information, which is page 14, "Charging and starting", in the document "Mini Electrical Circuit Diagrams" (publication number RCL0194ENG) from Rover Technical Communication, 1999. That document shows this setup as being for MPi cars, but it apparently applies to some late SPi cars as well.