Mini close to making it cost-to-coast in the US image

The Mini brand, which evolved from Alec Issigonis’ stroke of genius that created the original British Mini, is a well-known automaker today. Still, the days of doing things different are not yet over.

Since 2006, Mini USA has started a winding, 4,800-mile fan drive that would take a procession of Mini models from San Francisco to New York. It’s the fifth semi-annual Mini Takes the States tour in full swing these days, as the 15-day trip is scheduled to complete this weekend. The gathering has grown from just 85 cars for the first edition to at least 300 this year, with stops along the way, like Cleveland or Chicago taking the number to more than 1,000. Among them, we could find 100 dogs, 4 cats, one lizard and, according to a Mini representative, “at least one stuffed animal.”

“To understand this, you have to understand the passion people have about the brand,” says David Duncan, head of marketing and sales for Mini’s US operations.

“I wouldn’t miss this vacation for my life,” says one of the participants. “This is the greatest community there is. You build friends. You build relationships.”

The entrance fee is a mere $45 – for that they got a special appearance from legend skater Tony Hawk at the start of the drive and Mini treats the owners with entrances at many landmarks along the route – including a ticket to a Chicago White Sox game, for example.