2015 International MINI Meet Conquers Lithuania
Never have so many traveled so far to salute such a little car — at least not in Lithuania.
Each year, MINI lovers from around Europe pick a spot and drive their treasured little cars to some massive field for a little peace, love and automotive worship. This year, that far-flung field rested in Zarasai Island, Lithuania. The gorgeous region of Lithuanian lake country about two hours outside Vilnius welcomed about 800 attendees via more than 130 MINI Clubs from across the continent, driving north of 500 classic and modern day MINIs to IMM 2015.
The event would resemble any number of rallies and summer festivals you might find around the world — if not for the scores of unmistakable, petite and German (nee; British) hatchbacks dotting the landscape. There are camping tents and camper vans. There are vendors, snack tents and stages for live music. But, every inch of the venue honors an obsession with the MINI.
The MINI came into existence in England in 1959 and remained in production until 2000 in one form or another. BMW picked up the MINI name in 1994. While the German automaker wound down the British version of the car, it began designing the car that would become the new MINI in 2000.
These days, the so-called MINI is a proper modern hatchback — big enough to swallow up the iconic 1960s version. Regardless of German or British descent, all MINIs are welcome at IMM. But, the stars of the show are the custom models — ranging from hotrods and rat rods to flatbed trucks to buggies.
The highlight of the event was an amateur rally race that led attendees across the Lithuanian country side in a sort of timed scavenger hunt. Check back in tomorrow for special look at that friendly contest.
According to MINI’s own crack statisticians, this year’s longest journey for any attendee driving their own car to the IMM was one Dan Moloney, who came more 3,200 km or 1,988 miles from the west coast of Ireland.
Coincidentally, IMM 2017 will find itself in Ireland, while Lommel, Belgium will be stuffed with the little cars by 2016.
You can see a collection of images from Lithuania and IMM 2015 in the gallery below.