International Mini Meeting 2018: the weird, wacky and wonderful

Published: 22 May 2018

► We took a road trip to the IMM 2018
► Annual event sees flocks of Mini owners come together
► Here’s our look at some of the maddest there

Every year, Mini owners from across Europe descend upon a different location for the International Mini Meeting (IMM), organised by the host country’s national club.  This year, Mini fans made their way to the west coast of Portugal to Praia de Mira in Mini models of all shapes and sizes, and we joined them driving up the west coast from Lisbon in the company’s latest Cooper S Convertible.

What’s the new Cooper S like?

We’ve already driven the Cooper S in three-door hatch form, and this time we had the chance to get behind the wheel of the drop-top version fitted with an automatic gearbox. It just felt right cruising up the Portuguese motorways and coast roads with the roof down and the Cooper S’s naughty exhaust popping and crackling when given the opportunity to give it the beans on a quieter, twisty road.

In truth, the drive was mostly on the motorway, so there was little opportunity to really put the drop-top to the test compared with when we drove the hatch previously, but it’s long-distance motorway-munching abilities were impressive. The fact that we arrived with the front of the car and the windscreen caked in wildlife tells enough of the story.

The punchy 2.0-litre turbo eggs you on out of tollbooths and winding motorway slip roads show the latest model off in its best light, though sunshine probably helped it feel an altogether more pleasant experience.

Here’s what we saw at the IMM 2018

Essentially walking around a campsite, this year’s IMM revealed a whole host of weird and wonderful Mini models, from pristine examples that look fresh out the factory to unrecognisable ones that have been tweaked and fettled to become something more quirky, potent and eye-catching.

There was the traditional stuff

As you’d expect, a huge number of original Minis were present and correct…

And the newer stuff

With a smattering of new models in there to bring the whole thing full circle (and taking up much more space than the originals).

Best not to get too many Mini traditionalists started on the size of this new Clubman next to its ancestors.

There were practical Minis

A good selection of vans, Travellers and pickups were present and correct, flying the flag for the sensible Minis (to a degree).

From being used down on the farm…

To more nautical-inspired creations…

The IMM proved you don’t need an SUV and an Airstream to travel in style…

And the crazy Minis

Then there’s the turn of the small-man syndrome Minis.

Even these look intimidating enough to make you move out the way when it flies up behind you in the rear-view mirror.

While others thought it wasn’t small enough already.

And the ingenious Minis

And then there’s those who won’t be satisfied with one Mini. Instead, one-and-a-half is more appealing, whether you turn the rear section into a trailer or somewhere to camp out.

Or even a mobile minibar!

Until next year… in Bristol.

By Tom Goodlad

Bauer Automotive's former continuity editor and CAR contributor