Story and photos by Simon Wright
To celebrate the 50th Birthday of the Mini, the IMM2009 meeting and Mini 50th Anniversary event was held in Cofton Park, right next to the Longbridge factory in Birmingham, UK where most of the Minis were built. The Birmingham Mini Owners club organised this one off event.
Visitors from 36 countries all around the world attended the event, from places such as Australia, Mexico, Japan, America, Chile and Finland to honour the favourite little vehicle. Many of the European visitors bought their cars with them, and it was estimated that over 5000 Minis were in attendance over the weekend.
Every type of Mini was represented, with early 1959 examples being displayed next to 2009 BMW Mini Clubman, Riley Elf and Wolseley Hornets, next to Mini Marcos and Mosquito kit cars based on Minis and the fabulous Mini Moke. Custom Minis were everywhere, and even Mini Monster Trucks made several appearances. One Mini Monster truck owner was obviously not a fan of the new BMW Mini as he had a model of a BMW Mini, crushed under the wheel of his Monster Truck!
Many people camped in Cofton Park over the 3 days of the meeting in early August and were fortunate that the temperamental English climate smiled on them with bright weather, though the park was pretty sodden in places due to heavy rain which had preceded the meeting. There was even an example of a Mini which had been professionally converted in to a motor caravan.
On the Sunday, many of the Minis went on a procession to the centre of Birmingham, where they displayed their cars in Centenary Square in the heart of the city for the public to admire.
There were many special Minis on display in Cofton Park, but one of the most rare was the Broadspeed GT, a coupe design made by Broadspeed Engineering based on the Mini. Only 21 of these cars were built, the first being displayed at the show. It was first shown at the 1966 Racing Car show in London. Using the 1275 Cooper S engine, it developed 100bhp and superb handling. They also built one light weight version which could do 145 mph and cost £2000, the same price as an E-Type Jaguar.
The event proved to be a huge success and everyone had a wonderful time. It was very appropriate that this meeting should be held at Longbridge, and the Mini owners will have the next IMM meeting in 2010 in Germany.
Mini 50th Anniversary Event at Longbridge Photo Gallery (click image for larger picture and description)
[Source: Simon Wright]