MINI Takes The States — The Ultimate MINI Rally

xA9 Perry Stern Automotive Content ExperiencenbspWelcome to the Family . . . Cult?
Most consumers buy a new car for practical reasons — primarily when in need of reliable transportation to get from point A to point B. In most cases, this is the extent of a typical car owner’s relationship with their vehicle. However, this human-vehicle relationship takes on different form when the vehicle is a MINI. Sure, the MINI Cooper handles everyday automotive tasks around town, but the MINI’s fun-to-drive characteristics combined with its smile-inducing style helps this small car appeal to owners who want more from their vehicle than simply basic transportation. As some owners describe it, buying a MINI is like joining a family . . . or a cult (their words!). Nowhere was this notion more evident than at the 2022 MINI Takes The States weeklong road rally, where we joined a couple thousand enthusiastic MINI owners and their beloved cars for some memorable days of motoring mania.

xA9 Perry Stern Automotive Content ExperiencenbspBiennial Rally
MINI Takes The States, or MTTS, is a road rally for MINI owners hosted by MINI USA. This event has been held every two years since its inception in 2006 — the only exception being 2020 when the rally had to be canceled due to the pandemic. “We’re so excited to be back for another unforgettable MINI TAKES THE STATES experience,” said Caryn Grun, head of experiential marketing at MINI USA. “After four long years, we have provided the MINI Community an epic road trip to Reunite and Rally together,” Grun enthused.

xA9 Perry Stern Automotive Content ExperiencenbspThis Year’s MTTS
The 2022 edition of MTTS began in Burlington, Vermont, and after seven days and 1,700 miles with stops in eight cities along the way, the gaggle of MINIs reached its destination of Greenville, South Carolina. The term “gaggle” does not properly convey the magnitude of this rally — more than 600 MINIs and more than 2,000 owners participated in this year’s event. We joined the group in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania and followed along with rally enthusiasts for a few days to experience the amazing depth of camaraderie and passion for this iconic little car.

xA9 Perry Stern Automotive Content ExperiencenbspPet Friendly
This year MTTS participation helped raising money for the Best Friends Animal Society, a leading animal welfare organization with a goal of ending the euthanizing of dogs and cats in American animal shelters by 2025. A portion of each participant’s entry fee went to the organization, and there were opportunities throughout the week to donate to this worthy cause. Best Friends and MINI also hosted a pet adoption event in Greenville in conjunction with Greenville County Animal Care and the Greenville Humane Society. During this year’s MTTS, the Best Friends raised more than $80,000!

xA9 Perry Stern Automotive Content ExperiencenbspMINI Motoring Club
Buying a MINI is different than buying most cars, since a new owner feels an immediate connection with other MINI owners. Granted, new MINIphiles will discover MINI owner’s clubs nationwide, although most are regional so it can be difficult to connect with owners in other parts of the country. At this year’s MTTS, MINI debuted the MINI Motoring Club of America. Creating a national club allows owners and fans to connect better with each other and the MINI brand. While the MMCA won’t replace regional clubs, it will provide access to national events (such as MTTS) as well as offer MINI merchandise.

xA9 Perry Stern Automotive Content ExperiencenbspRise and Rally
To kick off each day’s drive, participants would gather for a Rise and Rally — akin to attending a festival every morning — with lots of MINIs. All rally vehicles would line up in anticipation of the day’s drive. And more than 600 MINIs in line together is an impressive sight. On our first day joining the group, the Rise and Rally took place at Pocono Speedway. After participants enjoyed breakfast while catching up with old friends and making new ones — with MINI as the common connection — drivers had the rare opportunity to take a lap around the speedway (35 mph max — for fun) before hitting the road.

xA9 Perry Stern Automotive Content ExperiencenbspStaff Participation
MINI Takes The States is hosted by MINI USA, and many executives and staff join the festivities. MINI USA’s Head of Marketing, Product, and Strategy Patrick McKenna was visibly excited to be in attendance. He told us MTTS gives him and other members of the MINI USA team a unique chance to connect with some of their most passionate customers, helping the company learn what their most ardent fans are looking for in current and future products. McKenna and other support staff were at Rise and Rally every morning to cheer on the 600-plus MINIs as each left the day’s R and R location.

xA9 Perry Stern Automotive Content ExperiencenbspBunches of MINIs
When 600 MINIs are all heading in the same general direction, it creates quite a spectacle. Every gas station and coffee shop had a parking lot full of MINIs, and often we found ourselves in the middle of a long conga line MINIs on the road. Each day was like being on a road trip with hundreds of your closest friends.

xA9 Perry Stern Automotive Content ExperiencenbspShenandoah National Park
A highlight on our short leg of the trip was a drive through Virginia’s Shenandoah National Park. The winding roads and breathtaking views taken in while motoring along the famed Skyline Drive were perfect for the MINI Takes The States rally, and of course every scenic viewpoint became filled with MINIs.

xA9 Perry Stern Automotive Content ExperiencenbspMINI People
With more than 2,000 folks in attendance with their MINIs, we welcomed the chance to learn a bit more about the “Cult of MINI.” Some of this year’s rally attendees had driven in every prior MTTS, while others were experiencing their first. A few attendees had purchased their new MINIs mere days before the event began, completing their break-in miles during the drive. What follows are some amusing stories and anecdotes we heard from owners about their cars.

xA9 Perry Stern Automotive Content ExperiencenbspMINI Hulk
The MINI Hulk is a Cooper S named for its green color and, as the owner pointed out, it’s “more of a chunk” than a hulk. Their other MINIs — sitting out the 2022 rally at home — are the Baroness (think The Red Baron) and Little Miss Blackjack.

xA9 Perry Stern Automotive Content ExperiencenbspThe Mighty Olive
These folks from Ohio bought their first MINI in 2003, although they didn’t know about MTTS until 2012. By that time they were retired, so they joined the MTTS and drove their MINI from New York to Los Angeles. During the trip they spotted a MINI Roadster on display and ended up buying one. In 2016 they went to have their 2003 MINI serviced in anticipation of driving it on the MTTS and spotted this Jungle Green Countryman. They became smitten, bought it and three days later they were driving it on MTTS. This one is called The Mo (short for the Mighty Olive).

xA9 Perry Stern Automotive Content ExperiencenbspGoing Camping
Some MINI owners actually pull campers with these diminutive machines. This owner was attending his third MTTS, the second one pulling the trailer. “People are surprised they don’t have to slow down for me. Still fun to drive, even with the camper.” This participant bought the MINI knowing about the sense of family that comes with ownership — a primary reason for purchase. (There were seven MINIs pulling a variety of trailers at this year’s MTTS.)

xA9 Perry Stern Automotive Content ExperiencenbspBlu Meanie
Another likened MINI ownership to eating potato chips — as in you can’t have just one. Currently he has four MINIs, including this 2005 Hardtop nicknamed Blu Meanie. This proud owner has done a lot of work to the car, bumping it by about 25 horsepower with a supercharger, an upgraded exhaust, a full roll bar — it’s race ready. During our time at the rally, we could always hear this particular MINI coming from a way off.

xA9 Perry Stern Automotive Content ExperiencenbspMore Cars
MINI offers a number of models, ranging from a 2-door convertible to a larger 4-door Countryman. All models have a selection of powertrains and trim levels. While wandering through the 600-plus MINIs at the Rise and Rally, we discovered many MINIs subjected to high levels of customization. Here are a few more unique MINIs that were part of this year’s MTTS.

xA9 Perry Stern Automotive Content ExperiencenbspMINI Takes The States
Crzy4MINIS

xA9 Perry Stern Automotive Content ExperiencenbspMINI Takes The States
NATASHA with Custom Camper

xA9 Perry Stern Automotive Content ExperiencenbspMINI Takes The States
Classic

xA9 Perry Stern Automotive Content ExperiencenbspMINI Takes The States
Custom Paint

xA9 Perry Stern Automotive Content ExperiencenbspMINI Takes The States
An Original

xA9 Perry Stern Automotive Content ExperiencenbspMINI Takes The States
Chester

xA9 Perry Stern Automotive Content ExperiencenbspMINI Takes The States
Special Edition

xA9 Perry Stern Automotive Content ExperiencenbspMINI Takes The States
Custom

xA9 Perry Stern Automotive Content ExperiencenbspMINI Takes The States
Joker

xA9 Perry Stern Automotive Content ExperiencenbspMINI Takes The States
MINIBEE

xA9 Perry Stern Automotive Content ExperiencenbspMINI Takes The States
Original John Cooper Works

xA9 Perry Stern Automotive Content ExperiencenbspMINI Takes The States
Going Purple

xA9 Perry Stern Automotive Content ExperiencenbspMINI Takes The States
Rainbows

xA9 Perry Stern Automotive Content ExperiencenbspMINI Takes The States
OKACOOPER

xA9 Perry Stern Automotive Content ExperiencenbspMINI Takes The States
THE VISION

xA9 Perry Stern Automotive Content ExperiencenbspMINI Takes The States
Hand Puppets

xA9 Perry Stern Automotive Content ExperiencenbspGoing to the Dogs
Thanks to this year’s rally tie-in with Best Friends, many MINI owners brought their dogs along for the ride. One couple had their two Corgis on comfy beds in the back of their MINI Countryman, while another owner made room for two Golden Labs. Perhaps the most popular canine in attendance was Chunk the Bulldog, since keen observers often refer to the MINI as having a Bulldog-like stance.

xA9 Perry Stern Automotive Content ExperiencenbspMINI Takes The States
Best Friends

xA9 Perry Stern Automotive Content ExperiencenbspMINI Takes The States
Best Friends

xA9 Perry Stern Automotive Content ExperiencenbspMINI Takes The States
Best Friends

xA9 Perry Stern Automotive Content ExperiencenbspMINI Takes The States
Best Friends

xA9 Perry Stern Automotive Content ExperiencenbspMINI Takes The States
Best Friends

xA9 Perry Stern Automotive Content ExperiencenbspMINI Takes The States
Best Friends

xA9 Perry Stern Automotive Content ExperiencenbspMINI Takes The States
Best Friends

xA9 Perry Stern Automotive Content ExperiencenbspMINI Takes The States
Chunk

xA9 Perry Stern Automotive Content Experiencenbsp2023 MINI Cooper Resolute
MINI USA provided us with a proper ride to join the MTTS rally — a 2023 MINI Cooper S Resolute, one of three special editions for the 2023 model year. This special MINI stands out with Rebel Green exterior paint — a color that had previously been exclusive to the high-performance MINI John Cooper Works edition. This eye-catching color contrasts well with its Pepper White roof and mirror caps.

xA9 Perry Stern Automotive Content ExperiencenbspResolute Bronze Trim
Further complements to the Resolute’s Rebel Green color scheme come courtesy of a Resolute Bronze trim finish throughout the car. The radiator grille, headlight surrounds, taillight surrounds, air intakes and fuel-filler cap all have the bronze treatment. Two bronze stripes adorn the Resolute hood (or bonnet as the Brits call it), with a unique pattern of parallel lines creating a stylish look. The 18-inch alloy wheels in Pulse Spoke Black complete the package.

xA9 Perry Stern Automotive Content ExperiencenbspFun Drive
It doesn’t take long behind the wheel of a MINI Cooper S to appreciate where a MINI owner’s passion comes from — these little cars are simply a blast to drive. Our Cooper S for the MINI Takes The States rally came equipped with a smooth 6-speed manual gearbox that enhanced the car’s overall sporty vibe. And any winding road will certainly bring a smile.

xA9 Perry Stern Automotive Content Experiencenbsp2023 MINI Cooper JCW
On our second day of the Rally we swapped to the 2023 MINI Cooper John Cooper Works, which bumps power to 228 horses to make this fun ride even better. This MINI stands out thanks to its new Multitone Roof — a feature noticed and appreciated by many of our new MINI friends.

xA9 Perry Stern Automotive Content ExperiencenbspFinal Stats
Ultimately more than 2,000 people attended the 2022 MINI Takes The States rally (about half of whom completed the entire event) driving more than 1,000 MINIs. There were also about 70 dogs that joined in the festivities. After the final gathering in Greenville, MINI owners bid each other farewell, but many will return. MINI has already confirmed that MTTS will take place on schedule in 2024.

The post MINI Takes The States — The Ultimate MINI Rally appeared first on autoNXT.net.

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