The Fun & The Curious: Visiting the 2019 International Mini Meet in Bristol

I always enjoy attending car meets, while auto shows and press launches might present to us the latest and shiniest machinery, it is only at car meets where one gets to fully immerse themselves into not just the cars on display, but also the people and culture that comes with these meets. Which is why being able to attend and experience the largest Mini meet to ever be held was a chance I could not say no to. Held over an entire weekend, the 2019 International Mini Meeting was part festival, part automotive gathering and part campsite. Covering a large expanse of farmland in Bristol UK, it was definitely a weekend to remember.

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There were, unfortunately, some downers which did affect my enjoyment of this massive gathering. One of which was due to fatigue from our (still fun) drive down to Frankfurt, another was because our time at the actual event was just not quite enough as we had a rather packed schedule arranged and the last bit, somewhat out of our control, was from what I was told, the very British weather that repeatedly dropped 10 minutes of rain on us, followed by 10 minutes of sunshine throughout our stay. This being on farmland, of course, meant lots of muddied grounds.

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Still, I tried to make the most of my day by covering as much of the event as I could and at the same time grabbing some souvenirs to bring home. With the full writeup slated for release in the Singapore edition of Top Gear magazine, let me instead bring you on a ground tour of the event and quite frankly, just a taste of the cars I saw over the weekend.

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One of the cars that took center stage in the Minispares tent was Nick Swift’s Swiftune Mk 1. Videos of this car taking on larger and more powerful cars on the tracks can be found on Youtube attesting to the capabilities of this clean little racer.

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Cheeky rear license plate accompanying a tribute to Glyn Swift, the founder of Swiftune, who unfortunately passed away a couple of years back.

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There were a couple of Monte Carlo Rally prepped cars sitting alongside which looked amazing. I could not tell if there were the actual rally cars or very well made recreations, but considering they were both sitting inside the tent, I wouldn’t be surprised if it was the former.

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I like clean cars, so these get a special mention. Love that faded orange colour too.

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There were quite a few vans at the event but this was one of the nicer ones. I’m not very knowledgable on things pertaining to classic Minis so all I can say is, I like how it looks and I wish I had one.

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I do know this is a Mk 1 though (I think).

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While the vendor areas might be where most of the cleaner cars and cleaner ground was, it was in and around the campsites that provided a look into the people, culture and their cars that make up the event. I think the image above somewhat sums up the general mood. Did you notice that shortened Mini has a beer dispenser as well?

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One of my favourites at the show. Everything just looked spot-on for this Mini. The wheels, the ride height, the colour. If it somehow looks familiar, then you’ve probably seen the Lego version, which coincidentally was sitting on the rear parcel shelf of this car!

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Spot the lego?

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I can’t ignore the more modern Minis of course. Here’s one of the oddball Mini Coupes in JCW form. With matching plates! Quite a marmite car, but I love it and I think with such a limited production run it will eventually be a future classic.

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A variant that we don’t get in Singapore, the Cooper SD. I kinda like this body style of the Clubman more than the newer version, strange doors and all. The perfect wagon for my 3 dogs.

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I think this Countryman deserves a special mention for driving all the way down from Turkey!

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Mini owners definitely aren’t normal. In the nicest way possible of course.

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Speaking of long-distance travel, a team of Mini owners from Hong Kong also made the trip over with their cars making the journey by way of sea.

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Chopped!

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Another one of my favourites. This very clean and beautifully restored Mk 1. I really like the exterior colour, but it was the interior that made me fall in love.

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So clean and great choice of fabric! I want one just like this.

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Again, while some like ’em nice and clean…

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Others like ’em dirty…

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And then there are those which were just quirky!

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Two Minis, two different faces. While the squarer front design of the Clubman might be the rare variant of the two, I still prefer the original design’s happier face.

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Though I wouldn’t pass up a nicely restored one if given the chance of course.

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Another classic square-faced Mini, the 1275 GT. Released to replace the 998 cc Mini Cooper, the 1275 GT is often incorrectly described as the “Mini Clubman 1275 GT”. The official name was always just the “Mini 1275 GT” even though it looked just like the Clubman with its boxy front end.

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Another lovely Mini van.

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Not a van but a pickup!

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Colour co-ordinated mini Mini trailer.

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Also, colour co-ordinated but this time with something slightly bigger.

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Quite a few were dressed up for the occasion.

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Lovely baby blues everywhere.

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Keeping it simple really does work well for the classic Mini.

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Externally mounted spotlights are definitely a thing here.

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Not all Minis were created equal. This strange-looking Mini derivative is a Mini Jem. Built on the platform of the Mk2, the Jem dates back to 1970 and I think this one has since seen better days. Quite interesting though.

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This makes me think of Mighty Car Mods for some reason.

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What’s so special about this Classic Mini? It’s a fully converted EV with a manual gearbox. Let that sink in for a moment.

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Being a classic car event, there were, of course, a number of classic non-Minis scattered around. Like this lovely Triumph TR6.

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Sweet Kombi pickup.

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A vintage Peugeot truck/van rebuilt to serve coffee.

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And then there was this beautiful Super Giulia.

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Sitting next to an OM Leoncina truck.

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Anyone up for an Italian job?

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I can’t end this post without posting a lovely shot of a part of our convoy making our way down. Taken by a talented (but crazy) photographer.

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Did I mention crazy?

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The cars shown make up only a tiny percentage of all the great cars that descended onto the farm but hopefully, I was able to give you guys a rough idea of what went down in Bristol. I hope you all enjoyed this post as much as I enjoyed sharing it! Pictured above is me with a happy face after finally popping my classic Mini cherry.

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