• Jul 5, 2012
Only a German-owned British brand could storm Washington D.C. on the Fourth of July and be greeted with waves, grins and the occasional thumbs up.

Minis just make people smile.

More than 300 Mini models of all shapes, sizes and years began the first leg of the 11-day Mini Takes the States 2012 campaign on America's birthday, stopping in Philadelphia and then going on to take in the fireworks in the nation's capital.

This is the fourth run of the cross-country trek of Minis, this time celebrating Mini's 10th anniversary since returning to America. (Note: 2012 is also the 200th anniversary of the original British Invasion in which the King's troops burned much of Washington D.C., including setting the James Madison-occupied White House ablaze, before being repelled in the War of 1812.)
In the ten years Mini has been back in America, the brand has continued to grow as a cult of followers. And the expansion is continuing with gusto as more and more buyers opt for the fun, racy, British styling of the cars. Mini continues to open more dealerships around the country, soon bringing the total to 120 stores in its U.S. network.

Mini also expects to have another strong year. Its June sales were up 14.7 percent compared to the same month last year, and it's running 7.5-percent higher for the year, compared with 2011. The British icon now owned by BMW is on pace to sell more than 60,000 units this year. Growth is coming by way of a new roadster introduced this year. Next year, it will add a "coupe version" of the Countryman, named the Paceman, and debut the third generation Mini Cooper flagship two-door.

But Wednesday wasn't really about sales charts, as all of the participants in the rally that continues into next week had already bought a Mini.



This journey started at Mini headquarters in Woodcliff Lakes, New Jersey, moving to Philadelphia for an afternoon of autocross driving, and then ending the day in D.C. for the fireworks. While every Mini seems to have a distinctive look created by its owner, the common denominator for the group are the smiles.

"The staff did a great job," said Alan Rosner, who drove his Mini from California to be part of the entire rally. This is the second time Rosner has driven in the Mini rally.

Cruising along Route 301 in Delaware, the line of Minis stretched down the road for more than a mile. Tough to pull off a sight like that with, say, Chevrolet Impala sedans. People waiting to turn onto the highway just waved and laughed as a seemingly endless supply of Minis rolled past. They didn't even look annoyed in having to wait.

The rally trip moves today from D.C. to Charlotte, N.C., and then to Nashville, Louisville, and then to Chicago, each day picking up some drivers and dropping off others. Organizers said that the volume of drivers will remain around the same on any given day.



From Chicago, the train of Mini drivers heads to Des Moines, Iowa; Lincoln, Neb.; Boulder, Colo.; Albuquerque, N.M.; Phoenix, Ariz., and ultimately ending in Los Angeles, Cal. Already more than 4,000 people have registered to join in all or parts of the drive and MINI officials have said that 89 people have registered to drive the entire 3,908-mile route.

"I love it," said Tony Ruiz, along with his wife Maria Ruiz, of the first day drive. Next time, Tony Ruiz said, the couple is going to drive the entire route.

Watch for our daily posts between now and July 15 as we visit with Mini owners and see what kind of customizations they have done. We also plan to stray from the rally here and there to check out some places we have decided anyone traveling these parts of the country should visit. if you have any suggestions for us, leave us a note in Comments.

Colin Croughan contributed to this story


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  • 39 Comments
      mitytitywhitey
      • 2 Years Ago
      And greeted by a heat wave and no power. Better than last time though, when a tornado sided with US forces and tore through the British regiment before they could burn the Capitol.
      danyaqqub
      • 2 Years Ago
      While you are invading Washington, D.C. in your Mini, by all means go straight up Georgia Avenue into Montgomery county and on up to Brookville, where you can proudly takem pictures and pose before then historical marker in front of the house where President Madison took refuge during the burning. Then you can proudly show it to friends, family and acquaintances how you visited the place that was known as "The Nation's Capitol for a day."
      A P
      • 2 Years Ago
      The tow truck industry is thriving because of the marriage of British build quality and German engineering.
        • 2 Years Ago
        @A P
        [blocked]
      Camaroman101
      • 2 Years Ago
      anyone else hate minis or am i the only one?
      Matthew Miles
      • 2 Years Ago
      "Before being repelled" BAH!!! The burning of the "White House" was in retaliation to U.S. troops invading British North America (Canada), which got us a little, you know, upset. A lot of arguments are thrown around as to who won the War of 1812, but it comes down to this, Americas intentions were the invasion and occupation of Canada, proven by President Madison famous line (or something very close to it) "Capturing Canada will be as easy as marching" You started it. We repelled you......and then burned your capitol to the ground My best argument for who was the true victor of 1812 comes from my H.S. history teacher. "Who won the war of 1812, really?" "Are you and American?" "No" "There's your answer"
        Silly Pickle
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Matthew Miles
        You must've gotten voted down by an american...they still can't accept defeat, even 200 years later.
          MotionDesigner
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Silly Pickle
          The War of 1812 ended in a stalemate. The only defeat anyone tasted were the British when they were kicked out during the Revolution. Get over it.
          waetherman
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Silly Pickle
          ...and it was no defeat; that star-spangled banner, as the poem goes, yet waves.
        waetherman
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Matthew Miles
        Well they don't curtsy to the Queen in Maine, either. Your history teacher did you no service by oversimplifying the War of 1812. Fact is, it was a war fought for many reasons, but chiefly British aggression both direct and indirect. While expansion in to the British controlled northern territories (colloquially known as Canada) was certainly part of the intended outcome of the war, capturing territory was not simply for its own sake but also to remove the threat of attacks launched from there. Since the war ultimately resulted in no shift in borders, one could say it was a draw, but the US achieved their goals of ending British support of the Native Americans tribes who were fighting the United States and other aggression by the British. So, there's your answer.
        Matthew Miles
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Matthew Miles
        *Madison's *an
        Steven
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Matthew Miles
        The Americans won the War of 1812. One proof is the U.S. national anthem, which was written when British arse was kicked at Fort McHenry in the war, was played on British television at the end of a Monty Python episode, the episode featuring the Buzz Aldrin Show.
        whamhammer
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Matthew Miles
        The U.S. also won because the British stopped "impressing" American sailors and ships into the British Navy (to fight the French). The British support of raiding Indian tries against Americans also subsided. We, here in Baltimore halted the sacking of Baltimore by killing the British general in charge of the land invasion as well as successfully making a stand at Fort McHenry. The American victory at the Battle of New Orleans (in which neither side knew the war had ended) proved American resolve against the Crown. If America had lost the War of 1812, we would have lost American independence from England, and had become a colony once more.
      Lee
      • 2 Years Ago
      People hate Minis? There must be some people just looking for things to hate? Give it a rest, life is too short to hate...........
      ufgrat
      • 2 Years Ago
      Spies! Germans masquerading as Brits invade US Capitol City! Only one thing is certain. Rush Limbaugh will blame Obama.
        • 2 Years Ago
        @ufgrat
        [blocked]
          Klinkster
          • 2 Years Ago
          Rick - could be worse. You could be in Spain, Italy, Greece...or perhaps even France where their economies are (or nearly) bankrupt. The UK keeping an arm's reach from the EU was perhaps the best decision yet...
          VictoriaInstitutions
          • 2 Years Ago
          The truth is the no one in the English nations know what is really happening. Historically, this was the case. However, in the earlier centuries, physical distances had protected GB. Now there is no frontier that has not been breached. I remember reading the speeches of Robert Clive {East India Company} and seen his acute understanding of another nation. However, he was simply ridiculed and made to commit suicide. The fact is that English nations do have certain superiorities and mental elevations. The whole world really knows it, but many wouldn't acknowledge it. However, the funny fact is that most native English-speakers do not know what this greatness is. They have very good knowledge of the world in a translated into English version. The real, untranslated into English version of the world is not known to them. It gets filtered; lost in translation. All American leaders including Obama are leading a nation that is living on a resource that they do not know, and don't know exists. This resource is getting depleted fast.
        Bill
        • 2 Years Ago
        @ufgrat
        ..as well he should.
      scott3
      • 2 Years Ago
      Damn Hessians .
      Welcome Big J.
      • 2 Years Ago
      mini's are one of the worst cars for our economy. just saying
      rsushm
      • 2 Years Ago
      They are really BMW's in disguise. Maybe Hessians. :)
      thankgodikauai
      • 2 Years Ago
      mini's are garbage !!
      gr8tchr02
      • 2 Years Ago
      Sounds like you're traveling Route 66 style? If you are, don't miss seeing the Blue Whale in Catoose, OK. It's on the way (?) if you are on Historic Route 66. Come get your kicks in Will Rogers hometown and visit the world's largest gun collection in the J.M. Davis Museum in Claremore. But most important, let me know you're coming so Mini and I can meet you there!
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