Dispatches from the 2013 International Mini Meeting
Fans from across the globe gathered at the International Mini Meeting (IMM) at the circuit near Florence, Italy, to revel in the sights and sounds of all things to do with the tiny British motor and AOL Cars joined the festivities.> The IMM was first held in 1978 and has travelled around the globe to different venues every year since.
The event has become the world's largest meeting of the Alec Issigonis-designed car and is the place to be for fans of classic and new Minis alike.
AOL Cars made the trip from Germany to Italy in two of BMW Mini's fastest cars.
We picked up the keys to the latest Mini John Cooper Works Clubman at BMW Welt in Munich before threading our way through southern Germany and Austria in the spicy little estate car.
At the border between Austria and northern Italy, we made the final leg in a new Mini Cooper S.
Twenty miles from Mugello we again swapped our wheels, but this time for a 1997 Rover Mini Cooper.
As soon as we arrived the party atmosphere was alive and kicking. There were classic Minis restored to showroom-condition while other owners had personalised their rides to the max.
BMW Mini were representing in number and were celebrating 50 years of the Mini Cooper S, showing off the new Mini John Cooper Works GP and offering test drives of its new Paceman.
"We have had a presence at the IMM for the last five years," a BMW Mini spokesperson told us.
"When we first started appearing here, the new Mini wasn't really liked by the Mini community. But now it is much better and with each generation, the affection grows.
"We attend the IMM to align the new Mini with the old Mini and to promote the idea of one Mini family."
Take a look at the gallery to get a taste of this year's event.