The Czech Mini Fan Club

In 1979 the first Austin Mini MK II (made in 1967) appeared in West Bohemian Pilsen and inspired some admirers of this car legend for chasing for other pieces, for technological consultations and friendly meetings. Of course it was not the first Mini in the Czech countries nor was it a single piece here but it had a fundamental significance because a group of enthusiasts used to meet around it. Based on friendship and common experiences with these cars a fan community was being born.


At the genesis of the Czech Mini Fan Club which was for a long time the only one in the countries of the ``east block'' there were only a few enthusiasts from Pilsen. In the course of time this basic core group was joined by new Mini owners and fans from all over Czechoslovakia of that time.


During their trips all over the republic the initial group tried to contact as many Mini owners in Bohemia, Moravia and Slovakia as possible, to involve them in the spontaneously developed exchange of parts (there was no representation of the company then and the individual importation was problematic) and to help the less experienced owners. This free structure was gradually changing into a Fan Club. The greatest recognition is due to Stanislav Staněk, to his brother Ivan and to the present president of the club Jaroslav Kodl.


Despite the dispersion of the small group of fans over the whole area of the then federative republic eight Mini owners were in close contact and in 1982 they decided to organize the first holiday meeting of the Mini fans in Studánka by Tachov. The event was successful, the participants enjoyed it very much and it founded the tradition of the annual meetings. The meetings did not take place only in two anniversary years when the international meetings at the English racing circuit in Silverstone were held (1994, 1999).


As more and more members and fans joined, the requirements for space and level of the meetings and especially for their organisation increased -- why, to find a place for fifty or more crews in the middle of the summer tourist season was not and is not easy at all. The Auto-Moto Club in Kladno was the owner of the camping site in Viąňová near the Křivoklát castle -- from 1986 on the club started to organize the meetings at that place.


The first foreign participants came in 1989 from Austria, Germany and Bulgaria. At that time the Bulgarian visitors were for several years coming from the greatest distance -- one their journey was more than 2000 kilometres long. At that time about 40 Minis used to come which already was more than the capacity of the camping site in Viąňová. From 1991 on the meeting moved to camp Diana by Rokycany.


After the well-known political changes in the autumn of 1989 the club started to broaden its external activities. As early as in 1989 one crew took part in the Austrian meeting in Kainisch and in 1990 eight crews went to the meeting in Waldviertel. The participation of the Club in the 35 Anniversary Mini Meeting at the famous circuit in Silverstone in 1994 can be considered almost a miracle.


Among the closest external favourers of the Czech Club there are the colleagues form German Linz, Stuttgart, Nuremberg, Cologne, Chemnitz and Austrian Valdviertel, Vienna etc., and the individual fans from Finland, Sweden, Holland, USA, Great Britain and Australia. The international meeting in 1995 was attended by the record number of 104 Minis from 8 countries, the furthermost crew came from Portugal, one their journey taking 2600 kilometres.


After the division of Czechoslovakia in two independent states (in 1994) our Slovak friends founded their own fan club, nevertheless there are very frequent contacts between the two corporations and their interconnection can be seen most clearly in the image of the club quarterly which has been issued in Brno since 1997 and tries to broaden the horizons of the subscribers with technological, organizational and historical contributions. It has won some subscribers also abroad especially in Slovakia, Germany and Austria, one enlisted subscriber is from the USA.


More than 130 fans from all over the Czech Republic are members of the Czech Mini Fan Club, they are owners of about 160 Mini cars. We can boast with evidently the oldest active fan in Europe (Mrs. Anastázie Rakouská) and with the very successful representative in the European Championship of the historical car rally (Pavel Nejedlý).


The members of the club meet in their regional spontaneously developed centres -- Pilsen, Prague, Beroun, Opava, Olomouc, Brno. The main club events are the annual Czech international meeting (held every time at the last weekend in August), the international meeting of the Slovak Club (at the beginning of June) and the celebration of the birthday of Mini (in September).


It is most delightful that already the second generation of members have grown up for the active club life (they are about twenty at present) -- without doubt they will lead the Mini legend into the next millennium. This is also a good certificate of the 17-year long work of the Mini Fan Club -- Czech Owners.


Jaroslav Kodl -- chairman

Translation Liba Dobrovodská

© MFC 2007