Birds Gotta Fly, Minis Gotta?Swim? | Edmunds

Birds Gotta Fly, Minis Gotta....Swim?

Just the Facts:
  • A one-of-a-kind Mini convertible boat will cruise along the river during a rowing regatta in Philadelphia this weekend.
  • The unique Mini features a fiberglass body on a boat hull and is powered by a 6-horsepower outboard motor.
  • The Mini boat will make more appearances throughout the U.S. this summer.

WOODCLIFF LAKE, New Jersey — A special Mini convertible will make an appearance in Philadelphia this weekend at the 2013 Aberdeen Dad Vail Regatta. But instead of transporting college rowers to the meet, the red ragtop will be "driving" on the waters of the Schuylkill River.

The one-of-a-kind floating Mini was conceived for the company's "Not Normal" sales promotion. Built by ACI Composites of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, the fiberglass body was molded from a 2004 Mini and mounted to a boat hull. Authenticity is provided by actual Mini components, including head and taillights, grille, steering wheel, and badges.

Although the illusion of driving is enhanced by genuine Mini wheels and tires that are engineered to rotate as the boat moves, power actually comes from a 6-horsepower outboard motor spinning a conventional propeller.

Established in 1934, the Aberdeen Dad Vail Regatta is the largest intercollegiate meet of its type in North America, with 3,700 rowers representing 127 colleges and universities. In addition to watching the Mini convertible boat navigate the river, the 35,000 spectators will also have the opportunity to visit a display of Mini vehicles and speak with product specialists.

The Mini boat has already made appearances at a number of other events. In October it cruised at the Head of the Charles Regatta in Boston, chugged along the Chicago River during this year's St. Patrick's Day parade, and motored at the Washington D.C. Wine and Food Festival last weekend. And it's just getting started. A Mini USA spokeswoman told Edmunds the plan is for it to sail along "on rivers at various events throughout the summer."

Edmunds says: This titanic achievement should not go unnoticed, so watch for it at a nice burg near you some time this summer.

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