Thursday, 19 July 2018

Mystery Special still unnamed

Yesterday I posted another Mystery Mini derivative. It wasn't on its own as the picture of the thing showed several other Minis, of which many of you knew more. And so the messages about the orange and blue customized Minis didn't stop coming in. Hey, it was the green car I was after! Colin Baines, who recognized himself in the picture, knew it was owned by the bearded man next to him. He also remembered it used the mechanicals of an Austin 1300 GT.

But it was fellow Dutchman Kees Plugboer who dug deeper and came up with a photograph of the thing, copied from a magazine article about the Mini's 25th anniversary at Donington Park. We see the bearded man once again, ready to hop in. His other half (?) appears to have done so already. We also see a registration number: Q412 NTR. According to the DVLA this belongs to a Tourer of 'Other British Makes'. The registration dates back to July 1984, which means it must have been finished just before the anniversary party which took place  on August 27th, 1984. And the rosette suggests it won a prize, too...

The article showed some more nice Mini based cars, a nice Mini Marcos (Mk3 I think) with added front spoiler and a TiCi in particular. I like the rare hardtop on the latter. Thanks very much Kees! Now, over to the green Special once more. Who is our bearded friend?

The green Special is based on an Austin 1300 GT and registered Q412 NTR in July 1984
Picture via Kees Plugboer

A very clean example of the Mini Marcos was seen at the same event at Donington Park in '84
Picture via Kees Plugboer

As was this TiCi. This one with a rare hardtop. Like the green Special it seems to have won a prize?
Picture via Kees Plugboer

Wednesday, 18 July 2018

Mystery Mini derivative (51)

We're on our way to the Mini's 59th birthday in August 2018. But let's have a look back at an earlier anniversary first. The 25th birthday party in particular, which took place in the UK on August 1984. A little group of modified Minis got together for the picture seen below. There is a lovely Stimson Safari Six in the middle and some much modified Mini saloons at the front, all in great 1980s style. But how about the bright green creature seen at the right? Anyone any ideas about that specific one?

UPDATE 12:00: Colin Baines recognizes himself! He is second from right and owned the Safari Six. He writes: The chap on my left owned the green thing. It was home made from aluminum and had an Austin 1300GT engine and subframe in the rear."

The bigger picture: presumedly taken at Donington at the Mini 25th anniversary party on August 26, 1984
Picture Jeroen Booij archive

But what on earth is that? Surely a home-made creation. More info would be welcome, though 
Picture Jeroen Booij archive

Tuesday, 17 July 2018

When a Baumann Coupe is not a Baumann Coupe

Well, I was almost sure Peter Camping would react to my Midas / Baumann article of last week. And i wasn;'t disappointed. Peter knew it very well, and this is what he wrote about it:

"Hi Jeroen. It was a real Friday the 13th, yesterday. Not again that Baumann! It's fake news. The car's number plate '44' does not neccesarily say it was registered in that region. The French motoring authorities are based in Nantes (in the Loire-Atlantique). This is a temporary number plate."
I also received a message from Damien Lescroart, who knew: "It has a W number plate. These plates are used by garages only. So 1065W44 refers to a garage in Loire Atlantique but not a car. I'm 99% sure that the car is unregistered as a Midas or Baumann, which explain the garage plates."

Peter continues: "See attached a piece from Gazoline magazine on this particular car. There was also a website about it when the car was for sale. The owner is (or was) an Englishman who lived in in France. He did something in the movie industry but wanted to sell the Midas upon moving to the US. There was no plan of selling Baumann Coupes in any numbers."

"The car is also not 'rebadged', other than it is just a Midas with another badge on its nose. The Midas name is associated with a fast fitter company in France, which he didn't like. That's the simple reason for giving it another badge. The Reims museum offers the posibility to display cars for sale when you are willing to pay for it."

"So there you go. Good luck with the Baumann. In my friend's app group the car appears every now and then, but always in a comical connotation! Best regards, Peter."

Gazoline Magazine wrote about the car in the past. '1065 W 44' is a garage plate says Damien. Peter adds that it's a temporary registration from the French motoring authorities
Picture Gazoline Magazine via Peter Camping

Baumann name was chosen since Midas is also the name of a French fast fitter, perhaps not suitable for any car's reputation? 
Picture Gazoline Magazine via Peter Camping

Peter Camping: "In my friend's app group the car appears every now and then, but always in a comical connotation!"
Picture Gazoline Magazine via Peter Camping

Friday, 13 July 2018

When a Midas Gold becomes a Baumann Coupe

Remarkably, the car seen here - on display at the Reims Champagne Motor Museum in France - is not a Midas Gold. This, ladies and gentlemen, is the Baumann Coupe. Well, that's what the badge on its nose says. It is in fact a rebadged Midas that was meant to become a French version with left hand drive. Somehow it never succeeded and this is believed to be the sole car made. Was there a problem with homologation? I understand it is equipped with a 71hp strong MG Metro sourced 1300 engine and is privately owned but lended to the museum. The '44' number plate suggests it was issued in the Loire-Atlantique in the west of France. I would love to to find out a little more, though, and with several Midas experts on board here I trust some of you will be able to do so!

The sole 1985 Baumann Coupe can be seen in the Reims Champagne Motor Museum
Picture source Pinterest

It is said to be a French version of the Midas Gold that never succeeded. What went wrong?
Picture source Pinterest

Tuesday, 10 July 2018

Le Mans Classic 2018: Mk1 Mini Marcos sold

Despite all the plans, I didn't make it to Le Mans Classic. You may remember that my project car is far from finished and there was no use taking the bare shell to France now that it is right in the middle of its restoration. There would have been more to see and do there, though, with Robi Bernberg racing his ex-works Deep Sanderson 301 and Chris Marsh the ex-works big Marcos. Meanwhile, another Mk1 Mini Marcos was being offered for sale at the Artcurial auction there, too. This car sold for 35,760 Euros and I wonder what you think of it.

Mk1 Mini Marcos was restored in France about 11 years ago. It did Le Mans Classic more than once
Picture courtesy Artcurial Motorcars

Wide arches are nicely made, but make it look somewhat overbodied without wheel spacers perhaps?
Picture courtesy Artcurial Motorcars

Interior shows lots of later touches. Gear change set-up is an easy giveaway to the modernizations
Also note steel plating on floors
Picture courtesy Artcurial Motorcars

Yep, that's an A+ series engine. I am surprised this is allowed at Le Mans Classic
Picture courtesy Artcurial Motorcars

Chassis #6034 is an early, possibly 1965-made, car. That's one very unusual chassis plate though
Picture courtesy Artcurial Motorcars

Friday, 29 June 2018

Unipower reunited with former owner

Ever enthusiastic Unipower GT owner Tim Carpenter dropped me a line: "Last Wednesday I met up with Bob Spooner, the owner of my car for one year 1970-71. I’ve attached some pictures of our encounter and of Bob, aged about 19, posing with the car."

"Bob is a retired model maker with a long and keen interest in motoring, these days mainly motorcycles. He was very pleased to see the car again, commenting that it appeared to be in better shape today than when he owned it when it was just four years old. Looking at your web pages he said he “was surprised to see how famous 'our' car is. Certainly the best known, and in my view the best looking!”

"He told me a tale about the car which he said he has told many times since over the years. Apparently, he and a friend were driving around Clapham Common with a packet of cigarettes on the dashboard (yes, they were Players No.6!). The friend was amazed when, on negotiating a corner at some speed, the cigarette packet slid along the dashboard and became stuck to the side window where it was held by the cornering forces. It was probably a good job the traffic police did not observe these antics."

"I’m hoping to catch up again with Bob when I compete in the Bo Peep hill climb in Sussex on Sunday 16 September. Cheers, Tim." Thank you very much for sharing!

Groovy! Bob Spooner with the Unipower GT in 1970, when he owned it. He'd
 just fitted wide wheel arches and JAP Magna alloy wheels
Picture Bob Spooner via Tim Carpenter

Same car, same bloke 47 years later! 'KYL 294D' wears chassis number 1
Picture Tim Carpenter

And here with current owner Tim Carpenter behind Bob. Tim owns it since the late-1980s (more here)
Picture Tim Carpenter

Bob Spooner said it appeared to be in better shape today than when he owned it when it was
 just four years old!
Picture Bob Spooner via Tim Carpenter

Thursday, 28 June 2018

Much modded Mini Marcoses

Let's share some pictures of Mini Marcoses that were sent over to me in the last couple of weeks. They have one thing in common: these cars come with much modified body work!

Spotted by Chris Higinbotham at Oulton Park in 1983. A racer, with more spoilers and splitters than I had ever seen before!
Picture Chris Higinbotham

Chris wasn't too keen on the car, writing: "This looks like it was made from plywood, nailed together"
Picture Chris Higinbotham

Another racer, with ultra deep front spoiler and ultra wide sills and arches. I do not know anything about it
Picture source unknown

And then there's this, spotted at Stoneleigh in the early 00's by Chris Westgate. The car was crashed at the front and this is how the owner repaired it
Picture Chris Westgate

Thursday, 21 June 2018

Beach Boys Mini Surfer - only 5 made?

Reader Jeff Lehmann, who found a rare survivor of the Beach Boys Mini Surfer last Spring (click here), has been doing some work on the car, as well as some further researches. He wrote: "Got the Surfer Moke up and running this weekend. I kept it all original, replaced the hydraulics and it drives great. Will work on details like the stereo, speakers and fringed top over the next few months. I have the fur covered seat covers but put the others in just for around town."

"I Also did some research and it looks like there were only five of these made. The Beach Boys sued Capitol Records when these were made and they dropped the promotion outside the five in the pictures. I have not been able to get anything in writing with the number of cars built being twenty or five. But the Beach Boys and Capitol were not getting along throughout 1966 when the Moke promotion was happening and they sued Capitol in early 1967, see the article attached."

Thank you very much for that Jeff. The story continues.

Rare survivor of the Beach Boys Mini Surfer. Owner Jeff believes just 5 were made 
Picture Jeff Lehmann

And here are all 5 of them, as originally presented to the Beach Boys in 1966
Picture Jeroen Booij archive

Here again at Barris Kustoms with more people involved. John Barris is second from left
Picture Jeroen Booij archive

But then The Beach Boys and Capitol records got caught in a major argument and the Mini Surfer deal might have gone lost in the battle, thinks Jeff
Picture Jeff Lehmann

Wednesday, 20 June 2018

Le Mans Mini Marcos: the gauges

Finding the right gauges for the Le Mans Mini Marcos wasn't all too easy. I had just one photograph of the car's dashboard which dates back to 1975. This meant that things may have been changed up until then (as went for the steering wheel), but I decided it was the one to work from since there was nothing else to prove anything different. I received lots of help when I asked around what these gauges were exactly, with lots of people kindly providing possible answers. Eventually it was a matter of elimination and then they could all be named and so a proper search could be started. The Smiths gauges were fairly easy to find, although I did find out there are lots of small differences even there. The Veglia-Borletti rev counter proved to be quite a lot more difficult, and the same goes for the Jaeger oil temperature gauge, which I still do not have. Do contact me if you know of one!

The only picture I have of the car's dashboard was kindly provided to me by Michel Tasset. It dates back to 1975, when he owned it. The steering wheel here is not the one originally fitted to the car
Picture courtesy Michel Tasset 

The same picture, now with the gauges numbered in able to identify them correctly (thanks to many!)
1. Smiths Mini Cooper 'S' speedometer in km/h
2. Smiths water temperature gauge
3. Veglia-Borletti rev counter
4. Smiths oil pressure gauge
5. Smiths fuel gauge
6. Jaeger oil temperature gauge
Picture courtesy Michel Tasset 

Except for the number 6, I have all the correct gauges now. They are all restored and recalibrated, too.
The Veglia-Borletti rev counter proved to be very difficult to find, but eventually I got one from the US
Picture Jeroen Booij

When the rev counter arrived it unfortunately turned out to be broken. But I found a specialist who managed to restore it with a new print plate of his own design
Picture Jeroen Booij

The only one needed now is a Jaeger oil temperature gauge exactly like the one seen here
Picture source Leboncoin

Jaeger gauges were fitted to a number a French sports cars, but they were sold separately also, as proves this advertisement which dates back to 1965
Picture source Leboncoin

Friday, 15 June 2018

Mystery Landar R6 hides in Japan

Spotted in Japan last month by reader Danny van Giel (who sent in some shots of a Unipower GT he got uncovered there also): a Landar R6. I have no information whatsoever about this particular example other than just one more photograph of it from the front. I think it could be the same car that was spotted in the 1980s at Donington circuit, but am quite sure some of you will know more about it.

Hidden in a warehouse with the roll bar taken off - this Landar R6 is based in Japan
Picture Danny van Giel

This has to be the same car. More information would be much appreciated
Picture Jeroen Booij archive

This car was seen at Donington in the 1980s. I think this is the same car, but am not sure
Picture Jeroen Booij archive