Friday, 5 August 2022

A Margrave Mini on Malta

Model car builder Max Derrez recently bought a book and was surprised about the sheer number of cars using the Mini's base. The one he ever came across was a Wood & Pickett Mini Margrave on the island of Malta when on holidays there years ago. "The owner told me he'd rather sell his wife than the car, or so he said to me", Max added. He didn't have any pictures of the car did he? Well as a matter of fact he did!

They arrived just a day later: "Hello Jeroen. See attached pictures of the W&P Mini that I saw on Malta back in 2001. These photos aren't very good as dawn came in when I took them. The car came with the Vauxhall grille and had all of its side seams removed, which must have been quite a job. As I wrote to you before, the owner knew he had something special. Very best, Max Derrez"

That is, of course much appreciated. Anyone here who knows more about this particular car, registered 'JAB 905' on the isle of Malta..?

UPDATE 13:00: Other fellow-Dutchman Henk van Brakel photographed the same car on the island of Malta in 1997 when it was still on its British plate: 'FOX 767L', added below now. Thank you!

Reader Max Derrez spotted this Wood & Pickett Mini Margrave on Malta back in 2001
Picture Max Derrez

Max wrote: "The owner told me he'd rather sell his wife than the car, or so he said"
Picture Max Derrez

Dark shadowlite windows, deseamed, fabric roof, Webasto and more... Do we know this car?
Picture Max Derrez

The car must have been a UK-import as Henk van Brakel spotted it on Malta on its British plate
Picture Henk van Brakel

Tuesday, 2 August 2022

Summer 2022 - the show is on

It's summer and it's showtime once again! I have been sent lots of pictures of cars making it to shows in the last month or so and share some of the best of these here, together with some more bits and pieces that may interest you folk. I hope you'll enjoy them - and keep those pictures coming. 

Over in Australia this Jem was spotted last month by a friend of Ogle owner Neil Griffin. Neil wrote: "Jeroen, a friend who now lives in South Australia saw this at an impromptu car show over there." 
I think it's a Taylorspeed built car?
Picture via Neil Griffin

Neil Kilbane of Ireland spotted this 1977 Jimini Mk1 "Came upon it at a car boot sale about 25km from me. The guy said he had it for 20 years but never had it on the road. He was looking for €3500 for it!"
Picture Neil Kilbane

Not one but two Mini Ice cream vans with 'Batman' bodies by Whitby Morrison. One of them is owned by Andy McPail, who took this picture on a show at the British Motor Heritage Centre in Gaydon
Picture Andy McPhail

US reader Burton Reif attended the Mini Meet West in Kingston, Washington with his Ranger Cub, which he drove from Portland Oregon (previously seen here). He was surprised to see a Mini Marcos Mk4 driven all the way from Sacramento, California!
Picture Burton Reif

And a picture from the other side, giving a better view on Burton's Ranger. This photo was taken by the Marcos' owner Michael Kimball who is a keen Mini Marcos promotor in the US
Picture Michael Kimball

Three coachbuilts in a row! Gorgeous Radford Mini De Villes left and right with a Wood & Pickett Mini Margrave in between them, all three absolutely stunning cars owned by one and the same enthusiast
Picture George Knight

Mini Jem racer Pete Crudgington took this picture at Castle Combe of his own racer (left) back to back to the Mini Marcos Mk3 of Sam Polley. Both race in the CSCC Swinging 60’s Series
Picture Pete Crudgington

Ever saw a Status 365 from the underside? I hadn't! Stimson-fan Paul Wylde took this picture while his mate's Status was placed on the lift for some work to be carried out
Picture Paul Wylde

Another Mosquito came out of its hiding in July. Damien Lescroart wrote: "I knew about the existence of this Mosquito for years but never found any info or pictures of it. It appeared today"
Picture via Damien Lescroart

Mark Glasher's pretty Unipower GT made it to the prestigious concours d'elegance of the Goodwood Festival of Speed in June. It came out in a class for mid-engined 1960s cars
 Picture DrGrumoLunatic / Youtube

A well-used Birchall McCoy was seen at a show not far from my place in The Netherlands recently. It's the only McCoy that I have ever heard of in my country, and I really should have been there!
Picture Erik van den Eijnden

Also in The Netherlands, this Ogle SX1000 is in for a brake overhaul. Oh, hang on, it's my own car!
The full Cooper 'S' braking system was incomplete and clogged but works fine again by now
Picture Sipke Blom

Maximum Mini fan Barry Tilbury has been collecting Mini variants for years now. But it was only recently that he managed to find a place to put them all together. Scamps and more here...
Picture Barry Tilbury

...And more! Hat tip to anyone who can identify all of them under those covers, they're all Mini derivatives... Barry wrote: "When are you in the UK next I would love you to visit" Great!
Picture Barry Tilbury

Barry's latest purchase is a very interesting Mk1 Biota, which now joins the others. The car was seen here before when it was found on a peacock farm in Wales back in 2014 (click here)
Picture Barry Tilbury

Saturday, 23 July 2022

12 Little Navajos - how many left?

When a Navajo, or Langridge Navajo, was offered for sale recently I received a great number of messages about it and dug out the files again. The Navajo really was an interesting little car built between 1984 and 1985 by racing car builder Alan Langridge in his ‘Image Race Cars’ workshop at the Super Shell building, on the Goodwood grounds and just next to the track. The Duke of Richmond was a backer of the project and worked with Alan Langridge to get the Navajo on to the road. The car was originally based on the 1100 or 1300 but Langridge reputedly didn’t like the Hydrolastic suspension and converted the cars back to coil shock absorbers. A basic kit consisted of a mig-welded and zinc-plated monocoque with a fibreglass bonnet, windscreen, and all the necessary mountings, brackets, fixings, nuts and bolts. The Duke of Richmond was quoted: “I could have a lot of fun around the estate with this car”, but it’s unknown whether he ever had one. Langridge moved to South Africa in the late 1980s and later to France.

I wondered wether the car for sale was one I'd seen before. It wasn't and I decided to make a list of cars that I know about. Supposedly 12 Navajos were made and have pictures of 10 of them, while one of these - the prototype - has been confirmed scrapped. Know more? Let me know.

SWY 185 was the Navajo demonstrator / brochure car. It's been scrapped
Picture Jeroen Booij archive

The Navajos were built by Langridge's Image Race Cars in Goodwood's Super Shell building
Picture Jeroen Booij archive

SWY 185

ADE 378A

TSN 442M

Q279 EGV

Q413 NTR

Q494 XUX

Q580 CGY

Q621 FVT

Q683 CGY

Q627 ODW

Wednesday, 20 July 2022

ABS to relaunch Alto Boxer kits

Don't think the Mini derivative is dead. After last week's launch of the Mengers Beach Mini (click) it is time for the next relaunch: that of the Alto Boxer. You will know by now that ABS Motorsport boss Tony Bucknall has a great ability of tracking down long-lost Mini based kit cars or their moulds, and he did just that with the moulds for the Boxer a while ago. He wrote: "They were stored in a lockup/garage, which was collapsing and it was at a point it had to be cleared."

Remarkably, an extra front end that came with the set is different to how we know it. Tony: "That front end mould isn’t the Boxer, but yes it's certainly for a Mini, the door and scuttle all look right. And yes there will be enough height clearance where the rocker top is. I don’t recall such a front end ever being on the market though." Same here.

The Alto Boxer never was a great seller but Tony never the less made a set from the complete moulds and will be happy to sell you one if you like. He continued: "I am going to offer the Boxer composites separately and as base kits for people to do their own cabrio conversion if they choose to. The actual body kit will work with out the Mini being cabrio’d however I am not sure how it would look! I have set up a section on the website for Mini based kit car composites, and will add the pieces as I get time (click here). I will also add the Stimson bug and the McCoy parts as I get time...       

Kudos to you Tony!

The Alto Boxer was a Targa conversion with a wild body kit of the 1990s
Picture Jeroen Booij archive

Ultimate conversion? Very few were sold up until 1997 when production was stopped
Picture Jeroen Booij archive

But ABS boss Tony Bucknall found the kit's complete set of moulds recently
Picture Tony Bucknall

This is the mystery mould coming with the lot. Tony and I have never seen it before
Picture Tony Bucknall

A brand new set laminated from the moulds - kits are being offered by ABS now
Picture Tony Bucknall

All the different body parts for the Alto Boxer are there, including the hardtop
Picture Tony Bucknall

The kit exists of a great number of bits. The Boxer used Peugeot 205 rear lights
Picture Tony Bucknall

Rare example of a Alto Boxer Mini with not the full kit fitted to it. 
This one was restored over a long period of time by Scotsman Andy Middleditch
Picture courtesy Andy Middleditch

Friday, 15 July 2022

Notas at Grafton hill climb

It's the 70th anniversary of Nota Cars this year and I understand quite a few of them will make it to the Grafton historic hill climb this weekend, among them several Nota Fangs. It would be great to see pictures of them, so if you happen to be around and have your camera ready - do feel free to share them. Enjoy the weekend folks.

John Seymour enjoying his Nota Fang
Picture Craig Watson

Monday, 11 July 2022

Mengers Beach Mini is beautiful Beach Car replica

When Beach Car owner John Reymondos contacted me about a brand new Mini Beach Car replica made in Germany by Mini Mengers I had to admit I had to look twice. Was that really a replica? Well, it was and Dierk Mengers was happy to provide me with a press pack, showing the conversion carried out by him. From the press info: "To celebrate the 60th birthday of the Beach Mini, Mengers is giving Mini enthusiasts the unique opportunity to own their very own doorless fun machine. 60 years after the original Beach Minis left their place of birth, a new brother left our manufacture in Germany. We simply call it the Mengers Beach Mini."

According to Mengers the car looks just like the original, but is different in many ways. But you will have to look pretty good to see that. Apart from the fact that a later shell appears to have been used for the conversion, I noticed smoother panelwork on the door cut-outs and some differences in the interior. Especially in the seats, which have been made by Lloyd Loom never the less - the company that was also responsible for the originals back in the early 1960s. They now look to be double-sided and finished with leather edges.

Mengers also ads: "Since there were no original blueprints available it remained unclear how and if the structure of a Beach Mini was strengthened to make up for the structural losses from removing the B-Pillar. 30 years of experience in converting classic Mini Saloons into convertibles helped us to find the perfect balance between lightweight and tough. The chassis of a Mengers Beach Mini stays stiff while not adding much weight compared to a regular Mini." Furthermore it is fitted with a 50hp strong 1000 cc engine rather than the 850 of the original and a fully synchronized and shorter ratio gearbox. Finally Mengers ads: "We can also imagine a fully electric Mengers Beach Mini."

Yes, this really is a Beach Car made recently and not one of the originals!
Picture Mini Mengers

It was made by Mini Mengers of Oldenburg in Germany and is now offered for sale
Picture Mini Mengers

Mengers says it is different from the original in many ways but you will have to look good
Picture Mini Mengers

Even the wicker seats were made by the same company which did the originals in 1962
Picture Mini Mengers 

Leather edges and back are a giveaway that these are different though
Picture Mini Mengers

The Mini's dashboard in its simplest and purest form, just like the original Beach Cars
Picture Mini Mengers

Engine is a 1000 cc now, good for 50 hp. But Mengers would also do an electric conversion
Picture Mini Mengers

With just 15 Beach cars built (plus a prototype) this may be the next best thing!
Picture Mini Mengers 

Mini Mengers plate shows this is Exklusiv Umbau (exclusive conversion) number 1
Picture Mini Mengers 

The original (Mary Falvey's car on the left) versus the Mengers replica - spot the differences 
Picture Bonhams auctioneers / Mini Mengers