Friday, 22 March 2019

10 Derivatives at NEC show Birmingham

Don't say that Mini derivatives are still underrated cars. As a matter of fact a big display with 10 of them can be seen this weekend at the NEC in Birmingham, where the Classic Car & Restoration show takes place. Paul Wylde, who is one of the enthusiasts attending the show with his Stimson, took a series of photographs for me to enjoy. And naturally I enclose them here for you also. Say hello to Paul and his mates when you are Birmingham this weekend!

Stimson Safari Six
Picture courtesy Paul Wylde

Cox GTM Cars and Car Conversions
Picture courtesy Paul Wylde

Domino Pimlico
Picture courtesy Paul Wylde

And another Domino Pimlico
Picture courtesy Paul Wylde

Elswick Envoy
Picture courtesy Paul Wylde

GTM Coupe
Picture courtesy Paul Wylde

GTM Rossa
Picture courtesy Paul Wylde

Jiffy Pick-up
Picture courtesy Paul Wylde

Mk4 Mini Marcos
Picture courtesy Paul Wylde

Minus Mini
Picture courtesy Paul Wylde

Thursday, 21 March 2019

Serra MG Crazy is perhaps not quite so crazy

You know I squeeze in an Austin or Morris 1100 based vehicle here every now and then and I think it's time for just another now. Keeping in with the Spanish theme of earlier this week (Mini Jaba, click here), let's have a look at the MG Crazy. This was an MG 1300 based car built by Spanish coachbuilder Pedro Serra.

I found out that Serra had been offering a plush variant of the MG 1300 (the Spanish version as built by Authi of Pamplona) for some time in the 1960s. This was called the MG 1300 'Equiped by Serra' and came with the usual lavish coachbuilder's stuff. Leather, wood, carpeting, chrome plus the necessary extras such as wheel covers, sun roof and foggies.

But it didn't stop there. In 1969 Serra launched a full conversion of the MG 1300, now named MG Crazy. This was quite something else. Again, it was based on an Authi built car, but all of its original body had gone to make place for a brand new one in the style of a 1930s roadster. Not unlike the Siata Spring which came sometimes earlier and certainly also not unlike the MG 1300 based Magenta, which saw the light of day in Yorkshire three years later. It really makes you wonder if Mister Magenta Steve Johnson (click here) was inspired by the Serra design!

Anyway: the car was launched at the 1969 Barcelona Motor show and Pedro Serra hoped for production. That didn't happen. It was relaunched two years later at the same show in a slightly modified variant - just visible in a movie clip (click here and see it at around 0:30). Still, it never became a succes. Supposedly because it was too costly to build. Just 3 to 6 MG Crazy's are believed to have been made, but I wouldn't be surprised if there were even less. One was on show on a Serra themed display at the Barcelona Classic car show in 2017 and that's the one seen here.
I would like to find out more. Who helps me?

MG 1300 'Equipped by Serra' was a coachbuilt version of the Spanish made Authi MG 1300

El Fabuloso - the fabulous - Serra MG 1300 has to be rare. Who did ever see one one?

And then there's this: the Serra MG Crazy, as seen on the 2017 Barcelona Classic Car show
Picture Pere Nubolia photography

Small retro roadsters were a thing in the late-1960s, early-1970s. Think Magenta, think Siata Spring
Picture Pere Nubolia photography

Neat interior cannot totally hide its MG 1300 origins. I wonder if its body is GRP or aluminium?
Picture Pere Nubolia photography

MG Crazy - that has to be one of the crazier names ever to have graced a car
Picture Pere Nubolia photography

This example was seen in Barcelona in 2017. Who knows more? Note historical photos left
Picture Pere Nubolia photography

A different car, or the same? This was taken during the 1971 Barcelona Motor Show
Picture / Filmoteca Espanola

Wednesday, 20 March 2019

Mini Jaba restoration - an update

Spanish reader and Mini Marcos owner Adrian sent me some photographs of the Mini Jaba's restoration. This was the car found in a Spanish scrapyard in 2013 (click here). It's looking not too bad I think. Adrian, who emphasizes the car is not owned by himself but by his friend Lorenzo Jejeje, adds: "But we are still looking for information and photographs from 1971, when the car was exposed on Salon Elegancia de Barcelona 1971." I'd love see more of that, too.

Much converted rear side came with 'Landau' roof and modified boot lid with spare
Picture courtesy Adrian 

The front was even wackier, with GRP flip front and cycle wings in a 1930s style
Picture courtesy Adrian 

The Mini Jaba now needs a full restoration, but more information is still welcome
Picture courtesy Adrian 

Tuesday, 19 March 2019

Antwerp shows some Mini derivatives

It's 60 years of the Mini this year, with a great number of exhibitions, shows, parades and festivals on its way to celebrate the Mini's anniversary. I have been made aware of several shows which will have Mini derivatives on display also. In the UK, Australia, France and Germany. One to kick off with was the classic motor show in Antwerp, which to my surprise had a GTM Coupe on display that I used to own, together with a Mk4 Mini Marcos and a Hrubon Schmitt. Do let me know if you are organizing an event that's worthy of mentioning here. 

60 Years of the Mini display in Antwerp. GTM Coupe and Mini Marcos are there, too
Picture Francois Tasiaux

Still looking good and now on Belgian plates - this car was owned by your's truly one day
Picture Bart Vanreusel

Mini Marcos is rather nice, too. It's a Mk4 car 
Picture Bart Vanreusel

Wednesday, 13 March 2019

Holmbarth / Automec Special - did it race?

This old picture of a Swedish racing car was posted on a board for Swedish historic racing by Claes Boreus earlier this week. He asked if somebody knew what the car was and reader Eddie Fitzgerald sent it over to me. Well, well, this is in fact the Holmbarth 1100 that is also known as the Automec Special. I wrote about the car not too long ago (here and here) and am happy to hear that by this time the car is supposedly fully restored - although I haven't seen it in that state as for yet. 

The picture is interesting as the car appears to be parked in a race setting and I wonder which one that could be. Some years ago Bjorn Bellander wrote to me 'The Holmbarth never succeeded in racing and I never saw it on the track'. Apparently it did get entered at least once, as also one of the pictures in an earlier post seems to show. Who knows more?

The Holmbarth 1100 / Automec Special in what seems to be a racing setting
Picture via Claes Boreus

Monday, 11 March 2019

The 1000th post - a look behind the scenes

Wow. This is my 1,000th article since I started this weblog. I haven't counted the hours going into it, but trust me when say that there have been quite a few. All for your pleasure of course - and mine.

Now, over the years several people have expressed their curiosity on how I work and so I thought it would be a nice idea to give you for one time a little look from the other side of your screen.
Keep those questions, messages and snippets coming as it will secure this little corner in the world wide web to continue for another decade. Or so.

Video: Jeroen Booij

Friday, 8 March 2019

Where is New Zealand Status Minipower?

Status Minipower owner Nick Gale contacted me a while ago, writing: "I very much doubt you know of it as it's been at the back of my garage since the late 1980s" (picture here). He also told me he had more Minipower related stuff lying around, and did even sent over some of it. What I found particularly interesting were pictures of a car in New Zealand. Nick wrote: "The race car, with real body so one of the eight made, was owned by Jason but I cannot find any of the long email thread I had with him when he was selling his car. All I have is his email and a few pictures."

That is an interesting car and I wonder if it is the one that was in The Netherlands for some time prior to be shipped over to New Zealand in - I think - the early 1980s. I have tried to contact Jason, but so far to no avail. I hope that somebody else may know more about it.

A Status Minipower in New Zealand. It has one of the few original Brian Luff made bodies
Picture via Nick Gale

Nose section is modified, though, as this car was built up as a racer. And used, too, or so it seems
Picture via Nick Gale

It is said to have been for sale in New Zealand with a man named Jason. Where is it now?
Picture via Nick Gale

Who needs a cushion when sleeping in a car as spacious as a Status Minipower..?
Picture via Nick Gale

One Minipower was exported from The Netherlands to New Zealand. Could it be this one?
Picture via Nick Gale

Wednesday, 6 March 2019

Ecurie de Dez demonstrator - maroon or green?

The lovely photograph below of Dez Higgins' Ecurie de Dez Mini 2+2 was shared recently by Malcolm Savage. He wrote: "This is an official publicity shot with a local South Australian tv personality. Funnily enough I saw one in a used car yard in Adelaide maybe fifteen years ago."

I wonder what the colour of that car was. Could it have been British Racing Green, as the one used by larger-than-life character Jack Kaines (full story here)? It's also probably the same car that was used for a test drive in Wheel-Spin magazine of October 1967, which even put it on its cover. It's purplish maroon there, but I'm not so sure if that was the car's real colour as it seems to have been inkted in. Who knows?

UPDATE 17:00: The lady is identified as tv personality Anne Wills, who wasn't afraid of some motor promotion (click).

Shiny as a mirror. South Australian tv personality (who?) sees herself in smooth boot lid
Picture via Malcolm Savage

Same car, same photoshoot, I think. But what was the car's paint colour?
Picture Jeroen Booij archive

 Maroon-ish colour here seems to have been applied in picture?
Picture Jeroen Booij archive

Tuesday, 5 March 2019

The Mini's outer limits in print

Readers of Mini Magazine are updated about the restoration of the the Le Mans Mini Marcos in the magazine, where they can follow updates in the 'Our Cars' section. But since early this year I have agreed to make another series of articles for Mini Mag, now about the weird and wonderful of Mini based vehicles. We've called the column 'The Outer Limits' and the first few of have now seen print. From racing versions of Ogle SX1000s to the wacky Gyro-X and the mad Fairley Spoke in the current issue. Oh - I forgot to mention Kees Plugboer as a supplier of some of the pictures of the Spoke, so here we go. Thanks again Kees!

The twin-Mini Cooper engined Deep Sanderson 105 single-seater is up next. So if you like your Maximum Minis and love some more in-depth informations about some of the craziest of creations ever to have seen Mini mechanicals - or even Minis to use outlandish power supplies, go to your newspaper stand and buy that mag.

The March and April 2019 issues of Mini Magazine sporting 'The Outer Limits' column
Picture Mini Magazine

Monday, 4 March 2019

Persuaders' 'Space Queen Special' clip

This is what I wrote in Maximum Mini 3 about the vehicle seen below: "Made for the television series The Persuaders, this Mini Moke-based car appeared in the 1971 episode ‘The Long Goodbye’. As a promotion vehicle for Space Queen soap, the mobile rocket is driven by the gorgeous Valerie Leon, who says she is, “supposed to be cruising at 5 miles an hour handing out 5 pounds to anyone with a Space Queen label in their front window.” But then Roger Moore comes by with a little more haste..."
With two of my favourite actors in it and a groovy 'made for movie' Mini derivative, it's a favourite from a series which - in my humble opinion - had the best possible opening theme of all time (click!). With the little movie clip now appearing on the world wide web and available to everyone, I think it deserves to be shared here also. What's not to like about it?

"Would you please get off my rocket!"
Movie clip: ITV, via 'Vintage et Industrial'