Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Maximum Mini poster available at Blyton Park

I'm going to Blyton Park and I will bring with me... a great new poster with all the cars as featured in Maximum Mini and Maximum Mini 2. These posters come in A1 format (594 x 841mms) and will be available in a numbered and limited edition at £5.99 each.

Below a full list of the cars that you will find on it:

• ABC Tricar • ABS Freestyle • AEM Scout • AF Spider • Alto Duo • Andersen Cub • ASD Hobo • ASD Minim • Aurora BMC • Autocars Marcos • Autocom Mini Buggy • Beach Car • Beach Car prototype • Biota Mk1 • Biota Mk2 • Boro GT • Broadspeed GT • Broadspeed GT Brian Foley • Brookwell Trifid • Buckle Monaco • Bulanti • Butterfield Musketeer • Camarotta • Camber GT • Codford Mini • Coldwell GT • Cox GTM • Crayford Mini Sprint • DART • Davrian Mk7 • Davrian Mk8 • De Joux Mini GT • Deep Sanderson 105 • Deep Sanderson 301 • Domino Pimlico • Ecurie de Dez • Elswick Envoy • ESAP Minimach GT • Fisher Spyder • Fletcher GT • Foers Nomad • Gecko • Gitane GT • GP Yak • Greenwood Mini ‘sidecar’ • GTM Coupé • GTM Rossa • Hrubon Phaeton / Schmitt • Hustler 4 • Hustler 6 • Hustler in Wood • Hustler Sprint • IGM Minbug • Jackson Sportster • Jiffy • Jimini 1 • Jimini 2 • Kingfisher Sprint • Landar R6 • Landar R7 • Lawther GT • Libra Magnum • Lolita Mk1 • Lolita Mk2 • Magenta • Martini Mini ASC • Maya GT • McCoy GT • Metron • Midas Bronze • Mini Beaver • Mini Jem Mk1 • Mini Jem Mk2 • Mini Marcos Mk1 • Mini Marcos Mk4 • Mini Marcos TransXL • Mini Mare • MiniSprint (rep) • MiniSprint racer • Minissima • Minus Maxi • Mosquito • New ERA Mini • Nimbus Coupe • Nimbus Don Parker Special • Nimrod • NJC Mini • Nota Fang • Ogle SX1000 • Peel Viking Minisport • Pellandini • Phoenix • Quasar-Unipower City car • Radford Mini De Ville Mk1 • Radford Mini De Ville Mk3 • Ranger Cub • Roles XS-3 Roadstar • RTV • Sabre Sprint • Saga • Sarcon Scarab • Scamp Mk1 • Scamp Mk2 • Scamp Mk3 • Sekura Mini • Siva Buggy • Siva Mule • Status 365 • Status Minipower • Status Sabot • Stewart & Ardern MiniSprint • Stimson Mini Bug • Stimson Safari Six • Stimson Scorcher • Stimson Trek • Taylorspeed Mini Jem • Terrapin • TiCi • TXC Tracer • Unipower GT Mk1 • Unipower GT Mk2 • Unipower GT works racer • Whitby Mini-Warrior • Wildgoose Brent Super VEB • Wildgoose Popular 2 • Wood & Pickett Mini Margrave Mk1 • Wood & Pickett Mini Margrave Mk3 • Zagato Mini Gatto

Exclusive Maximum Mini poster, available from your's truly...

And to show you its size, here with your's truly…

Thursday, 9 April 2015

Resurrected Ogle SX1000 now for sale

I was pleasantly surprised to stumble upon this advertisement for an Ogle SX1000, for sale with Miniya Ai Fragile in Japan. Some eight years ago I saw the same car tucked away in a Tokyo barn with flat tyres gathering dust. Back then I could not even see it had a lovely red interior! It wears chassis number 43 and according to the seller uses a Kent tuned 1100cc engine, which I remember from when I saw it. They say it has been fully restored. Asking price? 5 million Yens - some 28,000 GBP at the moment…

Pretty colour for an Ogle SX1000. What's the history of this one?
Picture courtesy Miniya Ai Fragile

 Engine bay looks spic and span. 1100cc is supposedly Kent tuned
Picture courtesy Miniya Ai Fragile

 Where will it drive to now that it has come up for sale?
Picture courtesy Miniya Ai Fragile

 And this is how I knew it, spotted in a Tokyo barn back in 2007
Picture Jeroen Booij

'TGS 148' was looking pretty much sorry for itself back then
Picture Jeroen Booij

Ogle horse stood fierce even under layers of dust
Picture Jeroen Booij

Wednesday, 8 April 2015

Méan Sonora: when a restoration becomes a recreation

Méan Sonora restorer Louis Lempereur got in touch for an update on his Mini powered and one-off Sonora and he certainly doesn't take half measures. He wrote: "Dear Jeroen, some updates about the reconstruction of the Méan Sonora Mini. First, thank you for having selected the Méan Mini for the 'Find of the Year' competition (I haven't - you, readers, have!). I was pleased to win it, also thanks from the friends of the Méan Group here and of many other supporters. It gives me much energy to go ahead with the reconstruction. This is more a reconstruction than a restoration! We use the old chassis as a mirror for the new one while most of the parts I dismount are in a bad shape and just a few can be restored, most of them will need replacement."

"The Mini subframe is just one of them, as it was damaged and badly repaired. It was probably so when the car was built back in 1969! We will now work on the suspension, bearings, brakes, steering… Hoping to mount the wheels and have a rolling chassis soon, but there will be much more to be done! As it was impossible to get the wheelbase from the Méan documents, we assembled the body to measure it. Surprise! The left hand door turned out to be 3cms longer than the right hand door and the front hood was mounted tilted! So we had to improvise again and decided to move the Mini subframe 2cms to the back. At least, the suspension is now straight. Another major change was to set the Mini subframe 35mm higher in the chassis. With shorter springs, this will allow the car to be lower on its wheels. The picture of the original car shows it was very high ! This was due to the subframe being too low, and the transmission axles touching it!"

"Of course, I will keep you informed. Thanks again for all, and for your interesting mails about Mini derivatives. Louis" It seems to me that the car couldn't have ended up in better hands and I look much forwards to seeing the car in the flesh. I say Blyton park 2016!

The chassis was in very bad shape and so it was decided to build a new one and keep the original
Picture courtesy Louis Lempereur

The subframe was mounted tilted and was twisted. Remember the donor Mini came from a scrapyard!
Picture courtesy Louis Lempereur

Just one among many surprises: the car came with three 5.5" and one 4.5" wheels!
Picture courtesy Louis Lempereur

To measure the wheelbase the body needed fitting. It turned out the left door was much longer
Picture courtesy Louis Lempereur

Relocated subframe and altered chassis means shorter springs, too...
Picture courtesy Louis Lempereur

...But then, the suspension is totally straight now!
Picture courtesy Louis Lempereur

The new chassis, made in a purpose-built jig looks very light - and strong
Picture courtesy Louis Lempereur

And here the central part of the chassis is now also finished. So far, so good...
Picture courtesy Louis Lempereur

Sunday, 5 April 2015

Happy Easter!

You didn't miss this one on the egg hunt, did you?

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

What happened to this ex-works Unipower?

Pete Flanagan's restored Unipower racer will be one of several star attractions on the Maximum Mini display this May, but here is some more on an ex-works Unipower racer. It's the car used by Piers Weld-Forester in a string of events throughout the 1969 season. That car was later sold to Stanley Robinson who continued to campaign it, now together with John Blanckley. They took it to the Targa Florio, to Spa and to the Nurburgring, where they came second in class and 32nd overall during the 1000 kilometers race of May 1970. Later John Blanckley bought a crashed Brabham F2 car and put its 1600 Ford FVA engine, the gearbox and rear suspension into the Unipower and continued to race it for another season.

What happened to the works Mini engine? Ex-Deep Sanderson owner Richard Graham wrote to me with the answer: "On another subject, that of the Robinson/ Blanckley Unipower, I can add a little bit to your history: when John Blanckley modified the car to take an FVA engine, I bought the works 'S' engine from him in 1972, and put it in a racing Mini Cooper 'S'. It had a Weber IDA, titanium alloy pistons and a special very high final drive (hardly a surprise). Its last race (which was..?) must have resulted in a damaged gearbox, as I had to put in a new set of s/c gears,- as well as a lower final drive and LSD for normal UK racing circuits."

Thanks very much Richard! I wonder what happened to the rest of the car? Meanwhile I have found some pictures of it in the files, still with the Mini engine in it or so it seems with that 'Unipower BLMC' name at the front. They were taken at the Nurburgring and at Mugello in May and July 1970. Enjoy them.

Here at Mugello in july 1970, where it did not finish. Who are those two men?
Picture Jeroen Booij archive

Thundering through the Carousel at the Nurburgring in a Unipower GT must be nice
Picture Jeroen Booij archive

And here passing the big Ferrari 512 of John Surtees - well, in the Nurburgring pit lane
Picture Jeroen Booij archive

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

An Ibis in Japan

You and I know that quite a few Mini based sports cars made it to Japan, but I was surprised to learn an Ibis is cruising the country - despite the fact that it comes from New Zealand, which isn't too far away. We had some nice film footage here of the Ibis not too long ago, remember?

Now, Eiji Watanabe got in touch to tell me about the Ibis he used to own. He wrote: "Hello mister Booij. I always see your blog happily. There is an Ibis, which you wrote about the other day, in Japan. It is registered as 'Austin Elf' and the first Japanese owner obtained it in 2006 when it was red. I got on a little, and bought it next. I completely restored in about 2010 and painted it beige-grey and gave it Abarth-like modifications. I handed it over to the next owner in 2012. I do not know who owns it now but I'll see if I can find some more information." Thank you very much indeed!

The Ibis came in red when it first came to Japan in 2006
Picture courtesy Eiji Watanabe

Mini engine is clearly visible here. Note long bonnet
Picture courtesy Eiji Watanabe

The car uses a full fibreglass monocoque with moulded-in seats
Picture courtesy Eiji Watanabe

After the restoration it was painted in a shade of grey/beige. Where is it now?
Picture courtesy Eiji Watanabe

Friday, 20 March 2015

Land's End - John O' Groats in an RTV - without sight!

By Toutatis, is this cool? Reader Jonathan Webster just made me aware of this film footage, unknown to me before. It shows a 16-minute documentary about a 1988 charity drive from John O'Groats to Land's End, sponsored by British Gas. The vehicle of choice is an RTV - the Rough Terrain Vehicle built by Scamp boss Robert Mandry, remember? What's more - the car was driven by an ex-rally driver named Peter Wood who was blind! He drove the RTV, navigated by Gabriel Hartley and his son Tom, not on public roads but on forest tracks, over beaches, disused railway tracks and meadows. He managed to do it in 14 days and raised almost a quarter of a million pounds in total.

Apart from the several land speed records set by Mini based sports cars, this is the second Mini derivative involved in an unusual record that I know of. There may be even more..? Thanks to this new website, dedicated to the RTV for uploading the video.

Video courtesy /

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Don't buggy about: Nimrod or Stimson?

Over to world's largest auction place where everything is for sale. Well, not everything but you'll find quite a lot there. How about two Mini based buggies? One is a Stimson Mini Bug in bright light blue, the other a rare Nimrod in faded red. Both have been on the marketplace before and both come with appropriate 1971 plate and would do nicely at the Maximum Mini display at Blyton Park. The Stimson is located in Wolverhampton; the Nimrod in Spalding - that's pretty close by! Which one do you prefer? The Nimrod's ad can be found here, the Stimon's over here.

This Mk2 Stimosn Mini Bug comes with 998cc engine with magic wand
Picture courtesy

It looks nice, although seller says it 'needs a few hours to make perfect'
Picture courtesy

A Nimrod is pretty rare thing with only about 15 built and few survivors
Picture courtesy

This one uses an 850 engine which supposedly 'runs like a clockwork'
Picture courtesy

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Peter's pristine Mini Jem

Peter Warren got in touch about the MiniJem he has been restoring. A 1972 Mk2 that looked rather terrible when he bought it a year and a half ago. Peter wrote: "Just thought you may like to see my Mini Jem just finished restoration today. I know this car is known to you in a more dilapidated condition but it's now back on the road ready for its new owner." Unfortunately Peter is not able to bring it over to Blyton Park in May as his son will be getting married in the very same weekend. Good excuse! But then, by that time the car may have found a new owner who will bring it over to Lincolnshire. It would be terrific to see it standing next to the Mk1 Mini Marcos in a similar light blue colour that will be attending...

Good looking Mini Jem Mk2 was fully restored over the last year and half 
Picture courtesy Peter Warren 

 It has a 1275cc engine now and comes in Sebring Blue with a black interior 
Picture courtesy Peter Warren 

Friday, 13 March 2015

Broadspeeding to Blyton Park

Imagine this: a car, which was restored in the UK many moons ago, can now be found in a workshop at the other end of the world where they speak a different language, eat sushi and are carrying out another restoration. This all to get it ready for our Blyton Park event in May (details here). I am very happy to have it on the Maximum Mini display, together with a range of other exiting Mini derivatives. More to follow.

Broadly speaking this will be a stunner. And you can see it in the flesh in May
Picture Jeroen Booij archive