Sunday, 16 December 2018

Peel Mini and moulds survive on the Isle of Man

Peel discoveries continue to turn up, this time right from its birthplace: the Isle of Man, where RTV owner and Maximum Mini reader Ian Sims lives. He wrote: "Hi Jeroen. Here are the images that I have of the fibreglass Mini that I mentioned. It was very hard to get to as it has been sat in the orchard for many years and everything over grown. It was never built into a running Mini. I believe this guy had the original mouldings and this was the last one out as it was in the mouldings when he got them. No real evidence of all this but I’m lead to believe it is true."

"The original moulding again I’m told are in a collapsed shed on the same site but I have never been able to get close enough to investigate, although I know the owner but he is a very eccentric man and as you found with Cyril Cannell this man would be aggressive if he didn’t know you. I did try to buy it from the chap (Martin) but he would sell, however that was about 8 years ago. I have been since but i could never find Martin there, he lives like a hermit. The house got so bad he moved into a caravan, this is now uninhabitable so goodness knows where he is living. As you can see this is just a small area of the site, it is like a rubbish tip! All this I have mentioned to the owners of the Isle of man motor museum, obviously they are very interested too."

That's a Peel Mini for sure. The car was made by Peel Engineering on the Isle of Man
Picture courtesy Ian Sims

 The car was made after BMC saw the Peel Viking and believed Peel Engineering was the best partner to develop a fibreglass bodied Mini
Picture courtesy Ian Sim

 Supposedly just six were made before the whole project was moved to Chile
Picture courtesy Ian Sim

 The quality of these bodies is believed to be excellent. One was crash tested at MIRA (see here)
Picture courtesy Ian Sim

 This one was never build and remains on the island. Together with the original moulds
Picture courtesy Ian Sim

Thursday, 13 December 2018

What is the best Find of 2018?

With the end of the year nearing, the time for traditions has come. How about the yearly Maximum Mini 'Find of the Year' poll? Once again, several interesting Mini based cars were found in sheds, lock-ups, gardens and garages again and I made a selection out of 5 of them.

You will find the cars that have made it to the contest below. To vote simply drop a comment below stating your favourite find (click here if you read this through an email message). The one with the most votes wins - it's simple as that. Now, over to the candidates:

The Radford hatchback Mini that was used as a tender to the wacky Carawagon. Full story here

The Heerey GTM found in South-Africa by avid reader Leon Daniels. Full story here.

A Beach Boys Mini Surfer, one of probably just five made for the Beach Boys. Full story here

The Peel Viking which is also known as 'The Dutch demonstrator'. Full story here.

A Special Quasar Unipower used to promote Triplex glasses. Full story here.

Monday, 10 December 2018

A very special meeting!

To some, last weekend may have seemed the most ridiculous time to visit Paris, but I did just that. And, no, I did not wear a yellow vest. I went there to meet these two people: Hubert Giraud and his wife Christine. Hubert was the team boss of the Mini Marcos equipe in 1966. The man who entered my car at Le Mans, who paid for all the expenses to have it built and who sacrificed his Morris Cooper 'S' to do so. He is the only living person directly involved with the project and is 81 years of age today. His memories about the events are crystal clear though. What's more: he has a map full of documentation, pictures and letters, several from Jem Marsh. It was a very special meeting.

Monsieur and Madame Giraud gave me a most warm welcome
Picture: my lovely wife

Wednesday, 5 December 2018

Le Mans Mini Marcos: back home (but not for long)

Almost exactly two years after finding the Le Mans Mini Marcos in Portugal and bringing it to my home, it's back there once again! And although things didn't always go as planned and time schedules were messed up in the two years in between; a lot more happened to the car then in the 43 years before, since it disappeared so mysteriously in Paris in 1975.
But it turned out to be good not to be in a hurry as the result so far is fantastic, I believe. Now... the next stage is preparing it for paint and the actual painting... Quotations are being made at this moment, but I haven't struck a deal with a painter yet. Your suggestions are welcome!

Front and bonnet now fully repaired and back to original shape. Bonnet bulges refabricated and all the holes for the extra radiator and oil cooler are back where they belong
Picture Jeroen Booij

Doors and roof were worse then expected but are fully repaired now, too. Note holes in doors for parking lights to illuminate roundel and starting number during the night
Picture Jeroen Booij

Believed impossible by some, but rear wheel arch extenders were eventually lovingly refabricated out of what was left of them. And I do have a pair of moulds now!
Picture Jeroen Booij

Double skinned floors fully repaired and roll bar refabricated and fitted just like it was at Le Mans, as described in more detail before. Underside and inside have been painted satin black now, too  
Picture Jeroen Booij

Back on the drive, but not for long. The next step is preparing and painting now...
Picture Jeroen Booij

Tuesday, 4 December 2018

Scamping in the 1980s

Chris Westgate shares some photographs taken at Scamp Owner's Club meetings in the 1980s. Enjoy! UPDATE: all pictures were taken by Paul Irvine.

That's a Mk1 in all its simplicity, a Scamp as it should be!
Picture Paul Irvine

But this is rather nice, too. A Mk1 as a van with added grille and raised headlights 
Picture Paul Irvine

And then there's this! The 12-seater Holiday Scamp, as offered by the factory
Picture Paul Irvine

Another Mk1, this one with another idea to modify the headlights
Picture Paul Irvine

This was a well-known Mk1 in Scamping circles, owned and modified by club instigator Fred Cake
Picture Paul Irvine

Monday, 3 December 2018

Holmbarth / Automec Special fully restored

Thanks to reader Martin Andersson we know that the Swedish Holmbarth 1100 survived at least until 2008 and was actually known as the Automec Special using the front end of an Ogle SX1000 as a rear... (click here). If it remained largely intact for such a long time, it shouldn't be a surprise it exists to this day. And it does. Martin as well as fellow-Swede Micke Pettersson both sent me an article that was published in the December 2015 issue of The Mini Times - the magazine of the Mini Seven Club of Sweden.

My Swedish is not particularly good, but Martin was kind enough to sum up the contents, from which I also lifted these images. He wrote: "In the article I sent to you, it says apart from the story I told you earlier, that Per-Erik Holm together with another BMC mechanic Kjell Andersson had a part time garage themselves in conjunction with their daily work at BMC Sweden Competition Department.
That garage was called 'Bredängs Automec' hence the name for the car that eventually evolved from it."

"The GRP bodyshell was made and applied by a man called Sven-Eric Carrhagen (That name is familiar to me but unfortunately I can't remember who he was right now). It says that Carrhagen brought the Ogle front end to the project. When the car was finished the kerb weight was 365kgs and the engine was a 1300cc tuned to group 4 regulations mated to a sccr gearbox. The topspeed would have been in the area of 200kph at 8000rpm. When the restoration started it was found to still have its sccr gearset under the 1100 engine."

Micke, who wrote the article in The Mini Times and who interviewed holm at the time added: "There has been a follow up on this article with the car in its new paint. I will dig out the pictures."


The Automec Special survives to this day and is seen here under restoration in 2015
Picture The Mini Times

No, that's not the front but the back, using an Ogle SX1000 front!
Picture The Mini Times

Engine is a 1300 now, mated to the original SCCR gearbox of the Swedish Special
Picture The Mini Times

Automec of Bredang was set up by BMC mechanics Per-Erik Holm and Kjell Andersson
Picture Tradera.com

The Automec Special during its construction in what must be 1967
Picture The Mini Times

The little boy in these pictures is Micke, son of the car's builder Pelle Holm
Picture The Mini Times

Said to weigh just 365kgs and be able to top 200kmh, the car was raced at one time
Picture The Mini Times

Friday, 30 November 2018

Christmas offer 2018



When Christmas nears, it has now become a tradition to offer Maximum Mini books with a discount, to all of you who haven't got them yet, or who'd like to give one to somebody else. You'll get 25% discount on Maximum Mini 2 and 3. All prices below include postage and packing in a purpose made box. Drop me a line on jeroen at jeroenbooij.com with your wishes and I'll send you a payment request.

This offer starts today on Friday 40th November 2018 and runs until 25 December 2018.

To the UK

£26.25 for Maximum Mini 2
£30.00 for Maximum Mini 3
£52.50 for Maximum Mini 2 & 3


To Europe

€33.95 for Maximum Mini 2
€37.50 for Maximum Mini 3
€63.75 for Maximum Mini 2 & 3


To the US

$46.50 for Maximum Mini 2
$52.50 for Maximum Mini 3
$93.75 for Maximum Mini 2 & 3


To Japan

¥5,500 for Maximum Mini 2
¥6,000 for Maximum Mini 3
¥10,500 for Maximum Mini 2 & 3

Thursday, 29 November 2018

Mystery Mini derivative (54)

Well well kiddies, what have we got here? I do not know anything about this one myself, so please come in with your comments!

UPDATE 14:30: Barry Tilbury thinks it is or was a Gecko, since his Gecko uses a very similar rear suspension setup with the trailing arms but without the subframe. The front waistline fits in, too.

Mini based mystery motor has hints of several other designs...
Picture Jeroen Booij archive

Interior needs some finishing. Chassis looks straightforward
Picture Jeroen Booij archive

Mini trailing arms and suspension but remarkably no rear subframe...
Picture Jeroen Booij archive

I don't think this is a Whitby, Scamp or Scout; Nomad, Gecko or Cub. So what is it then? (Update: Possibly a Gecko after all)
Picture Jeroen Booij archive

Tuesday, 27 November 2018

The many wanderings of an Ogle SX1000

Australian Ogle SX1000 owner Neil Griffin (more here) dropped me another enthusiastic line. He wrote: "Hi Jeroen, one of the outstanding articles on Ogles that I have been trying to track down is a July 1997 Mini Magazine. I have a lot of Mini World magazines from this period and a quite few Mini Magazines, but not that one and for some reason this issue rarely came up on eBay or GumTree, but finally I have managed to secure a copy. Anyway, in reading the Ogle article contained within, it mentioned that owners took the Ogle to Mini 25 which I was co-incidentally attended as part of a 'Grand European (Motorsport) Tour' in 1984 and I thought, I wonder... Would you believe it!"

"I'm not normally that organized, but I recently fetched my old Mini photo albums out for another pic from that period. Little did I know I'd be restoring one of these 34 years later! I wouldn't have had any clue at the time what the hell this unusual car was back then. Of course you know this car in its later blue paint colour as the one you compared to the Marcos in the 2015 Mini Magazine article... 'Elites of the Illegitimates'."

"It was subsequently refurbished in Switzerland with what appears to be a tan leather interior and sold again to a new owner in Luxembourg and was in show at the recent InterClassics Brussels. Cheers, Neil Griffin"
Thanks for that Neil! I wonder if any more readers have pictures of the car at Mini 25, or before that. I understand it was registered 'AEG 409A' earlier, but frustratingly couldn't find any photographic proof of that in the files. Who knows..?

Spotted by reader on Donington during 'Mini 25' in 1984. Can you read the registration?
It is believed to have been 'AEG 409C', but that's not the one here?
UPDATE: It was 'RJL 58' - a private plate that it wore only shortly.
Picture courtesy Neil Griffin

1997: the car is now registered '755 XPG' and could still be seen on the roads in the UK
Picture Jeroen Booij archive / Mini Magazine

2010: spotted on a rainy day in the UK with a new owner. Repainted in blue but still wearing the same plate 755 XPG
Picture Jeroen Booij archive

2014: Now on Belgian trade plates and for sale at the time. My offer was kindly refused...
Picture Jeroen Booij

By then the interior was still black, its original colour or so it seemed to me
Picture Jeroen Booij

2018: In Switzerland and for sale again. Asking price 39,900 Swiss francs, sold to Luxembourg
Picture Lutziger Classics

By now the car's interior is fully retrimmed in tan leather. Lovely, but would you do it?
Picture Lutziger Classics

November 2018: on Luxembourg plates and once again for sale. Asking price? 50,000 Euros
Picture courtesy Bart Vanreusel

Thursday, 22 November 2018

Holmbarth Special survives

Remember the Holmbarth 1100, as seen in Maximum Mini 3? (also here). Well, Martin Andersson, who contacted me about the Swedish Ogle SX1000 (here) brought in a grand update on the car. He wrote:

"I might help you spread some light over one of your mystery cars, namely what you call the Holmbarth. In the way I ever heard of it and as I know it, this Special is called 'Automec'.
The story goes back to the late 1960's that a guy called Per-Erik Holm, whom at the time was working at the BMC competion department at Södertälje in Sweden, constructed this car at his spare time. From the beginning the car is said to have been equipped with a 1275 'S' engine. But when it was sold in 1970's it came with an MG 1100 powertrain. I first came in contact with the car in late 2008, with the owner who bought it from Holm in the 70's. This guy claimed that he raced the car at a club event at least once, back in the day. And he was very insistent that the car should be restored for the 2009 Mini festival in the UK. This never happened and years later the car was up for sale and as I understand it the car eventually came back to Per-Erik Holm who has now completed its restoration."

"The pictures I share with you are from 2008 when I helped the owner 'sawing' down the Special from the roof pillars, in the barn in which it was hung since the 1970's. As you might notice the rear section appears to be from an Ogle SX1000!? Best regards, Martin."

Needless to say I was happy to see the car surviving. By this time, I have also been updated on the Holmbarth / Automec current state. But that's for the next time.

This is the Holmbarth Special, as found in 2008. It is perhaps better known as the Automec Special
Picture courtesy Martin Andersson

Reader helped rescue the the Special from barn in which it was hung since the 1970's
Picture courtesy Martin Andersson

The car supposedly used 1275 'S' power, but when sold in the 1970's it came with an 1100
Picture courtesy Martin Andersson

But look at that! The rear bodywork consists of the front of an Ogle SX1000!
Picture courtesy Martin Andersson