Monday, 20 June 2016

Salt & Pepper Mini Moke identified

Another photograph of the modified Mini Moke that was used for the 1967 movie 'Salt & Pepper' - featuring Sammy Davis Junior and Peter Lawford - has emerged. See for an earlier article on it here. The question was then: could it still exist. I've now come just a little closer to answering that as the 'SALT 1' registration number, as seen throughout the movie, misses on this shot, revealing the car's actual number. 'KOA 750E' is issued to an Austin 850, white in colour. Strangely the car's year of manufacture is quoted as 1967, while the first registration supposedly dates back to 1 July 1981. Erm? Also: the last MOT expired on July 2010, which makes it hopeful that the strange vehicle did not end up on the bottom of the river Thames after all, but may actually still exist.

The plate it is known with: SALT 1. But Salt & Pepper Mini Moke had another one, too…
Picture Jeroen Booij archive

...As seen here. KOA 750E is issued to a 1967 Austin but DVLA says it was first registered in 1981
Picture courtesy Andrew Mann

Thursday, 16 June 2016

Broadspeed GTSs galore

It's not every weekend that a freshly restored Broadspeed GTS makes its entrance to a show at Beaulieu in the UK, while another GTS is raced on the other side of the world at Eastern Creek, Australia. First of them is of course the factory demonstrator and works racer, known as 'EOP 88D' and seen here demonstrated by Ralph Broad himself back in 1966. The car languished in Amsterdam for decades before being repatriated to the UK and being fully restored by Chris Wooden between 2009 and now. A top job as it looks absolutely sublime in these photographs, kindly supplied by Stuart Watson.

Meanwhile, Jono Morris sent in some photographs of his car Down Under, too. He wrote: "I also finally got mine out on the track at Eastern Creek in Sydney for the first time for some historic racing last weekend. There were so many people interested in the car, plenty of the older guys who remembered it or worked on it in '66 and '67, and all were very pleased to see it back on the track. It ran really well once I ironed out a few bugs on Saturday. Also thought you might be interested in this video (see below). Fast forward to about 10 minutes to see the Broadspeed racing at Bathurst. This year is the 50th celebration of the Mini Cooper 'S' dominating Bathurst and there is a special celebration for the Mini in October at the big race meeting. The Broadspeed will be entered and I have asked Laurie Stewart to come and drive the car at the event as he did nearly 50 years ago when he made it the fastest mini in Australia."

Long term restoration has paid of well, or so it seems. EOP 88D is back in its splendor
Picture courtesy Stuart Watson

Dubonnet Rosso paint job, like in '66, is gorgeous. Side exhaust just visible here 
Picture courtesy Stuart Watson

The car's simple and lovely patinated interior is kept that way, fortunately
Picture courtesy Stuart Watson

Over at Eastern Creek, Jono Morris' Australian built GTS makes its return to the track
Picture courtesy Rod MacKenzie

The car was known as 'Australia's fastest Mini' after being timed at 127.84mph at Bathurst
Picture courtesy Rod MacKenzie

It uses a five-speed gearbox, limited slip diff and comes with a very checkered history
Picture courtesy Rod MacKenzie

The car can be seen in action on film here, from 10:16 on
Video courtesy youtube

Wednesday, 15 June 2016

Not a Moke, but where is it?

Reader Tom Aldrian wonders if his mock-Moke is still around. He wrote: "Hi Jeroen, lots of fun reading the books I bought from you, bringing back some distant memories like the Nomad I took to the IMM in Ireland (I wonder if that car is still about and if I could borrow it for another trip to Ireland…). Or turning up at my brothers rather posh wedding in Germany in an MDV (my mom was anything but impressed). Anyway, here a picture of another thing I used to own: I bought it around 1999 somewhere in or around Walsall. It was advertised as a Moke, which it wasn't, and came with no registration. As it was based on a Mini Van floor pan (with quite a few genuine Moke panels thrown at it), I sourced an according log book and had lots of fun with it. It eventually went via Ebay and I last heard anything of it when it turned up on Ebay again probably about 10 years ago, then without registration and some bullshit story about having been a film star used in an ice cream advert. It still had the seats I made from some wooden planks but the engine had been removed, so I don't think it had done much else than sitting in somebodies garden since I sold it. If I find any better pictures, I'll forward them to you."

Tom in the Mini Van based Moke replica he used to own from 1999 on. Is it still alive?
Picture courtesy Tom Aldrian

Update 16 June: Could this be the ice cream advert mentioned? Thanks to Bart van Reusel

Video courtesy youtube

Wednesday, 8 June 2016

Really! A four-door Mini Marcos

You thought a convertible Mini Marcos was a daft idea? Well, how about a four-door version? Regular contributor Richard Hawcroft sent in this intriguing shot. Unfortunately with no more information whatsoever. On our simple question 'what on earth is that?' the equally simple reply was: "I don’t know anything, but it looks like a 4-door Marcos! Do you mean I have caught you out again!" Yes, my friend, it certainly looks like it. I am stumped and I've never heard or seen anything about such a car before. All we know comes from our friends at the DVLA: '9875 BT' is applied to what officially is on the road as an 848cc Austin which dates back to November 1961. Oh - and it's just got a fresh MOT for another year. To me it seems like a heavily modified Mk4, with elongated wheelbase, roof, extra and altered doors but still retaining its original hatchback door in a different angle.
Have you seen it on the road or do you know who, when, what, where and… why?! Please get in touch.

UPDATE: We now have a VIN number, which seems odd, too: A.A237D.166071M. Anyone who can make something out of that? Updated update: Nothing odd, code cracked and Cowley built Mk1 Austin Mini is indeed its base. 

9875 BT is a four-door Mini Marcos. Probably a Mk4 that was modified. But by who and why?
Picture courtesy Richard Hawcroft

Tuesday, 7 June 2016

Swiss Beach Car is - erm - different

Christian Chapalain of Switzerland contacted me about a car that he saw for sale in his home country. He wrote: "Hi Jeroen, I came across an unusual Mini Variant. It seems like a Beach Car with chopped off roof. The front part also has been changed… Please find some pics attached. Would you have any more infos on this one? It's currently for sale in Switzerland" (ad here).

Well-well, that looks like a Riviera Buggy on steroids. And it's not just the front that's different. How about the rear fins? The dash? The interior? The grab handles? The wheel arches? I'm pretty much convinced it's not a real Beach Car, but a private effort in building something… different! The ad states that the car is located close to Geneva, is an Austin and dates back to 1968, which also rules out a Longbridge original, but then you never know… So: who can tell us more?

Strange snout has been elongated while headlights remained at their original place
Picture courtesy

From this view its more clear how much the front was altered. Side indicator shows Inno base?
Picture courtesy

Pity we can't see the rear as that certainly appears to be unusually modified, too…
Picture courtesy

…Like the interior. Does it have digital gauges? Unfortunately the ad is rather poor in information
Picture courtesy

Monday, 6 June 2016

Beyond the Books (A)

Now that my final book has come out (order here if you haven't yet) the time may just be ripe to have another look at the Maximum Mini archives, with thousands of pictures still unseen. Let's have a look beyond the books in a new series. And you choose.

The idea is that you let me know which of the cars in the list below triggers you most, and the most popular one will make it to a story here. I have no idea if it will work, but I guess we'll just have to try. To start with, here's the list with all the cars that have been featured in Maximum Mini 1, 2 and 3 and start with an 'A'. Now, which one asks for more?

Over to you!

ABC Tricar
ABS Freestyle
ABS Mini Coupé
AC Donington
ADT Sprint
AEM Commanchero Six
AEM Scout
AF Grand Prix
AF Spider
ASD Hobo
ASD Minim
ASP 1300S
Aero Comet
Ainscough Special
Aldon-Viper BMC
Alto Boxer
Alto Duo
American mystery racer
Andersen Cub
Arc de Triomphe Mini Cabriolet
Arco Iris Mini Beach Car
Arividerci Winchester
Armstrong MiniSprint
Ashley Gnat
Aurora BMC
Austel Pullman
Austin Ant
Austin Mini four-door
Austin Reliant
Autocars Marcos
Autocom Mini Buggy
Autofashion Mini
Automobilia Phaeton
Automotive Refabrication fastback
Autotheme Mini pick up

Friday, 3 June 2016

Wading a ford? Let's try a Scamp

You know you're in trouble when the floods cannot even be waded by a Scamp! Note the Mini that's definitely got a wet distributer, but the Mk1 Scamp appears to be in trouble too. You just be careful with all the current flooding in Europe and make sure you don't stall when the exhaust is under water!

A Scamp just seemed a fine choice for wading a ford. It wasn't
Picture Jeroen Booij archive

Thursday, 2 June 2016

Martini Mini - 50 years ago

This month, 5 decades ago, spelled the end for the Martini Mini ASC - the only German Mini based car dating back to the 1960s that I know of. And as I have so many historical pictures of the car in the files (all of the pictures below have not yet been seen in Maximum Mini 2), why not publish some of them here and do a little commemorative write-up?

Willi Martini based his workshop in an old garage adjacent the Nürburgring track, which was not a bad idea. He repaired, sold and tuned BMW cars from there and also carried out tours on the track for speed freaks wanting to see it from the passenger seat! A car of his own design was made together with Ford stylist Uwe Bahnsen in 1963 and initially BMW 700 based. But a year later he teamed up with Austin dealer and Mini racer Dieter Mohr from Giessen to turn the car into the Martini Mini ACS (for Austin Cooper S) with 1275 power and a lightweight fibreglass body, which used an Austin grille placed upside down. It was first raced by Mohr and John Aley, who thrashed the car around the 22.8km-long track at 10:50 – a very respectable average speed of 126.33km/h. When the car’s front was badly damaged when it went off the 'Ring in 1965 Martini decided to rebuild the car with some modifications. He got rid of the Austin grille and enlarged the air scoop on the bonnet. The next racing season the Mk2 version, now painted British Racing Green rather then white, appeared at the Nürburgring. It was raced on two occasions in 1965 before disaster struck during the 1000km race of June 1966. The Martini Mini crashed at 200 km/h into a sliding Abarth. It rolled but fortunately driver Ralf Juettner got out unharmed. The car, however, was so badly damaged (pictures here) that there was no chance of rebuilding it and it was scrapped.

Ford designer Uwe Bahnsen gave Martini a hand in the car's design. Mini engine clearly visible here
Picture Jeroen Booij archive

Fill her up please! Martini's base at the Nurburgring track proved an ideal location!
Picture Jeroen Booij archive

John Cooper (Dunlop jacket) showed an interest in the car, too. Willi Martini wears flat cap
Picture Jeroen Booij archive

And off they go. The Martini Mini ASC (centre) was entered in a huge number of races at the 'Ring
Picture Jeroen Booij archive

It's seen here late in 1965 during another race at the 'Ring, but one that ended not well
Picture Jeroen Booij archive

Here in the famous Carousel curve, showing how to take the ideal line to an unsuspecting DKW driver
Picture Jeroen Booij archive

But the driver got over enthusiastic and had a big off, ending up near the track, damaging the car
Picture Jeroen Booij archive

But Willi Martini didn't give up. He rebuilt it, now turning it into the Martini Mini Mk2
Picture Jeroen Booij archive

The front had now been modified dramatically with huge air scoop. Sides and rear were unchanged
Picture Jeroen Booij archive

Last picture before the car went off once more, being damaged beyond repair…
Picture Jeroen Booij archive

Friday, 27 May 2016

Whatever happened to JDB 260E?

One story leads to another, here on GTM-week. Richard Hawcroft wrote to me regarding yesterday's Cox GTM: "I think you are getting old Jeroen. The Japan red Cox - it's an early one. Flat back, one-piece engine cover, no door handles, early front. Don’t forget that the sills are longer on a Cox, so if you fit a Cox front to a later car you would either have to make the sills longer or mess with the front." Ahem. Well. He must be right!

But it also lead to a message from former Cox GTM oner John Thornburn. He dropped a line about his old car registered 'JDB 260E'. That number rung a bell and I found some nice old photographs in the files, with it being the aluminum bodied prototype, factory demonstrator, press car, plus the one raced by Howard Heerey. There's a brief spell of it in this 1967 video, too. Quite some history! John wrote: "I have written before in response to a request for info on early GTMs. In 1970 or '71 I purchased from a friend, son of a garage owner in North Wales, a yellow GTM, JDB 260 E, a most interesting piece of 'kit'. GTMs as well as other kit cars, being very much of a hands on pastime I soon became aware that although the front end was fiberglass while the rest of the car was aluminium. One issue I had with the car was that the hubs on the rear (front) subframe were held in place by the steering arms bolted to the subframe, okay when first done but very soon works loose resulting in variable tracking when taking the power off causing the car to snake at the rear for a moment, interesting at speed. I contacted Heerey Engineering, living about 6 miles from Midland Garage, to be advised that they had resolved the problem with, from memory, (this was when I was 19 and I'm now 64), a lower wishbone tapped into the hub at 2 points and fixed with bushes to the subframe. The reason for the preamble is that the may be if some use to someone. One of the Engineers made a comment that some part of the body where he was working near was aluminum to which I replied that with the exception of the bonnet it was all aluminum, only then to be told after he checked some more that it was the original aluminium body that that the moulds were taken from and the bonnet was damaged beyond repair in London when being driven to be exhibited at the Motor Show. No mention was made of other metal bodied GTMs."

Now that is most interesting. It leads to two questions: how about Nick Beaumont's part-aluminium bodied car? And also: whatever happened to JDB 260E?

That's it - JDB 260E was the aluminum bodied Cox GTM demonstrator and press car
Picture Jeroen Booij archive

It was also raced by Howard Heerey, seen here chased up by a Ginetta and a Tojeiro Jaguar I think
Picture courtesy Richard Heseltine

 Reader John Thornburn owned it and says only the front had been replaced by GRP
Picture courtesy Richard Heseltine

Another venue, but clearly the same car once more. Silverstone perhaps?
Picture Jeroen Booij archive

Ingham Engineering also used the car for advertising the Cox GTM. Where is it now?
Picture Jeroen Booij archive

Thursday, 26 May 2016

A Japanese Cox GTM - or is it?

It's still GTM week here at Maximum Mini, now with a little stunner from Japan. Our Japanese reporter Eiji Watanabe visited this year's (24th) Japan Mini Day at the Tsukuba circuit. In between tons of gorgeous Mk1 Minis he spotted another little gem: a stunning Cox GTM. But hang on. Is it really a Cox or does it only use an early bonnet? Eiji wrote: "The rear body looks like that of a GTM Coupe of the 1970s or 1980s. It is wide arched and the rear end is not flat like that of the Cox GTM. What is your judgment? In any case, it is done beautifully." I think he's right there as the car's rear certainly seems later, while fronts shouldn't be too difficult to swap. Over to you…

That surely looks to be a Cox GTM - seen at the 24th Japan Mini Day at Tsukuba
Picture through Eiji Watanabe

But hang on - the rear says something different. Could it be a much modified and retro'd car?
Picture through Eiji Watanabe

Update 30 May 2016: Oh yes, it is a Cox. And I am indeed getting old! See here (click)