Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Bitten by the Bison (9)

Oh lord, has it been long since we've heard of the CJC Bison project (click here for previous updates) and its intrepid and anonymous restorer! He's had a bit of difficulty with his (many) other projects, but there is now finally some news from him. He wrote: "The Bison has now been dropped off at the paint shop – photo as evidence!!"

"Its going to be painted radiant red, but with a satin black roof and pillars. It caused much amusement at the body shop. I just spoke to the lad there and he said they have never had so many people come in to have a look at a car they are working on. He said the normal response is 'What the fuck is that?!' They specialize in American stuff and classics, so have had a lot of strange looking stuff in over the years, but he said the Bison is the car that has had most interest!"

Fantastic news after all pal! In fact the CJC Bison is one of the cars I am looking much forwards to to seeing it in the next year!

Evidence: the CJC Bison is off to the paint shop. It was about time, too!

Monday, 15 December 2014

Cox and Peel emerge from Yorkshire barn

2014 Is not over yet, but as you know my list with the 5 candidates for the title 'Find of the Year' has already been made (voting on right hand side of this blog please). I may have been too soon though, as Vix Fisher-Garrett‎ emailed me yesterday with an exciting barn find of not one but two Mini based cars of the 1960s: a Cox GTM and a Peel Viking. She wrote: "Hi Jeroen. My father has just recovered two cars from a barn in Yorkshire where they have been since the mid-1990s. They are in an extremely sorry state, especially the Peel."

"From documents that came with the car we believe the Cox may have been originally fitted with a 1120cc supercharged engine for hill climbing. The car is based on a 1961 Mini Van, and we have the original order to Cox in 1968 and invoice dated March 1969. There is a letter from 1972 from Allard's giving details about supply of a supercharger for it, to be used for hill climbing, using a 1120cc engine. There are photos of it from the 1990's when it was owned in Abergele, Wales, where it appears to have been fitted with 13" wheels and riveted on wheel arches. At some time the rear subframe has been fitted to a modified square tube space frame. It is now fitted with a 1000cc engine with twin SUs. The original invoice shows chassis number as BCW1- 146M7 but as of yet we have found no plate on the car."

"We know very little about the Peel. It does have a plate on the dashboard saying 'Peel, Isle of Man' and showing a number 809. It also has a round badge on the front for Peamore Garage, Alphington, Exeter, which is presumably a dealers badge. Registration document shows the original Mini was a 1964 model, 850cc. We have no idea why it has a 1980 registration plate on it now. From 1982 until it was sold in the mid 90's, it was in Devon. It has not been on the road since 1995, when it belonged to someone who lived near Exeter in Devon."

I have asked Vix what she and her dad plan to do with the cars and I was exited to near they may bring them over to Blyton Park in May next year. Vix: "He won't consider selling them as they are part of our collection, between myself and my father we have the Peel, the Cox, a Domino Premier, a Domino HT, a GTM Rossa and a Phoenix, until recently we had another Premier but that has gone on to it's new home. We are hoping to attend the Mini day in May with at least a couple of these, even if one of them arrives on the back of a trailer. Any history relating to these cars would be gratefully received." I haven't found anything specific on both of these cars but somebody else out here may know more…?

Another unspoiled Cox GTM, as recovered by Vix' father from a barn in Yorkshire
Picture courtesy Vix Fisher-Garrett

The Peel is said to be in an extremely sorry state but it doesn't look too bad
Picture courtesy Vix Fisher-Garrett

Happy together. Note the difference in size: the Peel is small; the Cox diminutive!
Picture courtesy Vix Fisher-Garrett

Friday, 12 December 2014

What is the Best Find of 2014?

It's about mid-December and over here that means we're making up which was the best find of the past year. Quite a few Mini derivatives were found in sheds, gardens and garages once more and I made a selection out of 12, from coachbuilt Minis to three-wheelers and several odd contraptions in between.

Below, you will find the cars that have made it to the contest and to vote simply go to the poll on the right side of this blog (click here if you read this through an email message) where you tick the box of your favourite find. The one with the most votes wins - it's simple as that. Over to the candidates.

1. The Tenerife SHADO Jeep

An amazing discovery early this year was made on the isle of Tenerife, where a long-lost SHADO Jeep resurfaced in between lots of scrap metal. Full story here.

2. The sole Mean Sonora BMC

The story of this car was unraveled here and eventually led to the rediscovery of it in a Belgian garden. Full restoration underway by now. Full story here.

3. Enzo Ferrari's coachbuilt Mini

It's still not confirmed, but there is much leading to believe that this actually was the Mini Cooper 'S' owned by and coachbuilt for Enzo Ferrari. Full story here.

4. The ABC Tricar prototype

It took me years to find a proper ABC Tricar for photography when all at a sudden the prototype resurfaces in a barn in Buckinghamshire. Full story here.

5. The unbuilt Ranger Cub 4

Never seen one in the flesh, but there it was: a Ranger Cub with not three but four wheels. This one came in a field in Staffordshire. Story here.

From Germany with love

I had fanmail from Germany this week!
Vera Domnick wrote to me: "I am a real fan of those thrilling Mini derivatives, especially since we own one ourselves! And exactly this kind of car is featured in your book #2: a Hrubon Schmitt."
"Our Schmitt might be one of maximum three cars registered in Germany, although I do not know any other owner over here. Just Bart's yellow one in Belgium (see the book-JB), and some French Schmitts. For example the very worn car that Laurent Hrubon keeps in St. Tropez, whom we visited last summer. Of course, we took our little Schmitt along…"

"Our little 'Pinkie' is a very special one, since it was built from a kit by its only previous owner as an eye-catcher for his showroom. He owned a garage/workshop for British cars in Dusseldorf. It dates from 1985, showing only original 2,300 kms on the clock when we purchased it in February 2014. The colour is glitter-pink-metallic, with metal-flake added to the clear coating. Technically, it's a Mini 1000 with disc-brakes and brake-booster coming from an Innocenti Cooper, equipped with 10x5" Exacton wheels of early Mayfair Sport Minis. The rear window of the hood is shaped as a heart, black, perfectly fitting seats coming from an early Land Rover. It was also equipped with a tow-bar, which we removed temporarily for better handling. The sound reminds me of a racing car, since there is no air filter mounted, due to lack of space. The air for the carburettor is taken from the inside of the speedometer housing…"

"Driving this car is an absolutely great experience! You’ll always find brightly smiling faces all around yourself and the car. To get an impression, see some pictures attached. Maybe I will contribute to the little forum on your Internet site, introducing our 'Pinkie'. But this will be after Christmas, since I want to take a look at your book and the Schmitt article first. Cheers, Vera Domnick"

Well, it's already included here now, Vera. Enjoy the book and have a good Christmas!

Vera's Schmitt was built as centre piece for a Dusseldorf showroom, back in 1985
Picture courtesy Vera Domnick

She took it to St. Tropez last summer. It has Innocenti Mini 1000 engine and brakes
Picture courtesy Vera Domnick

Thursday, 11 December 2014

Another Mini Coupe - but what is it exactly?

Regular Stefan Sellin, who has shared some obscurities with me before, stumbled upon another unusual Mini: one that's been converted into a coupe. Just like the New ERA Mini, the Ecurie de Dez, the Buckle Monaco or that other coupe from Down Under. He wrote: "Hi Jeroen, This one looks like a Ecurie de Dez Crayford Clubman. Maybe you know more about the car? I have never seen one like that with a Clubman nose."

I haven't either! But I have to admit it does share some of its looks with that of the Ecurie de Dez, although I don't think it is one. Des Higgins carried out his conversions until 1970  after which he destroyed the moulds (being 'fairly disappointed with that decision' later on). This car is clearly later and in fact dates back to January 1975. The British plates indicate it could have been a UK conversion.

So there we go again: who knows about this nice little Mini coupe?

For sale in the US of A recently, but on a British plate of 1975. What is this Mini Coupe?
Picture courtesy

It's based on a Morris Clubman and looks like an Ecurie de Dez conversion (which it probably isn't)
Picture courtesy

Thursday, 4 December 2014

More Unipower GTs in need of TLC

They are not exactly barn finds, but two more Unipower GTs have been unearthed recently, and both of them are desperate for some tender loving care. The first of them - orange in colour - was stumbled upon about a month ago by your's truly and I will soon tell you more about it. The second one - green -was spotted by an arch Mini derivatives fan and avid reader of these pages even more recently. He wrote: "It looks to have been parked up a while for that cover to rot off. The lad that I asked about it didn't want to talk much. I asked him if he wanted to sell it and he said "No". But as time goes on, you never know..?"

Meanwhile, it won't be long before the traditional Find of the Year poll will be opened once more out here. If you know of other Mini based cars that have been unearthed recently, let me know, humble or heroic - it doesn't matter.

This Unipower GT has been standing on this very place for decades now…
Picture Jeroen Booij

…While this one is believed to has overcome the same thing. These cars need love!
Picture courtesy anonymous / Jeroen Booij archive

Thursday, 27 November 2014

BMW museum shows derivatives in 'The MINI Story'

You'll have to admit that BMW, as Mini's current custodian, is doing rather well in keeping the flame alive. As a matter of fact they open an exhibition tomorrow in Munich's BMW Museum called 'The MINI Story', emphasizing on 55 years of great little car design with 30 cars on display, and they were nice enough to send a press release with plenty of photographs over to here.

Yes, the emphasis lies on current models and prototypes for these, but interestingly for us lot there's a little more than the well-known classics they haul to every prestigious event. In fact they have made the effort to show some Mini derivatives! A tip of the iceberg, okay, but definitely worth a mention here never the less. There's an Outspan Orange Mini, a Wildgoose and Whitby Morrison Ice Cream Van, plus a rare four-door Mini built by our friends of Mini Mengers, who came up with the Mengers 3WP earlier this year. The expo will open tomorrow at 20:00, followed by a party into the early hours, and will last until 31 January 2016, so you've got over a year to pay the place a visit!

1969 Riley Elf and 1967 Morris Countryman, yes, but the Outspan Orange is the cool one here!
Picture courtesy BMW

 Pristine Wildgoose Super VEB and now-rare Whitby Morrison Mini Ice Cream Van
Picture courtesy BMW

This Rover Mini was converted by Mengers of Germany, who also build the 3WP
Picture courtesy BMW

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Broadspeeds on paper

Look at this, some nice Broadspeed related paperwork. First there's the advertisement of a GT of Cheshire's garage, that former owner Barrie Smith promised to send over. The asking price of 1600 GBP seems cheap now, but Barrie Smith eventually paid 950 GBP for it...
Next, Major Upsett posted some lovely Broadspeed press material on that great Mk1 Performance forum last week, and I include some copies here. There's a letter to the editor of The Motor magazine, dated December 1965, about Broadspeed's stand - number 46 - at the upcoming Racing Car Show of 1966 and a press release plus picture of the dual exhaust system that Broadspeed had on offer there. 

Advertisement from The Motor with the Broadspeed GT that Barry bought in it
Picture courtesy Barrie Smith

Tony Blore informs The Motor's editor about their Racing Car Show plans
Picture courtesy 'Major Upsett'

Broadspeed's new high performance 'GT 2+2' is announced in the press release
Picture courtesy 'Major Upsett'

Broadspeed's dual exhaust system was fitted top their GT as a standard
Picture courtesy 'Major Upsett'

Thursday, 20 November 2014

Mystery Mini derivative (39)

Believe it or not: this is my 500th post since I started this blog four years ago. And the very first was a Mystery Mini derivative (still unsolved!), so why not make the 500th again a mysterious Mini based motor?

The one shown here came to me via regular Miguel Plano of Canada. The car in question is advertised on a Canadian website and doesn't look like anything else I've seen before. Was it built for a specific (agricultural) purpose? It has some Moke styling cues, but is shorter and is clearly based on an ordinary Mini saloon. The Mini bonnet is still in place and I think the same goes for the inner fenders. But then the rest of it! It's considerably shortened and looks like something from the fairground! See the ad here. I have asked the seller for more information but he doesn't reply. Perhaps someone out here knows more about it?

The base supposedly is a 1968 Morris Mini with the conversion dating back to the 1970s
Picture courtesy

The car's rear looks like it was meant to be used as an agricultural machine?
Picture courtesy

Engine is said to be an 850 and looks bog standard. It's not seized but doesn't run either
Picture courtesy

The body conversion certainly hasn't left much place for the driver and passenger!
Picture courtesy

Friday, 14 November 2014

Swiss Radford hatchback is still out there

Interesting pictures of a stunning Radford Mini de Ville with hatchback have been sent over to me from Switzerland by avid reader Christian Amhof. And it's the same car reader Graeme Farr spotted back in 1987 outside Wood & Pickett's London workshops when it was revamped there. Graeme send over the photographs he took back at the time a year ago and wrote: "Attached some photos I took at W&P in 1987. I didn't get any photos of the McCartney Mini as it left the day before I was there. Just saw this Radford getting a WP makeover – the Radford dash was complete and in the skip – and Eddie (Collins-JB) said I could grad it if I wanted. But I had caught the train there so it was a bit bulky to take back to London." Now that's a pity, putting things mildly!

Radford or Wood & Pickett? Well, a bit of both really! Seen here at W&P in 1987
Picture courtesy Graeme Farr

Brand new dashboard had just been fitted, the old Radford one ended in at the skip... 
Picture courtesy Graeme Farr

Base vehicle is a Mk2 Morris Cooper (S?). If you look closely you can see Geneva plate
Picture courtesy Graeme Farr

Meanwhile, Christian has seen it several times in his native Switzerland, and it appears to have changed next to nothing since its 1987 overhaul, still wearing the same colour and trim. Christian wrote: "I have seen it several times at the British Car Meeting in Morges, but the car never wears a number plate nor can you see the owner… I heard of another W&P car in Switzerland which once belonged to the Shah of Persia."

Interestingly, the supposed Shah's car was in at W&P's workshop at the same time back in 1987 when Graeme was there - more on that later. For now: who knows more about this intriguing pair of coachbuilt Minis?

The same car last year. Only the reversing light seems to have been changed...
Picture courtesy Christian Amhof

Interior, too, is still all the same, spotted here at the British Car Meet in Morges
Picture courtesy Christian Amhof