Sunday, 9 September 2012

Nimbus Special: blown evidence

Ah! The Nimbus Don Parker Special. One particularly intriguing car, if only it was for the confusion about which Don Parker built it. Anyway: I found the car in a pretty forlorn state back in 2005. It came with a massive Wade supercharger in bits and pieces in a box which, I understood, was fitted to it in its earlier life. I never found evidence though. The car was sold a few times before being restored, and restored again, but somehow the supercharger never got fitted again. A real pity as, thanks to engine punk sci-fi author and Siva owner Bob Blackman (excellent blog here), some pictures of it with the blower have now turned up. Bob writes: "By the time I saw this curiosity at Prescott Hillclimb in 1984 Nimbus had a conspicuosly blown Mini powertrain. At the time, it was campaigned by Mike Hentall and I heard mutterings around the paddock that it ate pistons but with that massive Wade blower (reputedly off a truck and dwarfing the engine it fed) as much as 150 bhp was available in something that weighed hardly anything (450kg). Nimbus was something of an obscure enigma but I registered the name when I saw an H&H auction back in 2007 and had the presence of mind to note some of the details. At the time, it didn't sell but I was able to understand what strange origins this car had. The original bodywork was on the heavy side and in 1961 Nimbus ran as "Nimbus Unadorned" for a spell with doped fabric stretched over its spaceframe. It wasn't very competitive in Formula 1172 but when Don Parker saw the Warwick special, a mid-engined flathead racer that used a Mini transmission, he radically re-constructed Nimbus in 1965 into the form I saw at Prescott." Bob allowed me to use his pictures here and I've now ordered one of his books that he triggered me with. Cheers!

Don Parker's Nimbus Special with the massive supercharger in place at Prescott
Picture courtesy Bob Blackman
The Mini engine supposedly pushed out 150bhp which must have made 'TOY 711' real scary
Picture courtesy Bob Blackman

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