Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Autocrossing an early Mini Jem (2)

Earlier this month, I wrote about an intriguing photograph of a MiniJem Mk1 in a 1978 autocross - see here. I hoped somebody would recognize the car and tell a bit more about it. Well… I didn't have to wait long! Ian Davies wrote: "Hello Jeroen. Thank you for you interest in the autocross Jem. I have attached some images of the car as I bought it, then a few of it in restoration, though the methods used are a bit primitive, the end result was acceptable. The original semi short stroke engine was built by Bob Fowden in Llanelli. He is still rallying!  I ran the car with a 998 on twin SU carbs. The early Jem had real issues with headroom, especially when wearing crash helmets, hence the roof bumps. Jeff Hawkins and his brother, John I think?, used the car in the BTRDA autocross champs for 1977, '78 and '79. He told me that he actually made money from sponsors and prize money! If I remember right, he won his class in the 1979 championship."

"I took the car to Le Mans in 1989 and used it for 6 months on the road, then was tempted to sell after trying out the white Mk2 in the image. This belonged to Chris Merrick from Stroud. He went on to hillclimb in the British championship for many years and now circuit races a historic single seater. I am in the process of rebuilding the Mk2 to carry on hillclimbing. I currently hillclimb a single seater in the 1100cc class, quick enough but the cars lack character. Hope this info is helpful and good luck with the Le Mans Marcos. I used to own a very early Marcos chassis 6009. Sold to fund house purchase - it was a small house!" Thank you very much Ian, for this lovely story. And keep in touch if you ever come across another Mini-powered hill climber!

UPDATE 27 March 2017: More old stories from the horses' mouth about this car. Click here


Another photograph of the car at the Wildcam Autocross, this one dates back to August 1977
Picture courtesy Ian Davies

This is how Ian found the car in the 1980s, still in its autocross livery and needing serious work
Picture courtesy Ian Davies

The methods used were a bit primitive, says Ian, 'but the end result was acceptable'
Picture courtesy Ian Davies

The roof bulges, added for head clearance, gave the car a new nickname: Mae West
Picture courtesy Ian Davies

ACY 33E in april 1989 - taxed and MOTd again. The wind screen proved a headache as the car had been rolled at some time in its life, pushing the pillars out of line
Picture courtesy Ian Davies

The wheel arches needed serious repair, too, as the fronts had been cut to accommodate
 13" mud and snow tyres!
Picture courtesy Ian Davies

May 1, 1989 at the Singleton Park Show. Ian changed they colour from light blue to dark green
Picture courtesy Ian Davies

September 1989, just before the car was sold. It supposedly lives in japan now. 
Let me know if you have seen it recently
Picture courtesy Ian Davies

Ian's Mk1 Mini Jem, together with the Mk2 Mini Jem of his friend Chris Merrick
Picture courtesy Ian Davies

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