Wednesday, 21 February 2018

Peel Viking: the Dutch demonstrator (2)

I am happy to announce that the Dutch demonstrator Peel Viking Sports GT, built by fellow-Dutchman Ben Konst in 1966/'67, has now been found back. And the best thing is that it's gone back to Ben as well! Read all about the car in part 1 here.

As you'll understand this car was one I was really keen to find, and so I asked around to anyone wanting to listen to me. I had been doing this for many years and had heard rumours of its survival more than once. But it was only in January last year that I actually learned it had survived. A Mini enthusiast told me he'd seen it in the late 1980s or early 1990s with a friend. And that friend was not the kind of guy to sell things, so he may still have it, or so he said. The friend had moved from Holland to Germany but I was able to track him down. And so I saw myself driving to his place in rural Germany over a year ago. I spoke to him extensively and he told me he'd had the car for 41 years. Eventually I was allowed to come and see the car in a barn a few miles down the road. And there it was. There was no doubt it was Ben's personal car, with the Fiat 850 rear screen and rear lights and even the number plate '88-49-EP' still on it. I was over the moon.

But did he want to sell? He did. But I had just become the owner of the Le Mans Mini Marcos, had no extra room for another Mini derivative and needed the money for my own project car. I phoned up Ben, who was much surprised to hear of my find, too. And he was interested in buying it, too. But he didn't know what kind of price to pay. I made some enquiries about that and must say the communication didn't go all too fluent. What followed was a long silence from Germany. I thought I'd blown it, until I received a message from the owner's wife. She told me her husband had passed away sadly in May 2017. He'd been ill and was just 63. Was I still interested in the car? I told her Ben was the man, and we now quickly came to an agreement.

And so, last week I went up to Germany once more. Now together with Ben in his car with a trailer behind it. Ben was absolutely delighted to see his old car back after 49 years and simply had to buy it back. He thinks he sold it in 1969. The last owner had had it since 1977, and it's still unclear what exactly happened in between. But we may still find out. The very draughty but beautiful barn where the car had been stored for such a long time contained more cars and many many more parts, and Ben and I have agreed to come back to pick up the Mini parts in the near future. Who knows what else we'll find...

UPDATE 16 April 2018: Part 3 in the series here...

January 2017: this is when I found the car back and saw it for the first time
Picture Jeroen Booij

It was owned by the last owner for 41 years and stood in this German barn for a long time
Picture Jeroen Booij

Engine was supposedly replaced by a Innocenti Cooper unit. But it came with two more engines
Picture Jeroen Booij

February 2018: back with Ben Konst, who built it in 1966, and was ready to pull it out here
Picture Jeroen Booij

Ben reunited with his own Peel Viking Sport GT, 49 years after he saw it for the last time!
Picture Jeroen Booij

In the daylight since a long, long time. Note correct registration plus Fiat 850 screen and lights
Picture Jeroen Booij

Dust, dirt and cobwebs. Just like a real barn find car should have! No hens or mice though...
Picture Jeroen Booij

There's just one Cosmic Mk1 wheel on the car now, hopefully the other three are still in the barn 
Picture Jeroen Booij

Classic Ten Auto Radio. Ben remembered very well having fitted this to the car!
Picture Jeroen Booij

The dashboard is still unmodified, too, with all the instruments still in place
Picture Jeroen Booij

Loaded up and ready to go back to Holland, to the man who built it all those years ago
Picture Jeroen Booij

1 comment:

  1. That's a good story, very nice Ben is reunited with his car again almost half a century later! Well written article as well. Looking forward to read more about Ben and this extraordinary car again.
    Frank K., Wassenaar

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