Monday, 30 July 2018

Rotting GTM is not for sale

Just like with this Mini Jem that is slowly being returned to nature (click), every now and then I receive a picture of what is a Cox GTM or Heerey GTM that is standing, seemingly forgotten, on a Cheshire drive and doesn't seem to be getting any tender loving care. This particular car is registered 'TAK 392S' - a 1977 registration, although it looks older. I think it's an early 1970s Heerey but correct me when I'm wrong (UPDATE: It is a Heerey 1-3, thank you Stuart). What I do know is that several people have tried to buy the car from the current owner, but all to no avail. It was supposedly built by his late father and has stood on the drive for some 20 years now. Although the body shell doesn't look too bad, the floors are believed to have rotted out entirely. Oh - it is not for sale!

Early 1970s Heerey GTM has stood on this drive in Cheshire for some 20 years now
Picture Andy Plage

Although it is rotting away slowly but surely, the car is believed not to be for sale 
Picture Andy Plage

Wednesday, 25 July 2018

Le Mans Mini Marcos: roll cage goes in

I cannot praise my body shell restorer enough. After all the troubles he went through in order to restore the car's floors to their original state, with balsa wood moulded in between two layers - one of which was cut out - he has now started reproducing the car's roll cage. There was not much left of the original cage as it had been cut out by someone at some stage for some reason. All that was left of it were the four feet of the cage moulded into the body shell. He cut these out and started from there, together with a series of photographs that I took last year from the similar roll cage in Gary Marlow's Mk1 Mini Marcos. And he did a superb job. The cage is exactly reproduced and ready to be moulded in soon now.

Look, no roll cage! Original cage was cut out of the Le Mans racer for some reason
Picture Jeroen Booij

All left of it were the four feet moulded into the body shell, this is a rear one
Picture Jeroen Booij

And another plus a front one, seen top right here
Picture Jeroen Booij

This is the similar cage in Gary Marlow's Mk1 Mini Marcos. I photographed every detail of it last year in order to replicate it. Note that it is also attached to the roof
Picture Jeroen Booij

And there we go. The newly made roll cage for the Le Mans car, exactly how it was, ready to go in
Picture Jeroen Booij

Cut out rear foot on the left, newly made one from pressed tube of the actual cage on the right
Picture Jeroen Booij

Original front feet were cut out of the body and re-used to weld the roll cage on. The whole of it is to be moulded in once again soon
Picture Jeroen Booij 

Here is the cage put in front of the car. It's diameter is very thin. It won't pass FIA rules today but it is exactly what it was like in 1966
Picture Jeroen Booij

And here it is placed on its place into the car. The fit is excellent
Picture Jeroen Booij

Timber farme was made already to be able to put the car upside down soon
Picture Jeroen Booij


Tuesday, 24 July 2018

Lovely advertised Hustler Hellcat

A Hustler Hellcat is rather rare. The blue one below is for sale in Moreton-in-the-Marsh, which happens to be the village where William Towns created his whole Hustler range, so it won't get closer to home. The pictures in the ad are terrible, but the words make up for that. I've put a blank, comma or point here and there but this is basically a copy of the original text:

"Now if you are fed up with roasting in your car during the heatwave this is the car for you, The wrap around aircon is just one of the benefits of this superb vehicle and during the winter you will have no problem with freezing door locks, it doesn’t have doors. This extremely rare car was designed and produced by the superb car designer William Towns who also designed cars like the Aston Martin Lagonda and many more. It is used daily, starts on the button and will be the most fun to drive. You will never need to worry about the 70mph speed limit so it is license friendly. Great for the man about town and with its large boot space ideal for her indoors to do the shopping or throw in your nearest and dearest. Ratchet straps will be provided to keep the little ones in place and a full child cage can be supplied at extra cost. Manufactured in the historic year of 1983 which if you are interested in Chinese culture was the year of the pig, which is quite appropriate and if you are into high speed Richard Noble set a land speed record in a car vaguely similar with 633.468mph in the same year and if you move the decimal point one to the left this will easily equal the record (downhill). The mobile phone was made available this year and the rear luggage compartment was designed for it to fit in. Also in this very year its parent car the Austin Metro was Britain's best selling car. What have you got to loose? What's the worst that could happen? Buy me, you know it makes sense for the best future investment you could wish for. There are a few little niggles which will be corrected before collection. Speedo broken at present so uncertain of mileage, oil pressure gauge not connected, all items uneffect its performance and is in daily use."
See the ad here.

Clean Hustler Hellcat is seen for sale in Moreton-in-the-Marsh, Gloucestershire
Picture Ebay.co.uk

Mini engined car is beautifully described in the seller's advertisement on Ebay
Picture Ebay.co.uk

Hustler Hellcat was marketed as the Freedom Fighter. It was a very basic kit
Picture Jeroen Booij archive 

This is how you got your Hellcat kit when you ordered one from Towns' Interstyl - in Moreton-in-the-Marsh
Picture Jeroen Booij archive 


Thursday, 19 July 2018

Mystery Special still unnamed

Yesterday I posted another Mystery Mini derivative. It wasn't on its own as the picture of the thing showed several other Minis, of which many of you knew more. And so the messages about the orange and blue customized Minis didn't stop coming in. Hey, it was the green car I was after! Colin Baines, who recognized himself in the picture, knew it was owned by the bearded man next to him. He also remembered it used the mechanicals of an Austin 1300 GT.

But it was fellow Dutchman Kees Plugboer who dug deeper and came up with a photograph of the thing, copied from a magazine article about the Mini's 25th anniversary at Donington Park. We see the bearded man once again, ready to hop in. His other half (?) appears to have done so already. We also see a registration number: Q412 NTR. According to the DVLA this belongs to a Tourer of 'Other British Makes'. The registration dates back to July 1984, which means it must have been finished just before the anniversary party which took place  on August 27th, 1984. And the rosette suggests it won a prize, too...

The article showed some more nice Mini based cars, a nice Mini Marcos (Mk3 I think) with added front spoiler and a TiCi in particular. I like the rare hardtop on the latter. Thanks very much Kees! Now, over to the green Special once more. Who is our bearded friend?

The green Special is based on an Austin 1300 GT and registered Q412 NTR in July 1984
Picture via Kees Plugboer

A very clean example of the Mini Marcos was seen at the same event at Donington Park in '84
Picture via Kees Plugboer

As was this TiCi. This one with a rare hardtop. Like the green Special it seems to have won a prize?
Picture via Kees Plugboer

Wednesday, 18 July 2018

Mystery Mini derivative (51)

We're on our way to the Mini's 59th birthday in August 2018. But let's have a look back at an earlier anniversary first. The 25th birthday party in particular, which took place in the UK on August 1984. A little group of modified Minis got together for the picture seen below. There is a lovely Stimson Safari Six in the middle and some much modified Mini saloons at the front, all in great 1980s style. But how about the bright green creature seen at the right? Anyone any ideas about that specific one?

UPDATE 12:00: Colin Baines recognizes himself! He is second from right and owned the Safari Six. He writes: The chap on my left owned the green thing. It was home made from aluminum and had an Austin 1300GT engine and subframe in the rear."

The bigger picture: taken at Donington at the Mini 25th anniversary party on August 26, 1984
Picture Jeroen Booij archive

But what on earth is that? Surely a home-made creation. More info would be welcome, though 
Picture Jeroen Booij archive

Tuesday, 17 July 2018

When a Baumann Coupe is not a Baumann Coupe

Well, I was almost sure Peter Camping would react to my Midas / Baumann article of last week. And i wasn;'t disappointed. Peter knew it very well, and this is what he wrote about it:

"Hi Jeroen. It was a real Friday the 13th, yesterday. Not again that Baumann! It's fake news. The car's number plate '44' does not neccesarily say it was registered in that region. The French motoring authorities are based in Nantes (in the Loire-Atlantique). This is a temporary number plate."
I also received a message from Damien Lescroart, who knew: "It has a W number plate. These plates are used by garages only. So 1065W44 refers to a garage in Loire Atlantique but not a car. I'm 99% sure that the car is unregistered as a Midas or Baumann, which explain the garage plates."

Peter continues: "See attached a piece from Gazoline magazine on this particular car. There was also a website about it when the car was for sale. The owner is (or was) an Englishman who lived in in France. He did something in the movie industry but wanted to sell the Midas upon moving to the US. There was no plan of selling Baumann Coupes in any numbers."

"The car is also not 'rebadged', other than it is just a Midas with another badge on its nose. The Midas name is associated with a fast fitter company in France, which he didn't like. That's the simple reason for giving it another badge. The Reims museum offers the posibility to display cars for sale when you are willing to pay for it."

"So there you go. Good luck with the Baumann. In my friend's app group the car appears every now and then, but always in a comical connotation! Best regards, Peter."

Gazoline Magazine wrote about the car in the past. '1065 W 44' is a garage plate says Damien. Peter adds that it's a temporary registration from the French motoring authorities
Picture Gazoline Magazine via Peter Camping

Baumann name was chosen since Midas is also the name of a French fast fitter, perhaps not suitable for any car's reputation? 
Picture Gazoline Magazine via Peter Camping

Peter Camping: "In my friend's app group the car appears every now and then, but always in a comical connotation!"
Picture Gazoline Magazine via Peter Camping

Friday, 13 July 2018

When a Midas Gold becomes a Baumann Coupe

Remarkably, the car seen here - on display at the Reims Champagne Motor Museum in France - is not a Midas Gold. This, ladies and gentlemen, is the Baumann Coupe. Well, that's what the badge on its nose says. It is in fact a rebadged Midas that was meant to become a French version with left hand drive. Somehow it never succeeded and this is believed to be the sole car made. Was there a problem with homologation? I understand it is equipped with a 71hp strong MG Metro sourced 1300 engine and is privately owned but lended to the museum. The '44' number plate suggests it was issued in the Loire-Atlantique in the west of France. I would love to to find out a little more, though, and with several Midas experts on board here I trust some of you will be able to do so!

UPDATE 17 July 2018: Well, well, well - it is not what it appears to be..! Full story here.

The sole 1985 Baumann Coupe can be seen in the Reims Champagne Motor Museum
Picture source Pinterest

It is said to be a French version of the Midas Gold that never succeeded. What went wrong?
Picture source Pinterest

Tuesday, 10 July 2018

Le Mans Classic 2018: Mk1 Mini Marcos sold

Despite all the plans, I didn't make it to Le Mans Classic. You may remember that my project car is far from finished and there was no use taking the bare shell to France now that it is right in the middle of its restoration. There would have been more to see and do there, though, with Robi Bernberg racing his ex-works Deep Sanderson 301 and Chris Marsh the ex-works big Marcos. Meanwhile, another Mk1 Mini Marcos was being offered for sale at the Artcurial auction there, too. This car sold for 35,760 Euros and I wonder what you think of it.

Mk1 Mini Marcos was restored in France about 11 years ago. It did Le Mans Classic more than once
Picture courtesy Artcurial Motorcars

Wide arches are nicely made, but make it look somewhat overbodied without wheel spacers perhaps?
Picture courtesy Artcurial Motorcars

Interior shows lots of later touches. Gear change set-up is an easy giveaway to the modernizations
Also note steel plating on floors
Picture courtesy Artcurial Motorcars

Yep, that's an A+ series engine. I am surprised this is allowed at Le Mans Classic
Picture courtesy Artcurial Motorcars

Chassis #6034 is an early, possibly 1965-made, car. That's one very unusual chassis plate though
Picture courtesy Artcurial Motorcars