Thursday, 23 August 2018

Mini based Paola GT survives as Alfa based Paola Spyder

Well, well, Armando Loni certainly triggered my imagination when he wrote about a mystery CanAm racer with Mini engine... The only car that I could think of , which somewhat resembled his description was the Paola GT, as in Maximum Mini 3. But that was a GT with gull wing doors...

But then came the photographs. Armando wrote: "See photos attached. The owner is Lionel Weaver and he is absolutely okay with sharing the photos/his name/location/details on your blog. The car is located at in Ledbury, Herefordshire (where I live). His dad bought the car via Mike Thomas (whom you mention on page 91 of Maximum Mini 3), who raced it in the late 1960's. It won its class in the 1968 Weston-Super-Mare Speed Trials, so was built around then. His dad competed in the car at Prescott Hillclimb and Castle Combe circuits using the original Mini power but also a Lotus twin cam unit (it now has an Alfasud engine)."

"Lionel remembers the car originally had a roof and gull wing doors (!!!) and is quite possibly the same car pictured on page 91 of your book. He thinks he may have a photo of it in this form (somewhere)... It has been modified over the years, hence the aluminium bodywork. When his dad competed as No. 63, he renamed it Lemar (badge shown in photo). The photos show the car as purchased from Mike Thomas and with his dad at the driving seat."

"It still has the original screen, which is similar to that used on the GT. You can see the front wings are now separated from the body. More to follow... A."

This is the father of the car's current owner after he just purchased it 
Picture courtesy Lionel Weaver via Armando Loni

His dad competed it at Prescott Hillclimb and Castle Combe using the original Mini power 
Picture courtesy Lionel Weaver via Armando Loni

 But Mini engine was later swapped for a Lotus twin cam unit while it comes with Alfa power now
Picture courtesy Lionel Weaver via Armando Loni

 This is what the car, without its body, looks today. As spotted by reader Armando Loni 
Picture Armando Loni

Aluminium body is still there, but not the original GT body with gull wing doors. Badge says 'Lemar' 
Picture Armando Loni

A restoration is now underway. But owner has also Stimson Mini Bug and GTM to work on 
Picture Armando Loni

Unfortunately the car now comes with the four-cylinder of a Alfasud 
Picture Armando Loni

This picture was sent over to me by Armando, too. I do not know when it was taken 
Picture courtesy Lionel Weaver via Armando Loni

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