Tuesday, 15 October 2019

Quite a line up of Mini derivative shells and moulds!

Arch Maximum Mini enthusiast Tony Bucknall of ABS MotorSport has been buying, selling, building and modifying Mini based cars and moulds for them for decades now, and continues to do so. As a matter of fact he has just emptied one factory of its composite shells and moulds as he plans an expansion of his premises. That gave quite a nice overview of Tony's projects, amassed over the years. Mind you: there is lots more in ABS' Alladin's cave, but what we see here, from left to right:

McCoy moulds with extra moulds for skirts plus the estate (McIvoy)
Mould for a lowered Mini race shell with added arches
Mould for a MiniSprint replica
Complete shell for a Stimson Mini Bug
Shell for a space framed MonteCarlo Mini
Shell for a space framed Mini Dominator
A complete full fibreglass bodied FRA Mini
Complete shell of a TiCi including moulded-in interior
Complete shell of a Domino Pimlico
Complete shell of a Phoenix Estate
MINI Countryman display shell

Thank you very much for sharing Tony!

Panoramic view of some of Tony's projects, shells and moulds
Picture Tony Bucknall / ABS MotorSport

This is the McCoy with all the moulds including those for added skirts plus the estate option
Picture Tony Bucknall / ABS MotorSport

Space framed Minis? Tony is your man if you want to build one
Picture Tony Bucknall / ABS MotorSport

A Stimson Mini Bug in its bare essence
Picture Tony Bucknall / ABS MotorSport

FRA Mini, TiCi, Domino Pimlico or Phoenix Estate, you'll find it here!
Picture Tony Bucknall / ABS MotorSport

Friday, 11 October 2019

More Landar images unearthed

Reader Graham Nevil has surprised me before with some great Landar memories, he managed to dig out some more, writing:

"Hi Jerome, Greetings to yourself and time for some more Landar pictures! These probably are the last of my stock of new images that I’ve recently scanned in from slides."

"You will already be acquainted with my father’s old R6 (the last one built ) from previous mails but this is such a nice shot taken at Silverstone in ’73. Another shows its rather wonderful engine which was the final state of tune, Arden 8-port crossflow head with fuel injection, powerful and quite exotic for the day. We previously looked at the possibility that our car is now the Maruyamas R6 but a few differences put me off the idea. I have now noticed that, on what must be earlier pictures of our R6 the roll over loop is only for the driver but this picture, which must be later, it’s now full width, as is the Maruyama car. Also early pictures have ours with a chrome rear view mirror later replaced by a darker one, again matching the Maruyama car. A bit more evidence for a conclusive match?"

"The other R6 picture is of a car that has previously been featured on Maximum Mini and since it carries the number 81 confirms it’s Donnington location. Not sure who the driver is. Interestingly this also has the full length roll bar and in common with the Maruyama car, no headlights and a lower position for the oil cooler on the passenger side."

"Finally a rear view of Frank Aston’s blue R7 at a local sprint, a car which has attracted some inaccurate identifications in the past. Note suicidal positioning of marshals, don’t think that bit of chicken wire will give much protection ! When it was unearthed in that German lockup it was still wearing a vestige of blue paint which implies it carried that colour its entire life even though it appeared to have been given different detailing post Aston ownership with the Hardt brothers. It also seems the roll bar is now different to how it was with Frank and the brothers, what is it with roll bars?"

"Many thanks for allowing a justification for my nostalgic trip down memory lane and best wishes for the Marcos restoration. Graham Nevil"

Thank you Graham! See Grahams earlier messages with pictures of his dad's old Landar (here) and even 8mm film footage shot when he was 16 years old (here).

Silverstone 1973. Graham's dad Gordon Nevil behind the wheel of his Landar R6
Picture courtesy Graham Nevil

The car's exotic and powerful engine with Arden 8-port crossflow head and fuel injection!
Picture courtesy Graham Nevil

And another Landar R6 as seen by Graham at the time, this one at Donington
Picture courtesy Graham Nevil

Last but not least Frank Aston’s blue R7 at a local sprint. This car was found in Germany in 2015 with the blue paint still visible on its body (full story here)
Picture courtesy Graham Nevil

Friday, 4 October 2019

Sabre owner looking for Sabre owners

Since it isn't clear how many Sabre Sprints and Sabre Varios were made exactly in the mid-1980s owner Ron Palgrave now plans to register as many as he can. He wrote to me: "Hi Jeroen. I am the owner of the yellow Sabre Sprint in your first Maximum Mini edition. I wonder if you have any other Sabre owners on the circulation list. I am building a register of other owners and would like them to get in touch with me. I do not think there will be many. The builder, (Steve Crabtree) works close to where I live, and I speak with him from time to time. Just now I am trying to persuade him to mould an original dashboard for me. The item that came with the car is fake wood and has been described as looking a bit like a coffin lid! I first contacted Steve some years ago and at that point he told me he had built more than 100 Sabres. Talking later with his colleague Dave Crowshaw he estimated a lower number. When I discussed this with Steve, he said “Well it felt like 100 cars !” In fact, no factory records exist."

"To date I have identified 13 other cars, though all might not still exist. It includes four cars still owned by Steve Crabtree. So I might guess that up to 30 cars might have been sold. This is closer to the number Dave Crowshaw gave me. However, I would like to continue the search, and so any clues you can provide would be appreciated."

Meanhile, I've had a look in the files and found the following registrations. Do you know of others? Ron would love to hear from you, as I do.

EVK 330K - Red Sabre Sprint
YNF 23S - Red Sabre Sprint
Q424 WNL - White Sabre Sprint
Q435 WET - White Sabre Sprint
Q518 WNL - White Sabre Vario
Q614 RNH - White Sabre Sprint
Q584 WFT - Blue Sabre Sprint
Q716 WFT - White Sabre Sprint
Q822 GRW - Yellow Sabre Spint
Q845 WFT - Yellow Sabre Sprint
Q879 WJR - White Sabre Sprint modified into six-wheeler pick-up


UPDATE 7 October 2019:
The following cars have now been added to the list, thanks to Ron, who also ads: "Hope your blog unearths some more, but I am starting to think that even my estimate of 30 produced cars might be too high"

Q585 WFT - White Sabre Sprint
Q645 WFT - no further data known
Q647 WFT - Red Sabre Sprint
Q760 DAJ - White Sabre Sprint
Q935 GRW - Cream Sabre Sprint

Rallying a Sabre Sprint in the 1980s - but how many were made / survive?
Picture Jeroen Booij archive

Advertisement for the Sabre Sprint of 1985. Do you own one?
Picture Jeroen Booij archive

Tuesday, 1 October 2019

Mystery Mini Derivative (63) - UPDATED

Now here's one Mystery Mini Derivative that has been haunting me for a long time. So far, all we know is that the car was seen (and photographed) in St Ives in Cornwall somewhere in early 1983 by a man named Maurice Equity Leng. From the registration '169 EEA' we can learn that the base vehicle was a 1961 Mini Van with 1100 power. But no badges could be found on it. The windscreen is larger and more raked than that of a standard Mini and the body may well have been sectioned, too? And then there's the low nose and widened arches. In fibreglass? We do not even know that. Who does?

UPDATE 4 October 2019: Various readers recognize the bonnet of a Triumph Spitfire. 
Alan Brown wrote: "Hi Jeroen. Looking at it, it seems to be a Triumph Spitfire / Mini mongrel. Apart from the addition of the flared arches I think the front subframe would have been extended forward to pick up the Spitfires flip front hinges, without taking measurements of each cars widths at the A panels of each I cannot tell if the front of either part would have been adjusted to suit, from the picture it looks as if the mini has no changes. Maybe where the front arches have been fitted aided the change to suit the shape transition."
He later added: "After a bit of investigation I found that the Mk 3 Spitfire was only 31mm wider than the Mk1 Mini van so the integration would have been fairly easy" See the photoshopped image he came up with below.
Ian Shearer wrote: "Hi Jeroen, I've just made contact with a friend who has had a shop on the harbour side, near 'The Sloop' since the early 80's and may well be able to shed some light on the car, fingers crossed."

Mystery Mini '169 EEA' was spotted in St Ives, Cornwall
Picture Maurice Equity Long

UPDATE: And this is what Alan Brown came up with