Tuesday, 22 September 2020
Friday, 18 September 2020
Tuesday, 15 September 2020
This smart Crayford Mini Sprint in Tweed Grey was spotted this summer in Knokke-Heist, Belgium. I believe it could well be the car that was sold at Coys' Fontwell sale in 2017 (click here). It was registered 1070 PP in the UK at the time and right hand driven, while this one is lhd. The same car..?
Monday, 14 September 2020
Thursday, 10 September 2020
Monday, 7 September 2020
This car fits in perfectly in the series of DIY Mini Coupes from exotic origins: a fastback Mini from Ecuador, built from a Mini Pick-up and said to be photographed in 1970. Unfortunately that's also just about all we know. The picture, posted by Richard Baltus, is not clear enough to make out the driver's name. Guayaquil is a city in Ecuador - can we assume that it originated from there?
There are not too many racing tracks in Ecuador, or so I understand and best known is Potrero de los Funes but that didn't open before 1987. There is also the Autodromo Yahuarcocha, which opened in 1970 so that could be it. However, there must have been various road races also and this shot looks as if it may very well have been taken on one. Who knows..?
Thursday, 3 September 2020
Some photographs have been seen so many times that you take them for granted. But they may still be worth a closer look. This famous Wood & Pickett shot is definitely one of them, having appeared in a great number of publications. The Mini seems to be the one owned by comedian Laurence Harvey, but who's the man next to it? He always reminded me of actor Richard O'Sullivan, but I later read it was ex-hairdresser and Twiggy manager Justin de Villeneuve, which seemed to make sense. De Villeneuve must have been really close to the coachbuilt Mini scene in the late 1960s and seemed just the man who would drive one around London at the time. His hairstyle fitted in perfectly, too.
But then I saw a new magazine clipping, which mentioned not Justin de Villeneuve but John Paul as the man in the picture. And the caption added quite some detail with it, too. It mentioned: "John Paul, proprietor of the 'I was Lord Kitchener's Valet' group of boutiques, found that his Buick Riviera was too wide for narrow Carnaby Street. He was therefore specially 'fitted' for a £2,700 tailor-made Mini Cooper S by Wood & Pickett Limited, who specialize in luxurious Minis for luxury-loving folk. The Mini is painted Bahama Yellow to Rolls-Royce finish, and has a black, padded sliding roof, darkened glass, special racing wheels and tyres, stereo radio, etc... and four anti-theft devices!' Another clipping shows John Paul with a coachbuilt Mini - which certainly seems to be very special, although not Bahama Yellow...
So... Who is the great Wood & Pickett promotor on that well-known groovy picture? Is it Justin de Villeneuve, John Paul or Richard O'Sullivan after all? Please step forward!
Tuesday, 1 September 2020
Thursday, 27 August 2020
Monday, 24 August 2020
Friday, 21 August 2020
The cream coloured and now beautifully restored Broadspeed GT with registration 'EOP 89D' is known as Broadspeed Engineering's demonstrator. The Motor magazine, however, road tested another car back in 1966 and published about it in its August issue of that year. This was 'FOH 500D' and it was a dark coloured car. A second demonstrator? Or just a car that happened to be available at the time? From the report:
"The test car, which we were allowed to keep for all four days, was the highest priced version with a tuned 1,275-cc engine. It attracted considerable interest wherever we took it even within a hundred yards of the Broadspeed establishment, which suggested that there aren't yet many of them about. (...) We did not have the car long enough to put it through our normal acceleration tests on a private circuit, but we managed to time it at 112 mph maximum in top. Power output is about 100 bhp and the compression ratio 10.5 to 1. Twin 1 1/2 SU carburetors are fitted."
Now, pictures of this car are scarce, and I wonder if it survives? A small ad in a later magazine mentions a Broadspeed GT for sale in Coventry. That car was opalescent maroon in colour with a black leather interior and 1275 Cooper 'S' engine. Could it have been the same?
Wednesday, 19 August 2020
When you think of coachbuilt Minis the names of Harold Radford and Wood & Pickett spring to mind. But there have been many more companies coachbuilding Minis, in the UK but also in Italy and France. An Australian coachbuilt Mini, however, was new to me. But Leigh Sherringham made me aware of it by sending a copy of a clipping from the Melbourne newspaper 'The Age' dated February 1971.
The article by Christopher de Fraga is about a Mini, locally coachbuilt by a man named Ken Jack of Mossman. And his (Mk2 based?) creation appears to have earned its name as a coachbuilt car, including full-length walnut dashboard with lots of gauges and switches, leather clad seats sourced from the MGB, air conditioning and 'performance improved beyond that of the usual Cooper S' mated to automatic transmission. Further gadgets, hidden in a walnut cabinet in the back, included telephone, refrigerator, dictaphone, glass cabinet and electric razor. The car's rear lights are said to have been changed, too, but unfortunately this cannot be seen on the pictures.
The car is said to have been built for the director of a Sydney company at a cost of over 6,000 dollars and, interestingly, the article states that 'replicas could be made more cheaply from lessons learned in the first exercise'. I wonder if that ever happened. And how about this particular car? A survivor?