Friday 1 December 2023
Tuesday 28 November 2023
I just drove 500 kilometres to pick up one single photograph. Have I gone mad? Probably! But then it wasn't just anybody who handed the picture over. I got it from Julien Vernaeve, the 1960s BMC works rally and racing legend plus BMC and Jaguar dealer and... Belgian concessionaire for the Ogle SX1000 in 1962. Vernaeve was the man to import my car to Belgium - still the only SX1000 sold new to the European mainland as far as I know. So, yes, I was very eager to speak to him. When he told me on the telephone he'd also found an old picture of the car with himself and his personal registration on it, nothing could stop me.
Vernaeve is 92 years old these days and does remember the Ogle well. He did recall it was the same bronze colour as it is today, and I learned about some more details and how he got to import it. A book about his racing career was written a couple of years ago and he gave me a copy of that. In it many pictures of racing cars, Mini Coopers and Cooper 'S's with his private plate '3995.N' and with co-drivers such as Rauno Aaltonen, Andrew Hedges, Paddy Hopkirk, Tony Fall, John Fitzpatrick, John Handley, Geoff Mabbs, Henry Liddon, Tony Pond... His daughter Eveline had arranged the meeting at the family Jaguar dealership which is run by herself and her brother Luc today. When we were finished Julien and his dog jumped into his Jaguar F-Pace and were off. What a man!
Thursday 23 November 2023
Still a great little hummer - the Ranger Pick Up. The way to 'transform your old, rusty 1100/1300 into an exciting all purpose road car' in the early- to mid-1970s. Initially the car was made at an old used car lot in Romford, but when the Pick-up turned out to be profitable, Ranger Automotive Ltd. was set up and the whole project was moved to more suitable premises in 1972: a disused 1920s cinema in Leigh-on-Sea, formerly with 1,200 seats and its own orchestra. What's more: the old theatre was supposedly haunted! A few six-wheelers were made as well as one twin-engined variant by former Broadspeed engineer John J. Thomas.
Monday 13 November 2023
Friday 10 November 2023
Tuesday 7 November 2023
It's good to know that the Meredith Mini Special survives. I did receive a few pictures of it recently, showing the car on its Dutch registration '03-YD-10', which it received after it was sold from the UK 10 years ago and imported to The Netherlands next. Yes, it's a bit of a Triumph-Ford-Mini-hybrid, which was made by Douglas Meredith of Welshpool (click here).
Anybody who knows where in this country the car is now? It doesn't seem to come out very o=ften, but I'd love to see it in person one day.
Friday 3 November 2023
Tuesday 24 October 2023
But then Rod Porteous came to the rescue. He wrote: "As a youngster I holidayed near Camber and remember cars being built at this workshop on the outskirts of Camber. The workshop has been empty for years and thought I would record it before it’s demolished."
Monday 16 October 2023
Thursday 12 October 2023
There is no denying that the great British Motor Corporation itself looked sideways to what happened in the Mini derivatives scene in the 1960s and 1970s. No surprise really with so many variants coming from all sorts of places, it was clear that there was a market for them. But how exactly they needed to come up with a Mini based sports car of their own remained a big question. There were the front engined ADO 34 and ADO 35 prototypes to start with, as there was the later ADO 70 concept.
With a great number of drawings and sketches from the BMC drawing office of the late 1960s and early 1970s, which are now offered for sale, we get to see a glimpse of the company's ideas for Mini successors or Mini based sports cars. All of them come from the hand of John Worker, who joined the BMC team as a designer after a job at Ogle Design. The drawings will be sold through auction on November 4th by Anglia Car Auctions, and you can see / bid on all of them here.