Monday, 6 December 2021
Friday, 3 December 2021
Tuesday, 30 November 2021
Boy, has it been a long time since I wrote an update on the Le Mans Mini Marcos project. I could tell you all about the reasons for the delay but let's not worry about that here. Fact is that more happened in the last week then in the 18 months or so preceding it.
Together with my friend and fellow Mini Marcos owner Joost van Diën I went to Pau in south-west France to deliver the now painted shell to the chaps at Mini World Center. You may remember that I had chosen this particular company, run by Philippe Quirière, to build the car's engine and suspension since Philippe had both the knowledge and the experience to do so. But apart from that he also had a number of original parts of this very car after having taken over the stock of French garagiste extraordinaire José Albertini. Albertini, at his turn, owned the Marcos back in 1970.
So off we went to Pau in the Pyrenées-Atlantique not far from the Spanish border. The plan was to have the subframes and engine fitted there and set up the engine, too, as well as have it dyno'd before loading it in the trailer once again and bring it back after a week of hard work. Joost and I hired an apartment nearby to spend the week as mechanic-assistants, so we were ready for it. Philippe was not so sure if it could be done in the time given but we thought we'd give it a try at least since the car needed to be brought over anyway. To make another long story short - we didn't make it. But Philippe and the Mini World Center team will finish the job in the winter, with regular updates promised to be flashed over, and the car will come home after that. We did have a good time though and I learned a lot more about the car's technical insights. Philippe and his father Gérard are as eager as I am to get all the details right and I brought my file with old pictures of the car, which proved to be invaluable at some stages. Let's have a look at some of the pictures that I took in the week.
Friday, 26 November 2021
When you are Belgian or French you will know the work of comic artist Jidéhem. The characters he invented made it to Spirou magazine every week and were loved by many. In the 1960s and 1970s a number of spin-off publications appeared, one of them being Starter, which was all about cars. I found that a few Mini derivatives made it to the publication and wanted to share these here. They were a fun way of illustrating motoring reports in the magazine. I would love to learn there are more. Do let me know when you know of any others.
Wednesday, 24 November 2021
Monday, 22 November 2021
Thursday, 18 November 2021
The Hrubon Phaeton as well as its later sibling the Schmitt, both made in France, were a sort of Mini Moke but then substantially shorter so that it could be parked head-first in a spot. But there was a six-wheeled 'long' wheelbase version of it, too. I only had one picture of that (registration '286 W 67' well visible) and very little information.
But recently I came across another picture of it. It's a horribly low-quality shot, but at least it does provide some of the much-hoped-for more info. It shows us that the car was dark blue in colour, but what's more: a tiny little side bar with info tells us it was not just available as a four-seater, but also as a Twini! From the text: "Disponible en bi-moteur pour les rallyes debut '82". That is: Available with twin-engines for the 1982 rally season. For heaven's sake - who knows more about that!
Tuesday, 16 November 2021
Monday, 15 November 2021
There's no doubt that Mini derivatives are gaining popularity. The NEC in Birmingham was the venue of a classic car show last weekend and the Minikits Club had really done its best to show a wide variety of Mini based cars, which had worked out particularly well. On their display not only three Stimson cars (Mini Bug, Trek and Scorcher) but also a lovely TiCi and ultra-rare Hustler Sport. They also had a separate corner with a Mini Marcos and two GTM Coupes in primary colours red, blue and yellow. Well done boys!
Another display which looked particularly good was that of the Unipower GT Owners Club & Register, with three cars on display: Mark Glashier's road car, a chassis/body under construction and Gerry Hulford's racer. Gerry has also just finished a long-awaited book on the Unipower marque, of which I hope to receive a copy soon.
Meanwhile, Curborough track was the scene for a photo shoot of four Mini based beauties, soon to star in Classic & Sports car magazine. Two of them with the power at the front wheels - a Mini Jem and an Ogle SX1000 - and two with the power at the rear - a Unipower GT and a Deep Sanderson 301. Roger Garland was there to assist and take a few pictures himself, which he flashed over. He added: "We had tried to get a recently restored GTM, but the owner had to work that day. We also had difficulty finding a suitable Mini Marcos, hence the Mini Jem - a very capable substitute!" Absolutely, and thank you very much Roger. Soon in their full glory at the newsstand near you, or so I understand!