Tuesday, 30 May 2023

Fantastic Heerey GTM now for sale

Back in early 2022 Andy Parkinson got in touch about a derelict Heerey GTM he'd found and planned to restore. It certainly was a challenging project but Andy cracked on with it and really surprised me when it was finished and back on the road within a year or so. He tackled just about everything on the car, apart from the paint as he left the body in its 'as found' condition, which I think is just marvelous. We found out it was an early Howard Heerey-built car with the correct chassis plate and registration. It was sold in 1970 but only registered in 1974 and on the road up until '89. 

Andy surprised me again this week, when he announced to offer the car for sale. "Yes Jeroen, I sadly decided to sell it. I have my Mk1 Mini that's on the road and also an AMC Cub to restore so something has to go due to lack of space." Well, it certainly is quite a chance for somebody else to own a freshly restored and fantastic car now. See the ad here.

Andy's 1970 Heerey GTM, first registered in 1974 and now for sale
Picture Andy Parkinson

Don't let the paint job mislead you. This car is fully restored underneath
Picture Andy Parkinson

Great interior with all the right period bits and pieces in place, ready to go
Picture Andy Parkinson 

Engine has been fully rebuilt, too, all the specs are in the advertisement
Picture Andy Parkinson

 Alloy 3 core radiator, baffled custom alloy fuel tank, fully rebuilt suspension and much more
Picture Andy Parkinson

1275 A+ engine before it went in, with MG Metro cam, big valve cylinder head, 1.5” rockers etc...
Picture Andy Parkinson

And a walkaround video to give an even better impression about it...
Video Andy Parkinson

...Plus one of the engine running
Video Andy Parkinson

Friday, 26 May 2023

Howard Heerey shares some stories

Manchester-man Howard Heerey, who lives in Australia for many years now, shares some of his stories and photographs on Facebook every now and then. And his latest message was too good not to share here. He wrote: 

"1966 was the beginning of my involvement with GTM. I watched Jack Hosker build the first prototype in the workshop of Cox’s garage in Hazel Grove. My father's Ford dealership was just across the road and at the beginning of '67 Bernard Cox asked me to race the original yellow 1275Cox GTM. I was already chasing the Clubman Championship in my Chevron and driving for VW in Formula V, so it was quite a challenge racing all three at the same race meet. In 1968 Jack built me a new GTM to compete in the 1150cc GT category while I was also campaigning a full season in F3, but we did have success with GTM until the oversteer caught me out at the Esso bend at Oulton. I actually disappeared through the sign and badly damaged the GTM against one of the uprights. That was the end of the racing and the start of us moving production down to our garage and getting to grips with building them."

Lovely! Below some great pictures from Howard's files to go with it.

Talking about evoking the spirit of racing in the 1960s! Note Midland Garage Racing van
Picture Howard Heerey

The first (prototype) Cox GTM with a young Howard Heerey at the wheel
Picture Howard Heerey

That's Howard getting ready for some action. Note unusual placing of oil cooler at the back
Picture Howard Heerey

A rare sight these days, but a unique sight in 1966 when this was the first GTM
Picture Howard Heerey

Monday, 15 May 2023

Taking the Ogle to EMWalhalla

Last year I took the Ogle to a meeting called 'EMWalhalla' in Raamsdonksveer (click!), but it was on a trailer at the time, with the car just about in its 'as found' condition, pretty rough with not even a wiring loom in it. Now that the engine has been made running again, the suspension is mostly sorted, the correct rear lights are in and work, too, and it is even road-registered correctly I thought it would be fun to take it out to the same meeting last weekend. This time under its own power. 

It was an excellent test drive, two hours up and two hours down. I'd mapped out the route and took just a few small stretches of motorway, with most of the driving carried out on b-roads. I now know that I really need a new radiator (too much leakage) as well as a new steering rack (too much play) but these didn't stop the fun as it was a lovely sunny day and a beautiful drive. The show itself was good fun, too, with many cars attending and meeting up with some old friends. The pictures below were taken by Paul Spek and do certainly make the car look good (way better than it is)!

Oh - and that's not all: there is news coming up on the restoration of the Le Mans Mini Marcos, yes, really! Stay tuned.

The Ogle behaved very well on the drive to and from the 'EMWalhalla event' last weekend
Picture Paul Spek

It joined hundreds of cars and despite its size attracted lots of attention 
Picture Paul Spek

Tuesday, 9 May 2023

Bill Buckle passes away

Another legendary motoring man who fitted in so well with Maximum Mini has left us today: Bill Buckle, who designed, built and marketed his coupe version of the Mini from his Brookvale BMC dealership in Australia: the pretty Buckle Monaco. After having visited the 1953 London Motor Show, Buckle came up with the idea to launch a fibreglass bodied car in Australia. This became the 2.5 litre Ford Zephyr engined Buckle Coupe, which was made in very small numbers. His next vehicle, the Goggomobil Dart, was a real hit with about 700 made. 

In 1966 Buckle announced the Monaco as a conversion for the Mini. For $400 you could have your Mini or Mini Cooper converted in a sleek coupe with fibreglass roof. This new roof was made of polycarbonate and was supported by added hoops. The standard Mini front screen was raked back to give the body better aerodynamics. The rear screen was made of polycarbonate, while the side screens were Perspex. Around 30 Monaco’s were built, most based on Australian-built Mini Cooper S's.

Bill Buckle (left) in conversation with another legendary Aussie Mini man: Brian Foley
Picture Jeroen Booij archive, source unknown

The Buckle Monaco made its debut at the 1966 Sydney Motor & Boat Show
Picture Jeroen Booij archive

'Wheels' magazine was the first to test drive the car and this was its cover shot
Picture Jeroen Booij archive

'BB 818' was Buckle's demonstrator which featured in a great number of ads and articles
Picture Jeroen Booij archive

Saturday, 22 April 2023

Having a break - back soon

Hang on, I'm working on something here, which takes just a bit longer. Just having a little break now, but I will be back soon. In the meantime: bonus points for who guesses the Mini based sports cars under construction below.

Tuesday, 18 April 2023

Turner Ranger stars in James Bond movie

I was aware of a Mini based James Bond vehicle before (click here), but it now turns out there has been another one. Siva Buggy owner Graham Hill told me so. He happens to own a Turner Ranger also and is in regular touch with Tony Turner, the man behind the vehicle. Graham wrote: "Perhaps their finest hour was as film stars. Tony Turner was never shy of a bit of promotional work, and somehow he got the opportunity to place them in the Bond film, The Spy Who Loved Me. They can be seen dotted around Karl Stromberg's submarine base (who knew there was so much money in carburetors...) and somehow skillfully avoided being blown to bits in the final sequences. Tony recalls him and his son Jonathan taking tea with Roger Moore between takes. Tony Turner was, and still is, regularly ahead of his time, and the Ranger shows us the antecedent of the mules made by Kubota and Polaris now. If only we had been ready for the Ranger at the time.."

Thank you very much for this Tony!

A bit of Turner Ranger product placement in a James Bond movie!
Picture Eon Productions

Tony Turner's vehicles can be seen in The Spy Who Loved Me of 1977
Picture Eon Productions

Thursday, 13 April 2023

The Targa Florio Mini Marcos (4)

Over to the 4th and (for now) final episode about the Mini Marcos that made it (briefly) to the 1967 Targa Florio (for part 1 click here, part 2 here, part 3 here)

Our Swedish Marcos-man Per Haegermark wrote earlier: "Before I can tell you with 100% certainty that #7034 is the Targa Florio car, I have to see one more document which I have ordered from the National Swedish Archives. They normally need three to four weeks to find the requested documents. Will get back to you a.s.a.p."

Well, the time has come for the document to arrive, so over to Per again: "Hi again Jeroen, Many thanks for the most interesting article you have compiled. Great job! Now, I think we are almost home. The final bits of the jigsaw puzzle come here now: I just received copies of the original registration document of #7034 from the National Registration Archives and I was very, very happy to see that the first owner of the car really was Jan-Eric Andreasson. Wow! The original registration number was 'AA 13515' and it was road registered for the first time on 19th October 1967 - that is after its racing career was ended. In the meantime I spent some time in picking out all racing and hillclimb entries of #7034 from my worldwide 'Historic Marcos Racing Records' database (more than 1500 entries between 1960 and 1975). Copy attached. I was very surprised to find only 10 entries out of which the car only managed to finish just one: the Röforsloppet Hill Climb driven by Börje Österberg."

"All other entries were either classed as 'Did not finish' or 'Did not arrive'. It seems that the car really would have needed a proper shake-down before entering the race tracks at all, wouldn't it? The reason for not having arrived at the Karlskoga and Skellefteå races was most probably that the team were putting it back in race trim after the crash at TF during the early stages of summer. For one reason or another they skipped Västkustloppet in favour of the Röforsloppet which both were arranged on the same day in August. The man behind the wheel was the most experienced driver Börje Österberg instead. The sticker on the bonnet says: 'Fest-Is' which was the most popular orange juice then and still is. It was not common with sponsorship in those days at all."

"Hope this mystery now has been resolved once and for all. It would be interesting to find out when and by whom the original engine was exchanged and when it changed colours etc. I believe it was green after its white/green era. Looking forward to hearing from you soon. Cheers for now, Per"

That is wonderful. Thank you very much for your enthusiasm Per.

Börje Österberg in the Targa Florio Mini Marcos at Röforslopet hill climb on August 6th, 1968
where he came first in class. Note the repainted front after the Targa Florio accident  
Picture Lars Liifw via Per Haegermark

Now in France, this is confirmed to be the Targa Florio car wearing chassis number 7034
Picture Leboncoin

Börje Österberg was a Swedish ice racing champion in Minis. He is wearing the helmet here
Picture www.gelin.se/hakan-och-bilar

Elmhorn Troberg of Stockholm became the official Mini Marcos concessionaire in Sweden, 
but Andreasson's Targa Florio car had been an earlier import
Picture Jeroen Booij

They came up with this lovely brochure to attract Swedish Mini Marcos customers 
Picture Jeroen Booij archive

Ring Knutsdorp was the first race in which Andreasson entered the Mini Marcos
Picture progcovers.com

A week later Skarpnäck was the second. The Mini Marcos did not finish in both races
Picture progcovers.com

Friday, 7 April 2023

Ogle now registered and ready for fun

About a year and a half ago I found this little Easter egg hidden in a Belgian barn for some 30 years (click!). Lots of work followed to get it going again but this week it was finally rewarded with a Dutch registration, all correctly as an Ogle SX1000, too. It seems likely to have been the only example sold new to Europe back in 1962, fact is it is the only one in The Netherlands now, causing the Dutch transport authorities a bit of a headache as they had never heard of an Ogle before. Anyway: it is road legal again after all these years of neglect. Now, let the sun shine! Have a good Easter.

PM-57-09 is the only Ogle in The Netherlands but spent all of its previous life in Belgium
Picture Jeroen Booij

The car received its new registration only yesterday, ready for an Easter drive now
Picture Jeroen Booij

Easter racing through the 1960s

What to do in the long Easter weekend? Well, there was a time when you simply took your Mini based sports car, drove it to the racing track nearby, changed the tyres on the spot and gave it some good trashing during one of numerous Easter races organized. See a selection of photographs below. 
Have a good Easter!

Easter 1964, Bob Henderson in his Minnow GT at the Brands Hatch circuit
Picture Jeroen Booij archive

Easter 1964 also, Chris Lawrence in the Deep Sanderson 105 at Mallory Park
Picture Jeroen Booij archive

Easter 1967, Brian Foley behind the wheel of the Aussie Broadspeed GTS
Picture Jeroen Booij archive

Easter 1968, Peter Garrad's girlfriend in the Buckle Monaco LMS at Hume Weir
Picture Jeroen Booij archive

Easter 1972, Michael Gill in the Minilan at Bushy Park on Barbados
Picture Jeroen Booij archive

Wednesday, 5 April 2023

Unravelling history - NJC Mini

It is one of my great frustrations when I can't quite find out the origins of a Mini based car. And the coachbuilt NJC Mini was a prime example. Who was behind it? How many did they build? Who did they sell their cars to? And what did the NJC name stand for in the first place? The only clue had been an article in Cars & Car Conversions magazine, but that mostly trumpeted over the car's appearance and build while it didn't say much about its origins. 

But then I got in touch with Nick Cloot recently, who had in fact been one of the persons who built these cars back in the late 1970s. What's more: he was more than happy to tell the tale of how they came about. He thinks as many as 9 may have been built although not all of those have been accounted for as of yet. The NJC Minis had some fascinating details in- and outside, among these wheel arches hand made in steel and strong enough to jack up the car, Storno radiophones, airconditioning systems and - the piece-the-resistance - electronic dashboards. The first of them was sold to a Lebanese businessman for use in central London, with more to follow.

I'd photographed a car years ago, which now seems to be the sole survivor (unless you know better). Together with all the information from Nick and some historical material he'd kept, the full story of the NJC Minis is now published in MiniWorld magazine's May issue. Oh - and we now know what NJC stands for, too! It's for Nick and John Costalas, who were the car's instigators.

Two NJC coachbuilt Minis outside the NJC works in Watford in the late 1970s
Picture Jeroen Booij archive courtesy Nick Cloot

So far this CCC article had been the only source of info regarding the NJC Minis 
Picture Jeroen Booij archive

Three cars in that feature - 'RGK 55R', 'HHC 99' and 'PNM 835R'
Picture Jeroen Booij archive courtesy Nick Cloot

The Escort air conditioning unit in what seems to be the sole surviving NJC Mini
Picture Jeroen Booij archive courtesy Nick Cloot

This is a view of the electronic dashboard in one of the cars
Picture Jeroen Booij archive

Nick Cloot in the late 1970s wearing an NJC Car Conversions T-shirt
Picture courtesy Nick Cloot

NJC bought their leather directly from Rolls-Royce and used RR colours for their Minis
Picture Jeroen Booij archive

At least three of the Minis were equipped with Storno 9 radiophones
Picture Jeroen Booij archive

Full story of the NJC Minis in this month's MiniWorld magazine
Picture Jeroen Booij archive courtesy Nick Cloot