Friday, 13 July 2018

When a Midas Gold becomes a Baumann Coupe

Remarkably, the car seen here - on display at the Reims Champagne Motor Museum in France - is not a Midas Gold. This, ladies and gentlemen, is the Baumann Coupe. Well, that's what the badge on its nose says. It is in fact a rebadged Midas that was meant to become a French version with left hand drive. Somehow it never succeeded and this is believed to be the sole car made. Was there a problem with homologation? I understand it is equipped with a 71hp strong MG Metro sourced 1300 engine and is privately owned but lended to the museum. The '44' number plate suggests it was issued in the Loire-Atlantique in the west of France. I would love to to find out a little more, though, and with several Midas experts on board here I trust some of you will be able to do so!

The sole 1985 Baumann Coupe can be seen in the Reims Champagne Motor Museum
Picture source Pinterest

It is said to be a French version of the Midas Gold that never succeeded. What went wrong?
Picture source Pinterest

Tuesday, 10 July 2018

Le Mans Classic 2018: Mk1 Mini Marcos sold

Despite all the plans, I didn't make it to Le Mans Classic. You may remember that my project car is far from finished and there was no use taking the bare shell to France now that it is right in the middle of its restoration. There would have been more to see and do there, though, with Robi Bernberg racing his ex-works Deep Sanderson 301 and Chris Marsh the ex-works big Marcos. Meanwhile, another Mk1 Mini Marcos was being offered for sale at the Artcurial auction there, too. This car sold for 35,760 Euros and I wonder what you think of it.

Mk1 Mini Marcos was restored in France about 11 years ago. It did Le Mans Classic more than once
Picture courtesy Artcurial Motorcars

Wide arches are nicely made, but make it look somewhat overbodied without wheel spacers perhaps?
Picture courtesy Artcurial Motorcars

Interior shows lots of later touches. Gear change set-up is an easy giveaway to the modernizations
Also note steel plating on floors
Picture courtesy Artcurial Motorcars

Yep, that's an A+ series engine. I am surprised this is allowed at Le Mans Classic
Picture courtesy Artcurial Motorcars

Chassis #6034 is an early, possibly 1965-made, car. That's one very unusual chassis plate though
Picture courtesy Artcurial Motorcars

Friday, 29 June 2018

Unipower reunited with former owner

Ever enthusiastic Unipower GT owner Tim Carpenter dropped me a line: "Last Wednesday I met up with Bob Spooner, the owner of my car for one year 1970-71. I’ve attached some pictures of our encounter and of Bob, aged about 19, posing with the car."

"Bob is a retired model maker with a long and keen interest in motoring, these days mainly motorcycles. He was very pleased to see the car again, commenting that it appeared to be in better shape today than when he owned it when it was just four years old. Looking at your web pages he said he “was surprised to see how famous 'our' car is. Certainly the best known, and in my view the best looking!”

"He told me a tale about the car which he said he has told many times since over the years. Apparently, he and a friend were driving around Clapham Common with a packet of cigarettes on the dashboard (yes, they were Players No.6!). The friend was amazed when, on negotiating a corner at some speed, the cigarette packet slid along the dashboard and became stuck to the side window where it was held by the cornering forces. It was probably a good job the traffic police did not observe these antics."

"I’m hoping to catch up again with Bob when I compete in the Bo Peep hill climb in Sussex on Sunday 16 September. Cheers, Tim." Thank you very much for sharing!

Groovy! Bob Spooner with the Unipower GT in 1970, when he owned it. He'd
 just fitted wide wheel arches and JAP Magna alloy wheels
Picture Bob Spooner via Tim Carpenter

Same car, same bloke 47 years later! 'KYL 294D' wears chassis number 1
Picture Tim Carpenter

And here with current owner Tim Carpenter behind Bob. Tim owns it since the late-1980s (more here)
Picture Tim Carpenter

Bob Spooner said it appeared to be in better shape today than when he owned it when it was
 just four years old!
Picture Bob Spooner via Tim Carpenter

Thursday, 28 June 2018

Much modded Mini Marcoses

Let's share some pictures of Mini Marcoses that were sent over to me in the last couple of weeks. They have one thing in common: these cars come with much modified body work!

Spotted by Chris Higinbotham at Oulton Park in 1983. A racer, with more spoilers and splitters than I had ever seen before!
Picture Chris Higinbotham

Chris wasn't too keen on the car, writing: "This looks like it was made from plywood, nailed together"
Picture Chris Higinbotham

Another racer, with ultra deep front spoiler and ultra wide sills and arches. I do not know anything about it
Picture source unknown

And then there's this, spotted at Stoneleigh in the early 00's by Chris Westgate. The car was crashed at the front and this is how the owner repaired it
Picture Chris Westgate

Thursday, 21 June 2018

Beach Boys Mini Surfer - only 5 made?

Reader Jeff Lehmann, who found a rare survivor of the Beach Boys Mini Surfer last Spring (click here), has been doing some work on the car, as well as some further researches. He wrote: "Got the Surfer Moke up and running this weekend. I kept it all original, replaced the hydraulics and it drives great. Will work on details like the stereo, speakers and fringed top over the next few months. I have the fur covered seat covers but put the others in just for around town."

"I Also did some research and it looks like there were only five of these made. The Beach Boys sued Capitol Records when these were made and they dropped the promotion outside the five in the pictures. I have not been able to get anything in writing with the number of cars built being twenty or five. But the Beach Boys and Capitol were not getting along throughout 1966 when the Moke promotion was happening and they sued Capitol in early 1967, see the article attached."

Thank you very much for that Jeff. The story continues.

Rare survivor of the Beach Boys Mini Surfer. Owner Jeff believes just 5 were made 
Picture Jeff Lehmann

And here are all 5 of them, as originally presented to the Beach Boys in 1966
Picture Jeroen Booij archive

Here again at Barris Kustoms with more people involved. John Barris is second from left
Picture Jeroen Booij archive

But then The Beach Boys and Capitol records got caught in a major argument and the Mini Surfer deal might have gone lost in the battle, thinks Jeff
Picture Jeff Lehmann

Wednesday, 20 June 2018

Le Mans Mini Marcos: the gauges

Finding the right gauges for the Le Mans Mini Marcos wasn't all too easy. I had just one photograph of the car's dashboard which dates back to 1975. This meant that things may have been changed up until then (as went for the steering wheel), but I decided it was the one to work from since there was nothing else to prove anything different. I received lots of help when I asked around what these gauges were exactly, with lots of people kindly providing possible answers. Eventually it was a matter of elimination and then they could all be named and so a proper search could be started. The Smiths gauges were fairly easy to find, although I did find out there are lots of small differences even there. The Veglia-Borletti rev counter proved to be quite a lot more difficult, and the same goes for the Jaeger oil temperature gauge, which I still do not have. Do contact me if you know of one!

The only picture I have of the car's dashboard was kindly provided to me by Michel Tasset. It dates back to 1975, when he owned it. The steering wheel here is not the one originally fitted to the car
Picture courtesy Michel Tasset 

The same picture, now with the gauges numbered in able to identify them correctly (thanks to many!)
1. Smiths Mini Cooper 'S' speedometer in km/h
2. Smiths water temperature gauge
3. Veglia-Borletti rev counter
4. Smiths oil pressure gauge
5. Smiths fuel gauge
6. Jaeger oil temperature gauge
Picture courtesy Michel Tasset 

Except for the number 6, I have all the correct gauges now. They are all restored and recalibrated, too.
The Veglia-Borletti rev counter proved to be very difficult to find, but eventually I got one from the US
Picture Jeroen Booij

When the rev counter arrived it unfortunately turned out to be broken. But I found a specialist who managed to restore it with a new print plate of his own design
Picture Jeroen Booij

The only one needed now is a Jaeger oil temperature gauge exactly like the one seen here
Picture source Leboncoin

Jaeger gauges were fitted to a number a French sports cars, but they were sold separately also, as proves this advertisement which dates back to 1965
Picture source Leboncoin

Friday, 15 June 2018

Mystery Landar R6 hides in Japan

Spotted in Japan last month by reader Danny van Giel (who sent in some shots of a Unipower GT he got uncovered there also): a Landar R6. I have no information whatsoever about this particular example other than just one more photograph of it from the front. I think it could be the same car that was spotted in the 1980s at Donington circuit, but am quite sure some of you will know more about it.

Hidden in a warehouse with the roll bar taken off - this Landar R6 is based in Japan
Picture Danny van Giel

This has to be the same car. More information would be much appreciated
Picture Jeroen Booij archive

This car was seen at Donington in the 1980s. I think this is the same car, but am not sure
Picture Jeroen Booij archive

Thursday, 14 June 2018

The original Radford hatchback survives

Before I report about the Beaulieu meeting of the Mini Cooper Register (they were focussing on coachbuilt cars and Mini derivatives this year - more here), I'd like to put the spotlight on one particular car attending the event of last weekend. This was the original Radford Mini hatchback as it could be seen in the back of Radford's Transcontinental Carabus (all info here). Although in a very rough state, it's really good to see that the Mini survives. More to follow!

Just a 1965 Mini Cooper 'S' that is overdue for a mighty restoration, you think? 
Picture courtesy Stuart Watson

No way. This is the first hatchback Mini that Radford built along with an ultra-luxurious bus
Picture courtesy Stuart Watson

Originally pale blue in colour, as can still be seen on the boot. Also note 'Disabled Driver' sign
Picture courtesy Stuart Watson

Just in case you wondered if it could still open up after all those years... it can!
Picture courtesy Henk van Brakel


Tuesday, 12 June 2018

Le Mans Mini Marcos: body work commences

It was time again to catch up with my much-respected body builder, who is slowly but surely putting the shell of the Le Mans Mini Marcos back together.

Originally, the plan was to have the body shell fully restored and painted by the end of this month, pick it up and bring it over to Le Mans just for display and then carry on along the autoroute towards Pau where the engine is being built at the moment. But you may remember that things went differently (click here). So, unfortunately you won't see me or the car at Le Mans this July.

The good news is that work on the body shell commences, so let's have another look at what's happened in the last couple of weeks.

The front is further repaired. Cut out section and rain gutters are now restored
Picture Jeroen Booij

Close up of the right hand side rain gutter. Most of it had been roughly cut out
Picture Jeroen Booij

And then the floors! Now fully restored to their original specification with steel strips and balsa wood 'glassed in on both sides. A painstaking job but beautifully carried out
Picture Jeroen Booij

If you look closely you will see the balsa wood sections consist of several puzzle pieces  
Picture Jeroen Booij

They have different thicknesses, too, as can be seen here. They were lacquered before being put in
Picture Jeroen Booij

The rear end is also coming along nicely now. The fibreglass was ultra-thin here with many cracks
Picture Jeroen Booij

Flashback - this was the rear end three months ago. All the cracks have now been removed
Picture Jeroen Booij

Another crack repaired. This is where the right hand rear side screen goes 
Picture Jeroen Booij

Door post repaired. This, too, had some bad cracks
Picture Jeroen Booij

The same went for the right hand sill
Picture Jeroen Booij

Next up: the roof. This, too, is full of cracks. Unfortunately there is a thick layer of filler put over the whole of the roof. You can see that some of it has already been sanded off. All of it needs to go though
Picture Jeroen Booij

Wednesday, 6 June 2018

Peel Vikings now joined

You will remember the Peel Viking GT that was found in a barn recently (click here), wont you? Well, it's found a new home now, and it's a good one too. The car is now owned by John and Elaine Fisher, who found another Viking in another Yorkshire barn some years ago (this one). In fact Mrs. Turner yellow car was put aside for decades remarkably close to the Fisher's earlier one!

John wrote: "It was one of the most stressful car purchases I have ever made and one of the most difficult recoveries of a car. The car didn't want to leave without a fight! All tyres were flat and brakes seized. It was difficult to get access to passenger side as it was tight to garage side. Managed to jack up drivers side and remove brake drums with a large hammer so we could remove brake shoes and inflate tyres. Then jacked and slid car over and did same other side but had to smash front brake drum to get it off. Can't get the bonnet open as catch is seized so don't know what lurks there yet, looks as though I will have to remove heater and other parts to get access. Lots of nice paperwork including receipts and original brochures for the Peel and other cars he was looking at. Have yet to sort through the large folder of paperwork but will send you photos when I have them. Thanks again for putting me in touch with Val."

Well done John. I'm sure it's in good hands now and hope to see it soon!

The Viking in the barn, since 1981. And it didn't want to leave without a fight!
Picture John Fisher

Freed after 37 years. That's Val Turner with the car she shared so many memories with
Picture John Fisher

Original receipt from Peel Engineering and broad correspondence came with it
Picture John Fisher

Like the outside, the car's interior is still all original, too. Nice wheel also!
Picture John Fisher

Note towbar. The car was used for family holidays. Neighbour was curious, too!
Picture John Fisher

There's a big file with paperwork from the car. Mister Turner didn't throw anything away
Picture John Fisher

New caretakers are John and Elaine Fisher, who previously found a Viking close-by
Picture John Fisher

The yellow Viking now joins John and Elaine's other red Viking. A unique set!
Picture John Fisher