You may have come across one or two Stimson Mini Bugs, but chances of it being a Mk1 are very low. The early Mk1 cars were only built for a very short period of time in 1970/1971. Of the approximately 180 Bugs built in total, just some 20 were Mk1s with their sharper body edges and different detailing. Survivors are very rare.
Wednesday, 25 May 2022
Monday, 23 May 2022
Friday, 20 May 2022
When Mini Marcos-aficionado Joost van Diën suffered from Corona a month ago and had to go in quarantine for some time, he decided to see if he could find out a little more on the background of his yellow Mk2 Marcos. After all he knew the car had probably spent all of its life in The Netherlands, but its history was still mostly unknown to him. Well, he got more than he bargained for after asking around. In fact he got in touch with the family of the car's original owner, Kim Koopman, who were equally surprised to find out the Marcos survived as Joost was to hear from them!
The man himself had passed away, but his relatives were eager to arrange a meeting and so Joost went over to catch up with the family and the man who'd helped Kim to build it: Thys Pollé. Thys remembered the car particularly well and was happy to be interviewed. He told Joost that he and his mate Kim went to the London Motor Show in 1967. Together they ordered a new shell in early '68 through the newly appointed Dutch concessionaire Sportscar Import in Haarlem, not far from where they lived. In fact they ordered two shells, one for another friend too, both in yellow. They were told there was a delivery time of 6 to 8 weeks, but when the duo hadn't heard a thing after 13 weeks of waiting, they decided to write to Jem Marsh. A neat answer was typed out on Marcos Car Ltd. paper but still the two men had to wait until mid-1968 for the body to arrive in their hometown of Halfweg. But then the build started using Kim's 1965 Mini Cooper as a donor vehicle. There are some pictures of the build, as there are some of Kim driving the just-finished Mini Marcos on the Zandvoort track in order to get his racing license in early '69!
It takes the Dutchmen another two years to get the car fully ready for racing, but then it's looking mean with flared arches, metallic blue / matt black paint applied by their mate Piet Walraven and the 12" rose petals taken over from Tonio Hildebrand's Broadspeed GTS! (here). What's more: the Marcos is by that time equipped with a Don Moore tuned 1295cc 'S' engine, which came through the ART (Algemeen Racing Team) and it was believed to be very quick, too. The Marcos made it to a number of races throughout the '71 racing season, all at Zandvoort, and finished second in class in May while coming home 6th overall in August that year. The Koopman's turned out to have plenty more pictures of the Marcos being raced and in the pit at Zandvoort. One shows it on the track with the white/green ART Mk1 Mini Marcos also. Kim Koopman sells the car in 1972 never to see it again. But its history does not end there. More to follow!
Thursday, 19 May 2022
Wednesday, 18 May 2022
The Unipower GT restored by Howard Darby and Bob Neville made it to the Prescott Hill climb last weekend. And interestingly, the very same car had a go there back in 1991. The official records mention that it was then entered in Class 6 for Sports Libre Cars of 1300- to 1600cc and driven by Arni Wookey and Chris Gow.
I contacted Chris Gow about it and he wrote: "It was never hillclimbed extensively as that was its one and only event. It didn't run well. Upon investigation the head gasket had blown."
Now that the car has been fully restored, Howard Darby had a good weekend with it and added: "We did five runs up the hill including two practice runs. Revs were limited to 6000 rpm so we weren't expecting a fast time. The 1991 best time was 64.91 and our lowest time now was 63 seconds. Peter Clark, the driver, reported that the handling was good." Thanks chaps!
Tuesday, 17 May 2022
After I wrote about the little-known MDV some years ago (click here) I got in touch with Adam Adamson, who owned one of these cars. He then wrote: "Hi Jeroen. I am the owner of the MDV Van you mentioned in your blog and was wondering if you had any information on the vehicle as all I've been told Was that they were built by Bedford city council. My father owned it for approximately 15 years. After his recent passing I've acquired it and I’m looking to restore it. After looking (not very well) into the history of the van eventually I came across your post and was overwhelmed to find not only other examples but my exact registration and colour description. Any information would help massively to bring the life back into the van."
But as so often things went differently. Adam contacted me again last week about the project, which had been stalled: "The engine was rebuilt when my dad first bought the van by a close friend who was a Mini enthusiast between 2005 and 2007. It was 'supposed' to have been rebuilt again over lockdown 2020 by a mechanic friend of my dad but unfortunately my dad died before they finished so the engine is rebuilt but needs few bits reattaching. Radiator, air box/filter, battery. They had also lost the keys."
Adam is now looking to sell the car. It's complete with logbook and old MOT's up until 2008. Remarkably, the car was first registered on 01/07/1983 while Multi-Development (Yorshire) Ltd. was wound up in July 1983. Adam: "I have a brief memory of my dad going to an antique fair in it towing a caravan and I’m sure he said he couldn’t do more than 40mph but he loved it." Never the less Adam now offers the car for sale through Maximum Mini - see the ad here.
Friday, 13 May 2022
Another market round up to see what is for sale for those wanting to buy a Mini based car right now. Once again there is lots to choose from, from the weird to the wonderful and from the cheap to the expensive. In alphabetical order I present to you: