Sunday 20 March 2011

Camber/Maya files: RLL8L

Time for part four in our Camber/Maya files series, this time with the Camber GT known as 'RLL8L'. That registration wasn't given to the car until 1973 by which time it was allready seven years old. So what happened before that time? Well, it was sold new to John D Green, a photographer by profession but racer by choice who raced the car in anger on England's tracks for just one season. Green had previously raced a Mini Marcos so he was well into his Mini derivatives. It must have been a pretty quick car too with its 1148cc, 108bhp strong engine built in early 1967 by Broadspeed of Birmingham, straight cut gears and limited slip differential. Broadspeed also fitted adjustable hydrolastic suspension.

After the 1967 season John D Green offered the car for sale in Autosport magazine in January 1968. A buyer was found in David Marley who kept on campaigning the Camber for another few years in club sprints and hill climbs before he decided to have it road registered in Summer 1973. With road spec engine (the Broadspeed engine was sold), trimmed interior and number plates he drove it until 1977 before putting it in storage and it wasn't until 2006 that it came out. By then the gearbox was rebuilt and a 1293cc engine with sportier spec was built by Competition Engine Services of Aylesbury. Shortly after that I photographed it for the Maximum Mini book.

Despite the Camber nose Marley believed the car was a Maya GT and not a Camber GT, and fitted a chrome Ford Mustang badge on its bonnet as that has some sort of similarities to the original Maya logo! But a lovely chassis plate of Camber Cars Ltd, Rye, Sussex, England under its bonnet was not to be missed. The car carries number 669 A 103 - I think that may be for the third Camber built, probably in September 1966. Shortly after the book came out the car was sold for the third time, now to the very enthusiast Bryan Purves who is currently working on a thorough restoration.

Camber was raced in anger during the 1967 season
Picture Jeroen Booij archive

Autosport advertisement in which the car was offered for sale. Nice price…
Picture courtesy Autosport magazine

Original rear: no reversing lights and no number plate 
Picture Jeroen Booij archive

Great shot, this was late sixties when the Camber GT was still unregistered 
Picture Jeroen Booij archive

Original Broadspeed engine with signature chrome rocker cover was sold
Picture Jeroen Booij archive

And current engine, built by Competition Engine Services of Aylesbury
Picture: Jeroen Booij

Great car. It should be on the road soon again after 34 years
Picture: Jeroen Booij

UPDATE 2 June 2015. I received a message titled 'Discourteous to say the least' from David Marley. He wrote (unedited): "Hi Jeroen, I have just read every article you have published on the Camber/Maya GT including my own car RLL8L. I find it incredible that I have been written out of this car's history considering the four years that I raced it in sprints and hill climbs with considerable success after buying it from John d Green. After trimming it for the road and having it registered in 1974, I used it on the road for two years I then mothballed and garaged it for forty years. I was invited by Will Kinsman to enter it into the Goodwood Revival meeting 2009, the Mini 50th launch year. Someone who had history with the George Holmes family in Camber, Sussex offered to buy it and wanted to put it on the road. Bryan Purves also offered to buy it, at a lower price, which I accepted as he said he was going to put it back on the track and would keep me informed as to its progress. I have never heard another word from him and I see from his website that he is still seeking original information about the car. In view of the attitude to write me out of this car's history I really couldn't care less about clearing up any missing data. I have sorted out the original engine specification sheet from Broadspeed and also the build plans for the 'High Speed - Low Cost' Terrapin Racer but I have no wish to be involved any further after the total ignoring of my part in this car's history and they are now in the waste bin. David Marley Nulli praeda sumus"

What a strange man!

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