Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Alto Duo is indeed a Guinness record car!

Remember this article? Well, Karl Bowers from the UK does, and he wrote to me recently about it with a (for me, at least) fantastic novelty. Bowers, in actual fact, was the man who drove the (only) electric Alto Duo to its Guinness Book of Records record on the M25 exactly 24 years ago today! He built one such car and both the body that I found in the UK as the chassis that is now part of the car that is in France belonged to that specific record car. Karl, who was surprised to find out they were split, writes: "When I showed my son the photos, he thought I should try and buy them back!"

So what exactly happened? Karl: "From about 1980 to 1990, I converted many cars to battery power and especially the Mini's. During that time I looked for a kit car supplier who provide a specialised very modern looking car that would capture the imagination (not like the Sinclair C5 at the time, which destroyed the potential of the electric car). And so, the ultimate aim for me, was to take on a challenge never achieved by an electric car. So, I modified the Alto Duo to handle the motor and battery pack system to achieve a 40mph cruising speed and a range of over 100 mile range and furthermore, to complete driving 'non-stop' around the M25 would be the ultimate challenge or dream, in my case."

So did he ever market it or intend to build more? Bowers: "During 1989 to 1990 there was a lot of interest in the car. The car appeared at two international motor shows and on national television and stirred up a lot of interest but, as you may know from experience, people and businesses get very excited about new things and then suddenly frightened off especially when it comes to buying or investing. In the attached photocopies are an entry in the Guinness Book of Records, and some newspaper coverage. I may have some more articles around hidden in my attic!"

Bowers' Alto Duo, originally a Mini derivative, has to be the only
 one that made it to the Guinness Book of Records...

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