Thursday 19 July 2012

Andersen Cub returns

Cool news from Liverpool: the Andersen Cub is available again from its original builder Charles Andersen, the man who came up with it back in 1984. Yep, that's almost 30 years now.

According to Andersen the car can now be bought as a complete ready to drive car or in kit form for home assembly using all new parts and engine-gearbox unit supplied rebuilt to 'as new
condition' by Andersen Motor Company. The new Cub is fully IVA compliant and as such, if built by AMC, can be supplied with an 2012 registration number. Body shells come with roll bars and crash bars front and rear plus altered suspension arms at the rear, steering column, hand brake lever and pedal assembly bracket in order to comply with the rules. When supplied as a complete vehicle it comes with six months UK road tax. Prices depend on final specification but are based on three steps:

1: Body kit for use with donor Mini. Price ex works from £ 3,980
2: Partly knocked down unit with all parts supplied. Price ex works from £ 8,975
3. Complete two-seat drive away vehicle. Price ex works from £ 11,695

Charles writes: "It is promised that you will never tire of the smiles, waves and toots. Life is too short to drive a boring car, that's why we build the Cub" He's got a point there! Call him for more information on: 07903 573050 or e-mail: A new website will be launched soon:

Beach bunnies and two cuddly little Cubs. The Cub was hot in the '80s, so why not now?
Picture courtesy Wayne Morris
Kits remain available. Roll bar and crash bars make the Cub comply with IVA rules, even today
Picture courtesy Wayne Morris

Wednesday 18 July 2012

Car meets creator

From Moncalieri, Italy, the picture below reached me. It was sent over by Simone Bertolero of Auto Classic who currently owns the one-off Zagato Mini Gatto. Bertolero decided to restore the car after it wasn't sold through eBay last May (see here). Meanwhile he's had a visit of the designer himself, Ercole Spada, who is willing to assist with the restorationm where he can. Perfect!
The Zagato Mini Gatto with Ercole Spada who designed it back in 1961
Picture courtesy Simone Bertolero

Friday 13 July 2012

Magentas back to their roots

Weather wise it wasn't the best of weekends, but the hand full of Magentas that did make it to northern Yorkshire to celebrate the car's 40th anniversary certainly had a good time. One of the cars that drove over to the picturesque but wet venue was the infamous 'Marathon Magenta' that did the gruelling London to Sydney marathon back in 1977, still very much in its original condition with its white hardtop, foggies and spare wheels. Naturally pictures were made at the old Lightspeed works venue in Lealholm - the former British Railways goods building - but biggest surprise must have been the arrival of mister Magenta himself: Steve Johnson, the man who set up Lightspeed 40 years ago and who designed and built the cars!

The old Lightspeed works premises in Lealholm, with the cars retracing their roots
Picture: Owelly Boot
And the same Lightspeed works back in the late 1970s. Not much has changed!

'Mister Magenta' Steve Johnson stands in front of the 1977 London-Sydney car
Picture: Owelly Boot 
There were a few sunny spells though. That's when these pictures were made!
Picture: Owelly Boot

Tuesday 10 July 2012

Season in swing

The 2012 season is in full swing and every now and then a photo lands on my desk. Here are a few of them taken over the last few weeks. Enjoy, and keep them coming!

Brands Hatch hoisted lots of Minis in June. This is an original MiniSprint
Picture: Roald Rakers
And another! This Stewart & Ardern Sprint is a well known car among fans
Picture: Roald Rakers

A Mini Marcos races at Le Mans Classic last weekend. Never mind that snake!
Picture courtesy Sports Car Digest

Which way? Ferrari skids as Remy Julienne sneaks his Mk1 Mini Marcos through
Picture: unknown

Meanwhile in Paris, an exhibition of Quasar Khahn's work shows a Quasar Unipower
Picture courtesy Neo Tony Lee

This Ogle SX1000 was spotted at the 2012 Bromley Pageant of Motoring
Picture: unknown

Monday 9 July 2012

Another Biota in The Low Countries

I told you before there may have been more Biotas in The Low Countries! number five has now surfaced in The Netherlands (although it appears to be Belgian registered); a black Mk1 with Biota's rare Clam Seats in red and 850 power from a 1965 Mini. It's for sale, too - see the ad here. The price indication of 17,500 euros (around 14,000 pounds) seems slightly over the top, to put things mildly but at least prospective buyers are offered the chance to trade in other vehicles. Oh, and the heading is funny too, stating: 'Unique, only 30 cars built' - ehm, now what did 'unique' mean again? But anyway, it's another nice survivor!

To sum up the known cars in Holland and Belgium now:

FA-91-80 - Mk1 - orange - 1966 Mini registration, said to be Cooper 'S'
48-72-RR - Mk1 - yellow - 1975 registration (1275cc)
TMO-513 - Mk1 - black - 1965 Mini registration (850cc)
06-38-XD - Mk1/Mk2 hybrid - orange - 1973 registration (1000cc)
Unregistered - Mk2 - red - 1965 Mini Cooper base (998cc)

Registration says green, but this looks like black to me. Nice 10" Momo wheels
Picture courtesy
Biota's rare Clam Seats are fitted into this tidy looking looking Biota Mk1
Picture courtesy

Friday 6 July 2012

Last of the Triads discovered... unbuilt

Damien Lescroart and Emilien Pillot, France based fans of anything Mini based, have a special place in their hearts for the three-wheeled Mosquito and Triad (excellent website about the subject can be found here). According to them a grand (?) total of 20 of these cars (11 Triads and 9 Mosquitos) were built from 1971-on. And with their continuous research to these quirky vehicles they managed to track most of these down. Most, that is, for as a matter of fact one of them remained shrouded in mystery. It was a Triad of which Damien and Emilien knew nothing more then its colour (green) from one hazy image. So when they were contacted earlier this week about this missing creature, I'm sure it made their day. It now appears the mystery Triad was never built and comes in the shape of an unfinished chassis and body kit to this very day. The current owner has in fact decided to sell the kit, so if you have always wanted to build yourself one very rare Mini based three-wheeler grab the opportunity here and pick it up in Evesham. Apart from an engine it is complete with all the bits and pieces you will need, even the carpets are there.

Robert Moss designed Triad chassis is complete and rolling but misses an engine
Picture courtesy

Body comes in green gellcoat and was never attached to the chassis it belongs to
Picture courtesy

Tuesday 3 July 2012

Sergio Pininfarina dies at 85

One of the greatest names in the automotive world passed away last night. Sergio Pininfarina died in his Turin home at the age of 85. He was of course best known as the designer of many Ferraris, but his studio worked for several other motoring manufacturers, from Fiat to Rolls-Royce and from Bentley to Peugeot. For BMC he was given the task of designing a Mini based roadster and coupe in 1965, I believe as Longbridge feared for the success of the unofficial 'Ogle Mini' (which was not yet named Ogle SX1000 at the time). The two prototype cars Pininfarina came up with were internally named ADO 34 (the roadster) and ADO 35 (the coupe) and both survive to this day. The first in the British Motor Heritage museum in Gaydon where many of you will have seen it; the latter in private hands (see here). In 1975 Sergio Pininfarina was involved in designing a replacement Mini but again his proposal never reached production.

Pininfarina's Mini based roadster never reached the production stage.Note Cooper 'S' wheels
Picture Jeroen Booij

Monday 2 July 2012

Magenta's 40th anniversary

Any plans for the weekend? If not, may I suggest the Magenta's 40th anniversary? No, not all of these wonderfully quirky four-seat roadsters were 1100 based. In fact quite a few came from dead Minis. And quite a few, there were, with over 500 examples said to have been built between 1972 and 1988. Yes, that's 40 years ago since the prototype came to life in one of the most rural settings imaginable. The Magenta's 'factory' was actually based in the picturesque village of Lealholm, north Yorkshire, where Magenta instigator Steve Johnson ran the company from the former British Railways goods shed (exact model available here), next to the Lealholm railway station. The little stone building is still there being run as a garage - Lealholm Auto Services - today. Anyhow: on Friday 6, Saturday 7 and Sunday 8 July some 40 Magentas are expected in Staithes, some 10 miles from the original birtplace, near Whitby. And, yes, that is were the Whitby Warrior was built (Update: oops - it wasn't, see comment) - another great reason for a pilgrimage! More info here

No matter were you come from - pack your bags to celebrate the Magenta's 40th
Picture courtesy

Rolling hills, a Victorian railway station and a Mini derivative shed, all in Lealholm