Monday 29 October 2012

Marketing the MiniSprint Traveller

We know the original MiniSprint by Neville Trickett and all its sibblings: the later Walker GTR; the Stewart and Ardern MiniSprint; the Speedwell Mini Sprint (one for sale here) to even the Trickett Sprint conversion that's available to this day. Crikey. And then there were all those home-chopped conversions, too, some good, some very bad. Last but not least there's the MiniSprint Traveller. A bit of a practical joke by Neville Trickett and Rob Walker, I always assumed. Not so, as I found out now. Pete Flanagan sent me a copy of an advertisement for that car, showing it was properly marketed by Walker and Co in 1967 (economical and inexpensive!). Only one is said to have been made though, but they are becoming sort of trendy today (click!)

MiniSprint Traveller was advertised at least once by Rob Walker's Corsley Garage
Picture via Pete Flanagan

There it is again, showing off its size next to an ordinary Mini Traveller 
Picture via Pete Flanagan

Thursday 25 October 2012

Mini Marcos on test

Great! Classic and Sports Car - without doubt one of my favourite magazines - tests a Mini Marcos in their next (December) issue. They made a little teaser video, too, which has now been posted on the web. James Elliott - group editor of the mag - seems very enthusiastic about it, saying "The steering is like a Lancia Stratos. It's up in the top 5. Like a really well set up Porsche 911, Lotus Elan, you name them." Elliott definitely is the man at C&CS to test drive this car as his first car was a Mini, or so he says. I happen to know it actually was a quirky Mini derivative, wasn't it James?
UPDATE: The man himself speaks: "My first car was a Mini (1973 1000), though, the Scamp came a few years later!"

Wednesday 24 October 2012

Mystery Mini derivative (26)

Time for some mystery and suspense, as long as you are into quirky Mini based stuff at least. This time with a sporty little roadster, influenced by Lotuses perhaps. On its nose cone you may just be able to read out the name 'Delaney', and the 1974 registration tells us that is indeed what this car is called. But what is a Delaney? I do not have the faintest idea, and my source doesn't mention anything else either. However, the Delaney does seem to use an 1100- rather then a Mini engine (and subframe), while the front suspension looks Triumph sourced to me. Is it home brewn? The square panels may suggest just that. Or could it be slightly more professional and were there ever more Delaneys? Let me know!

Pointed nose and widened wheels. Oh yes, this has to be a child of the 1970s

Parts seem to come from many sources; hood doesn't fit too well; body looks aluminum

Open that tiny little bonnet to reveal another A-series engine. An 1100? The subframe is

Petrol tank is located in the front. Suspension looks to be Triumph sourced

Tuesday 23 October 2012

Restoring a Deep Sanderson (3x)

Pictures and information continue to flow in about the Deep Sanderson 301 that I saw earlier this year while being restored in Germany. It's been restored at least two times before, as I found out. An Austria based reader told me he'd almost bought it in 2008 and was sent some pictures of the car's earlier (mid-1980s) restoration back at the time. I have enclosed some of these here. I also found an article in a copy of Alternative Cars magazine of the car's restoration back in 1979 when it was still in the UK. Last but not least Ben Alberts, who spotted the car in 1988 found one more picture of its engine bay. Thanks chaps!

The engine bay back in '79. Note lots of holes and no coil springs
Picture courtesy Alternative Cars 
Just before the 1979 restoration was started the car looked like this, with fat JAP wheels
Picture courtesy Alternative Cars
Once sold to Germany in the early 1980s the Deep Sanderson was stripped completely
Picture courtesy Frans Josef Berg
The rear subframe could do with some fresh welding back at the time
Picture courtesy Frans Josef Berg
Aluminum tank is still with the car. Blue metallic is believed to be the original colour
Picture courtesy Frans Josef Berg
The revamped engine just before it got in again. Nice pipe work for both inlet as exhaust
Picture courtesy Frans Josef Berg
That's the engine bay in 1988 as seen at Zandvoort. Not visible, but it uses coil springs here
Picture courtesy Ben Alberts

Thursday 18 October 2012

The Fletcher files (1)

Ah, another picture of a lovely Ogle SX1000 on display. It is an Ogle isn't it? Not just for the big sign accompanying it, as for its instantly recognizable shape and badges. And than there's the registration number, suggestion it's an Ogle, too. When you are anorak enough to check it out on the DVLA database you will even find it is registered as such.

Still then, I don't think this is an Ogle.

But you need to see the rear to tell that. And I did find a picture of that, too. Now look again. These aren't the Mini rear lights placed horizontally as the SX1000s have them. Nope. These are Austin 1800 sourced units. As a matter of fact the whole rear is restyled with a sharper edge and rear bumpers rather then overriders only. Yes, this has to be one of the 4 Fletcher GTs built. When you look closer you will also spot the bonnet bulge: another Fletcher modification. But why doesn't it come with Fletcher's restyled nose with cowled head lights then? Well, I have no idea. Perhaps it was an SX1000 that was converted by Norman Fletcher before he finished modifying the front? A prototype? Or perhaps it was modified back to look like an Ogle later in its life? It is intriguing, I think.

The strange thing is that another Fletcher GT comes with the Fletcher front but with an ordinary Ogle rear. I'll write about that soon. In fact I have pictures of all the presumed four Fletchers plus one of a mystyery car that could be number 5. So why not turn these into a little Fletcher file? Stay tuned.

UPDATE 23 November 2012: Paul Fleetwood sent in a copy of an article that has the car featured. A quote: "It appears the car was one of the original (Ogle-JB) demonstrators, driven by David Ogle for a period before he was killed in a car crash in 1962. It was then used by the subsequent director of the company, Tom Karen, before the SX1000 project was sold to boat builder Norman Fletcher, with the addition of the rearward facing bonnet scoop and Mk1 Austin 1800 rear lamps (...). What makes this car unique is that the modification never made it into production, with lighting regulations forcing Fletcher into some dramatic styling changes at the front and the subsequent sale of just four Fletcher GTs following the car's relaunch at the '67 Racing Car Show."

All about this car shouts 'Ogle SX1000'. But I don't think it is one
Picture courtesy
There you go. The rear reveals the sharp restyling of the Fletcher GT
Picture courtesy Hakkaloyin

Thursday 11 October 2012

Three little 3-wheelers

There are so many obscure Mini based 3-wheelers that it seems virtually impossible to know all of them. The last week or two I received some messages from people who've seen such a car offered for sale, and so it was about time to do a little write-up about these. So read on if you are into really quirky Mini based stuff, would like a 3-wheeler and are not the most introvert of persons.

The first is advertised as a Stimson 3-wheeler but I don't think it is that (ad here). The front number plate suggests it could be a 'CTS' but I cannot find any information whatsoever about a vehicle with that name, not in Chris Rees' excellent book 'Three-wheelers', nor in Steve Hole's 'A-Z of Kit Cars, nor on the web... Number two is a one-off, known as a Cannon. It is advertised in Germany on a German website, while the thing itself is located in Spain, on Spanish plates (ad here). Last of the three is a 'Leyland Skip' (what's in a name?), which is perhaps the least obscure of the three as one of my books does mention that as built by J.J. Calver Industrial Engineers in 1991. Two are said to have been made, although the car pictured in the book doesn't look quite the same as this one... (ad here). Now, who dares...

Advertised as a Stimson 3-wheeler but I don't think it's that. A CTS then?
Picture courtesy

This is the Cannon 3-wheeler that is located in Spain and advertised in Germany
Picture courtesy

This 'Leyland Skip' is on a 1976 plate and is for sale in Sheffield for 1300 GBP
Picture courtesy

Wednesday 10 October 2012

French Mini Jems

I don't know why, but Mini Jems - as well as Mini Marcoses - are proving to be very popular in France. According to Enguerrand Lecesne just one Mini Jem (a rare Mk1) was sold originally to a Frenchman and it is the car you see below. From 1970-on that green little thing was hill climbed and auto tested regularly in eastern France and Luxembourg by owner Pierre Tollini. I do not know what happened to it, but perhaps somebody else does.

It's most certainly not the Mk1 that was snapped up a while ago in France by Milco Colsen. Unfortunately this Mini Jem was at one stage equiped with a much later Mini Marcos rear door and a 'frenched' petrol tank funnel. Milco says he thought about changing this to the original closed rear again, but in the end didn't do it, and has now decided to sell the car as a project (ad here). Despite having no paperwork with it Milco and I found out that the car was originally British registered on 1 November 1968 and used to be red. Milco now hopes to get the original registration back on the car.

Pierre Tollini and his faithfull Mini Jem Mk1, which he raced in France in 1970
Picture through Enguerrand Lecesne

Friday 5 October 2012

Today 44 years ago - 'Terrapin-Min' day

October 5, 1968 was a special day for the late Allan Staniforth - designer of both the Mini based Terrapin as well as the Sarcon Scarab (also known as the Whippingham Wrogue). On that day, exactly 44 years ago today, he set no less then 9 world speed records on Elvington airfield in his self-built 'Terrapin-Min', a race car that would soon become a hit under DIY enthusiasts trying to beat some records, too. In actual fact 4 of Staniforth's records made 44 years ago stand to this day: the 1 kilometre standing start; 1/4 mile flying start; 1 mile standing start and 1 mile flying start, all in 'Class G' for over 750cc to 1100cc. At the 1 kilometre run a 210.262km/h top speed was achieved with a standard Mini 3.7 final drive and 13" Sprite wheels at the rear, borrowed from a friend!

The wonderfull picture below was kindly provided by Richard Heseltine and is from a Britax press release. The original caption says: "Amateur racing driver Allan Staniforth in his home-made 'Terrapin-Min' with which he broke 9 speed records at Elvington, Yorkshire on October 6th (according to my information it was the 5th-JB). Britax produced a special set of racing harness for the car, which, for the first time, incorporated a pair of thigh-support straps." Thanks again, Richard!

Allan Staniforth and his 'Terrapin-Min' record car at home in Yorkshire
Picture provided by Richard Heseltine

Wednesday 3 October 2012

Ogle SX1000 up for auction

I think you guys will know this car. It was featured in Maximum Mini (the book) and came past here once or twice too. But this time it is up for auction on October 31 in central London. It will be offered with no reserve but the estimate is 18,000 - 22,000 GBP. Read what the auction house says about it here.

Ogle SX1000 was lovingly restored by Geoff Hunter back in the early 2000's
Picture courtesy RM Auctions 
With chassis number 63 it is a very late car. 69 were built in total (most sources say 66)
Picture courtesy RM Auctions
Despite being an SX1000 the engine is a later 1275 with many modernizations
Picture courtesy RM Auctions
The interior is cool but not original. The chequered fabric is from a Ford Transit!
Picture courtesy RM Auctions

Tuesday 2 October 2012

Replica Broadspeed GT for sale

According to my weblog's statistics this entry is the most popular article ever. It makes you wonder about the popularity of the Broadspeed GT and the kind of interest a replica would attract nowadays. Every now and then I receive a message of somebody asking if replicas are still available, but I have to disappoint them as the plans are not yet concrete. However, now a beatifully recreated Broadspeed GT has come to the market. It is the car owned by Bernie Hines in Tauranga, New Zealand, which uses a 'Downton GT' roof conversion as offered for sale in the mid 1990s in the UK. In fact it replicates one particular car: the GTS racer of Laurie Stewart that was built from a Broadspeed GT built under licence in Australia by Brian Foley. The actual car still exists, too, and is owned by Jono Morris nowadays (see here).

Fortunately Bernie is not mysterious about the car's whereabouts. The ad says: This is a replica of Laurie Stewart's Broadspeed Mini raced in 1966/67. The car was built using a mould taken off an original Broadspeed mini in the UK. The engine is a 1380cc fitted with a 7 port AKM crossflow head producing 140 hp. Straight cut drop gears and Jack Knight 4-speed dog box plus LSD diff. The asking price of 25,000 Australian dollars (about 16,000 GBP) is in my opinion not so strange a price for this lovingly built car. Reader Tim Neal wrote: "The price of this car reflects the sum value of the parts. Bernie is meticulous in the building of his cars and this one is mechanically 100%++ in terms of reliability and performance. I've known him for many years and have seen him drive this car against others which on paper should be faster around the circuits of NZ, yet due to his skills as a builder and driver he has left them begging at the back of the grid..." See the ad here.

Hines' Broadspeed GT replica has come to the market. It uses a Downton GT roof conversion
Picture courtesy 
The car replicates one of Australia's best known Mini racers that ruled the tracks in '66 and '67
Picture courtesy